Ski season in Queenstown: Hit the slopes at NZ’s hottest location

Betsy Pie (Matakauri Lodge)

Shannon Walker (Over the Top helicopters and pics from heli-skiing)Jessica Harkins (every little thing else)

Action adventures in snowy NZ

Sitting in visitors gridlock en path to a ski hill is a novel type of tourism torture, or a rugged lesson in delayed gratification. On this event, a mid-week morning, there is a somewhat prosaic rationalization: faculty drop-off and a one-way bridge. What is meant to be a 40-minute drive drags on. We’re going to understand The Remarkables once we lastly rise up to them.

Take a gondola as much as the Skyline complicated to take pleasure in beautiful views of Queenstown and surrounds.

Chris McLennan

Locals insist – and customer data present – that summer time is Queenstown’s busiest season. Yet winter, when the surrounding mountains are coated in snow, is closing in.


This city is many issues to many individuals: a base for New Zealand’s largest ski resorts and excessive sport actions; a spot of mesmerising magnificence with high-end lodgings, wonderful eating places and – being in Central Otago – wonderful pinot noirs; a spot to recharge and … procreate? The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stayed in the Owner’s Cottage at Matakauri Lodge in 2014. Matakauri employees, having finished the maths, smugly speculate it is the place Princess Charlotte was conceived.

So fashionable is Queenstown that downtown visitors lights have changed roundabouts, which proved too complicated for worldwide vacationers in campervans. (Word is out in China that this a part of the South Island is the place the The Lord of the Rings films have been shot.) The hungry hordes decided to pattern a legendary Fergburger on Shotover Street have learnt to seek the advice of Google for the shortest queue occasions, despite the fact that the joint is open from 8am to 5am. Skiers and snowboarders pouring down from the resorts sporting Gortex and grins like Cheshire cats argue about the place to start out their après pursuits.

Queenstown is scorching, even when outdoors it isn’t.

Get there quick

The Over the Top helicopter company offers private charters for up to five skiers with a guide.
The Over the Top helicopter firm presents personal charters for as much as 5 skiers with a information.


From east coast Australia, you could be in Queenstown in three hours. Customs and immigration circulate effectively, and downtown is 15 minutes drive by personal limo, shuttle bus or rent automotive. For the coming ski season, Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand will function night time flights on weekends from Brisbane and Sydney to maximise guests’ time on the slopes. There shall be as much as 19 return providers every week from Sydney, 11 from Brisbane and 9 from Melbourne.

Plonk your luggage

Queenstown is a star forward of most of its ski resort rivals in the southern hemisphere. Next-level gems embrace Eichardt’s Private Hotel in city and Matakauri Lodge, a Relais & Châteaux property on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, seven minutes from downtown. If you are not up for the Owner’s Cottage (begins at $NZ10,500 or $9952 an evening), there are eight outlying suites and three in the most important lodge with fireplaces, personal porches and killer views throughout the lake. New to the line-up in 2018 might be the 69-room QT Queenstown and Rees Lakeside Residences – 5 two-storey villas adjoining to the Rees Queenstown.

Fuel your self

There's only one way down after the helicopter departs.
There’s just one approach down after the helicopter departs.


Stays at Matakauri Lodge embrace breakfast, pre-dinner drinks and dinner. In city, Ivy & Lola’s home-style cooking and The Cow for pizzas are really helpful after a day burning energy on a mountain. In Arrowtown, only a 20-minute drive away, Saffron restaurant is a should, after a pre-dinner drink at the cosy Blue Door bar throughout the laneway or the atmospheric Fork And Tap pub.

Immerse your self

Queenstown’s magnificence isn’t just to be loved as a gobsmacking view out of your kick-ass spa tub; it is to really feel. In winter, this implies donning some (regionally bought) merino wool base layers and getting on the market.

Snow sports activities

A birds-eye perspective of Queenstown airport and Lake Wakatipu.
A birds-eye perspective of Queenstown airport and Lake Wakatipu.

Kim Griffiths

From your base on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, you possibly can entry the slopes of 4 ski areas between 25 and 90 minutes’ drive away – Coronet Peak, the Remarkables,Treble Cone and Cardrona. Only Cardrona gives on-mountain lodging. Shuttle bus providers function if you have not employed your personal four-wheel drive; Matakauri Lodge presents a mountain limo service or helicopter transfers.

