Skiing in New Zealand: The Ultimate Guide

Ski in New Zealand

blog authorBy Johanna Hansen shield verification Verified Expert

    New Zealand, a land of breathtaking landscapes and thrilling adventures, is a haven for ski enthusiasts. With its towering mountains, pristine snow, and world-class ski resorts, it's no wonder that many consider it a top skiing destination. 

    Whether you're a seasoned pro or a beginner looking to hit the slopes for the first time, New Zealand has something for everyone.

    Why choose New Zealand for skiing?

    World-class ski resorts

    New Zealand is renowned for its top-tier ski resorts that cater to skiers and snowboarders of all proficiencies. From the vibrant ski hubs of Queenstown and Wanaka to the tranquil slopes of Methven, there's a resort tailored to every skier's dream. These resorts not only offer impeccable skiing conditions but also a range of après-ski activities, making the experience holistic.

    Diverse terrain

    New Zealand's ski terrain is as varied as its stunning landscapes. Whether you're a fan of snowboarding in the pristine snow, downhill skiing with the wind in your hair, or cross-country skiing amidst nature, the country's diverse topography has got you covered. 

    From gentle slopes that are perfect for beginners to adrenaline-pumping runs for the experts, the thrill never ends.

    Skiing in New Zealand

    Long ski season

    One of the standout features of skiing in New Zealand is its extended ski season. While most global destinations offer a ski season that lasts a few months, New Zealand's stretches from June to October. This extended window ensures that you have ample opportunity to experience the magic of the snow, irrespective of when you visit.

    Stunning scenery

    But skiing in New Zealand isn't just about the sport; it's an immersive experience. As you ski down the slopes, you're treated to some of the most breathtaking landscapes on the planet. Picture this: skiing with a backdrop of serene lakes, dense forests, and towering mountain ranges. Every moment on the nz ski slopes feels like a scene straight out of a postcard.

    Unique Southern Hemisphere Experience

    While the Northern Hemisphere basks in summer, New Zealand offers a winter wonderland. This unique timing means you can enjoy skiing in New Zealand when most other popular ski destinations are off-season. It's a chance to experience winter sports in a different part of the world, adding a unique twist to your skiing adventures.

    The best ski resorts in New Zealand


    Queenstown, often referred to as the 'Adventure Capital of the World', is a magnet for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts. The town is home to renowned ski resorts such as Coronet Peak and The Remarkables. 

    These resorts offer a diverse range of terrains, ensuring that both novices and seasoned skiers have an unforgettable experience. The vibrant nightlife, plethora of adventure activities, and proximity to other attractions make Queenstown a must-visit during the ski season.



    A stone's throw away from Queenstown, Wanaka offers a more tranquil skiing experience. The town is surrounded by pristine lakes and towering mountains, providing a picturesque backdrop for skiers. 

    Resorts in Wanaka are known for their relaxed ambiance, making it an ideal destination for those looking to combine skiing with some relaxation. The views of Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps from the slopes are simply mesmerizing.



    Methven, situated near the expansive Canterbury Plains, is primarily known for the Mount Hutt ski resort. This resort is a favorite among skiers due to its consistent snowfall. 

    The town of Methven, although smaller compared to Queenstown and Wanaka, has a charm of its own. It offers a more laid-back skiing experience, making it perfect for families and those looking to escape the crowds.

    Methven in New Zealand

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    Mount Ruapehu 

    Mount Ruapehu is unique as it offers the opportunity to ski on an active volcano! Located in the North Island, this ski destination is known for its diverse landscapes, ranging from volcanic terrains to lush meadows.

    The ski resorts here provide a mix of terrains, catering to both beginners and expert skiers. The view of the volcanic crater while skiing is a sight that stays with you long after the trip is over.

    Mount Ruapehu in New Zealand

    The Remarkables 

    True to its name, The Remarkables offers a skiing experience like no other. Located close to Queenstown, this ski resort is known for its modern facilities and a wide range of slopes. 

