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The Best Place to Learn to Ski in New Zealand – Cardrona

With so many world-class ski resorts to choose from, it can be tricky to decide which to visit. But for first-time skiers, one ski resort tops the list as the best place to learn to ski in New Zealand: Cardrona Alpine Resort.

Why is Cardrona the best place to ski in New Zealand for beginners?

  • Flexible First Timer Packages don’t lock you into a set number of days
  • New Zealand’s most comprehensive childcare and lesson programs
  • The country’s most extensive beginner terrain
  • Wanaka is a laid-back, fun town for all ages
  • All-inclusive First Timer Packages set you up with all necessary ski gear and clothing

How far is Cardrona from Queenstown?

Located just 1 hour from Queenstown and 45 minutes from the picturesque alpine town of Wanaka, Cardrona Alpine Resort is the perfect ski field for beginners.

From unbeatable deals on first-timer packages to great childcare and under-5s lesson packages, Cardrona Alpine Resort is the consistently ranked as the best place to learn to ski in New Zealand for all ages.

5 Reasons Cardrona is the Best Place to Learn to Ski in New Zealand

cardrona ski field wanaka skiing in new zealand nz ski
Cardrona Alpine Resort base

1. Flexible First-Timer Packages suit every schedule

While most ski fields in New Zealand lock you into a set 4-day Intro to Snow Package, Cardrona Alpine Resort offers 1-day, 2-day, and 3-day First Timer Packages that will get you off to a great start no matter how long you have in New Zealand.

The best part is that your first day of skiing includes two lessons, while the next two days each only include one lesson, with many time slots to choose from.

This is perfect for two reasons. First, as you begin to gain confidence on the snow, you’ll be glad for the chance to practice your ski skills independently. And second, as a first-time skier, your legs are bound to ache after a full day of skiing! If you need to take it easy on your second day, you can.

No other ski field offers such a flexible and convenient Learn to Ski package. This is the top reason why Cardrona Alpine Resort is the best place to learn to ski in New Zealand.

2. No other ski field in New Zealand offers such comprehensive childcare and lesson options

Not only is Cardrona Alpine Resort the best place to learn to ski in New Zealand for adults, but it’s also ideal for kids of all ages.

Cardrona Alpine Resort offers ski lessons even for very young children–according to instructors, children can learn to ski as soon as they can walk! For under-5s, Cardrona Alpine Resort provides private lessons and small group lessons that combine snow play with testing out skis for the first time.

And for ages 5+, the kids’ First Timer Package shares the same schedule as the adults’ version. This is ideal for planning your day on the slopes, because it means you don’t need to arrange any additional childcare.

Other ski fields in New Zealand have more limited childcare and children’s lesson options, whereas Cardrona Alpine Resort caters for every possible family scenario. For any families with a first-time skiers, Cardrona Alpine Resort is the obvious choice.

3. Cardrona Alpine Resort boasts New Zealand’s most extensive beginner terrain

cardrona ski field wanaka skiing nz ski lessons adult

Most ski fields in New Zealand–and around the world–share a common problem: as soon as you leave the learners’ area, it’s a huge step up to ski any of the other terrain. This can be very intimidating for first-time skiers, and can slow their progression.

Cardrona Alpine Resort does not have this problem. Beginner skiers can easily practice their snowplowing skills on the gentle Skyline Trail before conquering turns on the easy slopes nearby.

And if ski lifts make you (or your children) nervous, you can access all the best beginner terrain by riding the closed gondola cars of the McDougall’s Chondola.

cardrona ski field wanaka skiing in new zealand nz ski mcdougall's chondola
McDougall’s Chondola at Cardrona Alpine Resort

4. The nearby town of Wanaka is a laid-back, fun place to stay for all ages

While Queenstown is the most famous ski destination in New Zealand, Wanaka is equally beautiful and lively, though much less intense. The cute, walkable town center of Wanaka doesn’t get nearly the same number of crowds as Queenstown, and there are plenty of restaurants, bars, and sightseeing activities to fill your hours off the slopes.

