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Things to do in New Zealand

Things To Do In New Zealand - Discovering Destinations

Popular Skiing resorts in New Zealand

Cardrona, New Zealand

Cardrona Ski Resort hailed as a local gem, offers a perfect blend of family-friendly charm and diverse terrain in a location that sits conveniently between the picturesque towns of Queenstown and Wanaka. Renowned for its friendly atmosphere, Cardrona is celebrated as one of the best ski resorts in New Zealand. Boasting modern infrastructure, a variety of terrain suitable for all skill levels, and spectacular views, it’s an ideal destination for families seeking both adventure and convenience.

With its summit elevation of over 6,000 feet, Cardrona historically receives abundant snowfall, making it a haven for winter sports enthusiasts. The resort’s commitment to family enjoyment is evident in its dedicated beginner area, childcare facilities, and an array of restaurants. For thrill-seekers, Cardrona’s terrain park system, recognized as one of the Southern Hemisphere’s finest, offers an exhilarating experience. 

While easily accessible from Queenstown and Wanaka, the resort’s popularity can lead to weekend crowds. Nevertheless, Cardrona remains a top choice for those seeking an unforgettable New Zealand skiing adventure with a family-friendly touch.

Cardrona New Zealand - Discovering Destinations
Treble Cone New Zealand - Discovering Destinations

Treble Cone, New Zealand

Treble Cone Ski Resort, renowned for its natural free-ride terrain, abundant snowfall, and breathtaking views of Lake Wanaka and Mt. Aspiring, stands as the largest ski area on the South Island of New Zealand.

With a remarkable 45% of trails designed for both intermediates and advanced skiers, Treble Cone offers an extensive selection of runs suitable for everyone. While the beginner terrain is limited, the resort provides complimentary access to the Magic Carpet and discounted passes to the Platter Lift, ensuring novices can enjoy their experience. Boasting over 2,200 feet of vertical and 1,300 acres of skiable terrain, Treble Cone is a haven for advanced skiers, featuring open powder faces, natural half pipes, and long runs. 

With New Zealand’s highest annual snowfall, the resort captures the essence of a skier’s snowy paradise. While the base area may be relatively straightforward, the proximity to the chic town of Wanaka offers a delightful blend of lodging, restaurants, shopping, and services. 

Treble Cone stands as one of the best ski resorts in New Zealand, inviting avid skiers to indulge in a snowy haven with unparalleled panoramic views.

The Remarkables, New Zealand

The Remarkables Ski Resort, situated amidst New Zealand’s iconic mountain landscapes and overlooking the scenic shores of Lake Wakatipu, is a renowned destination for skiing enthusiasts. Boasting proximity to Queenstown, this family-friendly resort is nestled within the Remarkables mountain range, providing breathtaking views that are some of the most photographed on the planet. 

Recognised for its excellent facilities for beginners, including three magic carpets visible from the base lodge, The Remarkables offers wide runs, ideal for children honing their skills. The trails cater to various skill levels, making it a perfect spot for families and learners. While natural snow conditions can vary, the resort compensates with extensive snowmaking capabilities. Beyond its family appeal, The Remarkables also caters to advanced skiers with sun-drenched bowls, off-piste terrain, and renowned terrain parks. Despite being a smaller ski area, its location and diverse offerings make it a popular choice, drawing visitors seeking both panoramic vistas and varied terrain. 

Whether you’re a seasoned skier or a first-timer, The Remarkables ensures an unforgettable skiing experience in the heart of New Zealand’s captivating alpine scenery.

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Coronet Peak New Zealand - Discovering Destinations

Coronet Peak New Zealand

Coronet Peak, positioned just 20 minutes away from the vibrant hub of Queenstown, stands out as one of the most popular ski resorts on the South Island of New Zealand.

Renowned for its panoramic views that encompass Lake Wakatipu, Lake Hayes, and The Remarkables, this resort is a go-to destination for skiers seeking convenience and diverse terrain.

With an efficient lift system, Coronet Peak caters to a broad audience, making it particularly appealing for intermediates who can enjoy an array of well-groomed blue runs. Boasting 27 runs, the resort occasionally experiences crowds, yet it compensates with delightful dining options, childcare services, ski school, and shopping facilities. Unlike many New Zealand ski resorts, Coronet Peak offers on-mountain accommodation, enhancing the overall experience for visitors. While it may be a top choice for beginners and intermediates, advanced skiers can also appreciate the resort’s charm and breathtaking views. 

Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a newcomer to the slopes, Coronet Peak ensures a memorable skiing adventure against the stunning backdrop of the South Island’s picturesque landscapes.

Mount Hutt, New Zealand

Mount Hutt, proudly standing as the highest ski resort on the South Island of New Zealand, offers an unparalleled skiing experience with superb snow conditions and expansive terrain. The resort’s high elevation ensures reliable snow coverage that extends well into the Southern Hemisphere spring, making it a haven for winter sports enthusiasts.

Boasting over 900 skiable acres, Mount Hutt caters to all skill levels, featuring ample space for beginners, wide groomers for intermediates, and thrilling off-piste blacks for the more adventurous. Families, in particular, find great value here, as children under 10 can ski for free, adding to the appeal of this family-friendly destination. 

While the accommodations and dining options around Mount Hutt are limited, nearby Methven, just 30 minutes away, offers reasonably priced lodgings for visitors. Recognized as New Zealand’s best ski resort since 2015, Mount Hutt continues to charm with its high-altitude charm, making it a must-visit for those seeking an exceptional winter getaway. 

Whether you’re a seasoned skier or introducing your family to the joys of the slopes, Mount Hutt promises a memorable and thrilling alpine adventure.

