Ski the South Island

10 DAYS

830 km

Highlights

  • Adventure in Queenstown
  • Mt Hutt Ski Field
  • Stargazing in Lake Tekapo

Proximity

NO CAR-FREE OPTIONS FOR THIS ROUTE

Ample skiing and spectacular scenery are on offer with this 10-day itinerary through the South Island's ski fields. Follow the route in either direction and enjoy pristine snow throughout, no matter your ability.

If you’ve never tried skiing at night, Coronet Peak is the place to do it. You’ll be awe-struck by the night sky over Lake Tekapo. Relax in Wanaka and get to know the locals in Methven.

Day 1: Spend the day in Christchurch

Christchurch - Canterbury
Christchurch Street Art Trail, Christchurch - Canterbury

By ChristchurchNZ

Christchurch - Canterbury

CHRISTCHURCH - CANTERBURY

Stretches from ocean to the Alps

Highlights

  • Cardboard Cathedral
  • Ride a heritage tram
  • Discover fascinating street art

TOP EXPERIENCES IN CHRISTCHURCH

Relaxing natural environment and thrilling adventure activities.

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Set against a backdrop of the Southern Alps, Christchurch is a great place to begin your ski holiday. Before heading inland to the slopes take some time to explore this fascinating city with its intriguing mix of heritage, innovation and nature.

Meander down the Avon aboard an old-fashioned punt, wander through the botanical gardens in Hagley Park or spend the day biking in the Port Hills. Further afield, Banks Peninsula is a great spot to meet friendly wildlife. Take a dolphin cruise in Akaroa or visit New Zealand's largest mainland blue penguin colony.

Day 2: Christchurch to Methven

Christchurch - Canterbury
Mt Hutt, Christchurch - Canterbury

By Julian Apse

Highlights

  • Magical views of Lake Coleridge
  • Rustic village of Methven
  • Mount Hutt & Porters Ski Area

Proximity

  • By car: 2 h 55 min | 198 km via SH73 & SH77

MOUNT HUTT SKI FIELD

A favourite among skiing families.

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Get up early today for a day of skiing at Porters (60 minutes from Christchurch) or Mount Hutt (90 minutes from Christchurch).

Porter's is a small, friendly ski field tucked away in the Canterbury high country. There is terrain suitable for all abilities and magical views of Lake Coleridge from the top of the slopes. Mount Hutt’s large, sweeping open basin is oriented to the south, making it a perfect collection zone for amazing snow. 

Spend the night in Methven. Over the winter months, this rustic village plays host to skiers from all over the world. Call into the Blue or Brown Pubs (they’re located opposite each other on the main street!) and enjoy a cosy night out. 

Day 3: Methven to Aoraki Mount Cook

Christchurch - Canterbury
Tasman Glacier, Aoraki Mt Cook, Christchurch - Canterbury

By Fraser Clements

Highlights

  • New Zealand's highest peak
  • Lake Tekapo
  • Stargazing at Mount John Observatory

Proximity

  • By car: 4 hr 30 min | 369 km via SH79 & SH8

AORAKI MOUNT COOK NATIONAL PARK

Home of New Zealand's highest mountain and longest glacier.

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Drive south towards the expansive wilderness of the Mackenzie region. This area is most famous for being the home of Aoraki Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain.

There's plenty to do here take a scenic flight and see the magnificent scenery from above, take a soak in a hot pool, go skating, ride the tube park or simply relax with a massage at Tekapo Springs

The Mackenzie region is part of more than 4,300 square kilometres of sky known as Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, making it the perfect place for stargazing. Near Tekapo, the Mount John Observatory gives you the opportunity to explore this magical night sky.

Day 4: Aoraki Mount Cook to Twizel

Christchurch - Canterbury
Lake Ohau, Christchurch - Canterbury

By Angela Schrider

Highlights

  • Ohau Ski Area
  • Stargazing in the Dark Sky Reserve
  • Hot pools at Omarama

Proximity

  • By car: 50 min | 65 km via SH80

LEARN MORE ABOUT TWIZEL

From mountain climbing to heli-biking, Twizel has it all.

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Continue your journey of exploration to Ohau Ski Field and Lodge, located south of Twizel and north of Omarama.

Ohau caters for all abilities with a double chairlift providing access to groomed slopes. If you’re feeling a little more energetic, climb to the top of the slopes for amazing views and off-piste terrain. You're only 20 minutes away downhill to the Lodge where a hot spa and gluhwein awaits. 

Day 5: Twizel to Wanaka

Wanaka
Skiing at Cardrona, Wanaka

By Lake Wanaka Tourism

Wanaka

WANAKA

A mix of adventure and tranquillity.

Highlights

  • Cardrona and Treble Cone
  • Cruise to Mou Waho Island
  • Puzzling World

Proximity

  • By car: 1 h 40 min | 144 km via SH8 & SH6

From Ohau, you'll travel south through the magnificent Lindis Pass to Wanaka. Situated on the edge of picturesque Lake Wanaka, the township is only 30-45 minutes away from the fantastic ski areas of Cardrona and Treble Cone.

