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The winter escapes you never considered

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

As bookings heat up for New Zealand's top winter destinations, why not avoid the hordes and take the road less travelled for your winter get away this year?

We all know Kiwis love a roadie. A new survey by Avis New Zealand reveals that not only have 62% of New Zealanders taken a road trip in the past year, but that a quarter plan to go on a roadie for their next long weekend.

So, with that in mind, Avis has put together a list of some of New Zealand’s less frequented and overlooked spots for your next winter getaway. You’ll spend less time in queues and more time enjoying the sights.


Located just an hour and a half out of Christchurch’s city centre, Methven is a small town with an array of outdoor activities at its doorstep. Methven has lots to offer all year round, from mountain biking to hot air ballooning, but in winter it’s the ideal getaway with nine ski fields close by. It is the perfect getaway for groups and families alike, with idyllic bed and breakfasts and cosy lodges to relax in after a big day in the snow.

Here, you can catch a shuttle bus up to Mt Hutt Ski Field, the largest commercial ski field in

Canterbury. With spectacular views of both the Southern Alps and the Pacific Ocean, it is the perfect ski field for families who are wanting to escape the lengthy queues, plus kids under 10 ski for free.

The Southern Scenic Route

If you’re looking for a new stretch of road to explore, the Southern Scenic Route should be at the top of your list. This coastal roadie will take your breath away as you drive from Queenstown to Dunedin around the perimeter of the lower South Island - 610 kilometers of stunning scenery through some of New Zealand’s most remote locations. One of the most spectacular stop overs along the coastline is The Catlins. Located between Balclutha and Invercargill, the area is made up of lush rainforests, fairytale-like waterfalls and caves, as well as dolphins, endangered sea lions, and the world’s rarest penguins.

Abel Tasman

New Zealand is renowned for its many scenic walking tracks. The Tongariro Crossing and Roy’s Peak are arguably the most popular winter hikes due to the amazing snow-capped views.

However, winter is an ideal time to have these popular spots, which are often overrun in summer, to yourself. The Abel Tasman takes you through native forests, sandy beaches and natural rock pools with many different track options depending on your level of expertise (or remaining annual leave). The DOC huts along the track are fully heated to ensure you stay warm throughout winter.


Known as one of the best surfing spots in the world, Raglan is often overlooked as a winter destination. Although the beach is the main draw card for keen surfers, the town is surrounded by bush and a number of walking tracks. One of the most popular sights in the area is the picturesque Bridal Veil Falls, a 55m waterfall around 20 minutes into the Wairēinga Scenic Reserve. Raglan itself is known for its unique character and is the ideal place for a quiet getaway to enjoy nature, eat some great food and enjoy a beer with the locals.

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