New Zealand in June is an adventurer’s playground, where you’ll be able to heli-ski, tube through underground caves, hike on a glacier, Bungy jump, and soak in a natural geothermal hot pool.
While New Zealand is best known for its unspoiled natural beauty and diverse landscapes, New Zealand also offers countless memorable experiences, which are well worth adding to your bucket list.
To discover some of the best attractions and activities to add to your New Zealand itinerary, simply continue reading to learn about some of my favorite things to do in New Zealand in June!
The Weather in New Zealand in June
Don’t be put off visiting New Zealand in June as winters in New Zealand are temperate, compared to many destinations around the world. The average temperature in the north island in June ranges from 4 degrees Celsius to -16 degrees.
However in most parts of the country, temperatures rarely drop below 0 degrees, during the middle of the day and there will be days when you’ll be able to get away with wearing jeans, a t-shirt and a light sweater. In fact, the average daily high in June in Auckland is 15.5 degrees Celcius and while there will be days when it reaches 4 Celcius across the country, there are also plenty of sunny days where temperatures rise above 10 degrees Celcius.
In general, the further south that you travel, the more layers that you’ll need to wear. I highly recommend packing a warm coat, if you plan on touring the south island.
Remember to pack your bathing suit as even though it’s too cold to swim at New Zealand’s stunning beaches, New Zealand is known for its hot pools!
In June 2019, 213,500 tourists visited New Zealand. In comparison during January 2019, a whopping 399,300 tourists visited New Zealand. In total, 3.9 million tourists flew into New Zealand during June 2019.
So if you want to explore New Zealand when it’s not overrun with tourists, it’s well worth visiting New Zealand in winter, instead of during the summer peak season. Especially as New Zealand offers plenty of winter-specific activities such as skiing and snowboarding.
Fun Things to do Throughout New Zealand
Hire a Campervan
If you want the freedom to be able to take last-minute detours and to spend extra nights in your favorite destinations, I recommend hiring a camper van. As most international tourists end up flying into Auckland, you may want to slowly work your way down the north island before catching the Interislander Ferry or the Blueridge Ferry to the south island.
Once you’ve driven to Queenstown which is located near the bottom of the south island, you’ll have the option of leaving your rental car and catching a flight back up to Auckland.
One highlight of driving a camper van across New Zealand as that New Zealand offers plenty of picturesque, clean campsites. So if you like waking up to beautiful views of lakes, farmland, forests, and farmlands, it’s definitely worth opting to sleep in a camper van, instead of sleeping in overpriced hotels.
Watch a Professional Game of Rugby
Historically rugby has been the most popular sports team in New Zealand and the All Blacks, New Zealand’s national side are well supported. During the month of June, you should be able to purchase tickets to a professional rugby match. Even if the All Blacks aren’t due to play, you’ll be able to watch a Super Rugby match. Super Rugby is a multi-country tournament that features teams from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Argentina, and Japan.
If possible try to purchase tickets to watch a kiwi side play an international team. In order to discover just how passionate New Zealanders are about rugby.
Take a Leap of Faith
Are you ready to take the ultimate leap of faith? While you can bungee jump in a wide variety of countries, bungy jumping in New Zealand is special as the extreme sport was actually invented in New Zealand. Some of the cities which offer bungee jumping include Taupo and Queenstown. If you Bungy jump off a bridge in Taupo, you’ll even have the option to be dunked into Waikato River.
While bungy jumping may seem like a terrifying experience, most people who I witnessed bungy jumping had so much fun, that they decided to book a second jump.
Order Fish and Chips from a Local Store
One of the most popular takeaways in New Zealand is fish and chips and most towns and cities offer dozens of fish and chip shops. Where you can order items such as crumbled fish, hot chips, corn fritters, and spring rolls. Traditionally many New Zealand families would purchase fish and chips on a Friday night.
One unusual item which you may want to try on your New Zealand adventure is a deep-fried Mars bar. Yes, that’s right, you can purchase a deep-fried chocolate bar in New Zealand.
