Ski the Best of the Southern Hemisphere

21/7/2016 – Australia & New Zealand’s Best Ski Resorts. By GAO Snow.

Queenstown & Wanaka (Hero) - Winter-in-wanaka

There are many great things about a ski holiday in Australia or New Zealand.

Image courtesy of Falls CreekFrom European style ski-in/ ski out villages situated in the unique Aussie landscape to lakeside ski townships at the base of New Zealand’s majestic mountains, there truly is something for everybody.

GAO Snow is your global snow travel specialist, here are their inside tips on where you can find the best of the best when planning your Southern Hemisphere ski holiday.


Best beginner / most family friendly resort 
Falls Creek (Australia)ENG_Maps_640x640_Aus_FallsCreek

With tree-lined streets covered in snow for much of the winter season, Falls Creek is a true ski in/ski out, European style alpine village.

Fun family friendly activities will keep the kids entertained all day long, including a free toboggan slope, Snowplay Park area, snowtubing, firework displays, live entertainment with Pete the Snow Dragon (the resort’s friendly mascot) and much more.

The rest of the family are also spoilt for choice with a vibrant après ski scene and over 35 dining options to choose from.

On the slopes you will find well-groomed downhill trails suitable for skiers and boarders of all abilities. The largest ski resort in Victoria, Falls Creek boasts 92 runs and 450 hectares of pristine snow fields, with beginner and intermediate terrain accounting for nearly 80% of the resort.All safety equipment

When and Where

11 June – 2 October 2016
Melbourne, Australia

How to Get There

Falls Creek is located 4.5 hours drive from Melbourne. The resort is accessible via bus, car or private helicopter transfer.Falls Creek - Astra (Packages) -astra-alpine-resort-in-falls-creek-restaurant-chefs-0811-1024x659

Stay and Play

Huski Apartments, QT Falls Creek, Astra Lodge, Falls Creek Country Club

Eat and Drink

Elk Restaurant, Milch Café, Huski Café, Oiishi Go, Astra Lodge

Image courtesy of Falls CreekOther Beginner-Friendly Resorts

Mt Buller and Thredbo (Australia)
Coronet Peak and Cardrona (New Zealand)

Click Here to find out more about Falls Creek Resort, Australia


Most Welcoming Resort –
Cardrona (New Zealand)

Guests are given a warm welcome at Cardrona Alpine Resort,  with a fantastic range of services specifically tailored to international guests.ENG_Maps_640x640_NZ_Cardrona

Combine this with wide open beginner trails; pristine groomed runs; fun freeride terrain and world class terrain parks, and you have the perfect location for the whole family.

Cardrona is home to New Zealand’s most experienced and highly qualified ski and snowboard school and globally recognised ski racing program. Not only will you find instructors speaking a mix of international languages, including 10 Chinese instructors, but you will also see professional athletes from around the world (the national ski teams from Canada, UK, China and Japan visit Cardrona every year).

The Cardrona Visitor Centre and friendly guest services team will welcome you with open arms while the resorts 6 restaurants/ cafes, professional ski rental service and childcare centre provide everything you need for a great day on the slopes.Photo courtesy of Cardrona Alpine Resort

Cardrona is also the only resort in New Zealand to offer on-mountain accommodation in their 15 conveniently located studio, two, three and four bedroom apartments.

When and Where

11 June – 9 October 2016
Otago Region, New Zealand

How to Get ThereImage courtesy of Destination Queenstown

Cardrona is located an easy 20 minute drive from the picturesque town of Wanaka or a 55 minute drive from Queenstown and the Queenstown International Airport.

Stay and Play

The town of Cardrona offers a number of options however most guests choose to stay in Queenstown or Wanaka. Here are some of our favourites:The Rees - reescentreview
Cardrona: Cardrona Apartments, Cardrona Hotel
Wanaka: Edgewater Resort, Lakeside Apartments
Queenstown: The Rees Hotel & Luxury Apartments, Matakauri Lodge, Hotel St Moritz

Eat and Drink

Cardrona: Mezz Café, Captains Pizzeria, Cardrona Hotel
Queenstown: Fishbone, Rata, Ferg Burger
Wanaka: Bistro Gentil, Shinaburo, Patagonia ChocolatesPhoto courtesy of Cardrona Alpine Resort

Other Great International Resorts

Mt Buller and Perisher (Australia)
Coronet Peak (New Zealand)

Click Here to find out more about Cardrona Alpine Resort, New Zealand


Best Ski Village –
Thredbo (Australia)

A playground for Australia’s rich and famous, Thredbo Alpine Resort is a true ski-in, ski-out resort with a bustling, European mountain atmosphere.Eng_ANZ-Map_NSW_640x640_thredbo

You are spoilt for choice as you explore the lively village, with over 40 cafes, restaurants and bars to choose from. You will also find plenty of shops full of designer ski gear and some of the best alpine accommodation in Australia, including Rockpool Lodge, winner of the Best Ski Chalet in Australia at the 2015 World Ski Award.

