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13 Things You NEED to Know About Skiing in New Zealand (2024 Guide!)

13 Things You NEED to Know About Skiing in New Zealand (2024 Guide!)

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New Zealand’s ski slopes are renowned for their stunning beauty and varied terrain; in fact, it’s one of the top places to ski in the southern hemisphere. There are world-class resorts all over the South Island (and even a few on the North Island) where you can perfect your skills, soak up the mountain scenery, and enjoy the fun après-ski atmosphere. 

Whether you’re a complete beginner or a total pro, New Zealand has something to offer every kind of skier. You’ll be able to find basic beginner slopes, more challenging black runs, and plenty of off-piste areas to explore. And you can even make a little cash while doing it if you choose to go as part of a working holiday!

We love to ski and every time that we’ve gone skiing in New Zealand, we’ve had an absolute blast. It’s one of those bucket list New Zealand activities if you’re going to be here during the winter! That’s why we’ve put together this guide containing everything you need to know before you hit the slopes.

1. About skiing in New Zealand

Bailey skiing in New Zealand
I’m not the best but I still love it!

New Zealand is home to 39 ski resorts in total, most of which are located on the South Island, although there are a couple of places to carve on the North Island, too. Because the country is home to many spectacular mountain ranges, the snow-covered hills, slopes, and off-piste areas make for some great skiing.

Since there aren’t THAT many places to go skiing in the southern hemisphere compared to the northern hemisphere, resorts in New Zealand can often get pretty busy during ski season, since snow bums from all over the world flock here to get their powder fix.

Related Read: If you need to get to the South Island, read our guide about taking a ferry from the North Island before you go!

2. When is the ski season in New Zealand?

A chairlift travels up a mountain in New Zealand

The ski season generally lasts from mid to late June until October, so it’s a little short compared to other countries.

In general, resorts on the North Island tend to open and close a little later, so sometimes the season there begins in July and then ends in November. And obviously, exact dates vary from year to year so make sure to check the specific times for your chosen resort.

3. What is the snowfall like in New Zealand?

A snowboarder lays in deep powder snow at The Remarkables Ski Resort near Queenstown
At the right time of year, you can get some serious powder!

It’s pretty good, but you can’t expect snowfall like they have in Canada or Japan. In fact, almost all of the ski resorts in New Zealand rely on making their own snow.

With that said, there are still plenty of fresh powder days to enjoy throughout the season, especially during July and August. The best snow conditions are usually found in the South Island resorts, which is why there are so many more of them there.

4. How cold does it get on the ski fields in New Zealand?

Climbing high at The Remarkables Ski Field
The best runs require a little more effort than the chairlift!

South Island

Temperatures on the ski fields tend to average between -4 to -10°C (14-25°F) during the day, which is pretty chilly, but still nowhere near as cold as places like Canada or Scandinavia. However, sometimes in the spring, you can get days where the temperature rises above freezing (32°F), which is great if you want to partake in some spring skiing!

North Island

The North Island is known for its mild weather and is sometimes even referred to as “the winterless north.” With that being said, it still gets pretty cold when you ascend up to a mountaintop ski resort. In winter, temperatures tend to vary between 1 to -10°C (14-34°F), so make sure to bring plenty of layers!

Related Read: If you need to warm up after a day on the slopes, head to some of the best hot pools and hot springs on both the North and South Islands!

5. What are the best ski resorts in New Zealand?

The Remarkables

A person snowboards at The Remarkables Ski Field near Queenstown, New Zealand
Backcountry at Remarks!

The Remarkables is my absolute favorite place to go skiing in Queenstown, New Zealand. When I lived there, I spent a lot of winter days at this resort! 

It’s just 40 minutes from downtown, making it one of the easy day trips from Queenstown. Plus this resort has amazing views of the city below, as well as the Southern Alps.

This is a family-friendly spot with terrain to suit everyone, from beginners to pros, and it tends to be quieter than other resorts in the area. This is my pick for a more peaceful ski experience. I definitely classify it as more of a local favorite than a tourist trap. 