Things to do in New Zealand’s North Island
Spend a Day on Waiheke Island
Waiheke Island is located 21.3 km from Auckland’s city center and is the second-largest island in the Hauraki Gulf. Getting to Waiheke Island is simple as it’s just a short 40-minute cruise from Auckland’s wharf.
Once you arrive, you’ll be able to visit a few of New Zealand’s most prestigious wineries. Some key examples of which include Goldie Estate, Kennedy Point Vineyard and Wild on Waiheke. Goldie Estate is located in a beautiful remote setting, while Kennedy Point Vineyard is known for producing its own cheese and olives as well as wine. Lastly, Wild on Waiheke is known for offering live music. So if you’d like some free entertainment while you’re tasting wine and cheese, make sure to stop at Wild on Waiheke.
Alternatively, if you prefer beer to wine, don’t worry as Waiheke Island is also home to a couple of craft breweries. Examples of which include Waiheke Island Brewery, Albi Brewing Co and Waiheke RSA Brewery.
One of the best ways to explore Waiheke Island is to lace up your hiking boots and to complete a few of the island’s hiking trails. I recommend completing the Onetangi Reserve Trail as you’ll get to walk through forests that boast native plants and trees. Such as kauri trees, nikau plants, and Manuka trees. If you’re lucky you may even spot an endangered kaka, a breed of green parrot which is native to New Zealand. You should be able to spot a lot of native birds as the trail is located in Onetangi Reserve, a forest and bird reserve.
Tour Napier’s Art Deco Inspired Streets
Napier is a coastal city on the north island which is known for its art deco buildings, landmarks, and cars. Napier was rebuilt in the height of art deco’s popularity after a huge earthquake flattened the city in 1931. So if you’d like to take a walk back in time, bundle up and take a walking tour of Napier and it’s pretty esplanade. You may want to take some quick photos infant of the Napier Soundshell an art deco public stage, that was built in 1935.
For a unique experience consider booking a vintage car tour of Napier. As there are numerous businesses that offer tours of Nelson in vintage cars, which compliment Napier’s art deco aesthetic.
When the sun goes down grab your bathing suit and your towel and head to Napier’s Ocean Spa. Ocean Spa is situated right on Napier’s esplanade and offers heated outdoor pools and hot tubs that feature unbeatable ocean views.
Visit Kuirau Park in Rotorua
Rotorua is known for its thermal activity. In fact, in the center of Rotorua, there is a public park, Kuirau Park that features a wide variety of bubbling, geothermal mud pools. You can even dip your feet in the park’s purpose-built geothermal foot bath. Where you’ll be able to swap travel stories with the strangers that you’ll find sitting around each of the two public foot baths.
So if you’re on a budget and are looking for free activities and attractions to add to your trip itinerary, definitely visit Kuirau Park
Visit Rotorua’s Highly Rated Polynesian Spa
The Polynesian Spa is the highest rated spa in Rotorua and received numerous coveted awards from Conde Naste and The Luxury Travel Guide. In fact, it was recently announced as the LTG Spa & Wellness Awards’ overall winner.
The Polynesian Spa offers five lakeside hot pools. Four are alkaline pools and one is an acidic pool. My favorite pool is the Priest Spring, which is heated between 36 degrees Celsius and 41 degrees Celsius. Stepping in the Priest Spring will feel heavenly in the middle of winter, trust me. After soaking the Priest Spring, you may want to enjoy a mud massage and polish. Especially as Rotorua is known for its abidance of mud.
Take a Dip in Kerosene Creek – Rotorua and Taupo
Kerosene Creek is located halfway between Rotorua and Taupo and is a hidden gem. After driving 10 minutes down a stone covered back road you’ll reach Kerosene Creek’s carpark. To get to the creek’s natural hot spring, which is surrounded by native ferns and features a waterfall, simply walk down the forest track for 5 minutes. Right next to Kerosene Creek you’ll find a small clearing where you’ll be able to sunbathe, read a book or enjoy a picnic lunch.
While Rotorua and Taupo offer several paid spas that offer outdoor hot pools, nothing compares to the feeling, of soaking in a natural hot spring in the middle of a peaceful forest.