If you want to experience Queenstown as well, Wanaka is only an hour away, so the two destinations can easily be combined into a great ski holiday.

rippon winery wanaka
Views over Lake Wanaka. Credit: David Wall

5. All-inclusive First Timer Packages set you up with everything you could possibly need for your first time on the snow

If you’ve never skiied before–and especially if you live in Australia, where your chances of seeing snow are very rare–it’s likely you don’t have any of the necessary cold-weather gear.

Cardrona Alpine Resort has you covered here as well. Most ski resorts only rent out certain items of ski clothing, but Cardrona’s First Timer All-Inclusive Packages genuinely offer everything you need for your first time on the snow.

On top of skis, boots, and poles (or snowboard and boots), the all-inclusive package fits you out with a jacket, snow pants, a helmet, goggles, and gloves.

In other words, you can pack light for your New Zealand ski holiday! And if you decide you don’t like skiing after all (or your children are constantly outgrowing their clothes), you won’t have wasted money on gear you only use once.

Planning the Perfect Learn to Ski Holiday in New Zealand

There are several ways to plan your first-ever ski trip to New Zealand. Here are a few general guidelines to help you figure out the best schedule for your unique situation.

1. Start with the best

No matter how long you plan to spend skiing in New Zealand, as a first-time skier, you should start at Cardrona Alpine Resort.

For a perfect introduction to the snow, choose a 5-day Wanaka ski holiday including the Three Day First Timer Package. You can add extra days of sightseeing or skiing at any of New Zealand’s top resorts once the foundation skills are in place.

2. If you have children, take advantage of the childcare and lessons on offer

If you want your whole family to learn to ski, or you’d like to spend time skiing yourselves while your kids are learning, Cardrona Alpine Resort is the best family ski field in New Zealand.

At New Zealand’s other ski fields, you can expect to spend more time juggling schedules or looking after your children yourself. So, if you plan to visit several ski fields, Cardrona Alpine Resort is the place to put your children through lessons and get the whole family up to speed with skiing.

And if you’re traveling with young children or your family has a wide range of ages and skill levels, why not spend your full ski holiday at Cardrona Alpine Resort?

3. Allow for plenty of downtime

If you’ve never skied before, you will be surprised by how much your muscles ache after a day on the slopes! Your legs will feel like jelly after a few hours of skiing.

Plan for enough downtime to properly enjoy your ski days. At least one day off after two days of skiing is a good rule.

4. Head to Queenstown after your stay in Wanaka if you want to sample other ski fields or enjoy some of New Zealand’s most famous sights

queenstown new zealand view

If you have a week or more in New Zealand, you can easily spend time in both Wanaka and Queenstown.

Start your stay off by learning to ski at Cardrona Alpine Resort before continuing to Queenstown for a few days of relaxation.

Or, if you want to fit in more skiing now that you’ve learned the basics, The Remarkables and Coronet Peak are excellent ski fields close to Queenstown. The terrain is a step up from the easy slopes at Cardrona Alpine Resort, but after completing a First Timer Package, you should have no trouble at either resort.

For a 7-day Learn to Ski holiday, spend 3-4 days skiing in Wanaka followed by 2 nights of sightseeing in Queenstown. Or spend 5 nights in each location so you can complete the Cardrona First Timer Package and still fit in 2-4 days of skiing in Queenstown.

Plan your holiday at the best place to learn to ski in New Zealand today

Skiing in New Zealand is very popular, and the country’s top resort towns are small, which means accommodation books out quickly.

The best time to plan your first ski holiday in New Zealand is now! In other words, the farther in advance you book, the better deals you can secure. You can even book a year in advance.

Browse some of the best discounts on Learn to Ski holidays here, or speak with one of our ski package consultants to design a custom ski holiday at New Zealand’s top ski field for beginners.

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