Although New Zealand is full of lush, link green countryside and stunning landscapes, cost and you may be fooled into believing that snow activities are not its forte. Surprisingly, New Zealand has a fantastic snow holidaying industry, and millions of people hit the slopes each year from beginners to experts. To access the best skiing resorts, you’re going to have to head to the South Island, although the north does have some well-known pistes. If you’re thinking about a skiing holiday in New Zealand this year, here is a short guide detailing the best peaks and resorts, whether you’re travelling alone, with your family or with some friends.
Unless you’re familiar with popular skiing locations in New Zealand, you won’t have heard of Coronet Peak, but the locals surely have, and it is an amazing place to spend the summer! Not only is it the most visited ski field on the South Island, but it’s only 20mins drive from Queenstown, making it very easily accessible. With an outstanding view of the Alps, and a range of instructors on hand to teach even the beginner of beginners, Coronet Peak will leave you wanting more everything you pack up for the day. Furthermore, it has the longest opening hours of any resort anywhere in New Zealand, so in the summer you can even ski well into the evening.
The Remarkables is located just outside Queenstown, around 45 minutes in a car or around an hour by public transport. Rising up to nearly 2000m above sea level, these slopes are some of the toughest on the South Island, and although there are some areas sectioned off for beginners, most of the pistes are for advanced and professional skiers or snowboarders. There are various double black diamond runs, as well as mortar holes to duck and dive your skis into. Kids under 10 ski free here, and there are also some cool restaurants dotted around the resort if you feel yourself getting hungry.
Flying to, and skiing in, the South Island in New Zealand can be expensive, however if you book far enough in advance and do some thorough research, to see if you can book cheaper by bringing a large group of people, then you can quickly begin to lower these costs. Using online flight comparison services, most of which have dedicated New Zealand pages now like http://cheapflights.com.au/flights-to-new-zealand/, is also an excellent way to try and find lower airfares, they’re also extremely flexible!
Whakapapa is another great location to ski in New Zealand, and it offers the largest pistes in the whole country. With over 65 trails spread across 1,000 hectares of stunning snow, there’s more than enough room for the thousands of tourists that ski here every year. There are also some fantastic off-piste options too for the more experienced skiers and snowboarders, however you can choose to be accompanied by a guide if it is your first time on the slopes.
One of the worst things about Whakapapa is that there are no cash machines – at all – in the entire resort, so make sure you bank will allow card transactions, otherwise you’ll be stuck without any money. Other than that small issue, the Whakapapa ski runs are undoubtedly sublime, and if you want to make a day of it then make sure you get down there early.