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Snow guide: Queenstown Lakes

Cardrona Ski Resort. Photo:

Queenstown has two main ski and snowboard areas; the South Island’s most popular, Coronet Peak, and high-altitude The Remarkables.

It’s 18km from Queenstown to the base carparks of Coronet Peak and 28km to the top of The Remarkables. From Wanaka it’s 29km to the base carpark at Treble Cone, and 34km to Cardrona and the Snow Farm.

Coronet Peak

It’s worth coming here just for the view across the mountains to the lakes and plains, as well as one of the world’s most sophisticated snow-making systems. It’s an easy twenty minute drive from Queenstown on sealed roads. There are all day supervised kids’ programmes for 3 months upwards and free day lift passes for children aged 6 years & under. With a night-skiing option, Coronet Peak has the longest opening hours amongst NZ ski fields.

Famous for: night skiing, high-capacity lifts.

  • 1 high speed six seater, 2 express quads, 1 T- Bar and 4 surface conveyor lifts
  • 280 hectares of skiing
  • 481m vertical decent
  • 1649m altitude

More info | Where to stay: Queenstown l Arrowtown

The Remarkables

It’s all about fun, families and freestyle on this big mountain, 35 minutes’ drive from Queenstown. Here you have a fantastic freestyle line-up including 3 terrain parks for intermediate and advanced skiers and riders and the new Burton signature run The Stash.  There’s a variety of chutes, challenging diamond runs and a dedicated learners’ area, along with all day supervised kids’ programmes for three months upwards. There are 3 cafes and restaurants in the new base building, and the Ice Bar on the mountain.

Famous for: wide sunny bowls, high altitude, consistent conditions

  • High Speed 6 seater Curvey Basin chair, 3 Quad Chairs, 3 surface conveyor lifts
  • 220 hectares of skiing
  • 357m vertical decent
  • 1943m altitude

More info | Where to stay: Queenstown l Arrowtown

Wanaka for snow

Wanaka has three main ski and snowboard areas; Treble Cone, the South Island’s largest ski area, Cardrona with the most extensive park & pipe facilities in the Southern Hemisphere and Snow Farm, the only cross country ski area in New Zealand.


A snowy bowl between Wanaka (34km) and Queenstown (58km), this relaxed and friendly alpine resort has a special place in many hearts. It’s fun for families, freestyle skiers and boarders of all levels, with four terrain parks, two halfpipes, a big air and a gravity cross course. There are lessons and childcare facilities. After a day on the slopes, end your day with a beer from the Cardrona Hotel, built in 1863 and surrounded by a child-friendly garden, it’s at the bottom of the access road.

Famous for: naturally made snow and its terrain parks.

  • 7 lifts
  • 345 hectares of skiing
  • 600m vertical decent
  • 1894m altitude

More info | Where to stay: Queenstown l Arrowtown l Wanaka 

Treble Cone

With the South Island’s largest skiable terrain this is an exhilarating ski area. Treble Cone was winner of ‘New Zealand’s Best Ski Resort’ in 2013 and again in 2014 at the World Ski Awards. On the edge of the majestic Southern Alps, you’ll get outstanding views across Lake Wanaka and Mt Aspiring from Treble Cone’s slopes. It also has an award-winning cafe and great snow school clinics. Treble Cone is a 29km lakeside drive from Wanaka.

Famous for: the South Island’s longest groomed trails and highest vertical rise

  • 4 lifts
  • 550 hectares of skiing
  • 700m vertical decent
  • 1960m lift elevation

More info | Where to stay: Wanaka | Queenstown Lakes

Snow Farm

Snow Farm is a commercial cross country ski area high on the Pisa Range, with views of the Southern Alps and Mt Aspiring. Cross-country ski teams come here from around the world to practise on its 55 kilometres of trails. There’s also 10kms of snow shoe trail and a Snow Fun Zone.

Famous for: cross-country skiing

  • no lifts
  • 55 kilometres trails
  • 30m vertical decent
  • 1965 highest point Mt Pisa

More info | Where to stay: Queenstown Lakes

Heliskiing at Queenstown Lakes

Heliskiing takes you to another level of alpine excitement, away from the piste and the crowds and onto deep powder snow, long downhill descents and natural terrain. You’ll be dropped off by helicopter on a mountain or glacier, and, accompanied by a guide, ski your way down a run, where you’ll be collected again, and returned to the top. A day’s heliskiing can include anywhere from three to 11 runs. It’s not suitable for beginners, and not all heliskiing is offered to snowboarders.

Alpine Heliski
Southern Lakes Heliski

Nearby towns


New Zealand’s adventure capital by day, this sophisticated ski town also comes alive at night.  Everything in Queenstown is within walking distance, including more than 100 cafes and restaurants, loads of bars and shops. On the banks of the turquoise Lake Wakatipu surrounded by the snow-clad alps, the scenery will take your breath away. Queenstown has its own international airport and Christchurch is a 479km drive away.


The gateway to Treble Cone and Cardrona ski areas, and the Snow Farm, Wanaka also sits on the edge of a pristine lake. The view of the Southern Alps across the gleaming waters will stay in your memory for ever. Take the chance to tramp in the nearby Mount Aspiring National Park. Head up the Matukituki Valley for a great walk up to the Rob Roy Glacier.

After you absorb the beauty of this pristine wilderness, you can rest assured you will find a good restaurant as Wanaka township caters for everyone from budget backpackers to those seeking lavish indulgence. Wanaka has lots of interesting family-friendly attractions, and is close to renowned vineyards, such as Rippon and Gibbston Valley.


Resting on the banks of the Arrow River, this pretty village is a living historic gold-mining town. The river is said to have been one of the richest sources of alluvial gold in the world, and in the 1860s it attracted a bustling population of gold miners. The main street is lined with exotic trees that reflect summer and autumn colours and many of the original shops and cottages are still used today.

Lake Hawea

A tranquil alternative to nearby Wanaka and Queenstown, this small settlement is elevated above the long, narrow, deep blue glacial lake, affording its inhabitants both sun and spectacular views. Lake Hawea is a 15-minute drive from Wanaka and an hour from Queenstown.


Piwa perched