Your complete guide to the 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 2016 are (these are also dependent on snow fall):
- 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 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 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
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
Skydiving over Lake Wanaka
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:
American Express Winter Festival
24th June - 3rd July in Queenstown. Live DJs, Hot Tub Outdoor Cinema Sessions, Pop up Bars and more! More information here.
DNA Gay Ski Week
The colour comes to Queenstown 27th August - 3rd September! Live Music, the annual 'Snow Ball,' Circus Acts, Cabaret & more! More info click here
NZ Mountain Film Festival
1st - 5th July in Wanaka & 7th - 9th 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.