The climate on New Zealand’s North and South Island are very different, especially in the winter. North Island enjoys a sub-tropical climate but also has a reasonable amount of snow in the north during winter. South Island is notoriously wetter and colder but that means winter sports on your doorstep. The range of weather conditions to be found in the various seasons on both North and South Island, translate into a large range of outdoor activities.
New Zealand’s temperate climate makes it a great place for pasture-based breeding of horses. New Zealand’s bred racehorses are highly sought after for their quality and ability to adapt to global racing environments. Horseriding is obviously very popular on both the North and South Island and is an excellent way to explore the countryside and mountains.
If you prefer sightseeing on two wheels rather than four legs, then cycling and mountain biking are exceptionally well supported. There are dedicated cycle lanes and routes dotted around the country. For those who enjoy a tipple, there’s the Marlborough Wine Trail, which takes you past 30 wineries on your travels.
Hiking is also popular with locals and international tourists alike. There are hundreds of hiking trails designed to show off the best New Zealand has to offer.
There aren’t many places in the world where you can ski in the morning and swim in the ocean in the afternoon, but New Zealand is one of them. Skiing season stretches from July through to the end of September. Beautiful mountains, azure lakes and hospitality like you’ve never experienced before, will entice even those who’ve never skied, to take to the slopes.
South Island has three main areas dedicated to skiing, with world-class schools, restaurants and accommodation on offer. On North Island, the largest commercial ski field is at Mt Ruapehu, which is an active volcano. No matter where you ski, the scenery is spectacular.
Cross-country skiing is a favourite with families or you could try your hand at freeskiing, adaptive skiing and ski racing. Other enjoyable winter sports include snowboarding at Ohau and, for the fearless, try heli-skiing. For excursions off-piste, snowshoeing is an easy and enjoyable way to casually explore and take photographs.
If it’s there, it has to be climbed. This is the thinking of every mountain climber and hiker worldwide, and New Zealand doesn’t disappoint. With mountain peaks of just over 3,000 metres, it’s a challenging environment for any climber.
New Zealand is a sporting nation, passionate about every sport it participates in. For a country with such a small population to draw from, it does incredibly well on the international sports scene. Everyone gets goosebumps when they see the All Blacks do the haka before a rugby match. New Zealanders love their rugby, cricket, soccer, netball, baseball and, in fact, they love any sport that involves using a ball.