Well, I have finally relocated to Queenstown for the next 2-3 months and the winter. Being from upstate NY, I have experienced my fair share of cold winters. I will never forget the mornings that your nostrils stick together when you inhale, or the crunch of super cold snow under foot. I even remember being in Breckenridge, Colorado when it was -5 F on the mountain. Those are some cold temps.
Here in Queenstown, at the southern part of the south island, we are at 45 degrees latitude, same as most of NY. The sea keeps the temperature semi mild, around 5 C or 40 F. With that being said, it dips to freezing most nights and frost is normal in the morning. We are only at 300m (900 ft) above sea level, so elevation isn’t the issue either. The ski field starts at 1622 m (5,320 ft) and the peak is around 2300 m (7546 ft) and it tends to stay around -5 c (23 F). So not crazy low temperatures. However think about being in the snow, and living in a house with no insulation, and no heat. Well that is what the reality is here in NZ. Not sure why, but they never made houses here with central heating. They rely on electric heaters, and these things called head pumps which are like ac units for heat. Electricity here is stupid expensive, so running electric sucking, inefficient heaters is pricey and tough when living in a resort town and making squat for money.
The strategy is to turn the heater on for a few hours in the evening, and warm up the bedroom, which I basically never leave. When I’m in the kitchen or common room I can see my breath. I am pretty much cold all the time. My feet never thaw out during the day. This will inevitably be the coldest winter I’ll ever spend anywhere. This was unexpected.
Ohh…the place I am renting was probably built 8 years ago……..