June 26, 2019
Summer solstice is officially over. With the shortest day of the year behind us, there’s only one thing on our mind: Winter! With every passing day, the days are getting shorter bringing us closer and closer to those chilly winter months we look forward to each year.
If you’ve got the summer blue and are craving a bit of winter, consider heading down south! New Zealand is famous for its southern hemisphere winters that are beautiful and snowy without the complications that snow generally has on travel.
Here are five reasons you should go to New Zealand for the winter.
New Zealand tourism has been booming the past decade and with visitor numbers on the rise, it’s getting increasingly harder for photographers to visit and capture unique shots without being crowded out. In the winter, however, the crowds subside leaving you alone with all of the winter goodness. This means fewer people getting in the way of your shot, fewer people to fend off for the perfect sunset shot, and few people copying your unique perspectives.
In the heart of winter, the sun sets around 4:30 pm and rises after 8 am. This means you don’t need to lose any sleep to capture the good light. In summer, the sun rises before 6 making and sets after 9 making for a long day for photographers looking to capture both. Winter allows you to get your banger shots before dinner time and even enjoy a sleep in and a hot coffee before getting out for the morning session.
The colder winter nights bring clear, dark skies making it the perfect environment to get some night photos. What's more, the winter temperatures in New Zealand are actually fairly mild and rarely drop much below 0°C, meaning you can capture your shots without having to bundle up like you’re headed into the Arctic.
Another bonus of night photography in New Zealand? Capturing the Southern Lights. The Northern Lights tend to get all the fame with photographers planning entire international trips to Iceland and Norway based solely on the likeliness of seeing nature’s greatest light show but many people don’t realize the north isn’t the only place you can see the lights. Referred to as the Aurora Australis, the phenomenon of the southern light is a frequent visitor to the South Island and Stewart Island. You can check the Aurora forecast here: http://www.aurora-service.net/
While New Zealand doesn’t have the light fluffy powder famous in the European Alps and the Rocky Mountains in North America, it still manages to be a destination hotspot for those looking to chase snow year-round on the skies or snowboard. Most of the ski resorts can be found near Queenstown with five resorts all being within an hours drive from each other. Other parts of the country offer smaller resorts and many local hills where the runs may be fewer but the camaraderie is stronger. From club fields to heli-skiing, there’s no shortage of snow stoke so if you’re into snow sports photography, you’ll find plenty of opportunities.
It almost goes without saying but just in case it wasn’t already blatantly obvious, New Zealand winters are a beautiful white winter wonderland. The rugged mountains rise steeply out alpine lakes and tower of the mountain towns below covered in a thick blanket of snow.
In the summer, many of the mountains are barren and drying so the added snow gives some interesting depth to the mountains, making it a photographer’s dream. What’s more, the snow rarely reaches the town centers so you can enjoy the snowy landscapes without the hassle of shoveling out your car, packing snow boots, and having mushy grey snow ruin your winter pics.
Many of New Zealand's trails remain open and accessible year round so you don't even need to be a snow sports guru to enjoy the natural part of New Zealand. As long as you're equipped with warm gear and clothes (including gloves!), you'll find endless winter compositions in New Zealand.
Heading to New Zealand and not sure what to pack? Read our handy guide on what gloves we recommend for a New Zealand holiday in winter.
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