Family Ski Holidays - Canterbury

Ski Holidays Canterbury

Skiing and Snowboarding in Canterbury with the Family

All you need to know for your Christchurch and Canterbury snow vacation with the kids!

Canterbury skiingWith more mountains than Switzerland, more than 25 scenic ski areas and lots of perfect, crisp, blue-sky days, New Zealand has the best ski and snowboard areas in the Southern Hemisphere. Base yourself in Christchurch, Methven or Hanmer Springs and you'll be as little as half an hour's drive from nine fantastic ski areas to ski, snowboard, snowshoe, toboggan, tube and play in.

If your snow vacation includes the kids, you can find everything independently or book a ski or snow holiday package.  A snow holiday package can include flights, car rental or mountain transport, pants or gear hire, ski or snowboard lessons, lift passes and more.  The New Zealand ski season runs from late June to late September, although the snow areas of New Zealand do not open or close at the same time; it depends on the season and weather.  Click on the individual ski field's website to find out their expected open and close date for the next snow season.

First, here's the lowdown on the ski and snowboard areas close to Christchurch and around the Canterbury region of the South Island, New Zealand.

How far is Mt Hutt from Christchurch and Methven?
Mt Hutt
94km / 80 mins from Christchurch or 15km / 35 mins from Methven
Located high in the Southern Alps, Canterbury’s Mt Hutt Ski Area receives some of the lightest and driest powder in Australasia. Renowned for its laidback and rural atmosphere, Mt Hutt is family and beginner friendly. The slopes are wide and the runs varied.

How far is Porter Heights from Christchurch and Methven?
Porter Heights
89km / 70 mins from Christchurch or 15km / 35 mins from Methven
Christchurch's closest ski area at just 89km away, with a short, easy access road make this a favourite.  Easy beginner slopes, cruising intermediate trails and spectacular terrain for advanced skiers and boarders.

How far is Hanmer Springs Ski Area from Christchurch and Hanmer Springs?
Hanmer Springs
150km / 110 mins from Christchurch or 25km / 40 mins from Hanmer Springs
Small club field, well-suited to beginners and intermediate skiers and boarders, and just a short drive from the resort town of Hanmer Springs.

How far is Mt Lyford from Christchurch and Hanmer Springs?
Mt Lyford
146km / 100 mins from Christchurch or 60km / 50 mins from Hanmer Springs
This field is a favourite with families as it has great facilities for learners and a variety of challenging runs for the more experienced.

How far is Temple Basin from Christchurch?
Temple Basin
128km / 120 mins from Christchurch (plus 45 min walk to ski area and lodge)
Temple Basin offers a great variety of terrain spread over four separate basins. There are gentle slopes for complete beginners, adrenalin-pumping challenges for the expert, and everything in between.

How far is Broken River from Christchurch?
Broken River
104km / 90 mins from Christchurch (plus 20 min walk to ski area and lodge)
The terrain is a series of rolling bowls with awesome runs to challenge all levels of snowboarders and skiers, beginner to expert.

How far is Craigieburn from Christchurch?
110km / 90 mins from Christchurch
Known as “New Zealand’s largest off piste ski area”, this is not a beginners’ field. Suitable for intermediate and advanced skiers only.

How far is Mt Cheeseman from Christchurch?
Mt Cheeseman
100km / 80 mins from Christchurch
The second-closest ski area to Christchurch.  With great beginner and intermediate slopes, Mount Cheeseman is perfect for learners and families.

How far is Mt Olympus from Christchurch?
Mt Olympus
128km / 115 mins from Christchurch or 66km /80 mins from Methven
Unrivaled skiing and boarding, irrepressible club spirit and spectacular New Zealand scenery make Olympus an unforgettable adventure.

