Winter is an amazing time to travel in New Zealand, especially for true mountain enthusiasts with a love of fresh, white pow pow! It’s time to strap into your snowboard and clip into your skis and experience how we get down in the Southern hemisphere…
From the volcanic slopes of the North Island to the majestic Southern Alps on the South Island, there are some excellent ski fields dotted across the country with plenty of options for every level of skier and snowboarder. Best of all, you can hit some of the best fields along the Stray route and complete the ultimate New Zealand ski road trip! What are you waiting for?!
#1) Best skiing on the North Island – Mt Ruapehu
Stray stop: Tongariro National Park and Raetihi
Located in the heart of the North Island, Mt Ruapehu offers you the chance to ski and snowboard on one of the active volcanoes in Tongariro National Park. Hit the Turoa area on the southwest side for Australiasia’s biggest vertical drop and big open runs or head to Whakapapa on the northern side for a dramatic volcanic feel and epic views of Mt. Ngarahoe (a.k.a Mt Doom).
#2) Best Mountain for Beginners – Cardrona
Cardrona offers plenty of open gentle terrain and some of the most reliable snow in NZ. It’s the perfect mountain for newbies, but there are suitable options for every level of skier and boarder. Speak to your driver to book a ski package at Cardrona (includes transport, lift pass, gear hire and clothing). If you’re a total beginner then why not book some lessons too? Imagine going home and telling all your friends that you learned to ski in NZ!
#3) Best Field for Experts – Treble Cone
Stray stop: Wanaka
The largest of the South Island’s ski areas and popular with the locals, Treble Cone has an international reputation amongst advanced skiers and boarders thanks to its challenging, steep terrain. If you classify yourself as an expert, don’t miss the narrow chutes and massive drops of Motatapu Basin. Oh, and make sure to stop and admire the breathtaking views over Lake Wanaka.
#4) Best for Night Skiing – Coronet Peak
Stray stop: Queenstown
Coronet Peak has a lot going for it. Not only is it the closest ski area to Queenstown, there’s a dedicated beginner and novice area, plenty of well groomed trails for more experienced riders and it has some of the best night skiing in the country!
#5) Best Freestyle Terrain Areas – The Remarkables
Stray stop: Queenstown
Just across the valley from Coronet Peak on sunny north-facing slopes, The Remarkables lives up to the name. It’s a great area for beginners looking to improve their skills, but the three dedicated natural terrain parks are the real draw cards if you want a gnarly freestyle experience.
When should I visit?
If you are planning a snow-focused trip to NZ the best time to travel is between July and September. That said, some of the ski resorts open as early as June and stay open well into October! If you have plenty of time on your hands (or one of those handy year-long working holiday visas) start your travels in the North over summer and migrate to the South Island for the winter season. Remember that Stray passes are valid for up to 12 months, so we’ve got you covered no matter what time of year you travel!
Are you frothing to get out here? Jump on the bus with us now!