Zorb Down a Grassy Track in an Inflatable Ball in Rotorua
Zorbing is an adventure activity in which you’ll climb into a large inflatable ball, that will be pushed down a steep, grassy race track. Zorb Rotorua also features dueling race tracks, so you can race a friend from the top of the hill to the finish line. Just be prepared to tumble around inside your Zorb as it makes its way down the race track.
My recommendation is to book a water-filled Zorb, in order to slide around your Zorb. An experience that is similar to sliding down a water slide and can also be described as being tossed around a washing machine.
Book a Scenic Cruise on Lake Taupo
Lake Taupo is one of New Zealand’s most distinctive geographical landmarks and is located roughly in the center of the north island. Lake Taupo is the largest lake in Taupo and the whole country of Singapore could fit into the space taken up by Lake Taupo.
If possible book tickets on a cruise which visits the Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings. A set of massive contemporary rock carvings. The largest of which is over 10 meters high and depicts the face of a Maori navigator Ngatoroirangi. You’ll even spot a few oversized tuatara rock carvings.
Embark on a White Water Rafting Adventure in the Taupo Region
Tongariro River Rafting is currently rated the number one rafting experience in the Taupo region on Trip Advisor. So if you’re interested in learning how to white water raft down some of New Zealand’s best sections of white water, it’s well worth booking a half-day or full-day experience.
Tongariro River Rafting offers family-friendly options as well as roller-coaster rapids that are guaranteed to give you the thrill of your life. In fact, you’ll find 60 unique rapids located within a short 13 km stretch.
If you’re new to white water rafting but have a keen sense of adventure, I recommend opting to raft grade 3 rapids. As they offer plenty of thrilling moments without being too dangerous for a first-timer. You’ll even get to ride down a few drops.
Visit the Chateau Tongariro Hotel
The Chateau Tongariro Hotel is a stately historic hotel. It was originally built in 1929 and is conveniently located in Tongariro National Park. The hotel offers a stunning mountain view and in winter it offers a backdrop of a snow-covered Mt Ruapehu.
Even if you plan on traveling throughout New Zealand in a campervan, you may enjoy spending one night in luxury at the Chateau Tongariro Hotel. One of New Zealand’s most iconic historic hotels.
Explore Waitomo’s Spectacular Caves
You may choose to take a 45 boat ride through the Glowworm Grotto. Where you’ll get to see thousands of Arachnocampa Luminoso glow worms, that are native to New Zealand. This particular experience is suitable for children, elders and individuals of varying fitness levels.
If you’re ready for the adventure of a lifetime, you can also book a black water rafting adventure through Waitomo’s network of caves. After putting a full-body wetsuit on you’ll face your first challenge. Abseiling down through a hole in the earth into your first limestone cave. Next, you clip on to a zip-line in order to zip-line to your next location, point B. At point B, you’ll jump into an underwater stream, onto your own inner tube. Even if you visit Waitomo is the middle of winter, you’ll be kept warm in your thick wetsuit.
If you’re not afraid of the dark, I highly recommend completing Waitomo’s Black Water Rafting Adventure.
Learn about Movie Magic at Weta Worksop and Weta Cave in Wellington, The Nation’s Capital
It’s well worth heading out of Wellington’s city center to visit the Weta Cave. Peter Jackson, the director of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy opened Weta Cave as a small movie museum. Where you’ll find authentic props from Peter Jackson’s films. As Weta Cave is located at Weta Workshop, you’ll also be able to book tours of the workshop itself. If you have an interest in movie magic, you’ll love visiting Weta Cave and Weta Worksop.
When you arrive at Weta, make sure to take a photo with the three life-sized statues of The Hobbit’s mountain trolls, located at the entrance to the property. All of which feature realistic details such as ultra-realistic eyeballs.
Pose Underneath the Rivendell Arch at Kaitoke Regional Park
The elven Rivendell Arch from The Long of the Rings franchise was left standing for the general public to enjoy. So if you’re a Tolkien fan, drive 20 minutes from Wellington’s CBD to Kaitoke Regional Park. Where all of the Lord of the Ring’s Rivendell scenes were filmed. As well as finding the Rivendell Arch, you’ll also find a life-sized statue of everyone’s favorite elven archer, Legolas.
