We had an enriching and enjoyable time on the North Island of New Zealand but met with a crazy car crash on the first day in the South Island. (Read it here) This did not stop us from continuing our adventure and travels to the mesmerising alpine regions in the South Island!
Some KEY AREAS and ADVENTURE TOURS you can try out:
We visited the tallest mountain in New Zealand - Mount Cook! The mountain is 3724m and the summit requires some serious climbing. Fret not! You can still experience the majestic mountains and drive all the way up to Mount Cook Village which is at a more comfortable height of 750m. There is a 5 star hotel and a few other accommodation options! Visiting in Winter means you will get to see snow but do drive slowly and take your time when driving over ice and snow.
Things you can do:
1. Scenic walks
2. Glacier Trekking
2. Snow Angels/Snow Man
3. Scenic Flight on a plane or Helicopter that will land on the Glacier/Mountain
Be prepared for sudden weather changes, make sure you pack some emergency food and speak to the staff at the visitor's centre to get the best advice when going on an alpine adventure!
Mount Cook National Park and is pretty near to Lake Tekapo. These places offer breath taking views of the turquoise coloured lake and snowy mountains! If you like star-gazing, this is one of the best locations for that!
Our New Zealand winter adventure took us from the City centre of Auckland (Read about it here) to Rotorua and into the magical Hobbiton film set. We explored Christchurch and took a 4 hour journey on highway 80 towards Mount Cook Village.
As we drove along, the landscape started evolved from the grassy plains and tall trees to alot more barren, mountainous and snowy landscapes. We stopped by a cafe, filled up our tanks and the car's petrol tank and drove on towards Mount Cook. If you are visiting New Zealand, you must try the uniquely Kiwi L&P soft-drink. It will be good to stock up at a local supermarket in Christchurch before heading to the Mountains because food and supplies become very expensive in remote areas.
We took the drive very slowly up Mount Cook because the 4WD we were supposed to take up the Mountain was wrecked. We only managed to rent a Toyota Camry Hybrid which is a front-wheel drive vehicle not meant for such terrain. The Camry did AMAZING and we made it all the way up despite facing ALOT of ice and snow on the roads. We were quite lucky because we were stuck behind a snow plough clearing the road ahead of us. Our journey would have ended if not for the snow plough's help.
We chose to stay at the Aoraki Court Motel because it was cheaper but the room was amazing! It had a small kitchenette, a nice bed and hot tub! You don't need to pay more than double for a night at the luxury Hermitage.
The winds and snow made it impossible for us to get a scenic flight which we booked before hand. We were pretty disappointed but the weather is not something we can control. We will definitely want to come again in Autumn or Spring when the snow isn't this extreme. We only managed to go for walks and trekked around the place. Debra was delighted nonetheless because it was the first time she experienced snow-fall and the alpine environment.
If you are born in the tropical island of Singapore, this is a snowy winter wonderland you and your children will enjoy. You won't have to experience altitude sickness to enjoy the alpine mountain range and glaciers!
If you enjoyed this post do check out our London series here
The craziest 1677mile (2700km) road trip across 3 countries with an infant here.
Vincent & Debra Kwan, Founders of Hiro & Jack and stay-at-home parents with the odd life.