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Snow Capped Mountains – One of the reason’s we love winter on the West Coast!

Snow Capped Mountains – One of the reason’s we love winter on the West Coast!

by | Aug 30, 2023

Winter embraces the West Coast with open arms, unveiling a picturesque landscape adorned with snow-capped mountains and lush green forests. During the winter months, Franz Josef Glacier township offers a cozy retreat with mild temperatures ranging from 5°C to 15°C (41°F – 57°F). Nestled just 250 meters above sea level and a mere 10km from the coast, this enchanting town boasts a unique blend of snowy vistas and temperate weather, fostering the growth of verdant rainforests within the Tai Poutini National Park.


kayak on Lake Mapourika West Coast Deals Page


Southern Alps Formation

The saga of the Southern Alps began over 20 million years ago when the Australian Plate collided with the Pacific Plate, giving birth to majestic mountain ranges through a mesmerizing dance of tectonic forces. Witnessing an annual uplift of approximately 7mm, these ancient giants stand tall, their peaks soaring above 3000 meters, with Mount Cook reigning supreme as New Zealand’s loftiest summit at 3724m, painting a breathtaking panorama visible from the serene waters of Lake Mapourika.  Or experience an outstanding snowy view of the Franz Josef Glacier from the Waiho Riverbed on our Quad Bike Tours…

Scenic cruise on Lake Mapourika in the mist

West Coast Winter Snowfall

Winter whispers its arrival as moisture-laden winds sweep in from the Tasman Sea, caressing the rugged slopes of the Southern Alps. As these maritime tempests collide with the imposing peaks, they are compelled to ascend, bestowing upon them a cloak of glistening snow and cascading rains. While the coast revels in an annual precipitation of 3.2 meters, the lofty summits receive an extravagant gift of over 15 meters of snow, with the snowline typically gracing altitudes between 1000-1500m, occasionally dipping below 500m to remind us of winter’s icy embrace.

The Peaks In Winter

As winter reaches its peaks during June and July, the landscape transforms into a majestic canvas adorned with layers of pristine snow, offering a spellbinding backdrop for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts alike. Step aboard the Hanna-K for a Scenic Cruise on Lake Mapourika and witness the Southern Alps in all their grandeur, or paddle a kayak across the glassy mirror-lake water. Or a thrilling winter adventure can be found on the Waiho Riverbed where the mountain views are endless.

Winter Fishing on Lake Mapourika?

Trout caught on Lake Mapourika

Luckily the fishing season remains open on Lake Mapourika all-year around.  The fishing species we’re allowed to catch from April-September are brown trout.  Trout fishing is an excellent activity in all-weather and our comfortable fishing boat is fully covered with a warm and dry cabin area.  Enjoy watching the snow capped peaks while you troll on the lake, waiting for a nibble on the line!

Embrace the magic of winter on the West Coast, where snow-capped peaks and warm temperate climes converge to create an unforgettable experience amidst nature’s masterpiece.  Join any of our Kayak Tours, Boat Cruises, Fishing or a Quad Bike Tour during the winter months!