Ski Season In Queenstown And Wanaka- When And Where

Skiing in New Zealand
Ski Season in Queenstown and Wanaka- When and Where

New Zealand is the perfect place to learn to ski or snowboard, as the ski fields are extremely friendly. If you are new to this field and a learner, the areas in the commercial ski fields have either a cheaper lift pass or are free for you.

Once you think you have mastered turning without being a danger to everyone around you, ski fields such as The Remarkables and Whakapapa have wide runs with a steady gradient to build on the vertical meters while improving on your newfound skills. Here is all about Ski Season Queenstown.

For advanced skiers and boarders, plenty of technical trails can be found, with enough snow in all ski fields. You can try Treble Cone or Porters, especially technical runs, to get your thighs burning.

Almost all fields offer some terrain park, whether it is The Stash at The Remarkables, which makes features from natural materials, Park After Dark at Coronet Peak, or the staff at a club field pushing some picnic tables together.

This year, the Ski season in Queenstown and Wanaka runs from early to mid-June through early October, depending on snowfallThe mountains are high and powdery enough in winter to offer excellent ski terrain.

With some of the best ski fields and authentic ski experiences in the Southern Hemisphere. The ski fields tend to be open from early June to the end of September.

Commercial Ski Fields – Ski Season Queenstown

Commercial Ski Fields
Commercial Ski Fields

The commercial ski fields have a café, bar, retail, equipment hire, first aid, and ski school. They have groomed runs and chairlifts, and some have snow cannons.

  • Whakapapa (North Island)
  • Turoa (North Island)
  • Mt Hutt
  • Coronet Peak
  • Cardrona
  • The Remarkables
  • Treble Cone
  • Roundhill
  • Mt Dobson
  • Mt Lyford
  • Ohau Snow Fields
  • Snowfarm

1. Club Ski Fields

Club Ski Fields
Club Ski Fields

Club fields are usually independently or family-owned and smaller, ranging from 60ha to 500ha. Expect basic facilities but less crowded trails.

  • Fox Peak
  • Hanmer Springs
  • Craigieburn
  • Porters
  • Temple Basin
  • Broken River
  • Mt Cheesman
  • Mt Olympus
  • Tukino (North Island)
  • Manganui (North Island)

There are four main ski fields accessible from Queenstown and Wanaka: The Remarkables, Cardrona, Coronet Peak and Treble Cone. The approximate opening dates for the ski fields for Queenstown and Wanaka in 2017 are as follows:

  • Cardrona – 10th June – 08th October
  • Coronet Peak – 10th June – 01st October
  • The Remarkables – 17th June – 01st October
  • Treble Cone – 07th July – 01st October

Each year the quaint, picturesque towns of Queenstown and Wanaka welcome snow junkies from across the globe. With direct flights from Australia to Queenstown and from Auckland and Christchurch, these locations are easy to get to.

Wanaka is just a one-hour drive from Queenstown, and transport to and from the two towns is easy to book. Base Backpackers are located right in the heart of both Queenstown and Wanaka.

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

Wanaka is a quieter version of Queenstown that tends to attract boarders and skiers who want to avoid the crowds.

Treble Cone and Cardrona (although accessible from Queenstown) are the two main fields close to Wanaka. Wanaka is situated on Lake Wanaka and is a sight for sore eyes – think snow-capped mountains, log fires, cozy couches, and mulled wine!

2. Coronet Peak

 Coronet Peak
Coronet Peak

Coronet Peak is the closest Ski Field to Queenstown, just a 20-minute drive away. It caters to 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 drop you right at the base of Coronet Peak.

Coronet Peak offers night skiing on Friday and Saturday nights from 4 – 9 PM and several events, such as the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival and DNA Gay Ski Week. The Terrain: 25% Beginner/Novice, 45% Intermediate, 30% Advanced

3. The Remarkables

The Remarkables
The Remarkables

The Remarkables is a favourite for more experienced skiers and snowboarders. It offers 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 a $20 return.

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

4. Cardrona


Cardrona is accessible from both Wanaka and Queenstown: 35 minutes from Wanaka and one hour from Queenstown. The ski field’s base is higher than neighbouring Remarkables and Coronet Peak, so it tends to get more snow.

The field is family-friendly but boasts several Intermediate and advanced tracks. Buses can be booked from both Wanaka and Queenstown. The Terrain: 25% Beginner, 55% Intermediate, 20% Advanced

5. Treble Cone

Treble Cone
Treble Cone

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

Treble Cone is just a 35-minute drive from Wanaka and a 75-minute drive from Queenstown. Transport to the field can be arranged from both locations. The Terrain: 10% Beginner, 45% Intermediate, 45% Advanced

6. Packages and Accommodation

Packages and Accommodation
Packages and Accommodation

Base Backpackers are available in Queenstown and Wanaka. Both hostels have a dedicated Travel Desk that can provide information and help with Transport, Lift Passes, Lessons, and Gear Hire.

Base Backpackers is right in the centre of town in both locations, offering both Dorm and Private Accommodation and female-only Sanctuary Dorms.

The hostels have large Kitchens and common Areas, Laundry Facilities, a Bar serving Food and Entertainment seven nights a week, a 24-hour reception, Daily Activities, and drying Rooms.

7. Events and Activities


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

Loco Cantina Queenstown

Mint Bar Wanaka

Other Events and Activities To Enjoy at Queenstown and Wanaka

Other Events and Activities to enjoy at Queenstown and Wanaka
Other Events and Activities to enjoy at Queenstown and Wanaka

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! For 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 and host a photography and film competition. For program information, click here

Queenstown is the home of Bungy Jumping. 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 Hang glide, Paraglide, Jet Boat, Sky Dive, and raft, along with many other adventure options.

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, and more. Both Base hostels have a Travel Desk to assist you with any activities.

Interesting read: SKYCITY Queenstown Casino


When is the best time for a ski trip to the South Island?

The ski season in New Zealand typically runs from June to October. The best time for skiing depends on your preference. Early in the season, fresh snow is available, but there are fewer open slopes. Later in the season, more terrain is available, but possibly softer snow.

What are the top ski fields on South Island?

Remarkables, Coronet Peak, Cardrona, and Treble Cone are some of the most popular ski fields on the South Island. Each offers unique experiences for skiers and snowboarders.

How can I book accommodation in Queenstown and Wanaka?

Base Backpackers in Queenstown and Wanaka offer both dormitory and private rooms. You can book accommodations through their official website or by contacting reservation services.

Are there transport options to and from the ski fields?

Yes, you can book buses or shuttles from Queenstown and Wanaka to the ski fields. Many ski resorts offer transportation services to make your trip more convenient.

Are there events and activities for non-skiers in Queenstown and Wanaka?

Absolutely! Both Queenstown and Wanaka host numerous events and activities during the winter season. You can enjoy music festivals, adventure sports, film festivals, and more.

What should I pack for a winter sports trip to New Zealand?

Pack warm clothing, waterproof gear, and layers for cold weather. Don’t forget your ski or snowboard equipment. If you’re travelling from abroad, be sure to have a valid passport and visa.

About the author

Kamal Kaur

Kamal Kaur

Kamal Kaur has been an integral voice in the New Zealand gaming landscape for years.

As a senior writer for PokiesMobile NZ, Kamal brings rich experiences from her diverse background.

Born in India and later migrating to New Zealand, she effortlessly blends her cultural insights with a deep love for gaming.

Kamal is renowned for her in-depth game analysis, player strategies, and knack for spotting industry trends.