Now that the Australia and New Zealand travel bubble is officially open, it looks like Aussies will finally be able to travel across the ditch to visit some of New Zealand’s best ski resorts this winter!
New Zealand’s ski season runs from around mid-June to mid-October, depending on various weather conditions and other factors. New Zealand is a great choice for a snow holiday if you’re travelling from Australia, as it’s so conveniently close and it offers skiing and snowboarding experiences for all levels of experience. You’re also not limited in your choices – New Zealand has 25 ski resorts compared to Australia’s 14. Here are some of the best ski resorts in New Zealand to visit, whether you’re an avid powder hound or a first timer who has yet to experience a snow season in New Zealand.
Coronet Peak, South Island
Coronet Peak was New Zealand’s first commercial ski area, opened in 1947. To this day, it attracts both local and international tourists.
This ski field is a great choice for families with young kids or for those who want to experience New Zealand’s snow but don’t have a lot of experience. While Coronet Peak may not be able to challenge more expert skiers and boarders, it’s perfect for beginners and intermediates. Plus, the chair lifts are known for being speedy and can easily manage the peak-season crowds.
Coronet Peak is also the closest ski area to Queenstown, giving you the best of both worlds.
Cardrona, South Island
Located between Wanaka and Queenstown, Cardrona is another family-friendly New Zealand ski resort that offers something for everyone, including four terrain parks, two halfpipes (including a Olympic Superpipe) and a big air jump. With its high elevation, Cardrona boasts the most reliable snow conditions in the region.
There are plenty of easy trails and groomers for beginners and intermediates to follow; but there is also a little bit of a challenge off-piste for experts when conditions are right.
If you’re looking to stay as close to the action as possible, Cardrona also makes a good choice as it offers on-site accommodation. Many NZ ski fields don’t have accommodation on the slopes, meaning you have to stay in the closest town and then drive to and from the ski area. So if you want to avoid having to commute between your accommodation and the snow fields, staying at Cardrona makes for an excellent holiday choice.
With so many selling points, it’s easy to see why Cardrona is one of the most popular ski resorts in New Zealand.
Treble Cone, South Island
If you’re a powder hound looking for serious action, you’ll find it at Treble Cone. Treble Cone is the largest ski resort in the South Island at 550 hectares and is famous for its incredible off-piste action. Not only that, but on a clear day you can also catch some incredible views of Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps.
Treble Cone is a New Zealand ski resort that’s a favourite with expert skiers and riders. But while it offers exciting and challenging side country and back country, it still offers a small beginners’ area as well as uncrowded groomers for intermediates.
Treble Cone receives approximately 5.5 metres of snow each season. Being so close to the Southern Alps means that snow conditions in Treble Cone are generally reliable, but the mountains have the added side effect of protecting Treble Cone from the worst icy-cold southerlies.
Mount Hutt, South Island
Voted best New Zealand ski resort 6 years in a row, Mount Hutt is located 2 hours from Christchurch and about 30 minutes from the town of Methven. At 365 hectares, there’s plenty of space for skiers and boarders of all experience levels to explore. There are groomers for beginners and intermediates, as well as more challenging off-piste terrain for more advanced powder hounds. On top of this, the views of the surrounding areas are pretty spectacular, too.
Mount Hutt’s location does mean that it can be exposed to inclement weather, which may result in a closure of the ski field. However, if the resort and access road are closed due to a bad blizzard, it generally means you can expect fresh powder once the resort opens again – something we can all agree is worth the wait
Turoa, North Island
While the South Island can boast its fair share of awesome ski resorts, don’t forget the North Island. This includes Turoa ski field, located on the south-west slopes of the impressive Mount Ruapehu – which also happens to be New Zealand’s most active volcano. Mount Ruapehu is the North Island’s biggest mountain, and the Turoa ski field is home to New Zealand’s highest chair lift (2,322 metres) and the country’s longest vertical descent (722 metres). These factors make it a great choice for the more adventurous powder hounds out there, but there are also more family friendly runs. And for those seeking an even greater adventure, it is possible to walk to the top of the mountain to see the crater lake, before shooting down the other side of the mountain to Whakapapa ski field.
The only real downside to Turoa is that its exposure to extreme weather and icy winds means that the ski fields may not be open every day due to the unpredictable weather. But if you find that Turoa is closed, there are luckily plenty of other things to do in the nearby town of picturesque Ohakune.
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