ski season in queenstown at night

Your complete guide to the 2017 Ski Season in Queenstown & Wanaka, New Zealand: Ski Fields, Events & Activities

Ski Season runs from early to mid June through to early October in Queenstown & Wanaka depending on snow fall. The approximate opening dates for the ski fields in 2017 have yet to be announced, but as an idea here are the 2016 opening dates:

  • Cardrona - 11th June
  • Coronet Peak - 11th June
  • The Remarkables - 18th June
  • Treble Cone - 23rd June

Each year the quaint & picturesque towns of Queenstown & Wanaka welcome snow junkies from across the globe. With direct flights from Australia to Queenstown, as well as from Auckland & Christchurch, these locations are easy to get to! Wanaka is located just a one hour drive from Queenstown and transport to and from the two towns are easy enough to book. Base Backpackers are located right in the heart of both Queenstown & Wanaka.

Queenstown is New Zealand's adventure capital with a bustling night life - offering Bungy Jumping, Jet Boating, Skydiving & basically any adventure sport you can think of. The town is heaving with snow enthusiasts throughout the entire season. Coronet Peak & The Remarkables are the two closest ski fields to Queenstown.

Wanaka is a quieter version of Queenstown that tends to attract boarders and skiiers looking to steer clear of the crowds. Treble Cone & Cardrona (although accessible from Queenstown) are the two main fields close to Wanaka. Wanaka is situated on Lake Wanaka and proves to be a sight for sore eyes - think snow capped mountains, log fires, cosy couches and mulled wine!

There are four main ski fields accessible from Queenstown & Wanaka: The Remarkables, Cardrona, Coronet Peak & Treble Cone.

Coronet Peak

Coronet Peak is the closest Ski Field to Queenstown, just a 20 minute drive away. Coronet Peak caters for all levels and is a great place for beginners. Return buses depart from the Snow Centre (just a 5 minute walk from Base Queenstown) all day long for $20 and will drop you right at the base of Coronet Peak.

Coronet Peak offers night skiiing Friday & Saturday nights 4 - 9PM as well as number of events such as the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival & DNA Gay Ski Week.

Terrain: 25% Beginner/Novice, 45% Intermediate, 30% Advanced

The Remarkables

The Remarkables tend to be a favourite for the more experienced skiers and snowboarders whilst offering three terrain parks! The field is a 45 minute drive from Queenstown and buses depart from the Snow Centre (just down the road from Base) for $20 return.

Terrain: 30% Beginner/Novice, 40% Intermediate, 30% Advanced - also a Terrain Park suited for beginners through to intermediate


Cardrona is accessible from both Wanaka & Queenstown; 35 minutes from Wanaka & 1 hour from Queenstown. Cardrona tends to get more snow as the base of the ski field is actually higher than neighbouring Remarkables & Coronet Peak.

The field is family friendly but boasts a number of Intermediate & Advanced tracks. Buses can be booked from both Wanaka & Queenstown.

Cardona: 25% Beginner, 55% Intermediate, 20% Advanced

Captains Basin view at Cadrona Skifield

Treble Cone

Treble Cone is a favourite among the more experienced snow junkies with 10% Beginner Tracks, 45% Intermediate Tracks & 45% Advanced Tracks. Treble Cone has the highest vertical rise of the four fields and 550 hectares of ski field.

Treble Cone is just 35 minute drive from Wanaka & a 75 minute drive from Queenstown. Transport to the field can be arranged from both locations.

Terrain: 10% Beginner, 45% Intermediate, 45% Advanced

Packages & Accommodation

You will find Base Backpackers in both Queenstown & Wanaka. Both hostels have a dedicated Travel Desk that can provide you with information and help you with Transport, Lift Passes, Lessons & Gear Hire.

In both locations Base Backpackers is right in the centre of town, offering both Dorm & Private Accommodation as well as Female only Sanctuary Dorms. The hostels have large Kitchens & Common Areas, Laundry Facilities, a Bar serving Food & Entertainment 7 nights of the week, 24 hour reception, Daily Activities & Drying Rooms.


Each Ski Season, Wanaka & Queenstown play host to a number of major events. The Base Backpackers Bars: Loco Cantina & Mint Bar will be hosting an array of Live DJs & Acts throughout the season. To keep in touch with Events:

Other Events

2017 American Express Winter Festival
22nd June - 25th June in Queenstown. Live DJs, Hot Tub Outdoor Cinema Sessions, Pop up Bars and more! More information here.

2017 DNA Gay Ski Week
The colour comes to Queenstown at the end of August every year! 2017's dates are yet to be announced - stay tuned. Live Music, the annual 'Snow Ball,' Circus Acts, Cabaret & more! More info click here

2017 NZ Mountain Film Festival
30th June - 9th July in Wanaka & 6th - 8th July in Queenstown. The festival will showcase International Adventure Films as well as play host to a photography and film competition. For programme information click here


Queenstown is the home of Bungy Jumping! Here you will find three Bungy sites: Kawarau Bridge, the Ledge and the infamous 134m Nevis Bungy Jump! In Queenstown you will also have the opportunity to Hangglide, Paraglide, Jet Boat, Sky Dive & Raft, along with many other adventure options. Check out our Top 15 things to do in Queeenstown here.

Lake Wanaka is also a fantastic place to skydive with amazing views of the ski fields. It is also one of the cheapest places in New Zealand to book an Aerobatic Flight Lesson (from $190), as well as Kayaking, Paddle Boarding, Indoor Rock Climbing & more! Check out the top 10 things to do in Wanaka here.

Both Base hostels have a Travel Desk that will be able to assist you with any activities.

  • To book accommodation in Queenstown: Here!
  • To book accommodation in Wanaka: Here!
  • Travelling in a Group? We have fantastic Group rates at both Base Queenstown & Base Wanaka. Enquire now.

Main image: By André Richard Chalmers (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons