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The best ski destinations in New Zealand

Known as one of the best places in the world to ski and snowboard, it’s no doubt that there are some pretty special ski destinations to check out right here in New Zealand. It’s an awesome combo: gorgeous scenery and thrilling ski slopes. Dotted all around the North and South Island are the best of the best ski destinations you need to add to your road trip itinerary.

Recommended car: An SUV is the perfect car type to take with you on your road trip in New Zealand, especially if you are exploring ski destinations in Winter. With a spacious interior to fit all your luggage and a strong exterior, you’ll feel safe on the roads and comfortable at the same time.

Useful tips:

  • Take a look at our tips for winter driving in New Zealand.
  • Keep in mind that car rentals do not come with roof racks, so you may want to hire your skiing equipment at the resort.
  • Plan your day ahead of time by searching the ski location online and checking that the slopes are open before you head out there.
  • You might need to add snow chains to your car to access certain areas.
  • You also may need to purchase additional insurance to cover any snow-related incidents. You can contact our customer care team to find out more.

North Island

Yes, it's true! There are places to ski on the North Island of New Zealand. It might sound crazy, but some of the biggest ski destinations are in the north. If you get your timing right and only want to experience the North Island, but still want to go skiing, there are options for you.

Mount Ruapehu: Whakapapa, Tūroa and Tukino

Watch out for kiwis!
Watch out for kiwis!
  • Did you know that Mount Ruapehu has three ski slopes? It’s also one of New Zealand's largest volcanos.
  • Whakapapa is where you will find the largest gondola. You will also be able to visit the highest restaurant and cafe in New Zealand.
  • Tūroa can be found on the southern side of the mountain. This is where you will find the longest vertical drop.
  • Tukino is a family-friendly ski slope that is set on the eastern side of the mountain which receives first light in the morning.

Mount Taranaki / Taranaki Maunga: Manganui

A view of Mount Taranaki from a beach near New Plymouth.
A view of Mount Taranaki / Taranaki Maunga from a beach near New Plymouth / Ngāmotu.
  • Covering 59 hectares, Manganui can be found on the stunning Mount Taranaki / Taranaki Maunga.
  • The peak is a stratovolcano that is over 120,000 years old. Now a dormant volcano, it has the perfect slopes and positioning for your skiing adventure.
  • An amazing road trip is starting in Auckland / Tāmaki Makaurau and driving down the west coast. We recommend stopping at the Hakarimata Scenic Reserve, the blue springs near Putāruru, and Pirongia Forest Park on your drive. Take a look at the itinerary here.

South Island

From sweeping mountain ranges set right in nature to thrilling slopes set near bustling towns, there is a ski destination for everyone on the South Island.

Otago / Ōtākou: Ōhau

Snowy peaks close to Lake Ohau.
Snowy peaks close to Lake Ōhau.
  • If you’re looking for a laid back and chill skiing experience, Ōhau is the place for you.
  • What’s more is that it is in a perfect location. Nearby is the world-renowned Mount Cook / Aoraki and three beautiful lakes; Takapō, Pūkaki, and of course Ōhau.
  • It is recommended to stay at Lake Ōhau Lodge and drive up to slopes that are only ten kilometres away which will make your trip that little bit more memorable.


The Wanaka Tree in Autumn, Roys Bay.
The Wānaka Tree in Autumn, Roys Bay.
  • You’ll find the beautiful Wānaka in the Southern Alps of New Zealand.
  • Heli-Skiing is all the rage in Wānaka. What is it you ask? This is where you go on a helicopter ride to gorgeous locations to snowboard or ski. The locations can only be accessed by helicopter and are an experience to remember.
  • June through to October is the best time to go skiing here and is when conditions are prime.

Queenstown / Tāhuna: The Remarkables

The Remarkables mountain range.
The Remarkables mountain range.
  • The great thing about skiing near Queenstown / Tāhuna is the access to the bustling nightlife on offer. From romantic restaurants to buzzing bars - those looking for a great atmosphere will feel right at home here.
  • The Remarkables are just a 45-minute drive from Queenstown / Tāhuna. From lessons for beginners to different slopes for all skill levels, this place really has it all.
  • The view from The Remarkable is like no other. What’s more, is the drive is full of picturesque scenery. You can drive your rental car all the way to this pristine location.

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