Take some time to explore this beautiful area with a half-day cruise on the lake to Mou Waho Island or a 4WD safari tour into the Wanaka high country. For quirkiness at every turn, you can’t go past Puzzling World, with its 3D maze and the intriguing optical illusions. Enjoy your evening relaxing beside a roaring open fire at one of the excellent bars or restaurants, as the sun sets over the lake.

Day 6: Spend the day at Cardrona

Queenstown
Cardrona, Queenstown

By Cardrona Alpine Resort

Highlights

  • Four terrain parks for freestylers
  • Kids Ski and Snowboard School
  • Boutique cinemas

Proximity

  • By car: 40 min from Wanaka

CARDRONA SKI AREA

One of New Zealand's most popular ski resorts.

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Spend today at Cardrona Alpine Resort, approximately 40 minutes from Wanaka.

Cardrona is characterised by wide-open basins; it features beginner trails, long blue runs and off-piste slopes, offering excitement for all. If you’re a freestyler, you're spoilt for choice with four terrain parks. There are some great kids’ programmes, with facilities to look after the tiniest tots – from 3 months of age – and the Kids Ski and Snowboard School for those up to 14 years. The resort also has a selection of cafes and restaurants, where you can kick back relax and enjoy amazing views of the slopes.

Day 7: Spend the day at Treble Cone

Wanaka
Skiing at Treble Cone, Wanaka

By Lake Wanaka Tourism

Highlights

  • South Island's largest ski area
  • 700m vertical rise
  • Amazing views of Lake Wanaka

Proximity

  • By car: 25 min from Wanaka

TREBLE CONE SKI AREA

Famous for its long groomed slopes, legendary off-piste and unrivalled views.

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Today you head for the South Island’s largest ski field, Treble Cone. It boasts the longest vertical rise, at 700 metres, compliments of a leg-burning 4km downhill run. With two basins to explore, The Saddle and Home Basins, it's no wonder that Treble Cone has become famous for its long, uncrowded, groomed slopes.

Treble Cone’s position and elevation provide the most amazing views of Lake Wanaka. If you're a first timer on the snow, there are free ‘Nice ‘n’ Easy’ beginner surface lift tickets.

Day 8: Night skiing at Coronet Peak

Queenstown
Night skiing at Coronet Peak, Queenstown

By Camilla Stoddart

Queenstown

QUEENSTOWN

Home to the ultimate adventure bucket list.

Proximity

  • By car: 1 h 30 min | 112 km via SH6

CORONET PEAK

Superb conditions and a spectacular rollercoaster terrain

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After a leisurely morning, drive to New Zealand's adventure capital, Queenstown. Spend the day exploring this stunning place, before gearing up for a night of skiing at Coronet Peak.*

Coronet Peak is the closest ski area to Queenstown (only 25 minutes away) and it is here you can ski literally from dawn to dusk. Watch the pristine afternoon sky transform itself into glorious hues of pinks before the sun sets and the night-lights come on. There's a Park after Dark freestyle run with boxes, rails and airbag.  Dine on the deck and enjoy the evening atmosphere.

*Tip:  Night skiing runs on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights only. 

Day 9: Spend the day at The Remarkables

Wanaka
The Remarkables, Wanaka

By Miles Holden

Highlights

  • Backcountry runs
  • Snow terrain parks
  • Stunning views of Queenstown

Proximity

  • By car: 40 min | from Queenstown
  • By bus: Snowline Express departs from the Snow Centre

THE REMARKABLES SKI AREA

Known for its friendly atmosphere, high altitude and north-facing sunny slopes.

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Finish your ski adventure on The Remarkables' amazing ski slopes. The 1.2km Curvey Basin chairlift will whisk you to the top of the mountain, even if you’re just starting out. If you’re a complete novice, the sun-drenched learners' area is the perfect place. Fancy venturing further afield? There are backcountry runs and black diamond runs to challenge the most accomplished skiers or riders. Plus, there are some awesome snow terrain parks to check out.

After a day on the slopes, there is nothing better than soaking in a hot spa or enjoy a therapeutic massage before hitting the town for the evening.

Day 10: Spend the day in Queenstown

Queenstown
The Ledge Bungy in Queenstown, Queenstown

By AJ Hackett

Highlights

  • Bungy, jet boating or rafting
  • Visit Glenorchy or Arrowtown
  • Take a day trip to Milford Sound

Proximity

TOP EXPERIENCES IN QUEENSTOWN

Explore wineries, epic film locations, and adventure.

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Spend your final day exploring all that Queenstown has to offer. Take a sightseeing tour to Glenorchy or Arrowtown. Try out some of the many adventure activities available - this place is especially famous for bungy jumping and jet boating. Or simply relax in a hot pool overlooking Queenstown's stunning scenery.

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Important things you need to know about driving in New Zealand.

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