The resort covers 385 hectares in total, with 468 meters (1,535 feet) of vertical drop, and 20 trails of varying levels, so you can choose your own adventure. There are off-piste runs, four chairlifts, and four conveyor lifts, as well as seven terrain parks for freestyle skiing and snowboarding. The north-facing slopes are sunny, while the south-facing ones are shaded, which is great for snow preservation.

You’ll find pretty much everything you need here, including a rental equipment shop, a cafe, a restaurant, and two bars for when the après-ski starts. There’s nothing like rewarding yourself with a pint of craft beer after a long day on the slopes! 

A Remarkables Lift Pass costs $139 NZD per day for adults, although the daily price becomes cheaper if you ski for multiple days in a row. Two days of skiing will cost you $129 NZD per day, while three days costs $109 NZD per day.

These lift passes are actually Super Passes, which will give you access to the Coronet Peak and Mt Hutt ski areas, as well as the Remarkables, so you can really get your money’s worth. Season Super Passes for these three areas cost $1,299 NZD.

If you’re a beginner, you can get a Leaner Area Pass for $79 NZD, or you can opt for a pass that gets you the Learner Area Lift Pass, a group lesson, and ski or snowboard day rental for $289 NZD.

In fact, I really recommend the Remarkables for novice skiers because its Learner Area is great and the green runs are really nice and smooth. Plus, skiing here is an absolute blast once you graduate to the more difficult trails! 

Coronet Peak

Coronet Peak Ski resort chairlift the Coronet Express
Coronet is not my favorite ski field, but it’s still a great place – especially for night skiing!

Coronet Peak is the closest ski resort to Queenstown, and it has a great variety of terrain for all levels. With 462 meters (1,515 feet) of vertical drop, eight ski lifts, and 40 kilometers (24 miles) of trails for skiers and snowboarders, it’s a pretty well-rounded resort and a great place to get your ski fix.

Its proximity to Queenstown does mean that it gets pretty busy during peak season, but the fun après-ski scene here more than makes up for it.

Night skiing is also available from 4-9 pm on Wednesdays and Fridays, plus some Saturday nights, too. This is really popular with Queenstown locals, who head here for the floodlit trails and the live DJs! Even if you don’t make it to Coronet Peak during the day, I highly recommend coming to experience night skiing while you’re in Queenstown. Even though I prefer The Remarkables overall, I do love coming to Coronet Peak for a nighttime session on the slopes!

Night skiing costs $69 NZD, while a regular lift pass costs $139 NZD per adult and also grants you access to the Remarkables and Mt Hutt. As is the case for the Remarkables Lift Pass, it gets cheaper the more days in a row that you buy.

If you’re planning on spending a few days skiing at Coronet Peak and need to rent equipment, then the Ski Holiday Package includes a 3-day lift pass and all of your rental gear for $420 NZD, so everything is taken care of. And just like at The Remarkables, you can get a day’s Learner Pass, plus a lesson and equipment rental for $289 NZD per adult.

Related Read: Make sure you have accommodations figured out before you go, these are the best hotels in Queenstown for your ski holiday!

Cardrona

Bailey poses for a photo at the Cardrona Ski Field at the top of the lift
I love Cardrona!

About an hour from Queenstown, the Cardrona Alpine Resort is perfect for families as there are great beginner ski slopes, an excellent school, and childcare ski facilities (including a creche/nursery for those who are too young to ski) so parents can leave the kids to have fun while they check out more challenging slopes.

Cardrona has 600 meters (1,968 feet) of vertical drop and its terrain is suitable for all levels of skiers and snowboarders, although it particularly shines in the terrain parks and pipe areas. In fact, it’s got the most extensive terrain park in the Southern Hemisphere, so if freestyling is your thing, then there’s really no better place to go than Cardrona.

