Winter wonderland in New Zealand

Winter ushers a variety of experiences in New Zealand, from intriguing festivals and exceptional skiing to ice-capped peaks and steaming hot pools.
(Above) The Onsen Pools is a series of private, steaming cedar-lined tubs that overlook the picturesque Shotover Canyon. (Left) White Island is New Zealand's only active marine volcano. (Right) During a dog derby at the quirky Queenstown Winter Festi
White Island is New Zealand’s only active marine volcano.PHOTO: DENISE LIM, QUEENSTOWN WINTER FESTIVAL
(Above) The Onsen Pools is a series of private, steaming cedar-lined tubs that overlook the picturesque Shotover Canyon. (Left) White Island is New Zealand's only active marine volcano. (Right) During a dog derby at the quirky Queenstown Winter Festi
The Onsen Pools is a series of private, steaming cedar-lined tubs that overlook the picturesque Shotover Canyon.PHOTO: DENISE LIM, QUEENSTOWN WINTER FESTIVAL
(Above) The Onsen Pools is a series of private, steaming cedar-lined tubs that overlook the picturesque Shotover Canyon. (Left) White Island is New Zealand's only active marine volcano. (Right) During a dog derby at the quirky Queenstown Winter Festi
Snow-capped mountain ranges glow during sunset in Queenstown. PHOTO: DENISE LIM, QUEENSTOWN WINTER FESTIVAL
During a dog derby at the quirky Queenstown Winter Festival, dogs and their owners trundle down the ski slopes towards the finish line.
During a dog derby at the quirky Queenstown Winter Festival, dogs and their owners trundle down the ski slopes towards the finish line.PHOTO: DENISE LIM, QUEENSTOWN WINTER FESTIVAL
A Maori waka or canoe silently paddling across Lake Wakatipu to celebrate the Matariki (Maori New Year) and opening of Queenstown Winter Festival.
A Maori waka or canoe silently paddling across Lake Wakatipu to celebrate the Matariki (Maori New Year) and opening of Queenstown Winter Festival. PHOTO: DENISE LIM, QUEENSTOWN WINTER FESTIVAL
During the suitcase race at the Queenstown Winter Festival, competitors slide down the mountain on brown vintage luggage.
During the suitcase race at the Queenstown Winter Festival, competitors slide down the mountain on brown vintage luggage.PHOTO: DENISE LIM, QUEENSTOWN WINTER FESTIVAL

The country is typically frequented in the warmer summer months, but winter brings a fascinating variety of experiences and adventures

I am trudging up the ski slope, watching the sun cast its golden hue on the serrated, snow-capped Southern Alps.

"Lovely blue skies we've got today," a staff member remarks. "And 8cm of fresh snow."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 18, 2019, with the headline 'Winter wonderland in New Zealand'. Print Edition | Subscribe