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The Top Winter Activities in Canterbury

Do Winter Different

Canterbury's Winter Wonderland

Clear crystal blue sky, squeaky snow and frosty cold days: The winter season definitely has its beauty. Discover the magic of winter in Canterbury.

Mt Hutt Snowboarder First Tracks
Mt Hutt

Ski and Snowboard in Canterbury

Canterbury is a snow lover's Mecca with the most ski fields of any New Zealand region. From the Hurunui to Mackenzie, you'll find 13 fields catering for family friendly fun to off-piste exhilaration. You'll find slopes for complete learners to expert shredders.

Canterbury is also home to New Zealand's best ski field 2020 according to the third Annual World Ski Awards. Mt Hutt caters to all experience levels, skiers and snowboarders alike. So strap on those boots and get out there!

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Girls in Hanmer Springs Hot Pools in the Evening

Après Ski Experiences in Canterbury

There's plenty of après ski options to make the most of your time off the ski field. A top call for any snow bunny after a day of shredding is to hit the hot tub. Canterbury has several award winning options at Christchurch's He Puna Taimoana, Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa or Tekapo's Hot Springs.

Of course refuelling or quenching that thirst will be a priority, and there's no better place than a sub-Alpine pub. Local Mid Canterbury favourites include the Brown Pub or the Blue Pub in Methven. Burgers and beers on the lake with Our Dog Friday is a great option in Tekapo and if you're in Christchurch, there's a range of great options available. 

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Hanmer Springs Pool Drone Arial

Alpine Retreat at Hanmer Springs

There's nothing like laying in a thermal hot pool surrounded by snow. In Hanmer Springs you'll find a perfect Winter escape that's only 1.5 hours' drive from Christchurch. The Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa is one of the largest thermal retreats in New Zealand with relaxing adult only pools, kids play area, giant hydro slides and private pools to meet all your needs.

Surrounded by a picturesque mountain range, Hanmer has more than just hot pools with a range of activities perfect for families, nature walks or biking trails to reset, recharge and explore this beautiful spot.

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Kiwirail Great Journeys of New Zealand Tranzalpine Staircase Viaduct

Ride the Southern Alps with TranzAlpine

Some of the most beautiful Canterbury Winter sights are best experienced by train. On the TranzAlpine train, wind your way through the countryside and though the heart of the Southern Alps. Starting in Christchurch, the TranzAlpine journeys to Greymouth on the West Coast.

When Jack Frost visits, the area transforms into a real winter wonderland with snow and ice sparkling in the sun. As the trains climbs the Alps it stops in Arthur's Pass giving passengers a chance to soak in the beautiful mountain scenery. 

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Mackenzie Sealy Tarns Aoraki Mount Cook photo by Rachel Stewart

Epic Winter Scenery in the Mackenzie

Winter is the perfect time to visit the Mackenzie, where the region transforms into a wonderland as the snow falls. Surrounded by New Zealand' highest mountain, blue glacial lakes, ski fields and open plains, the Mackenzie is truly awe inspiring.

Wrap up and explore the walking trails around Aoraki/Mt Cook, stroll around Lake Tekapo, enjoy the ski fields, ice skating rinks, snow tubing and star gazing. The Mackenzie is the ideal get away to recharge and enjoy nature.

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Lake Ida

Canterbury's Ice Skating

Ice skating on a natural ice rink is incredible and Canterbury has many small lakes which can freeze over in Winter. Lake Ida is one of these, however before you set foot on the ice, make sure it’s frozen solid! If you're unsure, play it safe and stay on shore. 

If you want a trustworthy and reliable ice skating experience try Alpine Ice skating rink in Christchurch. This rink has been around since 1985 and is an iconic childhood activity for many Cantabrians.

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