Discover winter in New Zealand

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New Zealand’s mountains come alive with skiiers & snowboarders in winter, & the crisp days are perfect for walking, cycling and soaking in hot pools.

Get inspired with our top picks for winter destinations and experiences.

Temperature & weather

While our winter months do bring cooler weather and rain to parts of the country, many locations only experience a mild winter. High temperatures range from between 10 to 16 degrees Celsius (50 – 61F), but our ‘winterless North’ hardly experiences colder days at all. In the South Island, frosts and heavy snowfall is common – ski season is world-class.

Crisp sunshine and snowy mountains

The ski fields are in full swing, and the mountains of the Central Plateau, Canterbury and Central Otago are blanketed with fresh snow. Snow enthusiasts should make a point of trying several different ski fields a go – in Queenstown and Wanaka, there are four world-class ski fields within an hour and a half of each other. For a thrill, try heli-skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing or sledging.

In Auckland, temperatures are mild and sunny days are common. It’s the perfect time of year to hike up Rangitoto – chances are you’ll have the dormant volcano all to yourself.

New Zealand is home to some impressive, naturally heated hot pools. There’s nothing like soaking weary bodies at the end of a long day skiing or exploring.

Winter is a great time to explore the historic gold mining and Kauri logging towns of the Coromandel – you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

In the Hawke’s Bay, the cooler months are a time for delicious citrus fruits and hearty vegetables. Head to the Havelock North farmer’s market to make the most of locally grown, fresh produce.

Between June and July the Matariki festival is held throughout New Zealand. Matariki has always been an important time in the Maori calendar – strongly connected to the seasons, Matariki is a celebration of the upcoming year.

Unique winter destinations

Tauranga →

Rotorua →

Ruapehu →

Travel tips for winter

  • New Zealand is a year-round travel destination
    Most attractions, activities and locations are open all year in New Zealand, and if you’re travelling during the cooler months, you don’t need to book ahead. Some watersports may not be on the agenda because of cooler temperatures, and the official Great Walks season doesn’t run during winter – you can still hike many of the tracks if you are experienced, but huts won’t be serviced.
  • What time of year can I see the All Blacks play?
    The winter months are your best bet to see the All Blacks play a home game, but booking in advance is highly recommended because tickets are always very popular.
  • The best time for skiing
    A world-class ski destination, New Zealand’s ski fields will be covered in a thick blanket of powdery snow from June to September. Head to Ruapehu, Canterbury, Queenstown or Lake Wanaka for thrilling snow sport action, but be sure to book accommodation, ski passes and gear hire in advance.

Popular winter activities

Ski world class runs on a crisp winter's day →

Visit Te Papa, our national museum →

Soak in a naturally heated hot pool →

Enjoy the festivities of winter events →