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Winter Wonderland - a Beginner's Guide to Skiing Queenstown

It's time to take advantage of the amazing cheap fares to New Zealand on offer

‘The Remarkables’ – certainly sounds like somewhere you’d like to travel to, doesn’t it?

‘The Remarkables’ – certainly sounds like somewhere you’d like to travel to, doesn’t it?

Well, if you’re planning to swoosh down the slopes in beautiful Queenstown, New Zealand, The Remarkables is just one of several great ski runs you’ll encounter – and one that definitely lives up to its name!

As the June chill settles over the land of the long white cloud, the lure of glistening slopes start calling, meaning it's time to take advantage of the amazing cheap fares to New Zealand on offer, and book that bucket-list ski trip to Queenstown! But, what if it's one of your first forays into skiing?

Don’t fret! Beginners will have a blast in this real-world Narnia – as I found out first-hand!

Now, channel that snow, grab a cocoa (or mulled wine), and read all you need to know about conquering Queenstown, no matter your ski level.

The town

Nestled amid the majestic Southern Alps on stunning Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is famous for its (totally insta-worthy) landscape, friendly locals, and the adrenaline-fueled buzz in the air (it’s the birthplace of bungee), making it as magical as it is epic. June to September, the town comes alive, and, whether it’s you first run or your 500th, it’s impossible not to get caught up in the spirit.

The slopes

Just 20 - 45 minutes from the town centre lie four ski areas with something for everyone.

The Remarkables base lodge is ski-in, ski-out, making it easier to find your ‘ski legs’. Enjoy hours of fun in the huge learner’s area, where beginners are made to feel welcome, and you can pick up some lessons that will see you swooshing like a pro in no time. Pay a visit to the Guest Services team when you arrive, and they’ll sort you out with everything from passes and gear, to lessons. Little shredders are looked after, too, with a kid’s club operating from 9am.

Locals love Coronet Peak, and it’s easy to see why! Quieter than The Remarkables, the learner area is far away enough from the pro peaks to ensure you feel safe, while being close enough to the action to make you feel part of the vibe. The views from Coronet Peak are sublime, and a state-of-the-art snowmaker ensures a soft, even coverage that will catch you when you fall – which is all part of the fun! If you’re looking for something different, Coronet Peak is famous for night skiing, a magical experience for everyone.

Gearing up for family fun? You can’t go past Cardrona. Home to New Zealand’s only gondola chair lift and boasting wide-open spaces where you can find your balance on fresh, dry snow, it’s a great experience, no matter what your age or skill level. That said, any experts in your group will love it too – there are plenty of challenging peaks to conquer.

Some would say I’ve left the best to last, and it’s hard to disagree. With its stunning views from two uncrowded basins, Treble Cone, the South Island’s largest ski area, is a must-visit. Die-hard ski fans love the legendary off-piste areas and epic vertical rise, but beginners are looked after too! Novices can enjoy a free lift and a protected slope that’s close to the base for a hassle-free day of fun.

All areas are easily accessible by hire car and bus, but leave the gear behind! Hire opportunities abound, and the friendly staff on all slopes will help you get the best fit for your size and burgeoning ski style.

Après Ski

Of course, skiing tests every muscle in your body (who knew we had so many in our butt?!) so you’ll definitely want to plan some down time, too. Luckily, Queenstown also shines off the slopes. Head to historic Arrowtown, enjoy a world-class drop at one of the many wineries, or snuggle into a cosy couch with a cocktail and enjoy the views.

If high-octane activities are more your speed, try paragliding, bungee jumping or jet boating, then wind down with a hearty meal in one of the many cafes, restaurants, and wine bars that make New Zealand one of the most sought-out gourmet destinations on Earth.

Accommodation and flights

When it comes to warm welcomes, few nations do it better than New Zealand. From backpacker digs and homey hotels to luxe lodges and ritzy resorts, accommodation is plentiful and varied. With many cheap flights available, it won’t be long before you’re saying ‘Kia Ora’ to Queenstown, making memories as you plunge into the powder!