What you need to know about skiing in the South Island

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Skiing and snowboarding the South Island comes with a serious side order of selfie backdrops. Put simply, the Southern Alps will visually blow your mind (there's a reason Hollywood's big guns choose to film here).


People come to the South Island for the snow and stay for the view. But before you pack your beanie, gloves and selfie stick know that you’re heading off on one of the best ski and snowboard holidays money can buy in the Southern Hemisphere. Check out our list of must-knows for the southern snow.

  • Choose to fly direct into Christchurch to ski Mt Hutt and Porters Ski Area (both just over an hour from the airport) and the hidden gem club fields of the region on the drive down to Wanaka and Queenstown
New Zealand
queenstown-1, New Zealand

By Julian Apse

Divide your time between skiing, hanging with friends and admiring epic views.

  • The average snowfall on the South Island ranges from two metres at Coronet Peak near Queenstown to over five metres at Wanaka’s Treble Cone and the Canterbury region near Christchurch
  • Skiing in New Zealand is above the tree line so expect wide open alpine bowls of snow 
  • Try something you can’t do in Oz, heli skiing. Major commercial heli ski companies operate out of Methven, Mt Cook, Wanaka and Queenstown
  • You’ll need to either hire a car or jump on one of the many snow shuttle buses to access the resorts when you want to ski or snowboard
  • The average lift pass price for a day on the hill ranges from around NZ$65 in the club fields to NZ$100 at the more commercial fields
  • Combination flexi passes are available for Treble Cone and Cardrona, you choose which mountain you want to ski on the day

Tips for things to try when you're not gliding down slopes

  • There are five award winning wine regions in the South Island of New Zealand including Central Otago near Queenstown and Wanaka producing fine grape varieties on 1909 hectares. Hit up the cellar doors of Chard Farm, Rippon, Black Ridge and Gibbston Valley.
  • Queenstown boasts over 150 licenced establishments in one square kilometer so expect a thriving après scene. Try Eichardt’s House Bar for sundowners, The Bunker Bar for late night cocktails and the Lone Star for drinks with the locals
New Zealand
H121-Queenstown-Queenstown-Chris-McLennan1, New Zealand

By Chris McLennan

Eat delicious food & soak up the atmosphere in central Queenstown

  • Spa it up to soothe weary ski muscles at the Onsen Hot Pools in Queenstown, Oakridge at Wanaka and Hamner Springs near Christchurch.
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