It’s no secret that New Zealand is a fantastic destination for family snow holidays. From childcare and lessons designed for little ones to fast-paced lessons and an exciting winter vibe that teens will love, New Zealand truly has something for everyone.
Here are a few tips and top destinations to help you plan the perfect family snow holiday.
Cardrona Alpine Resort offers New Zealand’s best range of beginner terrain, while Mt Hutt and Coronet Peak both have an excellent variety of terrain, from beginner to advanced.
Since Wanaka and Queenstown (New Zealand’s two top ski towns) are located just an hour apart, it’s easy to try out all four local ski fields. You could start out at Cardrona and progress to the more challenging ski resorts as your family gains experience!
Not all ski fields offer the same range of facilities for children, so be sure to pick the best ski resort for your family.
Only Cardrona Alpine Resort, Coronet Peak, and Mt Hutt have childcare facilities for under-5s. A few select lessons are offered for younger children at Treble Cone and The Remarkables, but you might not want to commit to a full day of skiing anywhere that isn’t set up to look after your children.
Another consideration if you are travelling with young children is what sort of ski lifts are in place. Children too young to ride the chairlifts can still hop on the gondola carriages at Cardrona Alpine Resort’s new “Chondola.” This has opened up a new range of fantastic beginner terrain to younger skiers.
For sheer variety of lessons, Cardrona Alpine Resort can’t be topped. Half-day lessons, full-day lessons, private lessons, group lessons, beginner lessons, and under-5s lessons are all on offer, so you can choose exactly the combination that suits your family.
Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, and Mt Hutt also offer a range of lessons for children and adults, but all lessons are full-day sessions, which means a bit less flexibility. And The Remarkables does not offer anything for children under the age of 4.
Especially if you have young children or first-time skiers, you won’t want to over-commit to your time on the slopes. New skiers will get sore and discouraged more easily than experienced pros, so be sure to build in some downtime to your family snow holiday schedule.
Queenstown and Wanaka are perfect destinations for enjoying a combination of skiing and off-slope activities. These are top tourist destinations in their own right, so you might as well make the most of your time in New Zealand and see a few of the sights while you’re here!
Milford Sound is a fantastic scenic destination for those staying in Queenstown (though not suited for young kids, as it includes a very long bus ride), or you could enjoy a few local activities.
Young kids love seeing the animals at Walter Peak High Country Farm, while older kids have a great time riding the Shotover Jet.
Do you hate the thought of driving up icy, treacherous mountain roads? All of New Zealand’s major ski fields offer mountain transport, but the most convenient by far is Queenstown, with inexpensive mountain coaches leaving every 20 minutes from downtown. (You can also book accommodation pick-up, but this doesn’t offer a flexible schedule.)
Do you want to avoid waiting in long lines? You can check in for all Queenstown and Wanaka ski fields down at their town offices. To make things double convenient, both Queenstown ski fields are owned by the same operator, so all rental equipment, lessons, and lift passes are interchangeable between the two. Wanaka’s two ski fields are partnered under the Flexi Pass, so you can use the same rental equipment at both, but remember where you picked up your gear, as the two resorts are NOT under the same ownership.
Do you want to enjoy adults-only ski time? Cardrona Alpine Resort, Coronet Peak and Mt Hutt all offer licensed childcare and lessons for under-5s, so you know your young ones will be in good hands as you enjoy the slopes. If you have older children, you can take advantage of full-day lessons with a supervised lunch at Cardrona Alpine Resort, The Remarkables, Coronet Peak and Mt Hutt.
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