New Zealand’s Best Ski Resorts

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?!

A skier in New Zealand

1. Best skiing on the North Island – Mt Ruapehu

Stray stop:  Tongariro National Park and Raetihi

The Tongariro National Park
Imagine skiing with Mt Doom and Mordor as your backdrop!
Skiing in the Tongariro National Park
Imagine skiing on a volcano…

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 Australasia’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

Stray stop:  Wanaka or Queenstown

Snow boarders at sunset
Amazing sunsets
A ski lesson
The perfect place to take a lesson

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

Skiers looking over Lake Wanaka
Views for days

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

Skiers at night
Skiing under the stars

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

Ski lifts at The Remarkables
No friends on powder days

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. We operate our Stray Tours  throughout the summer and winter seasons, so we’ve got you covered no matter what time of year you travel!

Travellers throwing snowballs
Snow much fun

Are you frothing to get out here? Jump on the bus with us now!

Tara profile picture


Originally from Birmingham, UK. Favourite Stray stop: Tongariro National Park. Fun fact: she has done every Bungy Jump in New Zealand.

Recently we launched heaps new Stray New Zealand Tours. Our new Adventure Tours are the best thing since Hop-On/Hop-Off, we've cranked up the excitement dial to max. And our new Select Tours are perfect for travellers that want to explore without compromising on comfort.

Experience New Zealand's stunning diversity, from white beaches to snowy mountains and lush rainforests, with Stray.

Adventure Tours in New Zealand

Attention, adrenaline junkies and fun-chasers!

Our Adventure Tours are here to supercharge your wanderlust and quench your thirst for the extraordinary. It'll be a journey that's cranked up to eleven - the launchpad for your epic adventure and lifelong friendships.

Select Tours in New Zealand

The road less travelled - without compromising on comfort

Buckle up for our Select Tours, the trip of a lifetime. Picture this: kicking back in 3-4 star twin/double accommodation after a day of unique, must-do activities. This isn't your average tourist experience; it's an amazing experience to the heart and soul of New Zealand.

Or check out these articles for more travel inspiration

Epic New Zealand Bus Tours

Picture this: stunning landscapes, adrenaline-fueled activities, and heaps of great memories just waiting to be made. That’s the #StrayWay, where we’re all about living life to the fullest, getting off the beaten track, and embracing the thrill of the unknown. […]

Read More

Ditch the hop, embrace the top: why our new fixed tours are your ultimate Aussie & Kiwi adventure!

Remember when hunting for hop-on/hop-off tours was the vibe, like stumbling upon a viral TikTok track from the pre-pandemic archives? It was a jam for the ages! But let’s be real, after the wild rollercoaster of the past few years, […]

Read More

What is the best way to travel around New Zealand: bus, car or campervan? You’ll find the answer here!

Ever dreamt of unraveling the wonders of New Zealand? Whether you’re cruising in a campervan, zipping around in your own car, hopping on public transport, embarking on a group adventure, or catching the next bus — we’ve dissected each option […]

Read More
  • Wow! What a journey, looks incredible. I’ve always wanted to do some touring, but thinking I’ll start with some weekends around New Zealand 🙂

  • >
    Scroll to Top