Who said roadies are just for summer? Turn those mid-winter blues around and hit the road to discover some of New Zealand’s most beautiful places. You won’t regret it!
Rotorua, Bay of Plenty, North Island
This is the obvious one, right? Rotorua is famous for its geothermal activity or, well, boiling mud. This makes it the perfect place to hit in winter when you want to have a soak in the country’s best natural hot pools. With plenty else to do, from going down the luge, hiking in the bush surrounding the town’s many lakes, to being massaged at Polynesian Spa, you won’t be at a loose end even in winter’s darkest days.
Hot Water Beach, the Coromandel, North Island
This is another place to make the most of NZ’s natural hot springs. Instead of lakes, though, this famous must-do is right on one of the Coromandel’s most beautiful beaches. Dig your own mini spa pool to find the hot water, and sit and watch the waves out ahead. This beach boasts some great surf too, and is only a five minute drive to another great spot, Cathedral Cove.
Hawke’s Bay, North Island
The pretty towns of art-deco Napier, Hastings and Havelock North make up the beautiful region that is Hawke’s Bay. There are many things to do, especially if you head to Napier in July where the annual Deco Decanted Festival will be at full blast. Most of all, the region is home to some of our country’s best wineries. What better way to warm up in winter than with a glass of wine, or two? Make sure to check out Mission Estate Winery and Telegraph Hill Olivery.
Lake Tekapo, Mackenzie Basin, South Island
Lake Tekapo is located at an elevation of 700m, which means that come winter the place is usually covered in snow. For breathtaking views of the lake surrounded by snow-capped bush (and views of the Southern Alps in the distance), Lake Tekapo is a must-see. There is also a walkway to follow, and an observatory secured in a prime star-gazing spot. If you’re lucky, you may even see the colourful night-time display that is the Southern Lights.
Kaikoura, South Island
This wee town, located two and a half hours away from Christchurch, is one of the country’s prettiest, and is also a hive for our wildlife. The waters surrounding Kaikoura are full of whales, fur seals and dolphins. If it’s raining, head to the parking lot at Park Kean for a chance to spot some sheltering seals. On a better day, the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway offers lovely scenic views of the surrounding coast.