Long white winter
Peak and the Remarkables. Must be booked before June 27 for travel from June 26 to October 4. Available from other states. More: 1300 361 322; www.valuetours.com.au; www.nzski.com.
What’s new: Three new groomers will boost the terrain park system and there’s improved childcare facilities for two to 17-year-olds.
The lowdown: Mt Hutt, towering above Methven at 2086m, is known for its long season, fine views and deep snow across 365ha. Much of the skiing is in a picturesque bowl.
Don’t miss: Take a helicopter to the North Peak (it’s an 800m drop) for a taste of heli-skiing.
The deal: Skimax has seven nights at Methven’s Ski Time Lodge from $709 a person with car hire and three-day Mt Hutt lift pass. Book and pay by the end of July. More: 1300 136 997; www.skimax.com.au.
What’s new: There’s a new trail, the Arcadia Basin, for advanced skiers and boarders, and the resort has given the snowmaking system a $1 million upgrade.
The lowdown: At 1670m, Cardrona, a 35-minute drive from Wanaka, can be cold and the road up the mountain is unsealed. On the other hand, there’s an abundance of natural snow as well as wide runs and good children’s facilities. There’s 320ha of skiable terrain and three quad chairlifts plus three lifts for learners.
Don’t miss: What’s claimed to be the largest pipe park in the southern hemisphere.
The deal: Skimax has a five-night package at the Wanaka Hotel from $456 a person. Includes seven days’ car hire and three-day lift pass valid at Cardrona and Treble Cone. Book and pay by June 26. More: (02) 9267 1655; www.skimax.com.au; www.cardrona.com.
What’s new: Free access to learner lifts, though lessons still cost. Free 90-minute guided tours.
The lowdown: At 550ha, this is the largest ski area in the South Island. Devotees, known as Coneheads, appreciate the challenging runs and uncrowded slopes. Only 10 per cent is suitable for beginners.
Don’t miss: Inspiring views across Mt Aspiring and Lake Wanaka and off-piste skiing (if you’re up to it).
The deal: A seven-day stay at the Grand Mercure Oakridge in Wanaka, which has nine outdoor heated pools, is from $1169 a person; includes flights to Christchurch, car hire and a five-day ski pass valid at Cardrona and Treble Cone. More: www.skimax.com.au; www.treblecone.com.
WHAKAPAPA AND TUROA
What’s new: The magic carpet for beginners installed last year has been extended, meaning longer runs and more practice time.
The lowdown: Sited on volcanic Mt Ruapehu in the centre of the North Island, these twins offer a combined 1800ha of skiing and boarding with 14 lifts. One pass gives access to both areas, where last year the snow topped 3m.
Don’t miss: Great views of the North Island from 2322m.
The deal: Skimax has a stay at nearby Bayview Chateau Tongariro with a five-day North Island Max Pass, lift access, seven days’ car hire (picked up on arrival at Auckland, about a four-hour drive from Mt Ruapehu), from $896 a person, land only. More: (02) 9267 1655; www.skimax.com.au; www.mtruapehu.com.
www.newzealand.com Destination Australia — Page 5
Big dipper: Skiing on Mt Ruapehu
Fly high: Awesome conditions at Mt Hutt