Winter in the land of the long white cloud is the perfect time to enjoy an array of experiences that will keep the adventurous, young, and the young-at-heart happy. After all, New Zealand is known for its great skiing, fresh powder, consistently good snow seasons, and thrill-seeking activities. From heli skiing to hot pools, there’s plenty to do during a New Zealand winter.
Southern Lakes Heli Skiing
Fresh white powder, blue skies for days, awe-inspiring alpine landscapes, and untouched icy glaciers—heli skiing in the Southern Lakes Region (Queenstown and Wanaka) is a keen skier’s dream come true, and a must-do in the New Zealand winter season. With Southern Lakes Heli Ski, you can ski more than 8,500 square kilometres of terrain over 11 mountain ranges, including some of the best untracked powder snow. There is a high-altitude, high-octane experience for every skill level, from intro courses to the popular Max Vert option for more advanced skiers and snowboarders who want to test their boundaries on the best powder. With a ratio of four or five skiers to one experienced guide, you’re sure you get a personalised experience to remember.
AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand
Brace yourself for the ultimate leap of faith: There’s nothing quite like the mixture of fear and excitement you’ll experience with a bungy jump. Step out onto the tiny platform and look far, far down as you prepare to leap off with nothing but a bungy cord attached to your feet. Winter thrill seekers will find a perfect option in AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand. For a truly one-of-a-kind experience, opt for The Ledge Bungy. Open exclusively in winter and the only night bungy site in New Zealand, this jump allows you to finish your day of heli skiing with an additional adrenaline rush. For daredevils seeking the ultimate thrill, The Nevis Bungy, the highest bungy in New Zealand set above the jaw-dropping Nevis River near Queenstown, is a must try. You’ll plunge a terrifying 134 metres and free-fall for a seemingly never-ending eight seconds. This adventure is definitely not for the faint of heart!
The Snow Farm
You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a winter wonderland when you arrive at the Snow Farm. Set in the Pisa Range in the South Island, Snow Farm is New Zealand’s only Nordic-style ski resort, and is great for the whole family as it caters to all ages and abilities. There are 55 kilometres of scenic trails for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, so whether you want to get active and ski the tranquil alpine valleys and hills, or relax and enjoy the views of the Southern Alps, there’s an experience to suit. Snow Farm’s wide, groomed trails also allow accessible beginner terrain (plus there’s a fun zone for children that caters to activities like sledding). For a different view of the Alps, there are two self-guided snowshoe trails that take you past pristine meadows, stunning rock features, and glistening alpine streams. If you’re enjoying the icy wonderland so much you don’t want to leave, opt to stay overnight in one of Snow Farm’s two special back-country huts (accessible by skiing or snowshoeing).
Hammer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa
After all that action, it’s time to chill out—and warm up. New Zealand is renowned for its natural and therapeutic hot springs. Hanmer Springs, a resort town near Christchurch, is home to the award-winning Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa. Here, you’ll find the perfect place to soak your weary limbs. With a dozen open-air mineral pools, three sulphur pools, a fresh-water lap pool, six private indoor thermal pools, plus a family pool and water slides to keep the kids happy, there’s no shortage of relaxation. As you luxuriate in the warm water or soak in a private pool, you’ll be dreaming of ways to extend your time here.