Land of the Long Grey CloudWinter isn't the best season for a road trip by most people's standards. Less beaches and more blankets, less sun and more sniffles. However, the colder season does have it's advantages- skiing being the most obvious one. If you like the snow (and hire a campervan with heating), a winter roadtrip could be a different and cheaper kind of holiday.
New Zealand has skifields scattered all over the country, but the two biggest and best known are the fields on Mt. Ruapehu in the central North Island and those around the city of Queenstown in the lower South Island. In the North, Whakapapa Holiday Park is a popular spot for campervanners- right up in Whakapapa village with only a short drive up the Bruce Road to the Whakapapa skifields. For skiing around Queenstown, there are a multitude of holiday parks in the city which will have you within driving distance of the mountains but also close to the great shopping and restaurants of the 'Capital of Adventure.'
Whakapapa Ski Area
by AI404 Flickr Creative Commons
by flyingpurplemonkeys Flickr Creative Commons
Another highlight of travelling New Zealand in winter is the abundance of natural hot springs which are rendered so much more enjoyable by the cold weather. Rotorua is well known for its thermal activity, and there are a multitude of pools in the area- some developed and some just naturally heated swimming holes. There is a list of them here- well worth dragging your togs out of winter hibernation for. Taupo Hot Spring Spas is near Mt. Ruapehu for a bit of pampering after a hard day of skiing, and offers spa treatments based around the thermal mineral waters as well as hot pools to swim in.
Down south, there is the famous town of Hanmer Springs which is gorgeous in both summer and winter. All sorts of activities are available, but in the colder months, the best place to be is the thermal pool complex. There is a great Top Ten Holiday Park in the town to park your home whilst you soak the chill away!
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Author: Phil Wright+