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Wanaka ski guide 2020

From the best Wanaka holiday accommodation options, to the best slopes to shred, here’s what you need to know about skiing the area.

Updated

Dubbed one of the world’s best ski towns by National Geographic, Wanaka is a major ski destination in New Zealand’s South Island.

Wanaka has three major resorts to choose from: Cardrona and Treble Cone are alpine resorts and Snow Farm is a cross-country resort. The area is well-known for it’s heliskiing, but it’s also an ideal destination for beginners.


Where is each area compared to Wanaka?

  • Cardrona: 35-minute drive (34 kilometres) from Wanaka
  • Treble Cone: 35-minute drive (29 kilometres) from Wanaka
  • Snow Farm: 40-minute drive (33 kilometres) from Wanaka

Lift pass prices

All prices listed below are in NZD.

Cardrona lift pass starting prices

If you purchase a multi-day pass, you’ll be rewarded with discounts for the more days you purchase. These passes can be used at any point during the 2019 Cardrona snow season.

Pass typeHalf day1 day2 days3 days4 days5 days
Child$52$62$120$168$216$250
Student$80$97$190$270$340$400
Adult$89$120$230$330$430$525
SeniorN/A$90$170$312$312$375

Treble Cone lift pass starting prices

All Treble Cone lift passes include a free shuttle bus service from Wanaka. Save money by purchasing a multi-day pass that can be used at any time during the 2019 Treble Cone snow season.

Pass type1 day2 days3 days4 days5 days
Child (6–17)$75$130$180$240$300
Adult$149$260$360$480$600

Snow Farm lift pass starting prices

A season pass for Snow Farm will give you access to the fields’ alpine wonderland. Snow Farm offers season passes for dog sledding, meaning the whole family can join in on the fun.

Pass typeHalf-day trail pass1-day trail pass3-day trail multi-day pass5-day trail multi-pass10-day trail multi-passSeason pass
Child$20$25$70$110$200$199
Student$35440$110$180$320N/A
Adult$40$45$120$195$360$499

Things you need to know about Cardrona Mountain

  • Number of chair lifts: 5
  • Ski season dates: TBC
  • Snow report: Check the daily snow report for a detailed and accurate look at recent snowfalls and conditions
  • Trail breakdown: 25% beginner, 25% intermediate, 30% advanced and 20% expert
  • Number of terrain parks: 4
  • Longest run: 4km
  • Skiable terrain: 600 hectares

Cardrona


mages: Cardrona

Things you need to know about Treble Cone Mountain

  • Number of chair lifts: 2
  • Ski season dates: TBC
  • Snow report: Check the daily snow report for a detailed and accurate look at recent snowfalls and conditions
  • Trail breakdown: 10% beginner, 45% intermediate and 45% advanced
  • Number of terrain parks: 2
  • Longest run: 4km
  • Skiable terrain: 550 hectares

TrebleCone

Images: Treble Cone

Things you need to know about Snow Farm Mountain

  • Number of chair lifts: 2
  • Ski season dates: TBC
  • Snow report: Check the daily snow report for a detailed and accurate look at recent snowfalls and conditions
  • Trail breakdown: 40% beginner, 20% intermediate and 40% advanced
  • Skiable terrain: 55 kilometres of trails (groomed for skating and classics), 10 km of snowshoe trails

SnowFarm

Images: Snow Farm

How do I get to Wanaka and the ski fields?

The closest airport to Wanaka is Queenstown Airport, a 60-minute scenic drive to the centre of town. Flights from other New Zealand regions are serviced by Air New Zealand and Jetstar.

If you’re staying in Wanaka and plan to visit Cardrona, there is a shuttle service that has multiple pick-up points around town that will take you to the ski fields. Transport can be added to a lift pass at the time of purchase. If you plan to drive, park at one of the lower-level car parks and take the shuttle that will transport you up to the Base Area.

