Clear crystal blue sky, squeaky snow and frosty cold days: The winter season definitely has its beauty. Discover the magic of winter in Canterbury.
The best way to experience the beauty of the countryside in Canterbury is by train. The TranzAlpine train starts in Christchurch and makes its way through beautiful countryside right in the heart of the Southern Alps. Jack Frost’s visits turn the area in a real winter wonderland: Everything is covered in snow and ice sparkles in the sun. Before the train heads into the Otira Tunnel and over to the West Coast, it stops in Arthur's Pass - a good opportunity for a walk to take-in the beautiful scenery.
Hanmer Springs is a good 1.5 hours' drive from Christchurch and is surrounded by a mountain range. The snow often covers the ground and it’s enough to make snow angels, have a snowball battle or to go sledding. A visit to the Hot Pools afterwards will warm up cold hands and feet immediately. Sitting in the steaming hot water and watching the snowflakes melting on the water's surface is very relaxing.
Canterbury has a lot of smaller lakes which are the perfect natural setting to go ice skating on in winter. Lake Ida or Lake Lyndon can freeze over, before you set a foot on the ice, make sure it’s frozen solid. Ice skating on a frozen lake, seeing the water and stones under your feet is a truly awesome experience!
The perfect winter wonderland is the Mackenzie Country - surrounded by the highest mountain, blue glacial lakes and covered in snow. The area is normally quieter in the winter and the walks in and around Aoraki/Mt Cook in winter are well worth it, even if it's for the bragging rights of being the first person of the day to leave footprints in the snow!
Around Lake Tekapo enjoy the ski fields, ice skating rinks, snow tubing and star gazing. Star gazing in winter is the best time of the year as the evenings are cold and crisp and the night sky is clear. The Mackenzie Country is ideal to get away from all and simply enjoy nature.