Where to see Snow in New Zealand

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Settlers Motel Hanmer Springs

There is nothing like a snowy scene in New Zealand during the winter months. Many towns around the country enjoy snowfall right on their doorsteps. Find the best places to get into the snow, whether you’re interested in skiing or building a snowman.

NORTH ISLAND

From late June to August winter snow blankets the ground in the Central North Island. The Tongariro National Park is the centre of attention at this time of the year due to significant snowfall. Base yourself in one of these towns where snow falls on the ground. Wake up to a spectacular display of white right outside your accommodation.

Ohakune – Ohakune has been called New Zealand’s après ski capital. For the adventurous, take a bit of an adrenaline shot by skiing or snowboarding on an active volcano, or if you’re just after a cozy fire, a warm meal and a glass of wine, there are plenty of top restaurants, bars and eateries to choose from.

Raetihi – Discover Ruapehu’s diverse natural landscapes from this enchanting historic town, situated magnificently in the heart of the Tongariro National Park to the East and Whanganui National Park to the West. Driving from Raetihi to Turoa and Whakapapa Skifield takes about 30 minutes.

National Park Village – National Park Village sits close to the south-western boundary of Tongariro National Park. It is a popular accommodation base for those skiing or hiking in the mountains. Choose from a variety of unique accommodation, most catering for your snow holiday with warm & cosy rooms and drying rooms for snow gear. Mt Ruapehu ski fields, ski resorts and the walking tracks of Tongariro are within easy reach of the National Park Village. 

Whakapapa Village – Nestled into the lower slopes on the western side of Mt Ruapehu, Whakapapa Village is the base of the Bruce Road, the gateway to the Whakapapa ski field. The village also offers affordable accommodation, including cosy ski lodges and motels. As the main entrance into the Tongariro National Park, the walking tracks of the park begin here. The central location of the village also gives breathtaking views of all three volcanoes – Mt Ruapehu, Mt Ngaruahoe & Mt Tongariro.

SOUTH ISLAND

The South Island typically has more snow than the North, and snow can begin to fall earlier in the year. The months that experience the heaviest snowfall are June, July, and August. There are also more destinations where it snows in the towns, and snow-covered mountain peaks can be seen from a distance almost year-round due to their high altitude.

Hanmer Springs – The small alpine town of Hanmer Springs has become a popular tourist destination for its natural hot spring and alpine surroundings. In Winter the town transforms into a picturesque snow-clad destination for skiiers and visitors who marvel at the outstanding scenery. Stand beneath snow-capped mountains and immense forests. Stop at local restaurants for satisfying winter-warmers. Sit in front of an open fire or relax in a natural hot thermal pool as snow gently falls around you.

Lake Tekapo – In winter activities in Tekapo Springs include the Hot Pools, Snow Tubing Park, Ice Skating Rink and Spa Treatments. Lake Tekapo has one of the most spectacular night skies in the world. Visitors from all over and the world are amazed by the clarity and sheer numbers of stars visible to the naked eye during Lake Tekapo’s night. Lake Tekapo’s night sky has interested more than just the visitors. Canterbury University operates an astronomical observatory on top of Mt John, overlooking Lake Tekapo. The clear skies and zero levels of light pollution have put Mt John observatory on the international map with observations and discoveries of the southern sky.

Arrowtown – Arrowtown in winter is like nowhere else. It’s crisp and charming with plenty to keep you relaxed as you discover this historic yet modern town. Stroll around the town past old cottages and soak up the charisma in one of the chic cafes, bars or restaurants. Overshadowed by mountain scenery, there are stunning views from every point of view.

Wanaka – Nothing beats Wanaka in winter. This bustling winter resort town offers constant opportunities for you to get out and enjoy the landscape and the snow on the surrounding mountains. With four ski areas to choose from (Cardrona, Treble Cone, Snow Farm and Soho Basin) your options are endless. Play in the snow, visit one of the tourist attractions or dine fireside at one of the many eateries.

Queenstown – In the heart of the Southern Alps, with unmatched alpine scenery, snow-capped mountains and fresh mountain air, Queenstown is the home of winter. Whether you have a desire for adventure, mountains and fresh air; or are keen to enjoy a pleasant meal beside a roaring fire, you will be well catered for.  Offering one of the longest seasons in the Southern Hemisphere, Queenstown welcomes skiers and snowboarders from June to October. The four ski areas offer unrivalled alpine scenery, world class infrastructure and fantastically varied open and treeless terrain, each with its own unique character.

Twizel – Situated in the South Island, Twizel is a gateway to the Aoraki/Mount Cook region, which sees snow during the winter months. Twizel is also renowned for its excellent stargazing opportunities. The area’s clear skies and minimal light pollution make it an ideal spot for observing the stars, planets, and other celestial phenomena.

Cromwell – Cromwell is located in the Central Otago region of the South Island, and generally has colder temperatures in the winter compared to other parts of New Zealand. Snowfall is more common in the surrounding mountains, but it can also occur in Cromwell itself, particularly in the hills and higher elevations. Snowfall in Cromwell adds to the picturesque beauty of the region during the winter season.

Christchurch – The largest city on the South Island has nearby ski fields, such as Porters Pass and Mount Hutt, where you can enjoy the snow.

Alexandra – Snowfall in Alexandra is not uncommon during the colder months, and the surrounding mountains and higher elevations often see even more significant snow accumulation. This makes the area attractive for winter sports and activities.

As with any location, weather patterns can vary from year to year, so it’s best to check local weather forecasts for the most accurate and up-to-date information about snowfall.

Find the perfect location for your winter snow adventure.

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