The Wanaka Treble Cone Express is a shuttle service that has four pick-up points across Wanaka and is free for lift pass holders. The services depart at 7:45am and 8:30am and return to Wanaka at 4pm and 4:30pm daily. If you plan to hire a car, fitting chains onto your vehicle before heading to the mountain can be time-consuming. Park at the bottom of the Treble Cone access road and hop on the shuttle that will take you up to the mountain.

Snow Farm offers a morning and afternoon shuttle service that will pick you up from your accommodation and drop you off at the end of the day. The drive from Wanaka to Snow Farm takes approximately 40 minutes. The road access is unsealed, so you’ll need chains with you at all times in case they need to be fitted to your vehicle.

Best Wanaka holiday accommodation options

Wanaka is the home-base for those skiing in the area. However, Cardrona and Snow Farm both offer accommodation options, which could be ideal for those hoping to spend a few days at each ski area. There’s no accommodation between Treble Cone and Wanaka, so if you’re planning on skiing or snowboarding there, your best bet is to stay in Wanaka.

Wanaka holiday accommodation

Panorama Court Apartments

Panorama Court Apartments from HotelsCombined

Panorama Court is located at the base of Roys Peak, conveniently situated near Wanaka's sightseeing attractions and just a 40-minute drive from Cardrona Ski Field and Treble Cone. Each room has views of the Southern Alps, too. Pack your bags and get ready to enjoy the pristine surroundings of Wanaka.

  • Features: Free Wi-Fi, free parking, balcony and airport shuttle
  • Address: 29-33 Lakeside Road, Wanaka

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Wanaka Luxury Apartments

Wanaka Luxury Apartments from HotelsCombined

Get cosy this snow season while sitting in front of the fireplace and enjoying floor heating at the 5-star Wanaka Luxury Apartments. These self-contained apartments reside just 500 metres from Lake Wanaka and the closest snow fields are less than a 45-minute drive away. You can find all of your skiing needs at the resort with ski storage and ski equipment hire facilities available on site.

  • Features: Free Wi-Fi, free private parking, outdoor furniture, BBQ facilities, outdoor fireplace, swimming pool, spa lounge and hot tub/jacuzzi
  • Address: 8 Stonebrook Drive, Wanaka

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Base Wanaka

Base Wanaka from HotelsCombined

A modern hostel located in the centre of town close to Lake Wanaka, restaurants, shops and bars. The newly refurbished reception area is a great place to hang out and meet new people after a day on the slopes. Choose between a shared dormitory room or a private room while staying at Base Wanaka.

  • Features: Free Wi-Fi, free parking, terrace, ski storage, bar and restaurant
  • Address: 73 Brownston Street, Wanaka

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Wanaka Edge Apartments

Wanaka Edge Apartments from HotelsCombined

A quiet place to stay, located just a 15-minute walk from the centre of town. Small families and groups will find Wanaka Edge Apartments to be a haven to rest and enjoy the outdoor dining area.

  • Features: Free Wi-Fi, free parking, hot tub and courtyard
  • Address: 7/13 Plantation Road, Wanaka

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Wanaka Homestead Lodge and Cottages

Wanaka Homestead Lodge and Cottages from HotelsCombined

Guests have the choice of staying in B&B accommodation or self-catering cottages. Either way, you will be greeted by a welcoming host and a spacious room.

  • Features: Free Wi-Fi, free private parking, ski storage, hot tub/jacuzzi and BBQ facilities
  • Address: 1 Homestead Close, Wanaka

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Distinction Wanaka Serviced Apartments

Distinction Wanaka Serviced Apartments from HotelsCombined

Take in the panoramic mountain views and enjoy the short walk to the town centre from Distinction Wanaka Service Apartments. That's if you can find time between the skiing/snowboarding and outdoor adventures.