Map of New Zealand
  • Central Otago
  • Auckland
  • Bay of Plenty
  • Christchurch
  • Dunedin
  • Coromandel
  • Gisborne
  • Fiordland
  • Marlborough Sounds
  • Manawatu
  • Northland
  • North Canterbury
  • Queenstown
  • South Canterbury
  • Taranaki
  • Southland
  • Taupo
  • Wanaka
  • Waikato
  • Wellington
  • West Coast
  • Whangarei
  • Bay of Islands
  • Tauranga
  • Gisborne
  • Hamilton
  • Napier
  • Kapiti
  • Palmerston North
  • Whanganui
  • New Plymouth
  • Arrowtown
  • Te Anau
  • Akaroa
  • Ashburton
  • Hanmer
  • Kaikoura
  • Methven
  • Mt Cook
  • Oamaru
  • Tekapo
  • Timaru
  • Abel Tasman
  • Motueka
  • Nelson Lakes
  • Blenheim
  • Picton
  • Catlins
  • Gore
  • Stewart Island
  • Central Plateau
  • Invercargill
  • Cromwell
  • Greymouth
  • Hokitika
  • Westport
  • Glenorchy

Our favourite destinations…


New Zealand’s economic heart and biggest city is also an exciting family visitor destination, situated on a sunny harbour with city beaches just minutes away from the CBD. Orientate yourself by heading down to Viaduct Harbour, wandering the waterfront, checking out the super yachts or enjoying the waterfront restaurants. Nearby is the must-visit Sky Tower along with excellent and kid-friendly museums and tons of exciting activities!


Wellington is New Zealand’s capital. Here you will find New Zealand's parliament buildings, including the 'Executive Wing', more well-known as 'The Beehive' due to its distinctive shape. Another icon to look out for is the Wellington Tram, which was the main means of public transport between 1878 and 1964.


With a population of around 400,000 Christchurch, in Canterbury, is the South Island ’s largest city, yet much of it has the feel of a small town. Perhaps that’s why it’s known as the Garden City but with the expansive Hagley Park, Botanic Gardens, Port Hills, River Avon and numerous beaches the city certainly has an open, relaxed feel that’s hard to beat.


With its well-deserved reputation as New Zealand’s activity adventure capital you’ll never run out of activities and things to do in Queenstown, but you may run out of time! With breathtaking scenery, activities and festivals, cafes and restaurants, skiing and snowboarding, shopping and wineries, this lakeside alpine resort rates as one of the world’s top vacation destinations for all ages and seasons.


Rotorua sits on the shore of Lake Rotorua, one of sixteen lakes in the area formed by hundreds of thousands of years of eruptions from the Taupo Volcanic Zone. The area is renowned for its geothermal activity and top of any activity list is to see the bubbling mud pools that are around the region for yourself. The Waimangu Volcanic Valley offers a first hand insight into the devastation caused by the 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera and is a great place to discover steaming volcanic craters and bubbling, spitting  pools of mud!

Nelson and Golden Bay

The Nelson and Golden Bay regions, at the top of the South Island, boast enviable sunshine hours, glorious sandy beaches, safe swimming spots, lots of wildlife to look out for, and Abel Tasman National Park - an absolute must to explore, on foot, by kayak, your own craft or watertaxi.  Nelson is home to a vibrant arts and crafts community with a fabulous Saturday market, and is close to award-winning wineries and family-friendly bike tracks to take you around the coast.

Hawkes Bay

Napier was rebuilt after the 1931 earthquake and is now known as NZ's Art Deco City.  The Art Deco influence has created a unique city – nowhere else can you see such a varied concentration of art deco style. With over 2,200 sunshine hours a year, Napier is a year-round holiday destination with countless activities to entertain the kids – there's days of entertainment on Marine Parade alone, plus numerous other family-friendly trips and activities.  Add to that the beaches, walks and flat cycle paths, outdoor cafes and entertainment, and you have a perfect holiday destination!


Beautiful, unspoiled beaches, fishing, historic gum fields, kauri forests – the Far North has it all. With subtropical temperatures, it's often known as ‘the Winterless north', with warm, humid summers and mild winters.
Gateway to the Bay of Islands, Paihia is a pretty, lively beachside town and a perfect base for your family holiday. It’s your start point for Bay of Island adventures including day cruises, sailing, kayaking, swimming with dolphins and reef or wreck diving.