Queenstown is one of the main snowboarding and skiing destinations in New Zealand and there are several ski areas and facilities close by. Most of the facilities offer snowmaking and snow grooming. All New Zealand ski fields also have snowboarding areas. Each ski field is unique in its own right, offering a variety of terrain and services. The choice is difficult because no matter where you go in New Zealand the skiing and snowboarding are world class.
Coronet Peak was Queenstown's first ski field and is still the most popular. They boast the largest snowmaking system in the Southern Hemisphere. Coronet is just twenty minutes from downtown Queensland and with its diverse terrain, there is something for everyone, no matter what your skiing abilities. On Friday and Saturday nights, Coronet Peak lights up for night skiing. Heli-skiing is also available to take you into the Southern Alps, a real adventure for advanced skiers and snowboarders.
Part of the Queenstown Lake district, Wanaka is a lakeside town that lies over the Crown Range from Queenstown. Less commercialized than Queenstown, but growing rapidly with several excellent restaurants and a busy nightlife, Wanaka offers environmental activities of all kinds for the adventure seeker.
Warbirds over Wanaka is a biennial event that occurs on Easter weekend in the even numbered years. Roads are closed, traffic is detoured around the area. This is a major event and not an event one should miss. Sir Thomas Wallis began this event as a way to play with his collection of World War II aircraft. Now, if you want to see this fabulous show, it has become so much an institution and so popular, you need to book two years in advance.
Wanaka has the most diverse range of snow activity choices in New Zealand and is the home to four ski fields, Treble Cone, where the national ski teams of Austria and Norway train in the off season, Cardrona ski field, the very best for snowboarding, Snow Park, a dedicated freestyle terrain park, and Snow Farm, which is dedicated to cross country skiing.
Located just a little over an hour from Queenstown, Cardrona is known for its dry snow and wide open slopes. Voted New Zealand's rider choice, Cardrona has a friendly atmosphere which makes it the perfect ski field for families, beginners, and freestylers. The on-mountain accommodations make a ski trip much easier for families, too. These facilities include five restaurants, child care services, equipment rental, a retail shop and a ski school.
You can drive to Cardrona from Queenstown, however, the road can be icy and a hazard. Chains are also required for your car. Taking the bus might be a better idea.
Te Anau is on the eastern shore of Lake Te Anau and is known as a great outdoor adventure location. It is the gateway to Fiordland National Park. Te Anau is the home of the glowworm caves. Accessible only by boat, the Aurora Caves tour takes you inside the caves where you will see thousands of glowworms and while underground in the cave you will see some incredible underground waterfalls. Te Anau is a birdwatcher's paradise with many endangered, rare birds. Accommodations include over 3,000 beds available during the tourist season.
Arrowtown is a former gold mining camp nestled beside the Arrow River. Known for its tranquil atmosphere and beautiful scenery, Arrowtown is brimming with history. Visitors can tour the historic buildings, the Chinese Miner's Settlement, visit the museum or pan for gold. The location of Arrowtown is great because it is close to fishing, art galleries, golf courses, some of the best wineries in the area and the ski slopes are close by also. Artists love the area, especially when the leaves are changing colors. Arrowtown has a village atmosphere where food is very important. You can dine on local cuisine with fresh New Zealand products, or international fare, even take away. Arrowtown is twenty minutes from Queenstown.