The South Island is a spot that everyone—especially New Zealanders—should tick off. It’s such an easy trip from anywhere in the country and is 100 percent worth it, even as an escape for a couple of days. There’s so much to do, especially in winter during the ski season.
In August, my boyfriend Luke and I flew into Queenstown and spent five days on the South Island. Luke has family down there, and we’ve always loved visiting, but this was my first big ski trip there. Our time at Ohau Snow Fields and Wanaka’s Treble Cone Ski Area was definitely the highlight.
Here’s a roundup of the trip—and a few tips for first time skiers!
Lake Ohau Lodge and Ohau Snow Fields
Ohau Snow Fields is an amazing spot if you want to do a few days of skiing. We spent the day there and the night at the lodge. There’s an incredible view from the main reception and communal area (see below!) and the ski mountain is about 10-minutes drive from there.
The lodge accommodation is so cozy and it has such a relaxed vibe. People are there mainly to go up to the mountain and ski, so everyone’s walking around in their puffer jackets.
It’s quite cold, but you can get some beautiful, blue sky days, especially on the mountain when there’s no clouds about.
What to Pack
Make sure to pack thermals, and pack for warmth, anything like jeans, coats and boots. You can hire gear at the ski fields, and they have shops where you can pick up anything extra you need. I borrowed my gear off Luke’s family—it’s nice not having to put on a stranger’s gear!
The Ohau Snow Fields had just had about 3cm of snow when we arrived, so the conditions were perfect. We’d always go up early when it opened at around 8.30am to start the day.
It’s simple advice, but I would recommend going at your own pace. Start off at the beginner’s slope first and work your way through the mountain.
After a day of skiing, reward yourself with a nightcap. Mulled wine was the top drink at the lodge.
The Perfect Stopover in Clyde
We made a little stopover at Clyde and I definitely recommend it if it’s on your way—it’s a cute, old town.
We had lunch at Olivers Restaurant and Bar, so yummy! There were so many warm, healthy choices (I had zucchini and pea fritters), which is important when you’re going somewhere cold. Plus, the coffee is amazing.
Treble Cone Ski Area
Our second ski spot! We spent the day and were lucky once again with perfect weather and conditions.
Treble Cone is more advanced than Ohau. I’m about an intermediate skier, and found the slopes a lot steeper, so it might not be the best for beginners. But the only way to get better is by giving it a crack.
You have an incredible view from the mountain, and the landscapes are just insane.
They also had the best pizza (as you can see!). A good tip is don’t eat too much pizza if you want to get back on the slopes. My boyfriend had a bit of a food coma.
On top of the amazing skiing, you can’t go past the landscapes. Anywhere you go in Queenstown is just beautiful. It’s honestly like a postcard in real life.
South Island Quick Links:
Lake Ohau Lodge and Ohau Snow Fields: ohau.co.nz
Treble Cone: treblecone.com/
Olivers Restaurant & Bar: olivers.co.nz/