June to August
Average temperatures between -2°C and 10°C

The Hurunui is a winter retreat. Snow-capped mountains and townships with hidden gems are dotted throughout the North Canterbury region, making it one of New Zealand’s most idyllic winter destinations.

Whether you’re craving a weekend of adventure or you just feel like a quiet trip away for some much-needed rest and relaxation. The Hurunui has everything on offer.

The region’s best bits are all within a handy 60 to 90-minutes’ drive of Christchurch, including Hanmer Springs - New Zealand’s alpine spa capital.

Spend the day or stay for a week, the small but vibrant town is a winter wonderland, nestled in the hills of North Canterbury; surrounded by alpine beauty, mountain bike tracks and pure spring water.

The hot spring water is not just stunningly beautiful, it has a rich history and it’s the life line of Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa - a popular drawcard for tourists, couples and families who are in need of some rest and relaxation in the middle of winter.

There’s also an abundance of luxury day spas. They offer everything from the weird and wacky to the classic but devine massage treatments and facials. It’s the perfect place to recuperate and relax.

In the month of July, you’ll even catch the Hanmer Salsa Winter Festival . With international instructors teaching seven Latin workshops over two party nights, it’s been a local favourite for two decades running.

But there is so much more outside of Hanmer Springs itself. If you’re an adrenaline junkie stop in at Hanmer Springs Attractions for jetboating, quad biking and paintball.

Or head slightly north to Mt Lyford. Another stunning alpine location. Mt Lyford is home to a serene log cabin village and Mt Lyford’s Ski resort for a whole weekend of winter sports.

Maybe escaping to the seaside and cosying up next to the fire with a book and some hot fish and chips is your cold season go-to? If that’s the case, you can’t beat Cheviot and Gore Bay Gore Bay on a misty winters day.

The winter season is also the calling for hunters and fishermen. Join the Rotherham Hotel pig hunt at the end of June or find a few great spots on the Waiau river for some Trout.

The coast offers plenty of opportunity to snare some snapper and the duck season is open all winter too.

To top it off, the Brew Moon Beer in the Hurunui Village makes for a special stop after a long day on or in the mountains.

And later in the season, the Canterbury Truffle festival kicks off in Waipara Valley. Check out the farmers markets for specialty truffles and truffle days out in the Valley.

What to wear

  • Layer up with merino, fleece or woollen undergarments, covered in a good warm, winter jacket
  • Also bring some gloves and a beanie – especially if you’re venturing outdoors
  • Shorts, tee-shirts and sandals, for the fine days when it gets hot!
  • Walking shoes, for our stunning walkways
  • Don’t forget sun screen, sunglasses and a hat. Even when it’s overcast you can still get burnt