Dreaming of Skiing….in NZ?
“Life is like skiing; the goal is not to get to the bottom of the hill. It’s to have a bunch of good runs before the sun sets” Seth Godin
Winter has arrived, Mother Nature is delivering the goods on cue and the Kiwis have invited us to a private “quarantine free” snow party!
Only a Shiraz or two and a movie away from anywhere on Australia’s east coast, the allure of New Zealand’s natural wonderland is real. With mountains considerably higher, and further south than Hobart (not to mention cheaper lift tickets) this all equates to lots of snow, a longer ski season and great value!
New Zealand has approximately 29 Ski fields, 17 of these are commercial ski resorts with world class facilities. The South Island is home to the Southern Alps or Ka Tiritiri o te Moana, described by Abel Tasman in 1642 as “a land uplifted high”. With its own international airport, it is possible to clear customs, grab your gear off the carousel and be on the slopes in 20 minutes!
Your base is magnificent Queenstown a feast of food, wine, adventure, and spectacular scenery. With thrilling opportunities to Bungee, Jetboat, and skydive OR if like me, you may prefer to spend an afternoon in the Onsen hot pools with a bubbly admiring the views. Some of my favourite dining experiences include Madam Woo who dish up traditional Malay hawker dishes with a modern twist, cosy up by the roaring log fire at Botswana Butchery whilst you savour a Pinot Noir from Two Paddocks owned by Sam Neil and of course “The Fergburger” a Queenstown institution, is a must!
But make sure you book restaurants ahead, or you will be disappointed!!
Shona’s tip – Queenstown International Airport boasts one of the world most spectacular landing approaches, so make sure you book a window seat!!
Coronet Peak at dawn.
There are four fabulous resorts all within easy reach, each with its own personality and fan club.
Coronet Peak “Home of good times” since 1947 is the closest to Queenstown, only 20mins away on a bitumen sealed access road. A long-time favourite for Aussie Skiers boasting spectacular roller coaster terrain, and the only mountain you can ride from sunrise to after sunset.
Night Skiing at Coronet is a bucket list winter activity, its après ski Queenstown style Wednesday, Friday & Saturday Nights from 4-9pm
The Remarkables, affectionately known as “Remarks”, is just 40mins from Queenstown, with the highest portion of the road literally above the clouds and partially unsealed I recommend taking the Ski Bus, at least then you can close your eyes in the scary bits!
True to its name, with its jagged edges, and its steep rise from the shores of Lake Wakatipu these are one of the most photographed mountain ranges in the world
Lift Pass tip: 3 Peak Super Pass includes Coronet Peak, Remarkables and Mt Hutt only NZD$99/day when skiing 3 days or more.
A gorgeous 1hr drive from Queenstown is Cardrona (Cardies) Renowned for wide open slopes its toted as the best place to learn to Ski or Snowboard. Also, the only on mountain accommodation (albeit limited) this is a perfect way to take advantage of the Alpine Stargazing Tour, with very little light pollution the Cardrona Valley offers some of the best conditions on Earth for stargazing.
Treble Cone (TC) The South Islands largest ski area is 1.5hrs from Queenstown, with a 700metre vertical drop it allows for some of the longest groomed trails. Its off-piste terrain is legendary as are the unrivalled views over Lake Wanaka and the Otago plains best enjoyed from Allpress at Altitude bar, arguably the cafe with the best view of New Zealand!
Lift Pass tip: Multi-day Full Season lift passes can be used at both Cardrona and Treble Cone from NZD$100/day when skiing 3 or more days
The gorgeous wee town of Wanaka is a closer base for Cardies and TC, a quieter less touristy version of Queenstown. Its low key and upmarket with a plethora of great cafes, restaurants, bars, and accommodation.
With all resorts offering the security of 100% refund if the borders do happen to close, lift passes as cheap as ‘chups’ and a chance to stamp that passport again it’s a YES from me.
Ask Travelling Divas how to make this happen for you!
Shona Sarquis (and Andrea who adores Queenstown!!!)
Born with Wanderlust!