Top South Island Skiing & Snowboarding Resorts

Friday, July 6th, 2018

Simply the best destination for Southern Hemisphere skiing and snowboarding, New Zealand’s South Island offers up unbelievable scenery, a wide range of trails, an abundance of fresh snow and world class ski resorts and ski schools for enthusiastic skiers and snowboarders of all ages and abilities.

Find easy-access accommodation, door-to-slope transportation, value for money gear hire, childcare options and some great on-mountain restaurants and cafes. Where are the best places to ski and snowboard in the South Island of New Zealand? We have picked out the top four, read on for prices, gear hire, trail information and much more.

Treble Cone Ski Field

1. Coronet Peak

Situated just 25 minutes’ drive from Queenstown, Coronet Peak is one of the most popular ski fields in the South Island. Known for its 40 kilometres of roller-coaster terrain, Coronet Peak offers exhilarating skiing and boarding for all levels.

The Terrain

A wide selection of trails offer up 8 km of easy runs, 16 km considered to be at an intermediate level and 16 km of more difficult terrain. Equipped with its own snow making systems, the longest run at Coronet Peak (out of a total ski area of 280 hectares) is 2.4 km.

A dedicated beginner/novice area provides a great place for those who need to build up some confidence both on the slopes and in using the ascension mechanisms.

Coronet Peak ascension mechanisms include:

  • 1 x 6 person express chairlift
  • 2 x 4 person high speed chairlift
  • 1 x T-Bar towing system
  • 3 x Surface conveyor lifts (Moving Carpet etc)

Ski And Snowboard Hire At Coronet Peak

Combined lift and ski/snowboard rental packages are available and include recreational ski or snowboard hire. There is an onsite ski hire store with everything you might need including skis, boots, poles, snowboards and clothing.

The well-stocked on mountain retail shop – the Sno Shop, offers the chance to purchase all the essentials including gloves, goggles, helmets, ski socks, beanies and much more.

Ski/Snowboard hire is $48 for adults and $37 for children, clothing hire is around $39 for a jacket and pants, or $12 for poles and a helmet. There is also the option to upgrade to Performance ski or snowboard hire.

Coronet Peak Price Guide

Please note; all prices listed here are intended as a guide only please see the Coronet Peak website for up to date pricing details. Childrens prices include the ages 6-17 years.

  • Night Skiing $62 per adult, $40 per child
  • Full Day lift passes $119 per adult, $57 per child
  • Half Day afternoon pass $90 per adult, children $45
  • First Tracks pass adds $37 onto the regular Full Day lift pass
  • Ski/Snowboard hire $48 for adults, $37 for children
  • Childcare programs range from $97 up to $169 for a full day
  • Storage locker $10 per day
  • Shuttle bus $20 per person

Night Skiing At Coronet Peak

Coronet Peak offers the only after-dark skiing opportunity in New Zealand. Every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night from 4 – 9pm during the season enthusiastic skiers and snow boarders can take their love of snow and speed to a whole new level.

First Tracks

Looking to beat the crowds and get the best early morning runs on fresh powder? A Coronet Peak First Tracks Pass lets you hit the mountain by 8 am before the official opening at 9am.

Storage

Need to store your extra gear for the day? Coronet Peak has automated pay as you go lockers downstairs in the Base Building.

Childcare

Coronet Peak has an onsite childcare facility catering for children from 3 months to 5 years of age. The Skiwiland Early Learning Centre is fully licensed with the NZ Ministry of Education. Children aged 3 to 5 are given the opportunity to take group Learn To Ski lesson (all gear is provided).

The childcare programs full day rates are $97 for children aged 3 months to two years, $109 for children aged 2 to 5 years and $169 for children aged 3 to five years. Half day options are available.

Getting There

Coronet Peak is just 25 minutes’ drive from Queenstown and Arrowtown, and 1 hour 15 minutes from Wanaka. From further afield it is just over 6 hours drive from Christchurch and around 4 hours drive from Dunedin.

The road from Queenstown to Coronet Peak is sealed all the way making it accessible by car, so driving yourself is an easy option for many. Of course the alpine conditions mean care is needed, 4WD vehicles are recommended and chains may be required at times. Read our handy guide to winter driving in New Zealand for tips and advice on how to handle NZ roads or find more information on hiring a 4WD here.

For those who do not wish to drive right up to the ski field, a regular shuttle bus operates from Queenstown during the ski season. The shuttle bus runs to and from the town centre (The Remarkables and Coronet Peak Snow Centre on Duke Street) every 20 minutes in the morning and as the bus fills in the afternoon. Shuttle bus tickets cost $20 per person.

