Family Ski Holidays - Queenstown & Wanaka

Queenstown and Wanaka

Ski Holidays QT and Wanaka

Queenstown SkiingAll you need to know for your Queenstown or Wanaka snow vacation with the kids!

With 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 Queenstown or Wanaka and you'll be as little as half an hour's drive from five fantastic ski areas, with tons of snow 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.

How far is Cardrona Alpine Resort from Queenstown and Wanaka?

Cardrona Alpine Resort
58km / 60 mins from Queenstown or 34km / 35 mins from Wanaka

Cardrona is the largest ski area easily accessed from both Queenstown and Wanaka, and is New Zealand’s favourite family mountain! Kids love Cardrona, thanks to its crazy colourful base area, children’s programmes and mellow groomed runs. Cardrona is the perfect place for beginners and intermediates, with easy-to-use surface lifts, specialised beginner packages and plenty of wide open trails spread over three basins. Skiers and boarders of all ages and abilities will love the variety of exciting terrain, pristine groomers and world-class parks and pipes.Cardrona Early Childhood Centre and Ski School have options on and off the snow for kids from 3 months to early teens, offering care, activities, lessons and FUN in flexible full-day, half-day and multi-day options. Shorter lessons are available for families who'd like to spend more time skiing together.

Access: CARDRONA The Crown Range is the shortest route between Queenstown and Wanaka, but the winding road requires great care in snow or icy conditions.  It is sealed but very twisty and steep in parts. The 10km Cardrona ski field access road is unsealed. You may be able to park close to base if you arrive early.  Otherwise courtesy car park shuttles run throughout the day.

How far is Treble Cone from Queenstown and Wanaka?

Treble Cone

90km / 90 mins from Queenstown or 30km / 35 mins from Wanaka

Treble Cone is the South Island’s largest ski area offering the region's longest, most congestion-free slopes.
Family-friendly – check out Treble Cone’s FREE beginner surface lifts and protected beginner area, conveniently located next to the Base Lodge and Café. As you progress, unlock new terrain and excitement as a family with the kids-specific trail map. Enjoy the super-friendly, daily groomed Easy Rider or the Jazz Kids' Fun Trail featuring ‘pint-sized’ jumps, bumps and thrills.

Childcare and Lessons – play with TC Cat in full- or half-day group lessons for children of all abilities aged 2 years and up. With small group sizes including a cap of just 5 children per beginner group (a maximum of 3 children for Kitty Cat Club), lessons at Treble Cone offer plenty of assistance and support. But for a little extra encouragement, kids also earn stickers and medals – marking off skills tried and skills mastered on their kids-specific trail map.

Scenic Chairlift Rides – for those more interested in snow play, hop on a Scenic Chairlift Ride to the top of the Home Basin and enjoy lunch at the highest restaurant in Wanaka, taking in the million dollar views and action from the safety of your own shoes!

Access: TREBLE CONE the closest ski field to Wanaka, drive 22km along the Mt Aspiring Road to the Treble Cone turnoff. The access road is only 7km but steep and unsealed. Parking is available for families close to base building. Please be aware of the road conditions can change at any time. Treble Cone updates this information regularly on their website.

Text provided by Kidzone

 

How far is Coronet Peak from Queenstown and Wanaka?
Coronet Peak

18km / 25 mins from Queenstown or 80km / 75 mins from Wanaka

Coronet Peak is the South Island’s most popular mountain resort. There’s heaps of fun for kids, from the state-of-the-art Skiwiland Crèche to the beginner slopes with handle tow and twin conveyor lifts, plus fantastic off-piste for the more intrepid! If you’ve never skied after sundown don’t miss Night Skiing, exclusive to Coronet Peak, Fridays and Saturdays from 4pm (July to mid Sept.). Kids 6 years and under receive free day passes.

Access: CORONET PEAK  The closest ski field to Queenstown, the start of the access road is an easy 10 minutes drive from town centre.  It's 9km of good, sealed road.  Car parks fill up quickly so be prepared for a 5-10 minute walk or catch the regular courtesy car park shuttle.

How far is The Remarkables from Queenstown and Wanaka?
The Remarkables
28km / 45 mins from Queenstown or 83km / 90 mins from Wanaka

Known for its friendly atmosphere and relaxed feel this is a great family field – a fantastic sun trap with a large, wide, gentle beginner area, and a unique tubing park. The Skiwiland Crèche was revamped last season and capacity increased. The Remarkables offers lots for intermediates plus incredible off-piste powder runs. Kids 10 years and under receive free day passes. Great deals on family passes available.

Access: REMARKABLES The access road is 20 minutes drive from Queenstown or 10 minutes from Frankton.  It's 13km with the first 8km sealed and the rest unsealed.    Parking generally very close to base building.

How far is Snow Farm from Queenstown and Wanaka?
Snow Farm
58km / 60 mins from Queenstown or 34km / 35 mins from Wanaka
Experience New Zealand's only cross-country ski area.  A perfect family activity and it doesn’t matter if you’re all new to it! Slip into the skinny skis and choose your route from up to 55kms of trails. Children will love it too!  FOR THE KIDS – Tubing and Sledding. We have sleds and tubes available for hire with protective headwear. Baby Sleds are also available for parents who want to take baby skiing with them (this also adds to the exercise!)

A café/restaurant is onsite, with comfy seating and a great viewing area so in- or outdoors, spend a family day at Snow Farm!

Access: SNOW FARM   Take the Crown Range road to the Cardrona Valley.  If you're coming from Queenstown, the sealed road is twisty and steep but well-maintained.  The access road is 13km, well-graded but unsealed.

Transport

With the exception of Coronet Peak the ski field access roads are unsealed.  If you're not comfortable with fitting chains or mountain driving in snow or icy conditions, you'll be far better off letting someone else drive you to the ski slopes.  If you're driving always remember to drive to the conditions, carry warm clothing, food, water, blankets, chains, a shovel, first aid kit and keep your petrol tank full.
There are snow shuttle buses that will take you from Queenstown to Coronet Peak and The Remarkables and these stop at most hotels and close to most accommodation.  However if you're organising a whole family you might find it easier to travel at your leisure with a smaller service. 

Gear Hire

If you don't ski at home you may not have all the warm ski clothing required to go skiing.  The right gear is important for everyone but especially for the kids - if they're cold they won't enjoy their day and will think they hate skiing!  Luckily both children and adults can easily hire ski clothing in Queenstown and Wanaka.  You can get ski clothing when you arrive or book it online before you get here.  Either way, it's cheaper to book ski clothing for a few days.  Items for hire are ski pants, ski jackets and ski suits, and wrist guards, helmets, goggles and gloves may also be available.  Note: most shops include free wrist guards with your ski clothing hire.  Often goggles and gloves are not rented out for hygiene reasons, but these are cheap to purchase.  Kidz Go recommends some family-friendly hire shops in Queenstown and Wanaka, and these also rent skis, snowboards and boots. 

Map of New Zealand
  • Bay of Plenty
  • Fiordland
  • Coromandel
  • North Canterbury
  • Gisborne
  • South Canterbury
  • Hawkes Bay
  • Nelson & Golden Bay
  • Manawatu
  • Marlborough Sounds
  • Northland
  • Queenstown
  • Rotorua
  • Southland
  • Taranaki
  • Central Otago
  • Taupo
  • Dunedin
  • Waikato
  • Wanaka
  • 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…

Auckland destination2

Auckland

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

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.

Christchurch

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.

Queenstown

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

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!

Northland

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.