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Unique Attractions - Discovering Destinations

Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

Embark on an unforgettable adventure through the heart of New Zealand’s stunning Tongariro National Park with the renowned Tongariro Alpine Crossing, heralded as the country’s premier one-day trek and ranked among the world’s top ten. 

This challenging 19.4 km journey promises a day of contrasts, guiding you through a volcanic alpine landscape adorned with steaming vents, glacial valleys, ancient lava flows, alpine vegetation, and the captivating vivid crater lakes, including the famous Emerald Lakes. As you ascend through the Mangatepōpō Valley and tackle the challenging climb to Red Crater, standing at 1886 m, the panoramic views are nothing short of breathtaking. The descent to the Emerald Lakes is a highlight, though trekkers must navigate steep volcanic rock scree and exercise caution. The trail continues past the mesmerizing Blue Lake, offering zig-zag descents with captivating views over Lake Rotoaira and Lake Taupō. 

Be prepared for a day of steep climbs, unpredictable weather, and challenging descents, but rest assured, the rewards are immeasurable. An organized hike ensures you make the most of this World Heritage Listed site, weaving through both cultural and natural wonders, making the Tongariro Alpine Crossing an unparalleled trekking experience.

Tongariro Crossing New Zealand - Discovering Destinations
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Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier, New Zealand

Discover the awe-inspiring majesty of Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier, monumental icy giants gracing New Zealand’s picturesque South Island. Situated on the enchanting west coast, these colossal glaciers captivate with their sheer size, often disappearing into the clouds, leaving visitors in wonder. Offering an experience like no other, guided glacier hikes are a must, allowing you to traverse these frozen wonders and witness their grandeur up close. 

What sets Fox and Franz Josef apart is their unique resilience—defying the global trend of glacier retreat, they gracefully flow almost to sea level, providing unparalleled accessibility. The easy walks leading to their bases wind through ancient river valleys, unveiling the scars of the glaciers’ dynamic history.

To truly comprehend their scale, consider this: the Fox Glacier plummets an astonishing 2,600 meters over its 13-kilometre stretch, fueled by a steady supply of snowfall that accumulates into deep blue ice. These glaciers move at an astounding pace, around ten times faster than typical valley glaciers, a testament to their dynamic nature. As you stand at their feet, the enormity of these frozen behemoths is humbling. The glacial landscape, marked by crevasses, upheavals, and ravines, showcases the dramatic forces shaping the ice. 

Waitomo's Underground Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

Embark on a mesmerizing journey into the heart of New Zealand’s central North Island with the iconic Waitomo Underground Glowworm Caves. A subterranean wonderland dating back centuries, these caves are a testament to nature’s artistry. The Glowworm Grotto, a star attraction, invites you to explore its breathtaking beauty by boat, gliding silently through the cave illuminated by thousands of unique New Zealand glow worms. This celestial display has captivated visitors since 1889, becoming a global phenomenon and a must-see on New Zealand’s travel itinerary.

Choose from a variety of tours, including the exhilarating options of tubing or abseiling, each offering a unique perspective of this underground marvel. Knowledgeable guides, often descendants of the Maori chief who first explored the cave, share the rich history of this enchanted realm. As you navigate the Waitomo River, the serene ambience and the twinkling glowworm lights create a magical atmosphere, transporting you to a celestial galaxy. 

A visit to the Waitomo Underground Glowworm Caves promises an unforgettable experience, a tranquil underground odyssey, and a chance to witness Mother Nature’s own light show that has enchanted generations of explorers.

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Hobbiton New Zealand - Discovering Destinations

Hobbiton, New Zealand

Step into the enchanting realm of Hobbiton, a must-visit destination in New Zealand, especially for aficionados of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. 

Located just outside the picturesque Waikato town of Matamata, Hobbiton offers a unique and captivating experience as you explore the meticulously preserved film set. Sir Peter Jackson, in his quest for the perfect setting, discovered this gem on the Alexander family sheep and beef farm, where the lush landscape of The Shire and the village of Hobbiton came to life.

Immerse yourself in the magic of Middle-earth as you traverse the 1,250-acre sheep farm, taking in panoramic views of the Kaimai Ranges. Visit iconic locations like Bag End, the Green Dragon Inn, the mill, and the Party Tree. Marvel at the intricate details of Hobbit holes and listen to enchanting tales of how Hobbiton was brought to existence. The tour, a delightful blend of entertainment and insight, lets you relive the cinematic wonders and discover the movie-making secrets behind these beloved trilogies. 

Milford Sound, New Zealand

Situated within the breathtaking Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound stands as a jewel, earning its reputation as Rudyard Kipling’s “eighth wonder of the world.” This captivating destination, whether shrouded in mist or basking in sunshine, offers an unparalleled spectacle of towering peaks, cascading waterfalls reaching heights of 1000 metres, and serene, ink-dark waters. Deep within New Zealand’s South Island, Milford Sound is a fiord, not a sound, and is the only one accessible by road, providing a unique opportunity to witness its unspoiled allure.

Embarking on a journey from Queenstown or Te Anau, visitors are treated to a scenic drive of approximately four and two hours, respectively, unveiling the remote beauty that awaits. A UNESCO World Heritage site within Te Wahipounamu, Fiordland National Park sets the stage for Milford Sound’s dramatic cliffs, lush rainforests, and the peaceful coexistence of quirky wildlife. An overnight stay presents the chance to embrace absolute silence once the day’s visitors depart, allowing an even deeper connection with the unparalleled natural wonders that make Milford Sound an essential stop on every New Zealand itinerary. 

This pristine fiord, whether glistening under the sun or adorned with rain-induced waterfalls, continues to captivate travelers with its timeless beauty.

Milford Sound New Zealand - Discovering Destinations

£25 - £35

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