Travelling in New Zealand in Winter
Many people seem to think that New Zealand is just a summer destination. Our airlines, tourist attractions and campervan hire companies are all booked to capacity during the ‘high season’ months of December to February. But New Zealand is a great place to travel by campervan at any time of year, and there are some real benefits to renting a campervan in the winter months. More about planning when to visit New Zealand
New Zealand Scenery – Spectacular in Winter
Firstly, there’s the scenery. We’ve all seen the iconic images of the South Island’s snow-capped peaks. From June through to September (and sometimes longer), many parts of NZ are transformed into a dazzling winter wonderland. Our mountain scenery is some of the world’s most stunning, even if you’re not into skiing or snowboarding (but if you are, you’ll be in heaven, with New Zealand’s skiing some of the best in the world).
Winter Campervan Hire is Cheaper
Then there are the financial advantages to campervan rental in the low season. You’ll pay less to get here because flights are considerably cheaper in the ‘off’ months. And once you’re here, you’ll pay far less for campervan hire, attractions and domestic flights than you would in the tourist season. How much will I pay?
Winter Campervan Holidays are Less Crowded
Thirdly, there’s the sheer pleasure of not being surrounded by hordes of other tourists. While New Zealand is generally not a densely populated country, the more touristy areas do see an influx of visitors over the peak season. Milford Sound, for example, is breathtaking at any time of year – but imagine experiencing it with just a few others, versus being one of hundreds queuing for a look.
Choosing your Rental Campervan for a Winter Trip
The biggest thing you’ll need to consider if you’re planning a New Zealand campervan hire in winter is the campervan itself. On the snow covered and icy roads, you’ll need a campervan that is front wheel drive, has excellent traction, an ABS braking system and a low centre of gravity. The campervan hire company will be able to supply snow chains if you’re planning to drive on snow covered roads (with some companies snow chains are free, with others you’ll have to pay extra). Driving in New Zealand
We also recommend that if you’re travelling in winter you hire a campervan with high-grade insulation, thermal-backed window coverings and heating. If you’re planning to do any freedom camping, make sure your campervan has a heater that does not rely on mains power. Most good campervan rental companies will throw in extra bedding if you’re worried about being cold. Some motorhome models even have a drying room where hot air from the heating system is pumped in to dry damp clothes or towels.
Yes, New Zealand might be cold in places – there wouldn’t be magnificent snowy peaks if it weren’t! But compared to many other parts of the world, our winter temperatures are quite mild. Take appropriate clothing (or buy some while you’re here – possum and merino wool clothing is super warm, very popular and relatively inexpensive), dress in layers, choose a suitable campervan and you’ll be fine.