Spring is in the air and summer is coming. But some people may not like the heat or may already be nostalgic for the winter. Fortunately for them, the world is made up of two hemispheres with inverted seasons. Summer in the United States means skiing in New Zealand! The best places for skiing in the Southern Hemisphere are in South America and in New Zealand (options are very limited in Australia).
Going to New Zealand is one of the best ideas for a winter vacation while it's summer. New Zealand has the advantage of having well-developed skiing infrastructure and breathtaking mountain ranges. New Zealand's Southern Alps should be explored in summer and winter alike.
What Makes New Zealand The Perfect Southern Ski Destination
New Zealand is a major Southern Hemisphere skiing destination with most of the ski resorts located in the country's South Island (there are also a few in the North Island). A typical ski season here starts mid-June and with good winters can run as late as the start of November. The North Island is warmer, and its mountains are shorter than the South Island, so its seasons are normally shorter.
- Season: From Mid-June to As Late As Early November
New Zealand is also regarded as one of the best places to learn to ski for the first time. There are plenty of qualified instructors at each of the South Island's resorts offering both group and private lessons for skiing and snowboarding alike.
New Zealand has a range of skiing opportunities - large commercial resorts, smaller intrepid and club ski fields, backcountry skiing, and heliskiing.
- Mount Cook/Aoraki: The Highest Mountain In New Zealand At 3,754 meters (12,316 ft)
- Mt Ruapehu: A Volcano With New Zealand's Largest Commercial Ski Field (Located In The North Island)
The Main Skiing Regions of The South Island
There are three main skiing regions in the South Island (Mount Hutt - not far from Christchurch, Wanaka, and Queenstown).
Mt Hutt Ski Area
Mt Hutt has been voted New Zealand’s best ski resort seven years running at the World Ski Awards. It offers a true alpine experience, with wide-open terrain, leg-burning runs, monster snowfalls, and spectacular views. It is one of the largest and highest ski areas in New Zealand and is ideal for every age and ability.
Gateway: The Small Town Of Methven (Also Drivable From Christchurch)
- Facts: Elevation: 2086m, Skiable Area: 365 hectares
Wanaka Ski Area
Wanaka is just a 45-minute drive from the Queenstown Airport and offers another stunning alpine vibe. Set to the backdrop of eye-watering alpine lakes, Wanaka boasts two of New Zealand’s top ski fields, Cardrona Alpine Resort and Treble Cone.
- Cardrona Alpine Resort: New Zealand’s most popular ski area & Has The Most Varied Terrian of Any Ski Resort In New Zealand
- Treble Cone: Has Something For Everyone And Boasts 700m of vertical
Queenstown Ski Area
The adventure capital of the Southern Hemisphere for both summer and winter adventure sports is Queenstown. The experience and eye-watering natural beauty of skiing at its resorts at Coronet Peak Ski Area and The Remarkables Ski Area in Queenstown. The breathtaking vistas will stay with one forever.
- Queenstown Ski Areas: Coronet Peak Ski Area and The Remarkables Ski Area
Wanaka and Queenstown are so close together that they are sometimes thought of as one ski area. These four ski resorts off one of the longest seasons in the Southern Hemisphere and some of the best ski fields in the South Island.
An Infinite Number Of New Zealand Ski Packages
It is impossible to list out the many ski packages here, but there are ski packages for every budget, level of experience, sense of adventure, and duration. One can go and book one's own accommodation and pay for the ski pass individually. Or one can book everything in a single package.
Example Package: 7 Day Queenstown Winter Ski Package
This 7-day and 6-night Queenstown Winter Ski Package offers accommodation for 6 nights in Garden Court Suites and Apartments in Queenstown, a car hire, and an NZSki New Zealand Superpass: 2 Day Lift Pass. The package comes with a full suggested itinerary of how to spend one's trip and get the most out of it.
- Duration: 7 Days and 6 Nights
- Includes: Accommodation, Car Hire, A 2-Day Lift Pass
- Itinerary: A Full Suggested Itinerary
- Cost: From NZD$1,508 ($950)
Ski New Zealand lists out many more ski and winter holiday packages to suit every preference and need.