New Zealand is a world class destination to road trip in any season. But there is something especially mystical about road tripping New Zealand in our winter months of June, July and August.
Why? Well here are ten top reasons to travel in our winter months:
1. Smaller Crowds
There are far less people out on the roads, especially if you are going to be touring the North Island. The beaches are often deserted and the popular tourist spots you will visit along the way are far less crowded. There is nothing better than freedom camping overlooking a pristine beach you have all to yourself!
The first snow flurries to both islands come in June. The snowline on the mountains comes lower, meaning you will be able to capture those epic photos of the Southern Alps and other mountain ranges you’ve seen in the brochures!
3.Skiing and Snowboarding
And of course, with snow comes two sports synonymous with New Zealand. July and August in particular are when the ski seasons kick off both in the South (including Coronet, Cadrona, Treble Cone, Mt Hutt) and North Islands (Whakapapa, Turoa).
To mark the opening of the ski season, the Queenstown Winter Festival is held in the middle of June each year. The festival sees an action packed calendar of festivities around the ski fields and the town of Queenstown really comes alive.
4. Bluebird days
Winter can often produce some of the cleanest, clearest air you will find. There is nothing like sitting a top one of our mountains being able to see for miles. Or those clear starry nights that New Zealand is famous for.
5. Matariki – the Maori New Year
Matariki is the Maori New Year, named after a small cluster of stars (the Pleiades) which can be seen twinkling on the horizon (on the eastern coast of New Zealand) just before sunrise each morning. Its first rising can be seen in early June each year (best seen on a cloudless morning around a new moon).
In Maori tradition, Matariki was a time to remember those who had died the previous year, and a time celebrations, festivities and planting new crops. Many towns around New Zealand now hold events and festivals to celebrate the Matariki. Make sure you park up on the east coast somewhere and get up early to see Matariki!
6. Bluff Oysters
Perhaps one of the nicest delicacies to be found in New Zealand is the Bluff Oyster. The Bluff oyster season runs from late autumn into early winter. A festival to celebrate them at their best condition is held in the southern most point of the South Island on the last weekend in May every year. Pick up a camper in Christchurch, hit the Bluff Oyster Fest and then carry on north for the ski season!
7. Save money
Not only are a lot of the bigger ticket attractions cheaper during the quieter times, we usually do better deals on our motorhomes over winter because there are less people travelling in New Zealand over this time.
8. Walking, Diving, Cycling, Surfing - You name it you can still do everything
Some of the best fly fishing is in winter. Some of the best swell comes in winter for the surfers.
If you are hitting the water in winter, you are going to need a wetsuit. But that doesn’t stop a lot of people still scuba diving places like the Poor Knights Islands and some of the best visibility underwater in the colder months. You’re just going to need to kit up with the right protection and a thicker wetsuit.
The same goes for walking, cycling, hiking, whale watching, scenic flights, train journeys, the list goes on. Nothing stops in winter. Just come dressed for the occasion.
9. Making the most of our thermal attractions
New Zealand sits precariously on a volcanic fault line. This means we have many several active volcanoes, geysers, bubbling mud pools and hot water springs. Areas like Rotorua, Hamner Springs, White Island and Hot Water Beach on the Coromandel come alive in winter. Or if you prefer something off the beaten track, check out one of the thermal areas in the NZFrenzy travel guide that all our hirers get when they book with us. The steam coming from these attractions is something else. There is also something extra special about soaking in natural hot pools when the air is crisp and cool outside!
10. Catching a game of rugby
Rugby is our national sport and well worth checking out while you are in New Zealand. Most rugby is played in the winter months only. Driving through most of our provincial towns on a Saturday, you will notice local clubs playing our national ‘CODE’. You may be able to park next to the field and catch a game of grass roots rugby. You could even see where the future generations of All Blacks come from! Or, why not time your pick up in Christchurch or Auckland with catching a test match you can watch our national side take on another nation.
Why Choose Wilderness Motorhomes for your Winter Motorhome Adventure?
Unlike a lot of other New Zealand motorhome rental companies who are set up for three seasons of the year, Wilderness Motorhomes specialise in four season motorhome rentals!