New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington is artsy, trendy, quirky and chock full of good food. However, Wellington is also wet. The city receives almost 50 inches of rainfall every year, with much of it centered around June and July during the middle of New Zealand’s winter. Whipping winds often accompany the steady Wellington drizzle, and the city suddenly becomes a place best experienced indoors. If you get caught in a storm when visiting, here are some rainy day activities in Wellington that can rescue a dreary day.
Auckland has a bit of a poor reputation as a place to visit in winter. The weather here can be gray and wet, and it isn’t cold enough to snow. The summer festival circuit goes dormant, and ferries to some of the offshore islands simply close for the winter. While winter definitely has its set of challenges, Auckland remains a great place to visit. Here are four reasons to visit Auckland in winter.
A hub of geothermal activity, Lake Taupo offers a few hot springs resorts where you can soak in landscaped pools of varying temperatures — for the price of admission. If you’d rather a more authentic (and free!) experience, head instead to Spa Thermal Park just outside of Taupo, the lake’s main town on the northeast shore.
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that children love Rotorua. After all, who wouldn’t love a place that’s home to geysers, rivers, adrenaline parks and pools of bubbling mud? Sure, the air might smell a bit like sulfur from all the natural geysers, but it’s fun to simply tell the kids it smells like eggs. For an idea of where to take the tykes in the middle of New Zealand’s North Island, here are some the best activities for kids in Rotorua.
When my alarm went off at 5:45am on my second morning in Auckland, New Zealand, I was seriously reconsidering how much I cared about the Hobbiton movie set. At the request of my fiancé, I have seen all six movies from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies precisely once each — hardly a reason to rise before the sun does. But I rose in time to be picked up for our Viator Exclusive: Early Access to The Lord of the Rings Hobbiton Movie Set, which turned out to be well worth the pre-dawn wakeup call, even for a nonfan.
The smell of eggs was a small price to pay for a trip to The Wai-O-Tapu, a scenic reserve within the Taupo Volcanic Zone that is administered by New Zealand’s Department of Conservation. Covering 18km (6.94mi) squared, with Maungakaramea (Rainbow Mountain) marking the reserve’s northern tip, Wai-O-Tapu is chock full of geological wonders. I was thankful for my Viator Guide on this Rotorua Eco Thermal tour because the experience of walking through the reserve was sufficiently surreal; without his continued narrative, I would have certainly drifted off into a crater somewhere. While I have travelled to many far-flung places, nothing prepared me for the feeling that I was on another planet—one where the pools were yellow and the lakes were rimmed in ochre.