New Zealand in Winter.
In this blog we feature 2 North Island regions of New Zealand and next week we'll choose 2 South Island regions.
They'll provide examples of just how attractive New Zealand can be for a winter vacation.
Northland, North Island.
Northland is the warmest region of New Zealand, in fact the locals call it 'the winterless north'. The reality is, that it does have a winter season, although it never snows and winter temperatures usually hover between 45°f. and 61°f.
Will you swim here in winter? Probably not. But the scenery, magnificent beaches, Maori culture and native forests will more than compensate.
A winter view from the summit of Mt Manaia, near the city of Whangarei in the Northland region.
In 1643, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman called this headland its present name of 'Cape Maria van Diemen'.
Tongariro National Park, North Island.
The full day Tongariro Alpine Crossing is among the most popular day hikes in New Zealand.
This trail is located in the Tongariro National Park, a wilderness region in the heart of the North Island.
The park is on an elevated region known as a volcanic plateau. This makes it unique in the North Island because it's the only region where it snows in abundance during the winter. At times it also rains. A lot. And temperatures in winter can get down to 14°f.
For a truly spectacular experience, nothing compares with completing The Tongariro Alpine Crossing in winter. I've done it myself, and the experience is truly exhilarating.
There are two things to keep in mind -
1) In winter we strongly recommend a mountain guide to accompany you. We can arrange this.
2) The Crossing gets closed more often in winter because of the weather. That's why we always have an alternative activity as a back-up on this day, just in case.
It's not a dangerous hike, you need to be moderately fit and wearing cold and wet weather proof clothing.
Click here for an informative video about the Tongariro Crossing, produced by the New Zealand government agency Department of Conservation (you'll encounter this department a lot when you're in New Zealand, usually referred to by its abbreviated name of 'Doc').
The video takes what we think is a conservative and highly responsible approach to the day, so don't be discouraged if it comes across as a bit daunting. With the right clothing and boots and the help of your guide the hike is doable for most age groups of moderate fitness.
The Tongariro National Park in winter, taken above Mt Ruapehu, with Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Tongariro in the distance.
Setting off on the one-day Tongariro Crossing in winter.
The high point of the Tongariro Crossing.
Mountain top lake, Tongariro.
Mt Ruapehu, the best skiing in the North Island.
Next week, we feature the Abel Tasman National Park and the Queenstown regions of the South Island.