It’s ski season, and Winter activity lovers are praising the cold weather. Whether you are a newbie to the snow or an advanced ski junkie, Booking.com has put together places that are perfect for a winter holiday in New Zealand and Australia, thanks to the opening of the trans-Tasman travel bubble.
Best For Serious Skiers
Canterbury’s Mt Hutt has been voted New Zealand’s best ski resort five years running. An authentic alpine experience, Mt Hutt boasts wide-open terrain with leg burning runs and spectacular views over the Canterbury Plains.
A little bit off the beaten track, you’ll find Mt Olympus, known locally as the “playground of the gods”, a must for the seasoned skier. The quiet and friendly mountain, with its varied peaks and terrain, is genuinely an expert’s paradise. The South-facing basin translates to powder dumps, and with no crowds, the snow holds nicely. One hundred people is a big day here, which means plenty of fresh lines on the slopes and no lift lines!
Where to stay
Ski Time is located in Methven, just half an hour from Mt Hutt – although a day trip for seasoned snow bunnies to ski Mt Olympus will require a little more travel time. The onsite restaurant and bar mean dining decisions at the end of a long day on the slopes are made easy, and complimentary breakfast will save you time in the morning so you can hit the slopes early on! Ski storage and a drying room are also available.
Best For Luxury
Mt Ruapehu, located in the UNESCO dual-World-Heritage Tongariro National Park, is listed for its cultural and geological significance. Along with having the Whanganui National Park nearby, this area is one of New Zealand’s premium outdoor destinations. An easy drive from both Auckland and Wellington, Mt Ruapehu boasts two ski areas, Whakapapa, which features beginner Happy Valley and New Zealand’s longest gondola, Sky Waka, and Tūroa, home to huge snow bases, volcanic terrain and New Zealand’s highest lift.
Where to stay
The historical Chateau Tongariro boasts grand architecture and interiors, all in a stunning location just a short drive from Whakapapa. Enjoy spectacular mountain views, good company and a host of leisure activities thanks to the 9-hole golf course, a cinema showing a range of films daily, games room with billiards, sauna, indoor plunge pool and fitness centre. The Chateau offers onsite parking, but transport for the 10-minute drive up the mountain is also available for booking to avoid finding a park.
Best For Après ski
Queenstown is hard to beat when it comes to post-ski options. Filled with alpine adventure by day, and your pick of cosy wine bars, friendly pubs and buzzing nightclubs after sunset, with over 150 bars and restaurants across the Queenstown region.
Queenstown’s multiple ski fields offer varied terrain for skiers and boarders of all levels, with Coronet Peak, the closest, just a 20-minute drive from the city centre. A multi-peak pass is available, giving access to the slopes at both Coronet Peak and the Remarkables, perfect for getting the most out of the snow holiday. Across the ranges in Wanaka, Cardrona Alpine Resort offers something for everyone, from first-timers to Olympians, with ski and snowboard lessons for all levels.
Where to stay
Relax and unwind in front of the fire at the Hilton Queenstown Resort and Spa. The hotel offers five-star luxury, with 220 generously sized comfortable rooms and amenities including two restaurants, heated pool, hot tub, gym and a full-service spa, meaning there’s something for everyone, with stunning views across Lake Wakatipu included too.
Best For Families
Head for St Arnaud for an off the beaten track alpine adventure in the Tasman region. Picturesque village St Arnaud sits at the edge of Lake Rotoiti and is popular with skiers and trampers.
The wide uncrowded slopes and well-groomed trails provide superb terrain for beginners and intermediates while advanced skiers can challenge themselves in the high powder runs and chutes. Snowboarders will love the varied terrain, particularly the terrain park which offers more thrills and spills for adventurous boarders.
Where to stay
Family-owned for more than 20 years, the Alpine Lodge is nestled amongst the impressive St Arnaud Range. an exceptional range of apartments, rooms, and backpacker accommodation, as well as a full bar and restaurant and playground for the kids, Alpine Lodge offers everything you need to settle in for your Winter escape.
Best Of Aussie
If long ski runs through Kosciuszko National Park from a base in a picture-perfect village is your bag, head to the village of Thredbo, New South Wales. Featuring Australia’s only alpine gondola, you get from village to ski run in just 6 minutes!
Score first tracks down Supertrail, Australia’s longest run, or enjoy a guided Backcountry Tour outside the resort boundaries by ski, snowboard or snowshoe. Saturday night fireworks and the flaming flare run are a Thredbo favourite.
Where to stay
Pure Chalet Thredbo offers renovated bed and breakfast accommodation in the heart of Thredbo Village. The property is a north-facing, three level traditional chalet featuring mountain views from all rooms and private on-site parking, and the Kosciusko Express Quad Chair lift is just 300 metres from Pure Thredbo Chalet.
There is a communal living room and dining area and guests can enjoy a home-cooked breakfast made from local quality produce. The property also offers a drying room, a special snow-boot dryer and an area to store bikes, skis or snowboards. A village shuttle bus is also available to take guests around Thredbo Village.