Hit the slopes at some of the best New Zealand ski resorts. Find out where to stay, how to get there and where to ski.
With a cooler climate than Australia, stunning snow-covered mountains and 18 main ski resorts to choose from, it's no surprise we flock to New Zealand each winter in search of fresh powder.
But with the resorts spread across four ski areas on two islands, it's not so easy choosing a place to experience the snow. Whether you're looking to party or unwind after a day on the mountain, there's a resort for you. Read on to find the your perfect fit.
Top New Zealand Ski Resorts
Across its two main islands, New Zealand has 18 major commercial ski areas, making it a heaven for snow enthusiasts. Where you choose to stay is up to you, though we've broken down some of the main attractions to make life that much easier.
Resorts: The Remarkables, Cardrona, Treble Cone & Coronet Peak
Resorts: Cardrona, Treble Cone & Snow Farm
Resorts: Mt Hutt, Mt Cheeseman, Craigieburn, Mt Olympus, Temple Basin & Porters
Resorts: Roundhill, Ohau & Mt Dobson
Location: Lake Tekapo
Resorts: Whakapapa & Turoa
Location: Mt Ruapehu
Search for accommodation in New Zealand
Where to go and when
Unlike Australia, which is pretty much limited to the snowy mountains in southern New South Wales and northern Victoria, New Zealand has ski slopes stretching from North Island to South Island - with the majority being in the south.
New Zealand's ski season begins late-June and continues into October. By July, most of the mountains ares usually open and blanketed in a snow, ready for you to shred. Since the further south you go, the colder it gets, you're likely to get better conditions on the South Island toward the beginning and end of the season.
Travel insurance. When on a ski or snowboarding holiday, you should never underestimate the power of travel insurance, even if you are a pro. Sometimes the weather may let you down, icy patches could appear in the most unexpected places, or a novice skiier might make a wrong turn... into you. Before you leave on your ski trip, do some research and opt-in for an insurance package to suit your needs.
New Zealand ski holiday packages
Ready hit the pow-pow? Book a package deal to save on ski hire and chair lift passes - because skiing doesn't have to be an expensive holiday unless you want to make it that way.
You should consider what kind of snow activity you’re seeking. Skiing and snowboarding can be had virtually everywhere, but New Zealand is also an exceptional destination to cut your teeth at heli skiing and snowcat skiing.
Heli and snowcat skiing (arriving on the slopes by helicopter and snowcat, respectively, as opposed to a chairlift) will provide you with the chance to ski off piste: ungroomed runs in the back country without a set trail to guide you or a beginner to get in your way.
Other activities to book and enjoy when in New Zealand
Because you can. Obviously.
What's on in New Zealand during snow season 2016
Make the most of your trip and get out to see the sights and experience these events. After all, how often are you in New Zealand over winter?
- Queenstown Winter Festival: To celebrate the snow season Queenstown opens with its Winter Festival, a collection of fantastic events including fireworks, winter feasts, night skiing and music.24 June-3 July 2016
- Blue Man Group: Can't get to Vegas? The sensation that is Blue Man Group is playing in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland this winter. May-July 2016.
- Colour the Night: Held annually in the Arts Village Rotorua, Colour the Night is an evening of food, music, dance and art. Best of all, admission is free. 14 July 2016.
- CRC Speedshow 2016: Feel the need for speed? Rev heads can spend their time in Auckland gawping over the country's largest heart-racing automotive show. 16-17 July 2016.
- The Bay of Islands Jazz and Blues Festival: Turn your ear onto some jazzy tunes from Australian and New Zealand artists this weekend in northland. Choose to buy a one-day pass or go all-out wit a three-day experience. It's all good. 12-14 August 2016
- The Chocolate and Coffee Show: Love chocolate? Love coffee? Us to! Held at The Cloud in Auckland over Father's Day weekend, what better way to kick back and relax over the weekend? (None, that's what!) 3-4 September 2016.
- 2016 Whitianga Scallop Festival: Take a side trip to Whitianga to smell and taste some of the most delicious scallops this side of the ocean. 10 September 2016.