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

New Zealand's winter months are June, July and August. While New Zealand's winter months do bring cooler weather and rain to parts of the country, many locations only experience a mild winter.

New Zealand in winter is quieter, with the exception of top ski destinations which become a hive of activity. If you're wondering what you can do in winter, check out these top things to do. 

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Top winter activities in New Zealand

From stargazing to hot tubs to cosy chateaus and moody landscapes, winter brings plenty of things to do in New Zealand. 

Many popular hiking tracks are ideal in winter. The majority of tracks in the North Island are free from snow all year round, so you can still explore the great outdoors. 

The vines are bare but wineries are bursting with the labours of an Autumn vintage. Try the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail, from Hawkes Bay in the North Island to Marlborough in the South, to make the most of a cellar door experience. And the renowned Central Otago wine region is a stone’s throw from ski hubs Queenstown and Lake Wanaka.

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

Several other festivals also take place during the winter months, such as Wellington's Beervana(opens in new window) and Wellington on a Plate(opens in new window), Hawke's Bay's Food and Wine Classic(opens in new window) event and Queenstown's Winter Festival(opens in new window).

Explore winter destinations

North Island

Winter is a great time to explore natural hot pools around the North Island. Rotorua and Taupō both have a range of natural hot springs where you can warm up and relax.

For those looking to hit the slopes this winter, visit North Island's top skiing destination, Ruapehu, showcasing both thrilling slopes and epic views of Tongariro National Park

Or if you're like to get away from the snow, head up north to the winterless North and enjoy the treasures of this subtropical wonderland with its milder climate. The Hawke's Bay region is also worth a visit during winter with its delicious citrus fruits and hearty vegetables are in season!

South Island

Christchurch and Queenstown come alive during the winter season, as both are close to world-class ski fields. Head to these cities to enjoy snow sports with a festive apres-ski afterwards. 

Explore other-worldly scenery down the wild, West Coast or marvel at the majestic fiords in Fiordland. Ride one of the world's greatest train journeys on the TranzApline train(opens in new window) and cross through the Southern Alps.

Or if you're after milder weather, head north to the Nelson Tasman region and ride the Great Taste Trail or walk the Abel Tasman Track.

Safe winter travel

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