Located in South Island of New Zealand, Wanaka is a charming alpine resort town with snow-capped peaks, a sparkling lake and glacial faces that are a haven for skiing and snowboarding. Wanaka is home to numerous ski resorts and ski areas, ranging from beginner-friendly resorts with family amenities for the kids to vast heli-ski areas for the ultimate in winter adventure. Whether you’re planning a ski trip with the kids for the first time, you want a romantic alpine holiday with days on the slopes and nights of après-ski or you’re looking for new heli-ski terrain, you can find it in Wanaka ski resorts. Take a look at the top ski resorts near Wanaka to plan your winter holiday itinerary.
Cardrona Alpine Resort for family fun
With over 400 hectares of diverse terrain for beginners, intermediates and advanced skiers, Cardrona Alpine Resort is among the top resorts in Wanaka. With so much terrain dedicated to novices, Cardrona Alpine Resort is a favourite among families with children and first-time skiers and boarders. If you have advanced or expert skills, Cardrona Alpine Resort has excellent off-piste areas as well as terrain parks and half pipes for freestyle skiing and snowboarding. The resort has plenty of on-mountain facilities, including eateries and après-ski activities, a ski school, equipment and retail shops and childcare services. If you want to stay on the mountain, Cardrona Alpine Resort is one of the few resorts that offer mid-mountain accommodation.
Treble Cone for gnarly terrain
One of the largest ski areas in New Zealand, Treble Cone is known for its challenging terrain that caters to advanced and expert skiers and boarders. The resort spans 550 hectares and offers a vertical drop of 700 metres. For confident intermediate and advanced skiers and boarders, the resort boasts steep groomers and off-piste terrain, as well as black diamond runs for the most daring of adventurers. Though the resort has minimal beginner areas, the slopes are suitable for first-timers and children learning the ropes. For accommodation, you can stay in town on the shores of Wanaka, which has numerous lodging options, including resort hotels and budget-friendly options.
The Remarkables for beginner skiing and boarding
The Remarkables Ski Area mountain range and ski field is located in Otago near Lake Wakatipu. Suitable for beginner to advanced skiers and boarders, The Remarkables offer 3 north-facing bowls spanning 350 hectares of diverse terrain. The resort has a ski school for ski and snowboard lessons for all ages with qualified instructors. The resort can be reached via scenic alpine roads, or you can take a bus from the centre of Queenstown.
Coronet Peak for diverse offerings
Coronet Peak is one of the most popular ski resorts on South Island, thanks to its terrain and facilities. The consistent snowfall and high-tech snowmaking create a great ski season. Coronet Peak also has night skiing on certain nights. You’ll find a mix of beginner, intermediate and expert ski runs across the terrain, as well as well-developed off-piste skiing. The resort is popular for families due to its beginner-friendly slopes and dedicated children’s lift.
Snow Farm for family winter activities
Designed primarily for cross-country skiing, Snow Farm features 55 kilometres of trails on the Pisa range near Cardrona. Each year, Snow Farm hosts the Merino Muster, a cross-country skiing event. Other activities at Snow Farm include dog-sledding tours, snowshoeing and ice- and snow-driving experiences. In warmer months, you can mountain bike, hike, orienteer, rock climb and adventure race at Snow Farm.
Soho Basin for backcountry fun
Soho Basin is a playground for backcountry experiences. Boasting 728 hectares of high-country terrain and over 500 vertical metres, Soho Basin is ideal for alpine off-piste skiing and riding. Soho Basin is also popular for heli-skiing and cat-skiing, which you can partake in with an experienced guide.
The Southern Alps of the Wanaka region is the top destination for heli-skiing in New Zealand. The vast, diverse terrain spans the ranges around Mt Aspiring National Park and offers new challenges and experiences for confident intermediate, advanced and expert skiers and boarders looking for new challenges. You could find a variety of experienced tour operators that offer single-day and multi-day heli-skiing trips, all with small groups organised by skill and experience level. The heli-ski operators also have heli-accessed snowshoeing and camping in geodesic dome tents in Alpine Camp for a unique experience in the alpine wild.