    Whether you're a beginner trying to find your footing or an expert looking for some challenging runs, The Remarkables has something for everyone. The panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes, coupled with world-class facilities, make it a top pick for many skiers visiting New Zealand.

    The Remarkables in New Zealand

    When is the Best Time to Ski in New Zealand

    New Zealand's winter months, spanning from June to October, offer the most optimal conditions for skiing. During this period, the snow blankets the slopes, providing a fresh and powdery surface ideal for both skiing and snowboarding. 

    While July and August are the peak months with the heaviest snowfall, September can also be a great time to visit, offering slightly fewer crowds and still excellent skiing conditions. If you're a fan of spring skiing, late September to early October can offer softer snow and sunnier days.

    How to Get There

    Reaching New Zealand's ski destinations is relatively straightforward. International travelers can fly into major airports like Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, or Queenstown. From these cities, domestic flights, buses, or car rentals can take you closer to the ski regions. For instance, if you're targeting the ski resorts in the South Island, flying into Queenstown might be the most convenient. Once in the region, local shuttle services often operate between towns and ski resorts, making it easy for visitors to commute without the need for personal vehicles.

    Where to Stay

    New Zealand's ski regions offer a plethora of accommodation options tailored to fit every budget and preference:

    • Luxury Lodges: For those looking to indulge, there are upscale lodges and resorts offering top-notch amenities, including spas, gourmet dining, and direct ski-in/ski-out access.
    • Mid-Range Hotels: These establishments provide comfortable accommodations with essential amenities, often including on-site restaurants, ski storage, and shuttle services to the slopes.
    • Budget-Friendly Hostels: Ideal for backpackers and solo travelers, these hostels often have communal kitchens, shared rooms, and social atmospheres conducive to meeting fellow skiers.
    • Holiday Parks and Campgrounds: For those traveling with families or in larger groups, holiday parks offer cabins and areas to pitch tents or park campervans. They often come with shared facilities like kitchens and laundries.
    • Caravan Experience: If you're seeking a unique and flexible accommodation experience, consider renting a caravan from This option allows you to explore multiple ski destinations at your own pace, all while enjoying the comforts of a mobile home.

    Luxury skiing in New Zealand

    What to pack to Ski in New Zealand

    Thermals: Essential for men, women, and children to keep warm during NZ Winter by adding a non-bulky extra layer beneath your clothing.

    • Wind/Waterproof Jacket: To keep dry and avoid the chill factor of the New Zealand wind.
    • Scarf: To keep your neck warm and stop the chill around the collar.
    • Beanie: A quality woollen beanie to keep your head and ears warm. A lined beanie will help protect against the wind chill.
    • Sneakers: For everyday wear and nature walks.
    • Thick socks: To keep your feet warm.
    • Pants/jeans: Suitable for cold weather.
    • Waterproof jacket: Essential for snowy conditions.
    • Pyjamas: For the cold nights.
    • Gloves: To keep your hands warm.
    • Snow boots: Essential for walking in snowy conditions.
    • Long-sleeved shirts: For layering.
    • Short-sleeved shirts: For layering.
    • Flip flops (jandals): Useful for indoor use or when you're not on the slopes.

    Snowboarding in New Zealand

    Skiing in New Zealand for beginners, intermediates, and experts

    Beginner ski resorts and terrain: For those new to skiing, resorts like Cardrona and Treble Cone in Wanaka offer gentle slopes and dedicated beginner areas.

    Intermediate ski resorts and terrain: For those with a bit more experience, resorts like The Remarkables and Mount Hutt offer a mix of blue and red runs that are perfect for intermediates.

    Expert ski resorts and terrain: For the pros, resorts like Coronet Peak in Queenstown and Turoa in Mount Ruapehu offer challenging black runs and off-piste areas.

    In conclusion, skiing in New Zealand is an experience like no other. With its world-class resorts, diverse terrains, and stunning landscapes, it's a dream destination for every ski enthusiast. So, pack your bags, book your tickets, and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime. And if you're looking for a unique way to explore New Zealand, consider renting a caravan from Happy skiing!

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