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New Zealand South Island in June

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I have been to New Zealand in every season except winter. If I go the beginning of June, can you still do most of the fun sports around Queenstown, or will there be snow? Can you still go to Milford Sound? Can you enjoy the beach, or will it bee too cold?

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    Hi cindy -

    We often visit the SI in the winter months. You certainly won't be laying on the beach, but you can do just about anything you'd do in the summer, subject to weather of course.

    Some lodging, restaurants and cafes close during the winter season, but not to the extent that it would adversely affect your trip, and generally not in QT, which is a popular area for skiing. Water taxis at Abel Tasman and Marlbrough Sounds operate on reduced schedules, but they do operate.

    There are many perks of a winter visit - lower airfares, lower rates on accommodation, fewer tourists to contend with, walking tracks completely devoid of other trampers, and the best bit, fewer sandflies!

    On our two visits in June, we had snow, wind, rain and a major storm as well as some beautiful sunny days. The weather on the SI is unpredictable year round, but you can definitely expect cool/cold temps and plenty of rain in the winter months.

    Milford is open year round, but the road sometimes closes for short periods of time - to blast for avalanches, clear rock falls, or for general safety concerns, etc. We've encountered Milford Road closures on several of our winter/spring trips. On our visit in September this year, Milford Road was closed for a full day due to black ice, so you just never know.

    The boat from Te Anau Downs to the beginning of the Milford Track doesn't operate during the winter months, so walking the track isn't feasible. Likewise, the huts on tracks close for the winter months - the tracks remain open, but bridges are often removed in alpine areas, and there's always the chance of track damage, so it's sort of hit and miss.

    If you do go, give yourself plenty of time to get from place to place, and try to be flexible, so that if the weather does rear its ugly head you won't be caught out. Be sure to take warm and waterproof clothing and make sure your accommodation has heat!

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