There are also loads of food options up on the mountain, so whether you want to warm up with a piping hot bowl of noodles or relax for longer and enjoy some table service, there should be something to suit you up here. 

A lift pass costs $150 NZD for adults, or $185 NZD including gear rental. Multi-day lift passes are also available, starting from $280 NZD for 2 days, up to $500 NZD for 5 days. 

Alternatively, you can get a season pass for $799 NZD for Cardrona only, or it’s $1,400 NZD for access to both Cardrona and Treble Cone.

As for the ski school, a day pass is $282 NZD for adults or $204 NZD for kids, which includes 2 lessons, which are both 2 hours long.

Treble Cone

Treble Cone ski Area
Talk about a ski trip with epic views! Photo credit: Treble Cone Ski Area

Treble Cone is the largest ski resort on the South Island, and it’s about 30 km (18.6 miles) from Wanaka. It’s known for its off-piste terrain, so if you’re an experienced skier or snowboarder, then this is the place to come. It also has some pretty long runs, which are up to 4 km (2.5 miles), so you can really get a good long ski in without having to repeat the same runs.

It has 700 meters (2,296 feet) of vertical drop, and three lifts that can take up to 4,520 passengers per hour in total. It does get pretty busy on days when the conditions are good, and there’s a kids’ program that runs on Sundays, but overall I wouldn’t say that this is the most family-friendly ski resort on this list.

All in all, this resort is amazing for intermediate and advanced skiers, but it’s not the best place for beginners. In fact, only about 10% of the slopes are beginner friendly.

There are 1:1 private lessons on offer at Treble Cone, but these are more for keen skiers who are ready to up their skills with the help of world-class instructors, not for those who are struggling with the basics. If you are a beginner, then I’d suggest heading to Cardrona instead, which is on the drive between Queenstown and Wanaka – although closer to the latter.

There are a couple of bars and restaurants at Treble Cone, but again, it’s more for serious skiers and not known for its amazing après ski, but there are plenty of other ski resorts to choose from if you’re looking for that vibe!

A Treble Cone day lift pass costs $105 NZD for one day, going up to $510 NZD for six consecutive days, which is definitely cheaper than some of the other resorts I’ve talked about so far. A season pass will set you back $899 NZD, or there’s the joint Treble Cone and Cardrona pass that I talked about earlier for $1,400 NZD.

Mt Hutt

Bailey skiing at Mt Hutt in New Zealand
Mt Hutt is super fun but it gets so busy on weekends!

Mt Hutt was named the best ski resort in New Zealand a whopping seven years running at the World Ski Awards, so you’d better believe that this is the place to go for top-notch skiing. It’s 113 km (70 miles) from Christchurch, so it should take you around an hour and a half to drive there, or the small town of Methven is even closer at just 26 km (16 miles) away.

This resort has 683 meters (2,240 feet) of vertical drop, with three chairlifts and two surface lifts. There are also restaurants, bars, a cafe, and even an Alpine Spa, where you can relax and recover from a vigorous day on the slopes.

Mt Hutt has a few green and blue runs, although most of the terrain is catered to intermediate and advanced skiers. Still, for first-time skiers, there’s the single-day “First Timers” package or the 3-day “Intro to Snow”, both of which include rentals, lessons, and lots of support as you become more comfortable in the snow. 

I’d say that Mt Hutt is definitely a better choice for beginners than Treble Cone, but perhaps not quite as well-catered to first-timers as Coronet Peak or the Remarkables (sorry… I just love the Remarkables!).

There are also lessons for kids aged between 2-17, so the whole family can get involved in the fun. Plus, there’s a Snow Play area where youngsters can enjoy toboggan rides and snowball fights, so you don’t necessarily have to ski to come and enjoy Mt Hutt.

Lift passes for Mt Hutt start at $159 NZD for adults aged 16 and over, or you can get consecutive day passes which go up to $545 NZD for a 5-day pass. You can also get a season pass for $700, or the Super Pass for Mt Hutt, The Remarkables, and Coronet Peak for $1,300.

