Bucket List

The 5 coolest things to do in New Zealand this winter

By Ryan Brown
on  June 10, 2021

We’ve put together the absolute 5 coolest things to do in New Zealand this winter so you can experience the best winter activities and adventures this side of the southern hemisphere. Whether you’re on the hunt for ski holidays in New Zealand or hikes that’ll leave you spellbound, we’ve got the inside scoop. Even though temps might be cold, this list is anything but chill!

The 5 Coolest Things to Do in New Zealand This Winter

We’re going to take you through the South Island’s most epic winter experiences from Christchurch, Wanaka, Queenstown, Franz Josef, and everything in between. These regions are already some of the most stunning natural landscapes in the world, but as the temperatures get lower and the snow starts falling — an even more unique side of them comes out.

1. Helicopter Hikes and More at Franz Josef Glacier

You, crampons dug in 3,000 meters up, standing amongst crystalline shards of glowing blue ice piercing the sky while looking down a glistening frozen tunnel at the other hikers in awe. How about tossing in a helicopter ride above this jaw-dropping natural wonder to get to the ice hike? That is only a shard of what you can expect from a visit one of the coolest things to do in New Zealand, Franz Josef Glacier.

Winter Activities in Franz Josef

Franz Josef is one of those impossible-to-describe places where no words can do justice, though we’ll try to do our best. It’s a place with so much natural beauty and exciting activities to do that the hardest part of visiting is deciding what you want to get out of it the most.

You can have a low-key hike into the valley to witness the incredible display of the glacier from the easier sentinel rock walk or the Roberts Point day hike.

For the adrenaline junkies, experience a once-in-a-lifetime moment standing on that very glacier and exploring the intricate labyrinth of ice from above with a helicopter tour and glacier hike.

And for those of you feeling a bit more grounded, you can hop on a quad for an off-road excursion traversing the forests and waterways of the vast river valley below the glacier. One thing is for sure, there’s some kind of winter adventure for everyone in Franz Josef.

Group of people hike up Franz Josef Glacier

2. The Remarkables: Skiing in New Zealand for Beginners and Advanced

The name says it all. The Remarkables, or Remarks to locals, is one of the most amazing terrains for snowboarding or skiing in New Zealand and only 45 minutes from Queenstown!

The 350 hectares of terrain held in this amphitheatre-like mountain range holds plenty of incredible trails for beginners or advanced with sprawling open fields, exhilarating runs, sun-soaked peaks, and wicked terrain parks.

Of course, we can’t forget the views! From the peaks you’ll have panoramic views of Otago and all of its awe-inspiring landscapes with rivers and lakes in view while skiing or boarding down and Queenstown from a birds-eye view in the distance.

Skier skiing down a run on The Remarkables

3. Coronet Peak is Perfect For an All-Day Ski Sesh

Another one of the coolest things to do in New Zealand, Coronet Peak is home to one of New Zealand’s famous night skis with the trails lighting up so you don’t have to stop on the slopes after sunset. There’s nothing quite like tearing up the terrain while witnessing a fiery sunset over the Wakatipu basin on a run.

The mountain is awesome for intermediate skiers and boarders with rollercoaster-like chutes and is one of the destinations where you can have the longest ski or snowboard days from sunrise to past sunset.

4. Cardrona Has The Best Natural Snowfall Slopes

Cardrona has some of the best snowfall in the Southern Hemisphere, making these powdered slopes perfect for all skillsets who love natural groomed slopes or open trails. Send it on one of the numerous terrain parks for those keen on trying their skills on rails or pipes, or spend the day exploring the vast array of natural snow runs.

After a day on the slopes, warm up at one of the world’s most famous (and photographed) pubs at the Cardrona Hotel. A visit to this iconic pub is one of the coolest things to do in New Zealand and the hotel is one of the oldest in New Zealand and serves up tasty craft beers, gaelic whiskeys, and hot food to warm the soul. No better place to relax after a day skiing or snowboarding with mates in this historic hotel.

5.   Lake Tekapo Will Leave You Speechless

One of the regular questions about Lake Tekapo is ‘How can this be real?’ The water is such a vibrant turquoise color that much of the world accuses New Zealand of dyeing the water. But it’s au naturale and seeing is believing when it comes to the unparalleled beauty of Lake Tekapo and surrounding mountainous landscapes.

Young woman with arms viewing Lake Tekapo

This majestic glacial lake is also famous for the Church of the Good Shepherd, a must-see historic stone church on the shores dedicated to the early settlers of the region. Take a moment to relax and absorb the unforgettable surroundings at one of New Zealand’s most beautiful lakes.

There’s no better way to get the best out of a snowboard or ski holiday in New Zealand than with Wild Kiwi. Book your ski tour with Wild Kiwi for an epic winter adventure this year!

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