Discover and Explore New Zealand’s Winter Wonderland
Come June, experience the ultimate winter wonderland in New Zealand – a season that brings excitement to tropical dwellers and a host of outdoor activities set against a panoramic backdrop of snow-capped mountains.
In the North Island, ski enthusiasts will relish the opportunity to take the highest lift in New Zealand and ski Australasia’s longest vertical descent at Mount Ruapehu in the Taupo region. With two adjacent ski areas connected by the Ruapehu Alpine Lifts, the resort promises a fun-filled day of non-stop skiing and snowboarding for everyone.
For those wanting to avoid the slopes, a short trip over to DeBretts Hot Springs & Pools, one of the best natural thermal hot pools in the region, is a must-do. The whole family can sit back and soak up the surroundings in any of the 14 pools that source fresh mineral water from the historic Taupo Hot Springs. Complete with its picturesque waterfall setting and bubbling hydrotherapy effects, this is the ideal spot for grownups to relax whilst children enjoy the fun of the warm water playground.
For added luxury, New Zealand’s ultimate therapeutic experience is offered at the Wairakei Terraces and Health Spa in the Rotorua region. Strategically located below the silica terraces, these rock pools of Wairakei were once used by the native Māori people for their healing and remedial benefits. Mineral-rich and gentle to the skin, the crystal clear waters are perfect for thermal soaks and undisturbed tranquillity.
Nature-lovers can challenge themselves to a day walk at the Tongariro Alpine Crossing across the volcanic landscape of Mount Ngauruhoe. Beginning at Mangatepop Valley near Wakapapa, this 8 hour walk leads to the 1,886m peak at Red Crater, providing astounding views of Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Tongariro and their ancient lava flows. The 9 hour descent will take you through the scenic Emerald Lakes and a spectacular forest amble will finish the journey. Ardent hikers can also take an additional 3 hour to climb to Mount Ngauruhoe.
Over on the South Island, experience snow at its best on the slopes of Coronet peak, one of the finest snow planes in The Southern Lakes. Famous for its unique Friday and Saturday night time skiing activities, a family favourite amongst locals and visitors alike, this is a must-do for skiers of all calibre.
Follow with some après-ski in the restaurant and a steaming cup of cocoa or mulled wine whilst enjoying the stunning floodlit views of iconic mountain range, The Remarkables.
Daredevils can gear up and get ready for Snow Motocross (SMX), the brand-new extreme snow sport available at Mount Dobson in the Canterbury region. These fast-paced pursuits combine skiing, boarding, mountain biking, motocross and BMX activities which can be learnt easily within a few hours, but are not for the faint-hearted!
The alpine adventure can be continued with a helicopter or ski plane ride to capture the birds-eye views of New Zealand’s stunning vast landscape. Recommended are the Mount Cook Ski Planes for a ski on the purest powder snow, accompanied by trips to the nearby ice caves, or the Tasman Glacier, New Zealand’s longest glacier, for a world-renowned heli-snowshoeing or heli-skiing adventure.
Join fellow heli-hikers on the Franz Josef Glacier Walk – an exciting scenic flight followed by a 2 hour glacier walk at your own pace or as part of a guided tour.
The Hooker Valley Track, regarded as one of the South Island’s key hiking destinations, is seen at its best in the winter months. Also known as ‘tramping’ by the Kiwis, the 4 hour trail climbs to New Zealand’s highest peak, Mount Cook, otherwise commonly known as Aoraki. The descent provides magnificent views of Mueller Glacier, Mount Sefton, Hooker Valley and Hooker Glacier, with the chance of stumbling across giant icebergs formations – a well-known photo opportunity.
Less than an hour drive away from the mountains, even more fun can be had with the ‘Flying Fox’ activity by Ziptrek Queenstown, an adrenaline pumping treetop ride above Queenstown’s beautiful skyline.
Hot Pools are plenteous on the South Island too – the three tiered Tekapo Springs Hot Pools, designed to replicate Lake Ohau, Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo, each offer different hot water experiences in an idyllic winter setting. Alternatively, 90 minutes from Christchurch or Kaikoura is the winner of the Best Natural Bathing Spa, Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa. Comprising no less than 15 mineral, sulphur and freshwater pools, in a scene of frequent snowfalls, this is definitely an experience to remember.
“With a whole array of never-ending activities, it’s hard to find any reasons to stay home this winter.” said Mischa Mannix-Opie, Regional Manager South & South East Asia, Tourism New Zealand.
More information on New Zealand can be found at http://www.newzealand.com/sg/things-to-do/