Roundhill

Roundhill Ski Area near Lake Tekapo
It’s not the largest in the country but it’s still a cool place to ski!

Roundhill Ski Area is a chilled-out area that offers incredible views of Mount Cook, the Southern Alps, and Lake Tekapo. It’s 1.5 hours away from Timaru, or roughly 45 minutes from Lake Tekapo. 

It has a fairly short ski season, opening in late June and closing in early September, but it’s a great place to go if you want a family-friendly place to ski, as Roundhill is actually owned by a local family who grew up skiing in the area and wanted to create a place where families could have some fun in the snow. I don’t know about you, but I think there’s something so sweet about that! 

There’s a big beginners area here with two surface lifts, and 20% of Roundhill’s trails are green. If you’ve never skied before you can opt for the first-timer’s package, which costs $135 NZD for adults or $90 NZD for under-17s and includes equipment rental, lift passes, and a 90-minute lesson.

About 45% of the trails are intermediate and 35% are advanced, so don’t let the fact that Roundhill is so family-friendly make you think that you can’t have an adrenaline-pumping day on the slopes here! In fact, the resort has 783 meters (2,568 feet) of vertical drop, which is the biggest in Australasia, and there are some seriously cool trails down from Richmond Ridge! Plus, to get up there, you get to ride on the world’s longest and steepest rope tow. So no, Roundhill definitely isn’t just for beginners.

Lift passes for Roundhill cost $99 NZD for a one-day pass, or $75 NZD for the afternoon only. Beginner passes cost $59 NZD for the day and you can upgrade them to a regular day pass by paying the difference if you feel like you’re ready to graduate out of the learner zone! Meanwhile, a season lift pass costs $720 NZD for adults.

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Whakapapa

Whakapapa Ski Field on Mt Ruapehu
Whakapapa Ski Field on Mt Ruapehu
Whakapapa Ski Field in Tongariro National Park
Ski on an active volcano!

Whakapapa is one of the two ski fields that operate on Mt Ruapehu, which is on New Zealand’s North Island. This is also the biggest ski field in New Zealand! It has over 550 hectares of skiable terrain and 670 meters (2,198 feet) of vertical drop.

Mt Ruapehu is roughly a 45-minute drive from either Ohakune or Turangi, or an hour and a half from Taupo. There’s also Whakapapa Village at the base of the mountain, which is a super convenient place to stay when you’re skiing here for multiple days.

Whakapapa is a really well-rounded ski field and caters to everyone. 25% of the terrain is for beginners, and there’s also the Happy Valley Learner facility which is a great place to get to grips with skiing. 50% of the field is for intermediate skiers, and the other 25% consists of advanced trails, so skiers of all abilities will feel welcome here.

There are 11 ski lifts here in total, including magic carpets, T-bars, and detachable gondolas. It’s also home to excellent terrain parks, which are the perfect place to practice your tricks!

Whakapapa is run by Ruapehu Alpine Lifts, which means that your lift passes for this ski field also grant you access to the Turoa resort, which is also located on Mt Ruapehu. This means that you can check out both ski fields and see which one is more your speed, or buy a two-day pass and spend a full day in each field.

A lift pass costs $149 NZD at the weekend and $84 NZD on weekdays, so it’s much cheaper to visit during the week if you can! You can get a two-day weekend pass for $249 NZD, or a weekday one for $168 NZD. Meanwhile, access to the Happy Valley area costs $84 NZD on weekends and $54 NZD on weekends. 

Turoa

Last but not least, we have Turoa, which is also a pretty sizable ski field with 699 meters (2,239 feet) of vertical drop. There are two beginner areas here, and 20% of the trails are beginner-friendly, while 55% are intermediate and 25% are advanced.

Like Whakapapa ski field, Turoa is close to Ohakune, Turangi, and Taupo, and Whakapapa Village also makes for a convenient place to stay.

