Snow time side-trips on the South Island

There’s really only one reason to take a trip to New Zealand in winter – and that’s the snow! A campervan road trip is a great way to do this.

Pick up your cool (heated) campervan from Christchurch. Companies such as Hippie Camper are built for New Zealand winters, with cosy insulation, indoor heating and plenty of blankets.

The drive from Christchurch to Queenstown will take you just under 6 hours direct if you head south and inland, but there’s so much to see along the way on both sides of the island, it’s a shame to rush.

If you have more time up your sleeve, take the long way out to the west of Christchurch, through Arthur’s Pass National Park, which is absolutely stunning in winter. From there, the wild West Coast awaits, which is particularly wild during winter – but also very beautiful, and home to the famous Fox Glacier.

Travelling back inland, Lake Wanaka is always a favourite, and the entryway to beautiful Queenstown, home to your snow-action holiday. The West Coast extension can be comfortably done with an extra one or two nights, so it’s worth the detour.

The East Coast route gives you a chance to explore Timaru, Oamaru (where the Blue Penguins play) and warm up in Dunedin before you hit the slopes in Queenstown. There’s plenty of good food and wine, a stunning 'surfable' coastline and the iconic Cadbury Chocolate Factory – home to the annual winter Cadbury Chocolate Carnival each July – to give you some fuel for your on-snow activities.

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