Located on the South Island of New Zealand, Wanaka is a quaint lakeside resort town surrounded by the Southern Alps of New Zealand. The towering mountain ranges make Wanaka a haven for skiers & snowboarders. Wanaka is a great base to visit Cardrona, Treble Cone, Coronet Peak and The Remarkables Ski Resorts.
The vast terrain available from Wanaka is ideal for all levels of experience. Having access to so many ski resorts, means Wanaka is also ideal for groups with mixed ski or snowboard skill level; groups can split up to visit different mountains easily. There are plenty of activities for any non-skiers visiting during winter as well.
From budget accommodation to Wanaka’s luxury resort style hotels, there is an excellent selection of accommodation to choose from. For those who want self-contained facilities or need extra space, there are a variety of self-catering apartments and holiday homes to choose from. The cheapest time to visit Wanaka is usually early or late in the ski season. It is often better value to book a ski package deal and always advisable to book early, especially if travelling over peak holiday dates. For more information on Wanaka accommodation click here.
Wanaka is a stunning place to ski or snowboard, with panoramic lake views and several world-class ski resorts within close proximity. Cardrona Alpine Resort is 20 minutes from the centre of Wanaka with 2 pipes, multiple terrain parks, 400 hectares of terrain and impeccable family facilities, it’s no surprise that Cardrona is one of New Zealand’s favourite ski resorts. In 2020 Cardrona also purchased Treble Cone, so you can now ski both peaks on one lift pass. Treble Cone has the largest skiable area and longest vertical rise in New Zealand, Treble Cone ski field is also well-known for its off-piste terrain and uncrowded runs.
Coronet Peak Ski Resort is located about 1 hour 20 minutes from central Wanaka & The Remarkables Ski Resort is about 1 hour 30 minutes from town. One thing is certain, Wanaka in an unforgettable snow holiday destination. For more information about Wanaka’s lift passes click here.
Most visitors to Wanaka hire a car from either Queenstown Airport or Christchurch Airport. This is also a convenient option to commute to Wanaka’s ski resorts. For anyone who does plan to self-drive, it is essential to carry If you don’t feel comfortable driving up the steep mountain roads, both Treble Cone and Cardrona ski resort offer transport options from Wanaka or the bottom of the mountain.
The closest airport to Wanaka is Queenstown Airport, flights can be expensive over peak winter travel dates or school holidays, so consider flying into Christchurch or Dunedin if you are budget conscious. Wanaka is a 55 minutes’ drive from Queenstown, just over 3 hours’ drive from Dunedin, and about 5 hours’ drive from Christchurch.
Most visitors to Wanaka hire a car and drive from their chosen airport. It is important to make sure your hire car has snow cover, roof racks and snow chains. Ski season is from late June through to early October & peak travel is from July to August, so if you are looking to avoid the crowds ski early or late in the season. Due to the increasingly popular family facilities available at Cardrona Alpine Resort, it is advisable to also travel outside of Australian and New Zealand school holiday dates if possible or book well in advance.
Wanaka is a premium alpine skiing and snowboarding destination, but there are plenty of other winter activities to enjoy. Visitors can try snowshoeing and dog sledding at Snow Farm, over have a snowball fight at the Snow Fun Zone. For adrenaline seekers, try ice-driving or take a scenic flight around Wanaka and finish on a glacier. For wine lovers and beer connoisseurs, the Otago region also has a variety of Wineries & Breweries to explore. Visit the Cardrona Distillery, take a tour and learn about the distilling process and finish with a tasting of their in-house liquors, vodka, gin and delicious Cardrona single malt whisky.