’Tis the Season to Plan … a short break!

’Tis the Season to Plan ... a short break_

Winter is the season for planning, and what better plans to make than for a short break! Whether it’s for some R & R to stave off cabin fever this winter, or some long-term planning for next year’s cold season, we’ve got some ideas to get you started – check these out and be sure to let us know where you’d like to go:

Head to the hot pools

We’re a country of geothermal activity – and in some of the most unexpected places! If you love to bask in warm natural mineral waters or heated hot pools, pack your bathing suit, flip-flops, and a cosy towelling robe, and prepare for one hot road-trip! Our southern picks include Tekapo Springs (3 clear blue pools with great views of the night sky), Maruia Hot Springs (with a native beech tree backdrop), and for keen and experienced trampers (check with DOC before undertaking), Otehake hot pools. In the north, we love the cultural vibe of quaint Tokaanu at the southern end of Lake Taupo, and its recently refurbished public hot pool (be sure to check out the geothermal walk right beside it). Waingaro Hot Springs is just a stone’s throw from Auckland or Hamilton, while Northland’s historic, inky black waters at Ngawha Springs are pure relaxation.

Grab the golf clubs!

Whether or not you’re a golfer, you don’t have to belong to a club to enjoy many of our scenic golfing greens. Around the country, a string of golf courses are happy to welcome you with one-off fees for a fun casual round, and some even offer golf-club hire. Check out these handy sites for South Island and North Island golf clubs. Phone ahead to book a game, and be sure to enquire about any club rules you need to note before arriving. Don’t forget to ask if equipment hire is available (it may save you packing your own).

Short hikes to huts

While winter can confine many a tramper to the couch, those who crave the big outdoors can still (weather and conditions permitting) enjoy short hikes to huts that are less than 3 hours from the road end. To search for them, head to DOC’s helpful ‘Stay in a Hut’ site and filter your way to find easy-to-reach huts. Tip: if you’re heading to a hut offering a fire place but no fuel, don’t be afraid to pop a few pieces of wood in your pack. Small huts heat up in no time at all, and a fire is such a winter treat in the outback.

Farmers market roadie

Attention foodies! Why not pack the pan and cook up a storm, or just enjoy stocking up on picnic ingredients when you theme your road trip around our country’s amazingly varied farmers markets. There’s no better way to feel the local vibe than hanging at these colourful events. What’s more, they don’t only take place on weekends (check out the likes of Riverside, Ohoka, and Fielding markets for weekday openings). For a comprehensive guide to what’s open and when, head to the Market Director.

Planning ahead

If you’re firmly home-based this winter, swing onto the net and head to the library or travel agent for books and brochures on what our Pacific neighbours have to offer in 2025. Thorough research is the key to an outstanding island adventure, and some of the best sources of information come from personal travel blogs (choose those from writers who share your own interests such as off-beach snorkelling or cooking classes). Be sure to suss out the most economic months in which to travel, and sign up friends to join you.

Make the most of the winter months with a fun-filled, theme-based break, or some serious study on where you want to go next!