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A mid-year winter getaway

Even if you are not into winter sports, you can still enjoy the sights of Mount Ruapehu. PHOTO: FRASER CLEMENTS
Even if you are not into winter sports, you can still enjoy the sights of Mount Ruapehu. PHOTO: FRASER CLEMENTS

Take a break from the tropics by travelling to wintry New Zealand in June

With the weather in Singapore being hot and humid all-year-round, a winter getaway would offer a much-needed respite for those seeking a mid-year getaway. The good news is that you don’t have to wait until the end of the year to experience the cold season – and you don’t have to travel too far either.

Approximately 10 hours by flight away from Changi, New Zealand is the perfect winter destination for groups of friends and families alike. Winter runs from June to August in New Zealand, with July being the coldest month as the temperature can drop to -10 deg C.

Don’t let the freezing temperatures keep you indoors though! Step out to explore the winter wonderland outside, whether you are in the North Island or the South Island.

Get your adrenaline pumping at North Island

For starters, you can fly into Auckland, which can serve as your gateway to the North Island. From there, you can head to nearby destinations that offer some of the most exciting winter activities you can find.

Take snow sports, for instance. If you’re looking to conquer the slopes, head to Mount Ruapehu, an active stratovolcano where both beginners and experts can ski and snowboard. Mount Ruapehu has several slopes to give the adventurous a thrill. The ones on its southwestern side, known as Tūroa, has the longest vertical drop at 722m.


Skiing is a must when at you’re at Mount Ruapehu. PHOTO: FRASER CLEMENTS

For those travelling with young children, you can get on Sky Waka, the longest gondola in the country, to take you through 1.8km of Mount Ruapehu’s majestic slopes at a height of over 2,000m above sea level. The views on the Whakapapa side of the stratovolcano will take your breath away.

Despite the winter temperatures, you can stay warm in New Zealand by making a stop at Rotorua. A 45-minute flight from Auckland, the city is known for its thermal springs that will soothe your muscle knots and body aches away. Get a spa treatment at the famous Polynesian Spa, where you can rest and relax while taking in picturesque views of Lake Rotorua.


Get warm in the thermal springs of Rotorua. PHOTO: GRAEME MURRAY

Chill at South Island

Over at the South Island, you can fly straight to Queenstown to welcome the winter season in style. Join the festivities of the town’s 45th Winter Festival. From June 18 to 21, visitors can enjoy live entertainment, street parties, sporting competitions and colourful parades with the towering alpines as the backdrop.

A trip down to South Island will also excite foodies, as it is home to Marlborough – New Zealand’s largest winegrowing region. Enjoy a glass or two of sauvignon blanc, the most popular wine in the area, with fresh seafood plates containing the likes of mussels and cod.


Make sure to visit Marlborough, the largest winegrowing region in New Zealand. PHOTO: GRAEME MURRAY

If you’re looking for testosterone-boosting oysters, you might want to go further down south. A small town called Bluff boasts of world-renowned meaty and flavourful oysters. The delicacy has become so popular that it now has its own festival every May.


The town of Bluff is famous for its meaty oysters. PHOTO: MILES HOLDEN

South Island has its fair share of outdoor activities too. Sign up for the guided Fox Glacier Heli Hike, which takes you by helicopter to the 13km-long Fox Glacier on South Island’s west coast. Hikers will be able to explore spectacular ice caves and ice archers that are not easily accessible from the ground.

With a variety of activities for visitors, you can make your winter wonderland a reality in the middle of the year in New Zealand.