Turoa is celebrated for its natural features, which include natural half-pipes and gullies. There are also some incredible terrain parks here where you can put your skills to the test. There are also crazy views of the crater lake below, especially from the very top of the ski field.

There are 8 lifts here in total, including the High Noon Express, which is a 6-seater chairlift that takes you on a speedy journey to the highest point of the ski field, where you can take an advanced or intermediate trail down.

The lift passes for Turoa are the same price as the Whakapapa ones, as the passes grant you access to both ski fields, so I won’t repeat myself here!

6. What are the best ski destinations in New Zealand?

Views from Skyline in Queenstown on a winter day with views of the Remarkables Mountain Range and Lake Wakatipu
I never get sick of this iconic view!

Queenstown

I fell in love with Queenstown so quickly that I actually moved here not long after my first visit. But it’s not just a great city, it’s also an awesome place to visit if you want to hit the slopes in New Zealand! Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, and Cardrona are all super close by, so when you stay in Queenstown you’ve got your pick of three of the country’s top ski resorts. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that Queenstown is the best ski destination in New Zealand.

Wanaka

Wanaka is a resort town with a ton of adventurous things to do whatever time of year you visit, but in the winter Wanaka is one of the best places to go skiing. It’s a 20-minute drive from Cardrona and 40 minutes from Treble Cone, so you can easily spend your days enjoying these two excellent ski resorts. If you visit in the summer, you can even go mountain carting at Cardrona!

Christchurch/Methven

If you want to ski on award-winning Mt Hutt, then you’ll need to either stay in Christchurch or Methven, the closest local town. Christchurch is a major city and provides a great base for exploring some of the highlights of the South Island, and there are loads of street art murals and cool markets to check out.

There’s a lot of culture and natural beauty in Christchurch, and it’s a city I always really enjoy spending time in, but if you’re solely focused on skiing then you’ll be better off booking a stay in Methven. There’s admittedly a lot less to do there than there is in the city, but it’s an hour closer so you can get to the slopes much faster.

Tongariro National Park Area

If you want to ski at Whakapapa and Turoa, then there are lots of small towns to stay in around Tongariro National Park. Whakapapa Village is the closest place to stay, so it’s super convenient, but accommodation options are limited so make sure that you book a hotel in Whakapapa Village well in advance. Ohakune and Turangi are also close by, and it will take you roughly 45 minutes to get from either town to the ski resorts.

Related Read: Tongariro is also home to the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing hike where you’ll see landscapes straight out of Lord of the Rings!

New Plymouth

New Plymouth is in the Taranaki region, which is officially the sunniest place in New Zealand! There’s plenty to do in New Plymouth, including visiting the Pukekura Gardens, exploring the coastal walkway, and climbing Paritutu Rock, but it’s also a great base for skiing at Edgemont National Park. New Plymouth is 22 kilometers (13.6 miles) from the park, and the drive should take you around 20 minutes, so you’ll be on that ski lift in no time!

7. Where are the best places to go heli skiing in New Zealand?

A man snowboards on a backcountry run in New Zealand
Heli skiing is all about fresh powder!

Heli skiing is an awesome way to explore New Zealand’s ski fields and experience the thrill of skiing in untouched powder snow. It basically involves being transported to the top of a mountain via helicopter and then skiing down on an unofficial and basically untouched trail. It’s a really incredible experience and there are some awesome spots in New Zealand to give it a go.

Mount Cook National Park

Mount Cook National Park has a heli ski area spread across six different mountain ranges, and there are areas for all abilities, so this is an excellent spot to visit if you’re new to heli skiing. The scenery is truly breathtaking, and you really do get an amazing adrenaline rush as you explore the different slopes!

