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?!


#1) Best skiing on the North Island – Mt Ruapehu

Stray stop:  Tongariro National Park and Raetihi

Imagine skiing with Mt Doom and Mordor as your backdrop!
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 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

Stray stop:  Wanaka or Queenstown

Amazing sunsets
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

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

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

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. 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!

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.

These New Zealand tours will depart soon!

New Zealand is a tiny country that packs a scenic punch! Explore New Zealand the 'Stray' way - getting further off the beaten track, seeking out one-of-a-kind experiences and meeting a bunch of epic fellow adventurers.
All departures between September 2022 and April 2023 are GUARANTEED for all NZ tours! All tours are Stray Journey small group tours!

Takahe - South Island Tour

11 days - starts & ends in Christchurch

From the golden sands of Abel Tasman National Park to the West Coast’s glaciers and rainforests, the party and adventure capital of Queenstown, to the “Roof of Aotearoa” Mt Cook National Park.

Ruru - All of NZ Tour

18 days - starts in Auckland, ends in Christchurch

Hike some of New Zealand’s best tracks, kayak at sunrise, taste a delicious traditional hangi meal, bathe in a hot thermal stream surrounded by native bush.

Or check out these articles for more travel inspiration

Can you explore New Zealand without a driving licence? Is it possible to get off the beaten path without one?

New Zealand is one big playground. There is always something to climb on, jump out of, hike to, a path or a trail to follow… You name it, New Zealand has it! Aotearoa truly is one of the world’s ultimate […]

Read More

Our sustainable traveller’s bible will help you to live your best life – without it costing the earth

We all share a common goal: more travel, and less impact. There’s an overwhelming amount of information (and disinformation) about how to be more sustainable, and we know that when you’re travelling, it becomes 10 times harder. We’ve put together […]

Read More

Great news…. A Stray Journey tour is the best New Zealand bus pass

If you want to discover the sheer wonder of New Zealand we’ve got some great news. Stray tours just got even better! As part of our 20th birthday celebrations, we’ve been reminiscing about the thousands of happy travellers who’ve taken […]

Read More
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Andrew Jones 
Andrew Jones 
17 May 2017 8:49 pm

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 🙂

Ski snowboard
Ski snowboard
27 July 2016 10:24 am

wow awesome places for ski, really fantastic photography i really appreciate your work.

Scroll to Top