Swap searing summer for snow in New Zealand’s ski season

snow Swap sun for snow in New Zealand’s Southern Hemisphere ski season Kim Wright battleface.com
Approx read: 4 mins

Skiing the Southern Hemisphere in European Summer

The ultimate coolcation

What?? It’s snowing in New Zealand…. Now? In summer. Hold it, hold it…. Everything is upside down, back the front and night-not-day on the other side of the world. While the EU bakes in the sun, New Zealand is gripped in its winter months which means it’s the ski season and an opportunity to swap out the beach for the piste for your mid-year vacation.

Best months to experience New Zealand’s ski season

New Zealand’s ski season typically runs from late June to early October, with variations depending on the resort and snowfall conditions. July and August are peak months, offering the best snow conditions and most vibrant atmosphere. September and early October can also be excellent, with fewer crowds and spring-like ski conditions.

400km of ski slopes across 38 locations

When most Europeans think of skiing there’s an automatic reference to what is happening in the Alps or the Pyrenees…but there’s an alternative white paradise that’s ready and waiting on the other side of the globe: New Zealand. The ski experience here is equal to most of what Europe offers – and ever more so when it’s a summer vs. winter scenario. So, to help with some education, we’ve put together a summary of what’s essential to know, from the top ski resorts to exploring New Zealand’s ski season.

First up: Why go skiing in New Zealand?

Everyone should go skiing in New Zealand because, well… its New Zealand… and those kids down there don’t do things by half when it comes to sports, adrenaline or scenery.

Primarily however, it’s really all about getting your game time in. The inverse seasonality means that ski junkies can get more days, weeks or months of their favourite fix, and while the sun is baking their compadres back home, they’re ripping down slopes and honing their style.

Plus, that scenery we mentioned is just too good not to boast about. First class facilities on top of giant mountains, enormous lakes, the cleanest air, great food and wine, and a shot of authentic, friendly Kiwi hospitality make a ski holiday at the bottom of the world something you’ll want to share with your mates.

Top ski destinations in the South Island

While everyone is going to have a favourites list, we’ve ranked what are generally considered as the primo slopes on the South Island.

Queenstown and The Remarkables

Queenstown has a reputation as the ‘Adventure Capital of the World,’ and it never fails to disappoint those with a mind for excitement or the quality of its après-ski options. The ski area is north facing (so is sunnier) with a mix of green and blue runs available, and challenging black runs for those seeking more adventure.

coronet Swap sun for snow in New Zealand’s Southern Hemisphere ski season Kim Wright battleface.com

Coronet Peak

Also located near Queenstown (we love you Queenstown!), Coronet Peak is famous for its varied terrain and incredible views. It’s one of the oldest ski resorts in New Zealand – respect to the originals and all that – and is known for its well-groomed trails and night skiing opportunities (up to 9pm).

Treble Cone

Situated near Wanaka, Treble Cone is the largest ski area in the South Island and it’s a firm favourite among advanced skiers due to its challenging runs and off-piste terrain. The views over Lake Wanaka are nothing short of stunning, so take your Insta-pic thing, stop staring, and keep sliding!!!

Mt. Hutt

Further north, near Christchurch, Mt. Hutt is a fav because of its reliable snowfall and wide-open terrain. It’s a great option for those looking for a mix of difficulty levels, with runs ranging from easy-peasy to look-at-me-now! Because hey, when you got skill, you know to show.

Top ski destinations in the North Island

While the North Island doesn’t have the same snow profile as its Southern brother, these gems are more than enough to have any decent skier frothing.

whakapapa Swap sun for snow in New Zealand’s Southern Hemisphere ski season Kim Wright battleface.com


Situated on the slopes of Mount Ruapehu – which incidentally is one of New Zealand’s most active volcanoes –  Whakapapa is the largest ski resort in New Zealand. It has a super sweet range of trails and slopes to suit all skiing levels.


Also to be found on Mount Ruapehu (yes, we can’t get off this active volcano), is Turoa – and this baby gets its cool-wings because of the longest vertical drop in Australasia. It’s a fantastic spot for those seeking a more challenging ski adventure – and yeah, we mentioned the risk of eruptions, right? Got to love NZ for its edgy side.

Traveling within New Zealand

Getting around New Zealand is relatively straightforward. Major ski destinations are well-connected by internal flights, particularly those from Auckland to Queenstown or Christchurch. Car and campervan rentals are popular, providing the flexibility to explore at your own pace. Buses and shuttle services are also available from the towns closest to the ski fields. Normal stuff…you’ll have no hassles or pain from unreliable services in NZ.

Come for the snow, go home with a sunny outlook

Yes, you’ll ski in New Zealand, but your rewards for coming all this way are far beyond what happens on the slopes. Strangers will talk to you; the vibe is laid back and chilled; the whole place buzzes with positivity and energy so your outlook on life and adventure will change for the better. And your friends back home are sunburnt and miserable that they didn’t come with you. Kudos to you. You skied; you win.

Great New Zealand hikes