  • Features: Free Wi-Fi, free private parking, tennis court, swimming pool, fitness centre and hot tub/jacuzzi
  • Address: 150 Anderson Road, Wanaka
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Cardrona accommodation

Waiorau Homestead

Waiorau Homestead from HotelsCombined

Hidden away from the street front, Waiorau Homestead in set on a tranquil rural estate just a short drive from Cardrona Alpine Resort. A great place to explore your surroundings on bike or by foot during the day before settling down by the fireplace in the evening.

  • Features: Free Wi-Fi, free private parking, outdoor fireplace, BBQ facilities, terrace, sport equipment, family entertainment, swimming pool, and hot tub/ jacuzzi
  • Address: 2127B Cardrona Valley Road, Cardrona

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Snow Farm accommodation

Cardrona Bliss

Cardrona Bliss from HotelsCombined

Cardrona Bliss has all of things you need to have an enjoyable ski trip with the ski fields and scenic attractions in close proximity.

  • Features: Wi-Fi, gym, swimming pool and restaurant
  • Address: 2326 Cardrona Valley Road, Cardrona

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Ski schools available in Wanaka

Cardrona lessons

ProgramWho can participate?What is involved?
Under 5 ski lessonChildren under the age of 5Children under the age of 5 are introduced to the snow and learn how to slide, stop and turn by themselves on the slopes.
Kids group lessonsChildren aged between 5 and 14Children learn the basics of skiing or snowboarding and will be split up in terms of age and ability to ensure they learn the foundations of skiing/boarding suitable for their skill level.
Adventure programChildren aged between 5 and 14A four-day ski or snowboarding program packed with activities and lessons. The same instructor will teach every lesson to ensure children get the most out of the program. Participants will be presented with a report card of their achievements throughout the week.
Adult group lessonsAnyone aged 18 or aboveA program dedicated to sharpening your skills in the beginner, learner, intermediate or advanced zone depending on your skills.
Private lessonsSkiers and snowboarders of all skill levelsA certified instructor will give you their full attention in order to build your skills, technique and confidence on the slopes.

Treble Cone lessons

ProgramWho can participate?What is involved?
Kids lessonsChildren aged between 6 and 17Children are grouped by age and ability, with capped groups of five, to take their skiing/snowboarding skills to the next level with games and terrain-based exploration.
Adult groupsAdults of all skill levelsAdults will take their skiing/snowboarding skills to the next level with lessons that are designed to encourage participants to ride more of the mountain with increased skills and confidence.
Private lessonsSkiers and snowboarders of all skill levelsOne-on-one coaching from a certified professional focusing on skill development so you can hit the slopes with more confidence and a better understanding of technique.

Snow Farm lessons

ProgramWho can participate?What is involved?
Youth cross-country programsChildren aged between 3 and 17This program is suitable for children of all skill levels and abilities, whether a beginner or a competitive cross-country racer. Skiers will be separated into groups to suit their abilities to ensure they get the most out of the lesson.
Adult cross-country programsAdults of all skill levelsParticipants will be put into groups based on abilities and be pushed to reach their potential on the slopes. If you’re learning to ski for the first time or you’re an avid skier, there’s a program available to help you get comfortable on the Snow Farm mountain.
Private lessonsPeople of all skill levelsFor people who are looking to refine their skills, you can take a one-on-one lesson with a qualified professional to focus on areas you feel you need to improve in.

Where to get ski hire in Wanaka

If you don’t own ski equipment or want to avoid the hassle of flying with your gear, here’s a list of the places you can hire ski equipment in Wanaka and what each retailer offers.

  • BaseNZ: Ski and snowboard equipment, plus apparel for sale. 20% discount when you rent for 6 days or longer, 10% discount when you rent for 4 or 5 days. 22 Helwick Street, Wanaka, New Zealand
  • Green Toad: Ski and snowboard gear, helmets, toboggans and outerwear. 6 Pembroke Mall, Wanaka Waterfront, Wanaka, New Zealand
  • SnoPro: Ski and snowboard gear, helmets and outerwear. 15% discount when you rent 5 days or longer, 10% discount when you book at least 7 days in advance. Delivery service

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