For those enjoying the Night Ski option the shuttle bus departs the Snow Centre at regular intervals (3pm, 4pm, 5pm and 6pm) and from the mountain at 5.30pm, 6.30pm, 7.30pm, 8.30pm and 9.00pm.

Parking

There are seven separate car parks available at the Coronet Peak Ski fields with a capacity for more than 1200 vehicles. A short walk is required from the closer parking areas to the Base Building, and a free shuttle service is available from those a little further out, the shuttle runs between 8.00am and 5.00pm.

Coronet Peak Ski Resort

2. The Remarkables

A short 40 minute drive from Queenstown, The Remarkables ski fields offer up a picture perfect alpine experience. The Remarkables high altitudes and north‐facing sunny slopes set up some excellent terrain suitable for everyone from first timers to expert skiers and snowboarders.

An extensive selection of freestyle features across three dedicated terrain parks also add to the fun, along with some of the best mountain views and off‐piste terrain. The Remarkables ski fields are open daily from 9am to 4 pm.

The Terrain

With roughly 10 kilometres of trails; 3 km of easy trails, 4 km of intermediate and roughly 3 km of advanced trails, The Remarkables cater well to all – there are even plenty of off-piste options for experts. The longest run is 2.5 km out of a total terrain area of 385 hectares and it’s good to know that around forty percent of the slopes now have snow-making capabilities.

The Remarkables also has the Southern Hemisphere’s only ‘Stash’, a Burton signature terrain park and is extremely popular with snow boarders.

The Remarkables ascension mechanisms include:

  • 1 x High speed 6 person chair lift
  • 3 x 4 person chair lifts
  • 3 x Surface conveyors

Ski And Snowboard Hire At The Remarkables

Gear hire is available from the on-mountain hire store, find everything you need including skis, boots, poles, snowboards and clothing.

Ski/Snowboard hire is $48 for adults and $37 for children. There is also the option to upgrade to Performance ski or snowboard hire.

The Remarkables Price Guide

Please note; all prices listed here are intended as a guide only please see The Remarkables website for up to date pricing details. Children’s prices include the ages 6-17 years.

  • Full Day lift passes $119 per adult, $57 per child
  • Half Day afternoon pass $90 for adults, children $45
  • Ski/Snowboard hire $48 for adults, $37 per child
  • Childcare programs from $146 to $190 for a full day
  • Storage locker $10 per day
  • Shuttle bus $20 per person

Places To Eat

Two cafes and one restaurant included in the Base Building along with the on mountain ‘Ice Bar’ located at the Curvey Basin Junction offer a good range of food and beverage choices for skiers and boarders looking to refuel.

Stop by the Rastusburn Coffee Bar for some great coffee and snacks, The Remarkables Café for the usual grab-and-go options including pies, sushi, bread rolls etc, or head to the The Remarkables Restaurant for a long leisurely lunch.

Childcare

The on-mountain ‘Kea Club’ provides some great options to keep the children entertained while you hit the slopes. The childcare programs run daily from 10 am till 4 pm, with early drop off available any time after 9 am.

Kea Club group ski and snowboard lessons are available for kids aged 5 to 17 years and there is also a specialised ‘Mini Kea’ program designed for kids aged 4 to 5 years. These programs include lift pass, lesson and ski hire, and lunch is provided.

Storage

Need to park you gear while you enjoy a long lunch at the Remarkables Restaurant? Storage is available in the automated pay lockers, downstairs in the Base Building.

Getting There

The Remarkables is just 40 minutes drive from Queenstown, 45 minutes from Arrowtown and an hour 25 minutes from Wanaka. From Christchurch it is roughly 6 and a half hours and 4 hours from Dunedin.

The access road to The Remarkables is well formed and mostly sealed (3 of the 13km is unsealed) so driving yourself is an option. If you do not wish to brave the roads there is a shuttle service operating from central Queenstown departing and returning at regular intervals throughout the day.

The Remarkables and Coronet Peak Snow Centre on Duke Street is the drop off point, but it is possible to request a direct accommodation pickup/drop off service. The shuttle to the Remarkables Ski Fields costs $20 per person.

Parking

Three large car parks with a total capacity for more than 900 vehicles mean a self-drive ski trip is a great option at The Remarkables. Parking area ‘One’ is a short walk to Base Building or there are several free car park shuttles operating throughout the day which service all three car parks. Shuttles run from 8 am till 5 pm.

The Remarkables

3. Cardrona

Also located near Queenstown, the Cardrona Alpine Resort is an excellent all-rounder with wide open slopes and excellent snow conditions. The Cardrona ski fields are just under an hours drive from Queenstown and provide a popular choice for seasoned skiers and boarders right through to absolute beginners.