If you want to experience heli skiing in Mount Cook National Park, this tour will take you skiing on the Tasman Glacier! You’ll explore ice caves, crevasses, and untouched snow fields along the way as you take on two of New Zealand’s longest backcountry trails. Plus, you also get three scenic flights, so this is also a great way to take in the sheer beauty of one of the best national parks in the country. It’s a full-day tour and while pricey at $1,190 NZD, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Queenstown

Queenstown is my favorite place to go skiing in New Zealand, and you can enjoy heli skiing here too! On this heli-ski tour, you’ll enjoy two scenic helicopter rides up to mountaintops in the Crown Range, which sits between Queenstown and Wanaka, and your guide will endeavor to find you the freshest powder around. Then, you’ll follow your guide down the mountain and through the beautiful scenery for a full day of exciting backcountry skiing. The $1,450 NZD experience is sure to be one you talk about for years to come!

Wanaka

Wanaka is an incredible place to experience the thrill of heli skiing! The ski resorts here are great, but if you feel like taking it up a notch then head out into the backcountry for some unforgettable off-piste adventures. Getting flown over these majestic slopes gives you unparalleled views that will make your heart skip a beat – it really is something special.

Related Read: If you still want to experience a scenic flight without skiing, these are the top helicopter tours from Queenstown!

8. What are the best multi-day ski tours in New Zealand?

Bailey poses for a photo while skiing in New Zealand
Ski tours take the stress and winter driving out of skiing in New Zealand!

When it comes to multi-day tours in New Zealand, there are some great options! Whether you want to start in Christchurch or Queenstown, a guided tour takes all of the stress out of going skiing in New Zealand.

Guided 4-day snow tour from Christchurch

This all-inclusive, small-group tour is a fantastic way to experience three of the best ski resorts that New Zealand has to offer over one long weekend. You’ll visit Mt Hutt, Treble Cone, and Coronet Peak, with all meals, lift passes, and hostel accommodation included (although you can upgrade if you prefer).

You’ll begin the tour in Christchurch and finish up in Queenstown, although you can opt to head back to Christchurch at the end of the tour if that better fits your itinerary. The tour is $1,299 and can be booked online here!

7-day snow safari tour from Christchurch

Spend a whole week exploring some of New Zealand’s premier skiing destinations, including The Remarkables, Cardrona, Mt Hutt, and Coronet Peak, on this snow safari. The tour also includes a day at Lake Ohau, a more remote ski field where the slopes offer beautiful views of the lake below.

Breakfast is included each day, as well as your lift passes and hostel accommodation. You can even add heli skiing on day 5 if you’re feeling super adventurous! This epic adventure is $2,859 NZD and you can secure your spot by booking online!

7-day ultimate heli tour from Christchurch

This week-long tour includes three heli skiing or snowboarding sessions, three days of regular skiing, and a whole day of guided backcountry skiing, allowing you to get a really well-rounded experience of New Zealand’s ski scene and tick off almost all of its top resorts, as well as visiting lesser-known areas.

Breakfast is included daily, and you’ll also get lunch and dinner thrown in on a couple of the days. The tour ends in Queenstown, where you’ll have access to three amazing ski resorts, and you can even add other activities like bungee jumping or skydiving to your itinerary – for an additional cost, of course. If this sounds like the skiing trip for you, book it now!

12-day Snow Odyssey tour from Queenstown

Okay, so the term “Snow Odyssey” might sound a bit dramatic, but actually, it’s the perfect way to describe this 12-day adventure. You’ll experience 11 ski resorts, ranging from popular hotspots like Wanaka to lesser-known places like Porters, Broken River, and Craigieburn.

We love this tour from Queenstown because you get to visit all of the big resorts and also discover some local favorites that are kept alive by passionate locals who want to share their love of the mountains with travelers. While it’s the priciest on our list at $4,549 NZD, it is almost two weeks of incredible skiing! Make sure you book here before the spots are gone.

9. Working a New Zealand ski season

People line up for a drink at Mt Hutt ski field
I worked the bar of course!

A working holiday in New Zealand is the perfect way to get your ski holiday fix without breaking the bank. There are loads of different types of jobs available, which fall into two categories:

On the mountain

Working on the mountain usually means you get a free season lift pass, which is a great bonus as this could save you hundreds of dollars (or even upwards of a thousand!). You can work as a ski or snowboard instructor, a lift operator, in the rental or retail shop, or even as a part of the car park crew.

