We’re just past the shortest day of the year in New Zealand, and our skifields have opened in readiness for another world-class ski season.Winter brings the ski and snowboard tourists to New Zealand, but the months from June to August are known as the ‘low season’ as that’s traditionally when the least amount of tourists visit.
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.
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).
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. You can find more information about planning your trip on the Planning page of our website.
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.
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, and you’ll be fine – though we do recommend you travel with a reputable campervan hire company whose vehicles offer insulation and heating. (A note on vehicle heating – diesel heaters have a big advantage over electric heaters as they don’t need to be plugged into a power mains to work. So if you’re not planning to stay in holiday parks the whole time, make sure your rental campervan has a diesel heater! You can find more information about campervan heating on the Compare Motorhome Hire page of our website.) Most good campervan rental companies will throw in extra bedding if you’re worried about being cold, and they can also give you other good advice, such as where to find the nearest thermal pools – yet another reason to visit New Zealand! But that’s a whole other story.