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Sick of the sun already? Night skiing and full moon parties as New Zealand heads into winter

18th June 2014

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As the UK heads into the summer, New Zealand is gearing up for winter. From new heli-skiing retreats to foodie festivals, not to mention visits from the England rugby squad and premiership football teams, there’s plenty to keep visitors busy.


Keen skiers and snowboarders can fulfil their powder dreams with a trip to New Zealand’s 13 snow sure ski fields, including key areas in the South Island around Christchurch, Mount Cook, Wanaka and Queenstown, all of which have dramatic scenery and diverse runs. The North Island also holds the country's only skiable volcano at Mount Ruapehu.


With balmy temperatures in the north of the country and snow filled fun in the south, it’s a great time for a diverse trip.


Night skiing at Queenstown’s Coronet Peak is set to be bigger and better this season with double the amount of terrain under lights, and new night freestyle features. Work is underway to install approximately 80 new lights on the mountain, adding over four kilometres of trails and doubling the accessible terrain on Friday and Saturday nights. Themed nights throughout the night ski season will be an extra incentive for snow lovers to head up the hill, including a Clicquot On The Snow event, a singles night and a full moon party to name a few.


A Night Ski pass costs £29 per adult, valid from 4pm-9pm. Or, for longer time on the slopes, the Twilight pass costs £52 from 12:30pm-9pm.


Fancy a festival? Between 20th and 29th June, The Queenstown Winter Festival celebrates its 40th year as the region's most iconic annual event.


The festival is the official kick-off to New Zealand's winter, running for ten days with live music, comedy shows, markets, sporting and alpine events and street parades, all bringing the lakeside adventure capital of New Zealand to life. Don't miss the free opening party at Earnslaw Park on 20th June with concerts and fireworks and the stunning backdrop of Lake Wakatipu.


Chocolate racing down the world’s steepest street, 12th-18th July 2014.
For an extreme chocolate fix, the small South Island city of Dunedin comes up trumps in its annual Chocolate Carnival, held this year between 12th and 18th July. The event culminates in the famous Cadbury Jaffa race, which sees giant Cadbury Jaffas (balls of orange sugar coated chocolate that have been made in New Zealand since 1931) hurtle their way down Baldwin street – the world's steepest street with a gradient of 1 in 2.86.


To be in the heart of the action stay at the Arden Street House, Lonely Planet Travel Guide’s top choice and just a short walk from Baldwin Street, the Botanical Gardens and Forsyth Barr Stadium. Double rooms start from £51 per night based on two people sharing on a B&B basis.


For festival information visit


Wellington on a Plate, 15th-31st August.
Wellington celebrates its status as the culinary capital of New Zealand with two weeks of gastronomic delights at the annual Visa Wellington on a Plate, held between 15th and 31st August.


Foodies flock to New Zealand’s capital for more than 100 different food and drink events, including Beervana – a showcase of the country’s craft beers - and the New Zealand Chocolate Festival. There’s also the Master Class, where foodies can get up close to top international chefs to learn their secrets. Known for its café culture, fine dining and gourmet local produce, Wellington is a foodie heaven.


The Edgewater Lodge is located in the heart of the city with ocean views of the Wellington Harbour and is one of the lodges the cast and crew of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit stayed at. Rooms start from £95 per night based on two people sharing.


Add a sporting edge to your New Zealand visit with England premiership football tours. The Wellington Phoenix will host two English Premier League sides in New Zealand for the first time this July. West Ham United and Newcastle United will play two exhibition matches at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium on 26th July, and Auckland and Dunedin will share in the festivities with games featuring the two English Premier League teams also being staged at Eden Park and Forsyth Barr Stadium.


For information on the England Rugby tour visit


For more information on New Zealand visit

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