Ski Resorts in New Zealand

From ski resorts to unique club ski fields, New Zealand is home to a diverse range of ski areas. Ski on the largest active volcano on the North Island or sample one of the many interesting resorts on the South Island.

Pros

  • Breathtaking scenery
  • Steeper pitch slopes than Australia
  • Ski fields can offer better snow quality than in Australia
  • Some lift tickets can be cheaper than ski resorts in Australia

Cons

  • Skiing above the tree line
  • Most resorts don’t have on-mountain lodging
  • Less on-mountain dining than ski resorts in Australia
  • Small terrain size; most resorts have 5 or fewer lifts

Getting there

  • Fly into Queenstown Airport for ski resorts in Queenstown and Wanaka. Christchurch Airport for ski resorts in Christchurch and Canterbury. For ski resorts on the North Island, fly into Auckland or Wellington Airport.
  • Best way to resorts in the Queenstown and Wanaka is by driving. The journey can take anywhere between 30 minutes to 1.5 hours from Queenstown Airport. If you prefer not to drive, ski shuttles are available from Queenstown and Wanaka. From Christchurch Airport, the drive to ski resorts in Christchurch and Canterbury can take anywhere between 1.5-3 hours. The ski resorts in the North Island are the furthest from any international airports. The drive can take anywhere between 4.5-5 hours from Auckland or Wellington Airport.
  • Where to stay: Many ski resorts and ski fields in New Zealand don’t offer or have a lack of accommodation. Most lodging can be found in nearby towns where some offer ski shuttle transport to the resort.
   

New Zealand’s ski areas are spread across four regions: Queenstown and Wanaka, Christchurch and Canterbury, Central North Island and Mt Cook Mackenzie. You’ll find everything from commercial ski resorts to local ski club fields but picking out the best is no easy task. Lucky for you, we’ve teamed up with the locals to bring you the best ski resorts in New Zealand.

   

Queenstown is an adventure mecca so it’s no surprise that some of the most well-known resorts in New Zealand are here and in Wanaka (where you’ll also find That Wanaka Tree). These resorts are easy to get to and offer some of the best resort experiences in country. The views are also no joke, with Lake Wanaka in sight at Treble Cone. One thing to note, they're popular resorts which mean crowds can sometimes be an issue.

   

The Christchurch and Canterbury region is home to a number of interesting ski areas including Club Ski Fields. Ski areas such as Craigieburn Valley, Mount Olympus and Broken River are part of these Club Ski Fields which are owned and operated by clubs but open to the public. They give a much more authentic ski experience compared to some of the more commercial resorts around and tend to be more affordable too. On the downside, you better be confident using rope tows because that’s all they have here. You can also expect basic facilities. Nonetheless, these resorts receive plenty of snowfall and see few crowds.

Mount Hutt is the only exception on this list as it’s a commercial resort. Much bigger than some of the Club Ski Fields, Mount Hutt was voted best ski resort in New Zealand from 2015-2017 at the World Ski Awards.

   

Turoa and Whakapapa are two neighbouring resorts which make up the only two ski resorts on the North Island. Sitting on the largest active volcano in the country, these resorts not only offer incredible skiing, they’re also shooting locations for The Lord of the Rings Saga. Just like Frodo and Sam, it’s quite a journey to these resorts with the drive taking a minimum of 4.5 hours.

StatResorts
Best for BeginnersWhakapapa, The Remarkables
Best for IntermediatesWhakapapa, Coronet Peak, Treble Cone
Best for Advanced and ExpertsBroken River, Mount Olympus, Craigieburn Valley
Best for All-rounderCardrona, Mount Hutt
Highest Summit ElevationTuroa
Highest number of runsWhakapapa
Largest ski areaWhakapapa
Highest number of liftsWhakapapa
Ski resorts in

New Zealand

Broken River
19% 29% 57%
Craigieburn Valley
5% 29% 66%
Mount Hutt
10% 24% 66%
Mount Olympus
12% 47% 41%
Turoa
11% 32% 57%
Whakapapa
13% 54% 33%