Depending on what time you visit the park, you may bump into a van load of tourists wearing elven ears or prosthetic Hobbit feet. As daily tours visit the park, throughout the year.
By the way, Kaitoke Regional Park is worth visiting on its own merit as it offers a variety of scenic hikes, to suit all fitness levels.
Things to do in New Zealand’s South Island
Explore Queenstown Which is Known as the World’s Adventure Capital
If you’re a self-confessed adrenaline seeker Queenstown should be at the top of your trip itinerary as it’s known as the adventure capital of the world. Queenstown is one of the most stunning locations on Earth and features snow-covered mountain ranges, a picturesque lake, and rugged canyons.
Some exciting, adrenaline-inducing activities which I recommend booking include heli-skiing down fresh powder snow, mountain climbing, canyoning, bungee jumping and jet boating through the narrow, tight turns of the Shotover Canyon.
Alternatively, you may prefer the sound of cruising across Lake Wakatipu on a historic steamship the TSS Earnslaw. The TSS Earnslaw is a century-old coal-fired steamship that departs from downtown Queenstown’s pier and makes its way to the Walter Peak High Country Farm. A traditional sheep farm where you’ll get to watch live farming demonstrations and get to taste freshly baked scones, that are topped up with fresh cream.
If you plan on heading to Queenstown with someone special, book a private onsen hot tub at Onsen Hot Pools. Where you’ll be able to soak in a traditional cedar hot tub, that overlooks the Shotover River Canyon.
Feast on a Legendary Burger From Fergburger in Queenstown
Fergburger has established a reputation for offering the best gourmet burgers in New Zealand. Some of Fergburger’s most popular burgers include Sweet Bambi, Cockadoodle Oink, the Codfather, and Ferg Deluxe. Each of which features locally sourced ingredients such as wild Fiordland deer.
If you have trouble narrowing down your choices, I highly recommend Fergburger’s signature burger the Ferg Deluxe. The Ferg Deluxe boasts a thick prime NZ steak patty, streaky bacon, lettuce, red onion, aioli, and house-made tomato relish. If you don’t want to queue up for over half an hour, opt to visit Fergburger for brunch, instead of for lunch or dinner.
Although as Fergburger is open until 5am and reopens at 8am, you may want to visit Fergburger after enjoying a few locally brewed craft beers at one of Queenstown’s lakeside bars.
Enjoy the Queenstown Winter Festival
Each year Queenstown hosts its annual Queenstown Winter Festival. An action-packed 10-day festival that features a snow-themed Mardi Gras celebration, concerts, food markets, and professional skiing and snowboarding events. Just be sure to purchase your tickets to the events which you’re interested in advance as many of the festival’s events sell out quickly.
Spend a Day in Queenstown’s Neighbor Arrowtown
Arrowtown is a charming, historic town that was once a thriving gold-mining village. Gold miners used to sift for gold in the Arrow River. It’s well worth exploring Arrowtown if you have an interest in historic buildings.
Visit the Snow Farm in Wanaka
Snow Farm is a ski area that overlooks Wanaka which is known for its world-class cross country ski tracks. As it’s winter in the southern hemisphere, when it’s summer in the northern hemisphere, many professional cross country skiers spend months in Wanaka each year, training for the Olympics.
However, if you’re not keen on cross country skiing you can also book a thrilling Snow Farm dog sledding experience. In order to get to mush your own team of dogs. All of whom are retired racers from the toughest dog sledding race in the world, the Iditarod. Just be prepared to experience an adrenaline rush as your sled will hurtle down steep icy tracks. If you’re not confident leading your own team of dogs, you also have the option of sitting in the basket of a sled and having a professional lead your team for you.
Take Photos of Franz Josef
Franz Josef is one of the most impressive glaciers in New Zealand. While many tourists head to Fox Glacier, Franz Josef is the more impressive of the two glaciers as it features steeper terrain. If you travel to Franz Josef, you’ll also have a greater chance of coming across blue ice. Franz Josef also offers ice caves and natural crevasses. One of the best ways to view Franz Josef is to book a helicopter tour over the glacier. Especially if you are short on time and don’t have enough free time to explore Franz Josef on foot.