The Terrain

Out of a total area of 345 hectares, 25% of Cardrona’s trails are classified as beginner level, 25% intermediate, 30% advanced and 20% considered to be at expert level. Four dedicated freestyle terrain parks complete with jumps, pipes, jibs and more provide some of the best park and pipe facilities in the Southern Hemisphere.

High altitudes and wide open terrain along with a dedicated Beginners’ Area mean there is something for everyone at Cardrona.

Cardrona Ascension Mechanisms

  • 1 x Combined Gondola chair lift
  • 3 x 4 person chair lift
  • 1 x Platter lift
  • 3 x Surface conveyor lifts (one with a see through gallery tunnel)

Ski And Snowboard Hire At Cardrona

Keep it simple and hire all your gear on the mountain at Cardrona’s hire outlet. Rent skis, boots, poles, snowboards and clothing along with helmets, goggles and gloves are also available.

Ski and snowboard hire is around $50 for a full day, with jackets and pants for hire at $40. Performance ski and snowboard rentals are available for a $15 upgrade per day.

Cardrona Price Guide

Please note; all prices listed here are intended as a guide only please see the Cardrona website for up to date pricing details. Children’s prices include the ages 6-17 years.

  • Full Day lift passes $115 per adult, $60 per child
  • Half Day pass $80 for adults, children $50
  • Ski/Snowboard hire $50 for adults, $44 per child
  • Childcare programs from $146 to $190 for a full day
  • Storage lockers $10 to $15 per day
  • Long term storage lockers $40 to $50 per day
  • Shuttle bus $55 per person return from Queenstown, $35 per person return from Wanaka
  • Snow chain hire $30 for 2WD cars and $40 for 4WD’s

On Mountain Accommodation

Stay right on the mountain with one of Cardrona’s fifteen well equipped Alpine Apartments, just a minutes’ walk from the lifts. The apartments are self-catering with kitchen facilities, and changeable sleeping configurations. Choose from studio, two, three and four bedroom options. Please note the apartments are not wheel chair friendly.

Places To Eat

Cardrona has a multitude of places to eat, choose from the Base Café, The Mezz, Java and The Lounge in the main Base Building. Captain’s Pizzeria in the Captain’s Basin, Little Meg Café beside the Valley View car park or the Vista Bar and Noodle Bar further up the slopes.

Storage

Secure day lockers and storage baskets are available for rent, or there are unsecured cubbies in both the Rentals area and the Base Café. Long term storage is also an option if you are returning for several days on the mountain. The long term lockers are large enough for your skis and boots.

Storage baskets cost $10 for the day, storage lockers are $15, long term ski sized lockers are around $40 to $50 per day, with concessions for 5 day hires or full season hires.

Getting There

Getting to Cardona ski fields is easy, there are several shuttle services including the Alpine Connexions shuttle service, and Cardrona’s Wanaka orange bus service. Cardrona is just over an hours drive from Queenstown, 40 minutes drive from Wanaka and about 1 hour from Arrowtown.

Cardona is located at the top of a 14 km unsealed access road, so care is needed when making the drive. Snow chains are recommended, if the vehicle you are driving doesn’t have any the are available for hire at the base of the Cardrona access road. Chain hire is $30 for cars and $40 for 4WD’s. 

4WD vehicles are the preferred option when tackling the access road, see here for more information on hiring a 4WD in New Zealand.

Parking

Cardona has several carparks available as you near the Base area, if you are parked in one of the lower ones there is a free shuttle service to get you up to the Base. It is also possible to park near the bottom of the Cardrona access road and use the Pine Trees Shuttle service (at a cost of $15 return for adults and $10 for children) if you do not wish to tackle the unsealed access road.

Crown Range Road

4. Mt Hutt

Just over an hour and a half’s drive from Christchurch, Mt Hutt ski fields make for an easy day trip from the Garden City. Mt Hutt offers up a good selection of intermediate and advanced runs, and access to large off-piste areas as well as some excellent beginners slopes.

Often the first to open for the season, Mt Hutt’s south facing basin means good snow and a longer season, operating under an average snowfall of 4 metres. Mt Hutt is also great value for money – kids 10 and under ski for free.

The Terrain

With 365 hectares of skiable area, Mt Hutt’s trails offer a challenge for even the most experienced skiers. The longest run is 2 km, and four freestyle terrain parks mean there is something for everyone – skier or snow boarder. Heli skiing is also a great option at Mt Hutt and is available from several local operators.

Around 50 % of Mt Huts trails are considered at an intermediate level, while beginners and advanced areas make up the remaining 50 %. Head for the area known as ‘The Towers’ for the best advanced level runs.

