Whilst the Northern Hemisphere is sweltering in the summer heat of August, those in the Southern Hemisphere are in the depths of Winter. For those wanting a ski break in August then New Zealand provides the perfect opportunity to do so and nowhere is better to visit than Queenstown. Here’s my guide to visiting in August.
Situated on New Zealand’s South Island, Queenstown sits towards the southwest of the island. It is arguably the adventure capital of New Zealand and boasts well over 200 different activities available throughout the area. Temperatures average highs of 8C (46F) and lows of 0C (32F) though temperatures have been known to slip into the minus figures. August is the last month of Winter in New Zealand so there should be lots of snowfall to enjoy. Flights arrive from Australia and within New Zealand at Queenstown Airport, which is located 10km from the centre of town.
Queenstown is arguably the ski destination in New Zealand and here you’re treated to an almost enviable location to explore. There are four main resorts to visit: Cardona Alpine, Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Treble Cone. Each of these offer a unique opportunity whether you enjoy skiing or snowboarding. If you’re on a family holiday, then I would recommend choosing Cardona as it has great facilities set up to please all ages whilst Treble Cone is the largest ski resort in the south. Wherever you choose to base yourself, make sure you take a trip on the Queenstown Gondola taking you to the top of Bob’s Peak for a breathtaking ride and stunning views.
August sees Queenstown host a series of ski events throughout the month. These include Peak to Peak which is the largest winter multisport event in the South Island, the NZ Skiing Masters which encourages skiers of all ability to enjoy and the Winter Games where the skiing elite compete.
As well as the opportunity to enjoy the slopes, Queenstown is a great place to try your hand at other adventure sports and activities. Rafting, biking, diving and horse trekking are amongst the hundreds of adventures you can try here. Visit Mount Aspiring National Park to try some of the excellent treks and walks through the landscape.
To take in the sheer scale of this beautiful country, why not take a ride in a helicopter up over the mountain ranges for a breathtaking trip. For something a little more romantic, hot air balloon rides are also available. Alternatively, sink beneath the waves to explore the land below. Great places to do so include Lake Wakatipu and Milford Sound where you can both dive and snorkel, enjoying the wide range of sealife or visit Cromwell to do some wreck diving.
New Zealand gained much of its wealth during the famous gold rush so take a trip out from Queenstown to explore this part of Kiwi history. Visit Arrowtown where you can see what life was like back in the 1800s in this quaint town. Head for the Arrow River to see if you can find some gold as this is the river that brought such wealth to the area and visit the Lakes District Museum which takes a look at both the area’s Maori and Gold Mining history.
Take a day trip out from Queenstown to Fiordland and enjoy the tranquility of Milford Sound. Located four hours by car from town, Milford Sound opens up to a glorious expanse of water which is fantastic to cruise across. Alternatively, you can hike through the National Park itself along the Milford Track to enjoy the wilderness or along the Routeburn Track. This is one of the Great Walks in New Zealand which weaves through forests, along rivers and beside waterfalls for one of the most spectacular walks you’ll ever take.