Skiing in New Zealand

Skiing in New Zealand is not as well developed as it is in Europe and the USA. There are no resorts so expect a daily commute to ski areas by car or bus. However, that all adds to the charm and understated appeal and does not detract from some great skiing and snowboarding. Increasingly Heliskiing is taking more advanced skiers into the heart of the New Zealand mountain wilderness for unforgettable experiences.

The main ski areas are:

Mount Ruapehu (N. Island)

The slopes of the volcanic Mount Ruapehu draw two thirds of New Zealand's skiers once the season begins. The main ski area is around Whakapapa, a small village with access to thirty runs suitable for all abilities. The natural half pipes are particularly appealing to snowboarders. On the other side of the volcano is the Turoa area, with conditions suitable for intermediate and advanced skiers, including New Zealand's biggest vertical drop of 720m. One ski pass gives access to both areas. Equipment rental and après ski available at Okahune.


Queenstown is New Zealand's most popular ski town with skiing at Coronet Peak and The Remarkables. Coronet Peak is the country's oldest ski zone and today snow making machines help create reliable snow conditions all season. Snowboarding is particularly good due to its natural undulations. The Remarkables are for all abilities though most frequented by beginners and intermediate skiers. Shuttle buses run from Queenstown to both areas (which are approx 20km away) and ski passes cover both fields.


Wanaka boasts two ski areas, Cardrona and Treble Cone, both over 25km away and served by shuttle buses. One ski pass covers both. Cardrona is very family friendly, suitable for all abilities with good snowboarding. Treble Cone is steep and more suited to intermediate and advanced skiers, snowboarding is excellent. It also benefits from snow making machines, is uncrowded and has spectacular views over Lake Wanaka.

Mount Hutt (Near Christchurch)

Mount Hutt, 118km west of Christchurch, caters for all abilities and is an especially good spot for snowboarding beginners. It has the longest season and best developed ski facilities in the Southern Hemisphere, including New Zealand's longest ski run at 2km. Cross country skiing is also available at the nearby Waiorau Nordic Ski area.