Mt Hutt’s ascension mechanisms include:

  • 1 x 6 person high speed chairlift
  • 1 x 4 person chair lift
  • 1 x 3 person chair lift
  • 2 x surface conveyors

Ski And Snowboard Hire At Mt Hutt

Hire everything you need from Mt Hutt’s onsite rental store. Find a good selection of boots, poles, skis, snowboards, clothing and helmets.

Mt Hutt’s Snoshop stocks a great range of top end brands if you are looking to buy instead of rent or if you find you have forgotten to bring your gloves!

Ski/ snowboard hire at Mt Hutt is $48 per adult and $37 for youths. Hiring jackets, pants, helmets or poles is extra – around $40 for a jacket and pants, $12 for poles or a helmet.

Mt Hutt Price Guide

Please note; all prices listed here are intended as a guide only please see the Mt Hutt website for up to date pricing details. Children’s prices include the ages 11-17 years.

  • Full Day lift passes $104 per adult, $53 per child
  • Half Day afternoon pass $79 for adults, children $41
  • Ski/Snowboard hire $48 for adults, $37 per child
  • First Tracks add $37 onto the price of a Full Day lift pass
  • Childcare programs from $85 to $112 for a full day
  • Shuttle bus from Methven $20 per person return, children under 10 years travel for free
  • Shuttle bus from Christchurch $55 per person return, children under 10 years travel for free
  • Storage basket $10 per day

First Tracks

Like to get out there and enjoy the fresh powder before anyone else? A Mt Hutt First Tracks Pass lets you hit the mountain by 8 am before the official opening at 9am on Saturdays and Sundays.

Childcare

Mt Hutt’s Skiwiland Early Learning Centre is available for children aged 3 months to 5 years. It provides supervised care and learn to ski programs for a full day. Half day bookings are sometimes accepted, spaces are limited so it pays to book in advance.

The Mini Kid program caters for children 3 months to 2 years, the Kiwi Kids program for children aged 2 to 5 and the Skiwi Kids for children who wish to learn to ski while in the program. The full day childcare programs run from 9 – 4 pm daily and lunch is provided.

Places To Eat

For a quick bite to eat the Mt Hutt Sky High Café is the perfect choice. Situated at the Base Building it is accessible to all and provides a variety of fare including pizza, burgers, sandwiches, sushi and more.

Hubers Hutt is the place to be for a hearty breakfast or leisurely lunch. Choose from good old favourites like Bacon and Eggs, Muffins and Danishes through to Wood Fired Pizza and bowls of delicious soup.

Storage

Need to store your gear while you are hitting the slopes? Mt Hutt has a designated storage area next door to its rental department. Basket hire is available for $10 per day.

Getting There

Mt Hutt is just over an hour’s drive from Christchurch, 40 minutes from nearby village Methven and an hour from Ashburton. The road to the Mt Hutt ski fields is sealed right up until you hit the 13 km long access road.

This access road is narrow, unsealed and steep in places, it can be a challenge in poor weather and requires great care. 4WD vehicles are recommended, and it is essential that chains are carried at all times.

If you aren’t keen to take on the Mt Hutt access road yourself a shuttle bus service is available from Methven. The bus departs at 7.45 am and 9.45 am daily, returning at 11.30 and 1pm (subject to bookings) or otherwise 3pm and 4.15 pm. The shuttle bus costs $20 per adult, kids 10 years and under travel for free.

A shuttle bus is also available from Christchurch, departing at 7 am daily, leaving Mt Hutt at 4 pm. Book ahead to secure you place, tickets cost $55 return, kids 10 years and under travel for free.

Parking

Mt Hutt has over 850 parking spaces available within walking distance of the Base Building. Over flow car parks are available, parking attendants will direct you to the nearest available parks.

Other Great Ski Areas In The South Island

  • Treble Cone. The South Island’s largest ski resort at 550 hectares and the South Island’s longest run at 4 km. Some legendary off-piste runs with the majority intermediate and advanced level.
  • Roundhill. Fantastic family friendly ski fields with a huge beginners area including three surface lifts. Intermediate areas have two T-Bars, and for the more advanced the world’s longest and steepest rope tow.
  • Mt Dobson. A selection of 14 trails, 50% at intermediate level. One chair lift, one platter, one T-Bar and one beginners tow.
  • Ohau Ski Field. A small family run ski resort catering for all abilities, 2 terrain parks, one chair lift, one platter and one snow mat.

Need a reliable hire car to get you safely to the mountains and back this winter? Check out the wide range of rental vehicles available from the team at NZ Rent A Car.

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