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5 Places to Visit in Winter in New Zealand

Tourism NZ

Where to go in winter in New Zealand?

New Zealand! Sure, the mountains look pretty incredible and something straight out of Middle Earth when you see them topped with snow, but they also make New Zealand a hub for Southern Hemisphere skiing. The ski field is a great place to meet people from all over the world, such as those from the Northern Hemisphere chasing winter or the locals who can’t resist strapping on their skis every year. On the other hand, if hurtling down a mountain isn’t your thing, then you can enjoy the winter wonderland from the comfort of a cosy hot pool or travelling through it on one of the world’s most scenic train journeys!

Of course, if you’re not a fan of the cold, then we have another option for you at the bottom of the list. Enjoy!

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1. Queenstown

Queenstown loves the winter. If it isn’t obvious from The Winter Festival celebrating the start of winter, then maybe you will notice it from the skier and snowboarder types around town. Plus, if you weren’t cold enough, there’s a couple of ice bars and an ice rink. There are four commercial ski fields in the area.

Tourism NZ

2. Rotorua

Confuse the hell out of your body on a cold day by dipping into a hot thermal spring. Whether you want to do it for free, see the 5 Free Natural Hot Pools in Rotorua, or relax in the Polynesian Spa, you’ll find it hard to get back out again! Winter would also be a good time to visit the geothermal parks – at least the steam would keep you warm… Find out what other awesome things you can do in: Rotorua – Guide for Backpackers.

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3. Ohakune

Snowsports action in the North Island! The two largest ski fields in New Zealand are on the volcanic Mt Ruapehu. Ohakune is the main town in the area with an apres ski vibe, such as celebrating the start of the ski season with the Mardi Gras Festival. When the lifts close, head to The Junction part of town!

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4. Arthur’s Pass

Drive or take the TranzAlpine through the winter wonderland of Arthur’s Pass. The train journey is regarded as one of the most scenic in the world. There’s lots of reasons to stop along the way and take in the Southern Alps views. Check it out in Arthur’s Pass National Park – Guide for Backpackers.

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5. Hanmer Springs

Go from the slopes to the thermal pools! Hanmer is a club field in a small but uncrowded ski area. It has backpacker accommodation on the slopes to make an overnight trip. Then you can relax in the hot pools.

Tourism NZ

6. (Bonus) A Tropical Paradise

Do you absolutely detest the cold horrible winter? A relatively short flight away from New Zealand are tropical escapes! Check them out in our article: 6 Tropical Paradises to Visit When You are in New Zealand.

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