Off the mountain

There are also a ton of hospitality jobs in the towns near the ski resorts, such as bar and restaurant work. Sadly, you won’t get a free mountain pass when you’re working in a town, but you can earn tips on top of your hourly wage if you’re working in a cafe or restaurant. New Zealand doesn’t have a huge tipping culture, but you can still make a nice bonus if you provide great service.

If you’re working in a town, then you can sometimes find a job after you arrive, whereas you’ll usually need to arrange your position well in advance if you’re working at a ski resort, as these jobs are more in demand. The ski towns usually get busy around June, which is when the ski season begins. If you arrive in May, it will probably be more difficult to land a job.

How much will I earn during the ski season?

We’ll be honest – you’re not going to make bank working during the ski season in New Zealand, but it will help you stretch your holiday funds a lot further since you’ll get free passes and earn enough to cover your living expenses. Most jobs will pay minimum wage, which is $21.20 NZD per hour, although you can earn more from a more skilled position, such as a ski instructor. 

So no, it’s not going to make you rich, but if you don’t have a lot of savings to begin with, then this is definitely a great option for you. I mean, if you work on the mountain, a free season pass can save you up to $1,400 NZD, which is not exactly small change!

Plus, you’ll also get to experience New Zealand’s winter season in a totally different way from a typical tourist. You’ll be living and working amongst the locals, exploring powdery slopes by day, and partying at night with your newfound friends.

How to find a job

Working holiday visas are usually available for travelers aged 18-30, although there are a few countries where the upper age limit is 35, such as Canada, Chile, and Argentina. You can apply for jobs online on websites such as:

10. Where can you rent ski and snowboard equipment in New Zealand?

The chairlift at Cardrona Ski Resort, New Zealand
Rentals are everywhere!

You can pretty much always rent ski and snowboard equipment from the major ski resorts themselves, and as we mentioned earlier, lots of places even have packages that combine lift passes, rentals, and even lessons.

There are also plenty of equipment rental stores in the major skiing destinations in New Zealand, like Queenstown, Wanaka, and Christchurch, so you shouldn’t have any problem finding the right gear. We’ve been skiing all over New Zealand and have never struggled to find equipment! 

11. When is the BEST time to go skiing in New Zealand?

Bailey skis downhill at a ski field in New Zealand

I don’t think there’s ever a bad time to visit New Zealand! But July and August are the absolute best times to go skiing in New Zealand, as this is the peak of winter when the conditions are usually the best.

The resorts do get super busy during school holidays, though, so try to avoid those if you can. There’s usually a two-week winter break during the first two weeks of July, so the ski fields will be packed during this time. Therefore, late July and August are when we would recommend going.

If you are visiting during the school holidays, you’ll still have a blast, but make sure to book your accommodation well in advance because lodgings are in demand when schools are out!

September can also be a fun time to hit the slopes for some spring skiing. We always really enjoy a good springtime ski because you tend to get great visibility and more pleasant temperatures, and the resorts are always less crowded!

12. Is New Zealand worth visiting in winter?

Climbing high at The Remarkables Ski Field
The best runs require a little more effort than the chairlift!

Yes! Skiing isn’t the only fun thing to do in New Zealand during winter. In fact, winter is my favorite season in Queenstown especially, because it’s less crowded and the landscape is just so beautiful when it’s covered in snow.

There are plenty of hikes to enjoy in winter, and even some that you can snowshoe, which is always fun! Plus, winter is a great time for stargazing, and there are often fun winter festivals to check out, including the Queenstown Winter Festival and the Nelson Winter Festival which celebrate New Zealand’s best musical talent.

You can also still enjoy New Zealand’s amazing food scene, as well as take wine tours and visit craft breweries, which is something we absolutely love to do. There’s also a super vibrant nightlife scene in Queenstown, and the party doesn’t stop just because it’s cold outside!

