New Zealand winters are something to behold. The icy winds and snow-covered mountain tops all adding to the splendor of the volcanic steams and hot springs that make New Zealand the international tourist epicenter that it has become. Although it doesn’t snow at ground level and the temperatures infrequently dip below -5 Celsius, getting through your first winter in New Zealand can be a bit of a challenge, and there are a few things that you are going to need to know.
Winter in New Zealand officially runs from June ‘till about September, with the best time for those skiing and snowboarding activities are during the months of July and August. May to June is the “unattractive” New Zealand season, the transition phase into winter leaving the country side damp and cold, and the mountains not yet open for business.
Over the past 100 years or so New Zealand has had some rather lack-luster building standards and regulations, which has lead to some questionable designs regarding insulation and the heating of homes. For the most part, homes in New Zealand are heated by a central fireplace, heating one room substantially more than the rest. Old wood burning stoves are not uncommon in homes throughout New Zealand, and learning to build a fire is a definite tool of the New Zealand winter trade.
Winter Heating Supplies
In New Zealand it’s never too early to start getting your winter preparations ready. Stacking and collecting firewood is an important part of the winter preparation ritual. In addition to your wood being cheaper the earlier you get it, getting it early will assure you that you will have enough to last you through the cold winter months. It’s best to make sure that your wood supply is ready and sorted by at least the end of May.
Finding the sun during the New Zealand winters is going to be an absolute pleasure, especially for those living in the lower lying regions of the country. The infamous inversion layer that blankets towns from time to time is created by the rapid cooling of the air closest to the ground, and can trap in the cold, keeping the warm sunlight at bay. Finding a hiking trail that extends above 1,000m is going to lift you above the inversion layer, and bring the delightful sunshine to your face.
During the icy winter nights in New Zealand, nothing says a warm bed quite like some strategically placed water bottles and some flannel sheets. Let’s face it, crawling into an icebox of a bed in the middle of winter is never that appealing.
Accessorize and Play in the Snow
Winter is the ideal time to get the most of your wooly clothing stock, and if you don’t yet have any, getting some would be a great idea. Merino wool clothing is quite commonplace throughout New Zealand and is considerably warmer than its cotton counterpart. Long sleeve shirts, beanies, gloves, long johns, and merino wool all make the perfect complement for your shredding of the newly laid powder that’s just calling your name.
Skiing and snowboarding are some of New Zealand’s favorite activities to offer, and have become embedded in New Zealand culture as a way of life that should be embraced. New Zealand is great for back country exploration or even heli-skiing, if that’s your things, however there is no denying the pleasures that a New Zealand winter brings along with its icy embrace.
Winter in New Zealand is something should be celebrated, enjoyed, and fully embraced. Offering entertainment and amazement to all that grace her humble shores, a winter in New Zealand is a winter you will never forget.