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Top South Island Ski Destinations

New Zealand South Island Ski Destinations Article Featured Image

New Zealand’s South Island is renowned for its stunning landscapes and world-class ski fields, making it a premier destination for snow enthusiasts from around the globe. Here are the top ski destinations on the South Island, each offering unique skiing experiences, exceptional amenities, and breathtaking scenery.

1. The Remarkables – Queenstown

The Remarkables is one of the most iconic ski fields in New Zealand, located just a short drive from Queenstown. Its high altitude and north-facing slopes ensure reliable snow conditions and full days of sun, making it ideal for both beginners and experienced skiers.

Lodging: Stay at the Hotel St Moritz in Queenstown, which offers luxurious accommodations with stunning lake and mountain views, providing a perfect blend of comfort and elegance.

Dining: The Remarkables’ base building features several dining options, including The Remarkables Café, which serves up a variety of warm, hearty meals ideal for recharging after a day on the slopes. For an evening out, try Rātā in Queenstown, which offers innovative New Zealand cuisine in a sophisticated setting.

Activities: The ski area boasts varied terrain, including three terrain parks and numerous trails that cater to all levels. For non-skiers, snowshoeing tours are available, offering a peaceful way to explore the snow-covered landscapes.

Must-See Sights: No visit to Queenstown is complete without taking a scenic gondola ride to Bob’s Peak for panoramic views of the city and Lake Wakatipu, or exploring the vibrant downtown area with its many shops and galleries.

2. Cardrona Alpine Resort – Wanaka

Cardrona is famed for its friendly atmosphere and wide range of trails suitable for all ages and skill levels, from gentle beginner slopes to challenging expert runs. It is also well-known for its extensive terrain parks and half-pipes.

Lodging: The Cardrona Hotel, one of New Zealand’s oldest hotels, offers a quaint and cozy stay. Its historic charm adds to the immersive experience of a ski holiday.

Dining: Cardrona’s on-mountain dining includes the popular Mezz Café at the base area, which offers a wide range of options to suit all tastes. For a memorable dining experience, head to Bistro Gentil in Wanaka, which combines the finesse of French gastronomy with the best local ingredients.

Activities: Besides skiing and snowboarding, Cardrona offers tubing and snow scoots, making it a great family destination. Their ski school is also excellent for beginners and children.

Must-See Sights: While in Wanaka, don’t miss a visit to the picturesque Lake Wanaka itself, ideal for a day of relaxation or a photo session at the famous Wanaka Tree.

3. Treble Cone – Wanaka

Treble Cone is known for having the largest skiable area in the South Island and offers some of the most thrilling and challenging terrain, particularly loved by advanced skiers for its long runs and steep drops.

Lodging: Stay at the Edgewater Hotel in Wanaka, which offers ski-in, ski-out convenience and comfortable, upscale accommodations.

Dining: The Altitude Brewing & Taproom in Wanaka offers a great après-ski atmosphere with excellent craft beers and casual eats. For a more refined dining experience, the Edgewater’s Wineglass Café offers superb dishes with a local twist.

Activities: Treble Cone is best known for its spectacular off-piste and backcountry options, providing some of the best powder skiing in New Zealand. Ski lessons and guided tours are available to help skiers navigate this challenging terrain.

Must-See Sights: The stunning drive from Wanaka to Treble Cone, with views over Lake Wanaka and the surrounding mountains, is an experience in itself. Make sure to have your camera ready.