NZ in winter

Jan 31st, 2004, 06:15 PM
  #1  
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NZ in winter

I have read many, many helpful posts here about New Zealand in the winter and would like a little clarification from all of you experts. I don't want to pass up a great airfare from SFO to AKL this July (besides which, we usually take a U.S. summer vacation because of 13-year-old son). This would be our first time to NZ, so please excuse my silly questions. I've heard climate comparisons to winter in San Francisco (my hometown) and don't have a problem with that. However, I do plan to take an "independent tour" with days and activities planned. These have always worked for us in the past. For instance, we will have one day planned to see Milford Sound and pretty much have to stick to that day come rain or snow. I read posts about roads made impassable by snow and possibly having to "wait it out", and if that's the case on our Milford Sound day, then no Milford Sound. Also, can you still see beautiful vistas on foggy, gray, rainy days? I might add we will be taking buses, not self-driving. I want to enjoy my vacation and see all the sights around me instead of looking straight ahead the whole time to make sure I'm on the left! I know to dress in layers. Should I have a coat and umbrella with me at all times? We plan to visit both North and South. Also, son wants to snowboard and we will have a couple days in Queenstown. Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated. THANKS.
sfgrace is offline  
Jan 31st, 2004, 06:47 PM
  #2  
 
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My hubby and I went in early August and encountered the same things you are talking about. We took our ski jackets and wore that most of the time because it repeled the mist and rain. So that worked for us. We did bring travel umbrellas, but I dont think we ever used them.

The views of NZ were beautiful regardless of weather and usually the sun came out and burned off the crummy stuff by 12pm. We didn't get to see Milford because of the weather in Queesnstown. It was snowing so the prop plane couldn't take off. So unfortuanately we didn't get to go there. Maybe next time

Queenstown was wonderful and was the highlight of our trip. We went snowboarding for the first time ever at Coronet Peak. Beautiful views if you decide to hang glide! The US & Canadian ski teams were there practicing too. So it must be pretty good. You can also rent clothes etc at the ski shop, just get there really early to get a board his size.

Have fun!
alliegator is offline  
Jan 31st, 2004, 07:29 PM
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Thank you, alliegator. We will be staying in Te Anau the night before Milford visit, so hopefully that will work as I understand Te Anau is much closer. You didn't want to take the bus to see Milford? Was road impassable? Oh well, guess you'll just have to go back to NZ to see it! I know it's quite a long haul from Queenstown, which is why we have this itinerary. Son wanted two full days just to snowboard. I read about some sort of luge activity which got him pretty excited, too. You will find me at the lodge with a hot-buttered-rum, or is there some other local concoction I should try? Thanks again.
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Jan 31st, 2004, 07:42 PM
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We've visited the South Island three times in early September. While the weather can be very unpredictable, it's never deterred us.

It's quite possible that you might have to cancel some of your activities due to weather, but there's also a good chance that you might have some nice sunny days as well.

While in Te Anau this past fall, we discovered that the road to Milford had been closed 15 days in September 2003, which was apparently quite unusual for that time of year. The road to Milford had been closed for five days prior to our arrival, and it closed early every day that we were there, due to avalanche danger. They'd intentionally set off some 25 avalanches due to the heavy snow.

The Milford cruises were also completely cancelled one day while we were there (due to high wind). The owner of our motel told us that was only the second time it had happened in several years.

The further north you are, the warmer the weather should be, so you might want to plan your trip from north to south if possible.

We ran into many places on the South Island that were not heated - small restaurants and businesses, and even a few cottages we stayed in. There was always a space heater about somewhere, but we were quite cold in our unheated cottage in Lake Tekapo. This might be a consideration when you're booking your lodging!

As far as what to wear, we dressed in layers. We didn't take umbrellas, as we're just not umbrella people, but we did take our Gortex jackets, which we often wore over fleece jackets. We also had hats and gloves, but only wore them once or twice.

Heavy warm jackets would have come in handy in Lake Tekapo, but otherwise we didn't feel the need for them.
Melnq8 is offline  
Jan 31st, 2004, 10:39 PM
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Thanks. That's very helpful. Hope we have room for souvenirs among the thick winter clothes.
sfgrace is offline  
Feb 1st, 2004, 04:37 AM
  #6  
 
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I suggest bringing long johns, wool socks, hats & gloves and not many clothes. Then you can do laundry later in the evenings as needed. It helps to cut down on the heavy load.

Also, in Queenstown they had a wonderful bus system that has one stop right in front of a Wal-Mart type of store. We bought another big duffel bag there for a few dollars to carry back our souvenors. It's just inevitable

We stayed at the Quality Terraces which was wonderful. So if you don't have a hotel yet, I suggest them. Beautiful views and great hotel.
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Feb 1st, 2004, 07:59 PM
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A Wal-Mart type of store? I'm there! Thanks alliegator and Melnq8.
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