New Zealand Skiing Vacations

In the southern hemisphere, New Zealand skiing vacations are one of the most popular ski holiday destinations. There are many NZ ski resorts that are popular for international skiers for their winter sports in both the north and south islands.

The towns of Queenstown and Wanaka in the South Island are considered the favourite to get your ski, heli ski, or snow board fix but they can be more expensive.

Cardrona Alpine Resort for Snowsports, Snowboarding, Skiing, Wanaka by Rowan Simpson
Cardrona Alpine Resort for Snowsports, Otago, South Island, by Rowan Simpson

The widest range of fields are in the New Zealand South Island so don't restrict yourself to considering just the biggest ski resorts. If you are on a tighter budget do have a look at what is on offer in the other fields that are growing in popularity such as the Mount Potts Backcountry and Temple Basin Ski areas.

New Zealand Ski Season

Lake Wanaka Skiing / Snowboarding - Photo by Lake Wanaka Tourism
Lake Wanaka, Otago, South Island

The Ski season in NZ is roughly from the start of July through to early October.

Although that is not always accurate as I visited Mount Ruapehu, Whakapapa, Turoa, in late October and there was still time to get a last ski in before the end of the season with a steady stream of skiers arriving to make the most of the last snow fall.

But if the enjoyment of your holiday is dependent on there still being an abundance of snow, stick within the main season window of July, August, September, to ensure you don't miss out.

Hooker Valley, Aoraki/Mount Cook - Photographer: Fraser Gunn
Hooker Valley, Aoraki / Mount Cook

You are also advised to go on New Zealand skiing vacations outside of the NZ school winter holiday. These generally run for two weeks in early July and have a big impact on the queues for lifts etc. So don't forget to take the school holidays into consideration to avoid competing with the domestic market for facilities at the ski fields. The NZ Ministry of Education web site will be able to provide exact dates for the school holidays for each year.

I have information on dates of public holidays in NZ for the next few years, visit my dedicated section. Public Holidays

This country is ideal for snow sports enthusiasts from the northern hemisphere as the seasons are the opposite therefore making this the location to head for to continue to follow your sport when the northern resorts have closed for the year.

See NZ seasons for more information.

Ski Fields

Whakapapa skifield on Mt Ruapehu New Zealand - Photographer: Chris McLennan
Whakapapa, Tongariro, North Island, New Zealand

There are an abundance of ski club fields for the domestic market of New Zealand skiing vacations, most of which are on the eastern slopes of the Southern Alps in the South Island. Tongariro National Park in the North Island is also great for snowboarding.

Although there aren't the huge resorts you can find in countries such as Europe, North America, and Canada that cater for a large commercial market, there are commercial resorts in NZ that have well maintained slopes, hire out ski gear, include ski schools, and run high speed chair lifts.

Heli Skiing

Heli-skiing is also available with the largest concentration of commercial fields being located in the Wanaka and Queenstown areas.

Queenstown provides access to The Remarkables and Coronet Peak, and Wanaka to the Waiorau Nordic Ski Area, Cardrona, and Treble Cone.

Equipment Hire

Whakapapa New Zealand Skiing and Snowboarding resort - Photographer Daniella
Mount Tongariro
New Zealand

Skiers on New Zealand skiing vacations commute to the slopes from the nearby towns and can rent ski gear from outlets in the nearest town or on the ski field. Equipment for hire ranges from snow boarding gear for high performance to full sets of everything you need for a good day on the slopes.

You don't need to worry about taking all the equipment you need with you on international travel but in the high season it may be advisable to book in advance, particularly in the school vacation period. Having said that, local ski enthusiasts will more likely have their own gear.

Skiing and Snowboarding

New Zealand Snowkiting Snowboarding