Snow-capped mountains, breathtaking turquoise lakes and adventures galore. The Mackenzie Region is stunning in any season.
Nestled in the heart of the South Island, the Mackenzie Region is renowned for its turquoise lakes, golden grasslands and snow-capped mountains. Far from the bright city lights, the Mackenzie also presents some of the darkest skies in New Zealand – perfect for viewing the stars.
Added to the magnificent landscapes, the region boasts a range of activities and attractions. But it’s the friendly locals and relaxed vibe of its towns that makes the magical Mackenzie an ideal area to map out your next family holiday.
From snowy peaks to starry skies, here are a few highlights from the heartland.
Dreaming of a white winter
With the spectacular Southern Alps shaping the region, the Mackenzie is one of New Zealand’s truly breathtaking arenas for skiing and snowboarding. Roundhill, Ohau and Mt Dobson offer slopes for all abilities and adventure levels, making them ideal for family ski adventures.
Do you have your sights set on the peaks? Or is building snowmen the type of fun you’re after? Winter adds a whole new snowy layer of enjoyment to be had.
Just be sure to layer up warmly. Winter temperatures overnight can drop below 0 degrees Celsius – climbing to 8 degrees Celsius during the days, on average – although the region is known for its clear sunny days throughout the year.
Fish to fry
Looking for a delicious meal and a unique experience?
High Country Salmon floats on the glacial waters of Wairepo Arm, and is situated on State Highway 8, just south of Twizel. Families can enjoy standing on the platform to watch and feed salmon, while taking in the atmosphere of the farm around them.
The cafe offers an array of fare to tempt all tastes – including, of course, a variety of delicious salmon meals, from smoked salmon sandwiches and bagels, to teriyaki salmon and salad, to salmon burgers and pies. There is also a range of non-salmon items, and quality coffee. For the complete experience, you can also take away delicious fresh salmon wrapped in ice.
Tekapo winter escape
Winter is a great time to escape to Tekapo Springs!
Relax in the hot pools, ice skate on the outdoor rink and try the thrilling snow tube. Refuel at the cafe or indulge yourself at the day spa.
By night, join a tour of Tekapo Star Gazing, the only hot pools, virtual reality or stargazing experience in New Zealand. Be dazzled by the amazing skies using telescopes and a unique fusion of storytelling and astronomy, or take a fascinating virtual reality tour through the universe. Then relax in a 38 degree Celsius hot pool and soak in the stars!