The 10 Best Ski Resorts in New Zealand

New Zealand boasts an incredible offering of skiing destinations
New Zealand boasts an incredible offering of skiing destinations | © Jon Arnold Images Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Thalita Alves
10 August 2020

With its Antarctic drifts and alpine treasures, New Zealand is a must-visit destination for powder shredders. Both the North and South Islands have an incredible offering of skiing destinations up their sleeves. Get your gear ready – we’re about to take you on a quick runaround of the 10 best resorts and ski fields in this adrenaline-fuelled country.

Coronet Peak, South Island

Natural Feature, Ski Resort
Map View
© David Wall / Alamy Stock Photo

This epic South Island ski resort is located right in centre of the action – it’s closest to Queenstown, but also not too far away from the scenic Wanaka. Facilities are open from early morning to late at night, offering a number of pistes and slopes for all abilities. There are various practice spots running along the base, and an ice-load of trails running everywhere in between. The Big Easy is quite popular among beginners, while the awesome Exchange Drop entices expert riders.

Cardrona, South Island

Natural Feature, Ski Resort
Map View
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Another alpine resort conveniently located near Queenstown and Wanaka, Cardrona is a great all-rounder through and through: families can enjoy it, seasoned skiers will love it, and snow bunnies will just marvel at the entire experience. Those who thrive on the alpine heights will be amped by Cardrona’s highest elevation point, which comes in at a full 1,860 metres (6,102 feet).

Treble Cone, South Island

Natural Feature, Ski Resort
Map View
© Jon Arnold Images Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
With a cool 550 hectares (just under 1,400 acres) to ski around in, Treble Cone is the South Island’s largest skiing and snowboarding resort. It is one of Wanaka’s most popular picks for powder enthusiasts of all kinds, namely because the fresh lines are a true force to be reckoned with. Treble Cone offers beginner ski and snowboard lessons on site, and there are a tonne of gullies and off-piste terrains for the more advanced skiers.

The Remarkables, South Island

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© Jon Arnold Images Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
This astonishingly gorgeous mountain range is also home to some of New Zealand’s best slopes. The Remarkables field is just a 35-minute drive from Queenstown, and caters to all skill levels. Wide runs provide plenty of scope for beginners to practise, while there are plenty of black runs for advanced adventurers wanting to challenge themselves on the park’s tougher terrains.

Mt Hutt, South Island

Natural Feature, Ski Resort
Map View
© David Wall / Alamy Stock Photo
Mt Hutt is located in the Canterbury region, approximately 90 minutes from Christchurch. The World Ski Awards has crowned it New Zealand’s Best Ski Resort five years in a row, and the area is renowned for offering superb snow conditions. The spectacular field features two learner lifts, four freestyle mountain parks and special ski passes geared towards different skills and abilities.

Roundhill in Lake Tekapo, South Island

Natural Feature, Ski Resort
Map View
© Sheldon Currington / Airbnb

Roundhill is a family-friendly snow resort in Lake Tekapo. It is scenic as well as epic, not only because of the aforementioned lake, but because the terrain offers a fantastic vista of the Southern Alps and Aoraki/Mt Cook. Kids and novice skiers will be able to learn the ropes at a large beginners’ area; intermediate riders can swirl around the wide ski curves along the hill; while advanced powderhounds can venture up to the world’s longest rope tow.

Aoraki/Mt Cook, South Island

Natural Feature, Ski Resort
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© David Wall / Alamy Stock Photo

Aoraki/Mt Cook is New Zealand’s highest mountain. This has made it a prime filming destination, and a cool stop-over for thrill-seeking skiers. Heli skiing is the local speciality: get into a helicopter and, when the time is right, plunge your way into the powdered snow. The expedition requires a bit of patience (because, you know, weather conditions), but you’ll definitely receive some bragging rights after tackling the country’s largest slopes.

Hanmer Springs, South Island

Natural Feature, Ski Resort
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The Hanmer Springs ski fields are privately owned – ideal for those looking for somewhere uncrowded. It’s also a budget-friendly option: on-field accommodation is offered for skiers who want to spend a couple of days in the snow, with plenty of special promotions and passes to keep those costs at bay. The mountain is best for intermediate skiers, though there’s quite a lot of ground for other levels to cover. The Poma Lift, connecting to intermediate and advanced runs in the Bordeaux Basin, is the longest in the Southern Hemisphere.

Whakapapa, North Island

Natural Feature, Ski Resort
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© David L. Moore - NZL / Alamy Stock Photo

Of course, we’re not going to let the South Island hog all the glory. Whakapapa is a ski site in the north-eastern slopes of Mt Ruapehu, in Tongariro National Park. A boundary area of 550 hectares (1,400 acres) and a vertical descent of 675 metres (2,214 feet) invites skiers of all kinds to get into the snowy spirit. Happy Valley is their beginner terrain, which is secluded from the more advanced areas. There are 30 groomed jumps and trails for intermediate riders and 24 jam-packed black and diamond runs for the seasoned pros.

Turoa, North Island

Natural Feature, Ski Resort
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Turoa is the other option for Mt Ruapehu-bound skiers. This one is on the southwest side of the mountain and is home to New Zealand’s highest chairlift. The High Noon Express will drop keen powderheads onto a 722-metre (2,370-foot) descent, while the smooth chutes and bowls are guaranteed to keep the intermediate crowds entertained. Beginners can get a piece of Turoa, too – the Alpine Meadow base has a cool carpet lift that will introduce novice riders to a truly unique experience.
These recommendations were updated on August 10, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.