Are you ready to experience a true winter with snow and all?
Brisbane-ites pack your bags (and your warmest clothes), a three-hour trip west will land you on New Zealand’s North Island.
Discover snow-capped mountains, nature-made thrill rides, relaxing hot springs and learn about Māori culture with a winter getaway to the North Island of New Zealand.
1. Visit Lake Taupō
Hit the road from Auckland (3.5 hours) to New Zealand’s largest lake, by surface area, Lake Taupō.
Throw down a picnic blanket by the sparkling waters, relax and soak up the views of the surrounding mountains that look like they walked off a postcard and into your reality.
The Instagrammable moments don’t stop there - Lake Taupō is home to the #LOVETAUPO lettering, perfect for a quick snap of your travels to tease those following back home.
What makes this scenery so stunning? This lake has a little secret – it’s technically a volcanic caldera, the result of a super volcanic eruption that occurred more than 26,000 years ago.
2. Take a guided boat tour to see the glow-worm lit caves at Waitomo
Experience one of New Zealand’s most iconic natural attractions – the Waitomo Glowworm Caves.
Tour guides bring the history of the caves to life, with many of the guides direct descendants of the Māori chief who first explored the caves in the 1800s.
Marvel at the lightshow as thousands of the tiny creatures illuminate the cave, aka Glowworm Grotto, as you glide through the silent waters.
Make sure you rug up as the caves stay at a crisp 16-17 degrees celsius year-round.
3. Go snowboarding or skiing at Happy Valley Snow Park
They don’t call it Happy Valley for nothin’.
Located in the centre of New-Zealand’s North Island, Whakapapa on Mt Ruapehu’s north-western slopes, is home to the country’s premier beginner snow sports facility, Happy Valley.
The Happy Valley Snow Park allows skiing newbies to safely practice on long, gentle slopes, while also offering a sledding experience if that’s more your snow speed.
If you find yourself advancing quickly, you’re also welcome to try out their range of intermediate and advanced trails.
4. Go for a jet boat ride at Huka Falls
Looking for a thrill-seeking experience with a spectacular view? Put down your Google search and set your sights on Waikato River, New-Zealand’s longest river.
Surrounded by native forests, Waikato River is also where you’ll find the turbulent Huka Falls.
Take a jet boat ride to get up close and personal with the roaring falls that barrel over the edge into an 11-metre-high waterfall.
The boat gracefully torpedos down the river meeting the tail of Huka Falls, zooming past sheer rock cliffs with views of Huka Prawn Park and the Aratiatia Dam.
Fear not - the jetboat drivers who navigate Waikato River day-in-day-out are experts and life-jackets are mandatory.
5. Relax in geothermal hot springs
Take a break from adventuring through the North Island and settle into the calming waters at the Polynesian Spa in Rotorua.
Located on the edge of Lake Rotorua, there are 28 hot mineral pools, fed from two naturally occurring springs.
The Priest Spring waters are slightly acidic, perfect for soothing muscles, while the Rachel spring is known to have a nourishing effect on the skin.
There’s a menu of pools to suit your style – whether it’s the deluxe spa complete with recliners, cold plunge pools for hot-cold hydrotherapy or lake view pools for panoramic views of Lake Rotorua.
If you’re bringing the youngsters along, there’s also a designated freshwater family pool with a small hydro slide and toddler’s section.
6. Go white water rafting on Tongariro River
Keen for white water rafting in water so fresh and clear you can drink it?
Head north from Tongariro National Park and you’ll find Tongariro River surrounded by lush bushland.
Immerse yourself into nature, and splash about on the exhilarating white water rafting experience in the pristine waters of the Tongariro River.
If you’re looking to stay dry, take on the Tongariro River Trail for a scenic hike or an energising mountain bike.
7. Ski on volcanic terrain at Mount Ruapehu
Have you advanced your skiing techniques on your travels through New Zealand?
On the south-western slopes of Mt Ruapehu you’ll find Turoa, the more adventurous sister to Whakapapa’s Happy Valley.
Turoa is known for its completely treeless terrain, due to its volcanic activity in the past.
The smooth grounds make for lots of open runs and a 4km long sweeping run to test your endurance.
The landscape is guaranteed to take your breath away faster than any of the snow sport action, with icy snow cliffs that resemble frozen waves.
PLAN YOUR TRAVEL
BEFORE YOUR FLIGHT
It may have been a while since you last flew overseas. It's a fantastic time to remember the basics of international travel as well as learn about what's changed.
We can’t wait to welcome you back to Brisbane Airport’s International Terminal, see you soon!