In 2018, the 280ha Coronet Peak resort has prolonged its night time snowboarding providing to Wednesday, Friday and Saturday till 9pm, reconfigured its learner terrain to incorporate extra conveyors and constructed a brand new, 50-space automotive park. Coronet Peak is the closest to city, 25 minutes away, whereas its sister resort, The Remarkables, is 40 minutes. And in excellent news for 2018, the one-way street bridge that induced visitors snarls is twin carriageway. A multi-day move buys entry to each resorts.

At 385ha of skiable terrain, The Remarkables is enjoyable for newcomers to specialists, the former higher served this season with expanded learner terrain and a brand new conveyor.

Cardrona, 60 minutes away, has the most in depth terrain park amenities in the southern hemisphere however its broad open trails make it common for newbie and intermediate skiers as nicely. Check out the Mumm champagne bar at the summit and three different on-mountain places. For 2018 the base eating places have been refurbished to permit for extra capability and a clean eating expertise.

The Remarkables in winter, from the terrace at Matakauri Lodge.
The Remarkables in winter, from the terrace at Matakauri Lodge.


Treble Cone, the South Island’s largest ski and snowboard resort, is a 90-minute drive north of Queenstown and is serviced by a every day shuttle bus. Ski teacher Klaus Mair runs his well-liked Sofa ski school there, with 2018’s ski camps beginning on July 22.

Then there’s Soho Basin, 264 hectares of privately owned high-country terrain in the Cardrona Valley, an hour’s drive from Queenstown,. If the climate turns it on, intermediate to superior skiers and riders are assured an superior day of powder turns by way of snow cat. These are again nation, not groomed circumstances. A full day alpine journey, with gourmet meals and wine from nearby Amisfield served between ski runs in the basin’s excessive alpine hut prices $NZ685 an individual. Maximum 20 friends.


Queenstown is the place for this bucket-list journey. There are loads of Southern Alps choices out there for strong intermediate to superior riders, and Alpine Heliski finds the best circumstances.

If lifting off, spinning by way of valleys and skating over jagged white peaks is not thrilling sufficient, there’s the means of touchdown and evacuating in a huddle till the chopper flies away – leaving you and your fellow skiers and snowboarders on prime of the world. Then your information factors to a blanket of white powder under you and says, “Pick a line and I’ll see you at the bottom!”.

Over the Top helicopter firm gives personal charters for as much as 5 skiers with a information (from $NZ8900 for half a day and $NZ11,000 for a full day, together with transfers to and out of your lodging to the helibase, a gourmet alpine lunch and refreshments, and the rental of powder skis and security gear).

More motion

New this yr, and applicable for adventure-obsessed Queenstown, is iFly, New Zealand’s solely indoor skydiving simulator. The wind tunnel complicated, subsequent to the Skyline Gondola, gives the feeling of free falling with out truly experiencing it.

Fireside comfort and views at The Rees Lakeside Residences.
Fireside consolation and views at The Rees Lakeside Residences.


If the mountains have not defeated you, there are three websites devoted to bungy, the act of leaping from an excessive peak with an extended elastic twine hooked up to your ankles – and paying for it to the tune of about $NZ150. Or you may take a spin (360 levels at excessive velocity, in reality) in a jet boat alongside Lake Wakatipu and the Kawarau River, from about $NZ125 an individual. Dart River Jet Safaris provides the distinctive mixture of World Heritage surroundings and exhilarating jet boating.

Less motion

Matakauri Lodge friends can be a part of a five- to six-hour 4 lakes guided mountain biking expedition with help car and refreshments. (Suitable for intermediate cyclists), or a Southern Lakes wine and artwork tour of the galleries and studios in Arrowtown, with tastings and lunch in the Bendigo wine area and Gibbston Valley sub-region and a portray session with artist Graham Brinsley.

Life & Leisure flew courtesy of Virgin Australia and stayed as a visitor of Matakauri Lodge.


See the stay-four, pay-three deal for winter 2018 at Tel +64 three 441 1008. Email

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