For the ski enthusiasts, the resort offers 480 hectares of riding terrain, Australia’s longest runs and an impressive 672 metre vertical drop – almost double that of any other Australian resort.

It’s no surprise it was recognised as the best resort in Australia at the 2015 World Ski Awards.

13 Thredbo Snow 0624 071When and Where

11 June – 2 October 2016
Snowy Mountains, Australia

How to Get There

Thredbo is located approximately 6 hours drive from Sydney and 2.5 hours from Canberra. If you don’t want to drive yourself, there are regular bus services or GAO Snow can arrange private tours, luxury transfers and charter flight services.Thredbo - fun

Stay and Play

Thredbo: Rockpool Lodge, Thredbo Alpine Hotel, Ski-in Ski-out Chalets
Nearby: Novotel Lake Crackenback Resort.

Eat and Drink

Thredbo: Central Road 2625, Black Bear Inn, The Denman
Nearby: Wildbrumby Café, Cuisine on Lake CrackenbackImage courtesy of Thredbo

Other Great Alpine Vilages

Falls Creek and Mt Buller (Australia)
Wanaka (New Zealand)

Click Here to find out more about Thredbo Alpine Resort, Australia


Best Advanced Skiing / Snowboarding –
Treble Cone (New Zealand)ENG_Maps_640x640_NZ_TrebleCone

Treble Cone is home to some of New Zealand’s most spectacular backcountry terrain, making it the perfect destination for those seeking a more advanced snow experience.

Accessible via lift, the backcountry area includes several challenging bowls offering varying degrees of difficulty (all expert only). Guided tours are  available and are the best way to discover this vast and highly technical area.

Back within boundaries, Treble Cone is also renowned for its fun natural terrain, genuine ‘Kiwi’ feel and spectacular views over Lake Wanaka and the snow-capped Southern Alps.

Photo Courtesy of Treble ConeHome to some of NZ’s best powder skiing and snowboarding, Treble Cone is the largest ski area on New Zealand’s South Island, boasting 550 hectares of skiable terrain.

It also offers the longest vertical drop in the Queenstown/ Wanaka region (700 metres).

When and Where

11 June – 9 October 2016
Queenstown / Wanaka Region, New Zealand

Photo Courtesy of Treble ConeHow to Get There

Treble Cone is located 30 minutes drive from Wanaka or 95 minutes from Queenstown. It is easily accessible with ample parking, a daily shuttle bus service or you can book a private transfer with GAO Snow.

Stay and Play

Wanaka is the most convenient destination if you are planning a visit to Treble Cone however it is also a great day trip from Queenstown for the more adventurous travellers:
Wanaka: Riverrun Lodge, Edgewater Resort, Mecure Oakridge, Alpine Resort Distinction Wanaka.
Queenstown: Rees Hotel & Luxury Apartments, Hilton Queenstown

Eat and Drink

Treble Cone: Altitude Espresso & Pizza
Wanaka: Speights Ale House Wanaka, Relishes Café, Amigos Mexican Grill
Queenstown: True South Dining Room

Photo Courtesy of Treble ConeOther Advanced Ski Areas

Mt Hotham and Perisher (Australia)
The Remarkables and Mt Hutt (New Zealand)

Click Here to find out more about Treble Cone, New Zealand


Best Heli-skiing 
Mt Hutt / Methven (New Zealand)

ENG_Maps_640x640_NZ_MtHuttOne of the most spectacular and thrill seeking ways to experience skiing in the Southern Hemisphere is with a guided heli-ski tour. Mt Hutt is the only ski resort in New Zealand with its own heli-pad – providing unparalleled access to pristine slopes, full of untracked powder.

Mt Hutt and Methven Helicopters provide thrilling tours perfect for skiers or snowboards looking for a one-of-a-kind snow experience. They also offer scenic tours over the spectacular mountain range, ideal for those seeking a gentler pace.

Mt Hutt was recognised as the best New Zealand Ski Resort at the 2015 World Ski Awards and consistently receives the most natural snow over one of the largest ski areas in New Zealand. Combine this with one of the longest snow seasons in the Southern Hemisphere and you’ll never want to leave.

6. Heliskiing-Heliboarding-Methven-Mt-Hutt-Guide-NZ-6When and Where

10 June – 9 October 2016
Canterbury/ Christchurch Region, New Zealand

How to Get There

Mt Hutt is located in the centre of New Zealand’s South Island. It is located two hours from Christchurch or just 35 minutes from the ski town of Methven.

Stay and Play

A short drive from Mt Hutt, Methven offers a range of accommodation with great local Kiwi hospitality.
Methven: Whitestone Cottages, Brinkley Village Resort, Mt Taylor Lodge

Eat and Drink

Mt Hutt: The Sky High Café, Huber’s Hut Restaurant
Methven: Brinkley’s Restaurant, Ski Time Restaurant & Lodge, The Last Posts Café

Other Locations for Heli-Ski Experiences6. Heliskiing-Heliboarding-Methven-Mt-Hutt-Guide-NZ-2

Queenstown and Wanaka (New Zealand)

Click Here to find out more about Mt Hutt, New Zealand