Complete the Fox Glacier Walk
Regardless of your fitness level, it’s worth completing the Fox Glacier Walk. The Fox Glacier Walk is an easier walk than it sounds and is a short, 2.6km hike. It offers unbeatable views of Fox Glacier’s terminal face. While Fox Glacier isn’t as steep as Franz Josef, there are more opportunities to hike on Fox Glacier than Franz Josef. So if getting up close with Fox Glacier’s terminal face doesn’t excite you, book a professionally led tour of Fox Glacier itself.
Visit Fiordland National Park
Fiordland National Park is definitely one of the most awe-inspiringly beautiful parks in New Zealand. It’s known for its glacier-carved fjords, towering mountains, glassy lakes, gorgeous waterfalls, and sandy beaches. If you’re looking for New Zealand’s most beautiful campgrounds, pitch a tent for the night in Fiordland National Park. As you won’t be disappointed by the view, that you’ll wake up. Especially if you choose to camp at one of the national park’s beachfront campgrounds.
Although you could easily spend several days exploring Fiordland National Park’s world-class hiking trails, there are numerous activities on offer, to take advantage of. As examples, you’ll be able to cruise through the park’s sounds, spend a day fishing and embark on a kayaking tour, or a stand-up paddleboarding tour.
Hike the Key Summit Trail in Fiordland
The Key Summit Trail is located within Fiordland National Park and takes approximately 2-3 hours to complete. One of the advantages of completing the Key Summit Trail is that although you’ll have to climb uphill for 1.5 hours, the trail itself is not super steep. Along your route, you’ll come across a beech forest and a waterfall. The last part of your hike will be exposed to the elements, so ensure to pack multiple layers. Such as a windbreaker.
Once you reach the summit, you’ll be rewarded with glorious views of the Humboldt Mountain and the Darran Mountain. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see for miles.
Visit Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki
Lake Tekapo is located in the Mc Kenzie basin, in the small high country town of Tekapo. Though Tekapo has a small population of a few hundred residents, Lake Tekapo is definitely worth visiting as it’s as pretty as a postcard. Especially when it’s surrounded by wildflowers. Not only is Lake Tekapo a lovely shade of turquoise but it also offers views of the Southern Alps.
Also, ensure to explore Lake Pukaki. Lake Pukaki is also located in the naturally stunning Mc Kenzie Basin and is one of the country’s most photo-worthy alpine lakes. Like Lake Tekapo, Lake Pukaki also offers views of Mt Cook.
Explore Milford Sound
Milford Sound is one of New Zealand’s most Instagram worthy spots and has to be seen to be believed. I fondly recall driving down to Milford Sound, in the pouring rain and noticing tons of temporary waterfalls, along my drive. While New Zealand is one of the most isolated countries in the world and it takes a long international flight, or several international flights to reach New Zealand, the journey was well worth it, in order to see and experience Milford Sound myself.
Once you get to Milford Sound you’ll find beautiful rivers, lush rainforests, majestic waterfalls and the highlight of Milford Sound, Mitre Peak. A distinctive mountain peak which towers over the water.
If you’re an animal lover you’ll love exploring Milford Sound as the fjord is home to fur seal colonies, penguins and dolphins. One of your best chances to get up close and personal with Milford Sound’s wildlife is to explore the fjord by boat. It’s also a great idea to visit the Underwater Observatory, to view Milford Sound’s marine life and rare black coral.
Milford Sound was definitely one of the key highlights of my phenomenal trip to New Zealand and should be at the top of your New Zealand bucket list.
New Zealand is just as beautiful in winter as it is in summer and you’ll have the time of your life hiking in the Milford Sound and Fox Glacier and heli-skiing in Queenstown. If you’re an active, adventurous individual, New Zealand in winter is a natural playground, which is just waiting to be discovered. Take my advice and aim to spend at least two to three weeks in New Zealand.
In order to see as much of New Zealand as possible, I highly recommend renting a camper van in Auckland and drive down to Queenstown. In order to tick off all of the above things to do in New Zealand in June. Just be sure to order a burger from Fergburger if you make it all the way to Queenstown. Trust me, you’ll be blown away by the world-famous Ferg burgers.