13. Is skiing in New Zealand worth it?

Bailey looks over the Southern Alps while skiing in New Zealand
Yes!

Without a doubt, yes!

There are some incredible ski resorts in New Zealand and this country’s beautiful landscape makes it the perfect place to ski. The slopes are well maintained and there’s something for everyone – from beginners to experts. Plus, New Zealand has much milder winter weather than other popular skiing destinations, like Canada – I can assure you first-hand that it’s much warmer here!

The locals are friendly, the food is amazing, and the nightlife is vibrant. Plus, despite the (relatively) warmer temperatures, there’s still enough snow to enjoy some fantastic days out on the slopes.

Renting a Car, Campervan, or Motorhome in New Zealand

Bailey stands in front of a right green JUCY campervan
JUCY is one of my favorite campervan rental companies (read below for a discount code!)
Bailey stands behind her Mad Campers campervan cooking in the kitchen at Piha Beach
I also really like Mad Campers!

Let’s face it, you’re going to need wheels to get around New Zealand. Although a small country, buses between destinations are infrequent and expensive. Plus, some of the best experiences you can have in NZ are on road trips!

You have three options when it comes to getting wheels in New Zealand; a car, a campervan, or a motorhome. Here’s what you need to know about each and where to get them:

  • Car – A normal car is the cheapest rental vehicle you can get in New Zealand. It’ll get you around to all of the best destinations with ease. The only downside to a car is that you will need to stay in hotels or Airbnbs during your travels (no camping.) The easiest place to rent a car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare cars, companies, prices, features, and more very easily.
  • Campervan – A Campervan is a large van that has a bed and a small kitchen in the back. It’s what most budget travelers use for traveling around New Zealand since it allows you to camp comfortably and for free (most) nights. Campervans are best for couples or solo travelers who are happy to live in a small space. You should also love the outdoors and camping…and be prepared for an adventure of a lifetime! My favorite campervan rental company is JUCY because they have a huge selection of campervans to choose from, plus multiple pick-up/drop-off locations. You can browse JUCY’s campervan selection online here. Alternatively, you can easily compare all campervans available in NZ on Motorhome Republic here.

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT CODE: I’ve managed to snag a discount code for 5% off for my readers if you book your JUCY or Star RV campervan or motorhome before the end of June 2024! Simply click here to select your JUCY campervan, or click here to select your Star RV motorhome, and then use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off – it’s that easy! One thing to note is that this code is only valid for travel before Dec 21, 2024.

Travel Insurance Has Your Back!

Life can be unpredictable and when you’re traveling abroad, the last thing you want to worry about is getting sick or injured and having to pay out of pocket for treatment.

If this concerns you, SafetyWing can help! SafetyWing specializes in very affordable and comprehensive medical and travel insurance that is aimed at digital nomads, remote workers, and long-term travelers. It costs just $45 USD per 4 weeks!

To start coverage, you must purchase it after leaving your home country, so we usually buy it as soon as we land at the airport.

Since using SafetyWing we’ve been reimbursed thousands of dollars when we’ve gotten sick. During the pandemic, they’ve even gone as far as to pay for our last-minute flights back to Canada before the border closed!

Thanks for reading!

Bailey smiles at the camera at Mt Hutt Ski Field
Thanks for reading!

Skiing in New Zealand is an incredible experience you shouldn’t miss if you’re visiting during the winter. I hope this guide has been helpful as you plan your own ski trip. Maybe I’ll even see you out at my favorite spot at The Remarkables!

While you’re planning your ski trip to New Zealand, let me help! After living here and visiting so many of its incredible places, I have plenty of tips to make your winter vacation one to remember. So browse around my other blogs and let me know if you have any questions!

One Week Queenstown Itinerary: How to Spend 7 Days in Queenstown

10 BEST Places to go Bungy Jumping in New Zealand

21 BEST Waterfalls in New Zealand (North and South Islands)