The Mackenzie region, cradled in the centre of New Zealand’s South Island, is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular places to ski in New Zealand, with the majestic Southern Alps and sparking glacial lakes.
Situated halfway between Christchurch and Queenstown, for many it’s an ideal stopover for a day or two to experience some of the smaller laid-back ski areas. Increasingly, it’s a destination itself, with ideal terrain both for those new to the snow, or those seeking adventure. Roundhill, Ohau and Mt Dobson are primed for the family, with some of the best terrain in the country for beginners and intermediates.
But don’t be fooled, as Roundhill has the longest steepest knarliest ropetow in the world (!), 600 vertical metres of thigh burning pleasure. And Ohau has some of the best ski touring and terrain for back country adventures in the land. While you’re there, for a true kiwi ski experience stay at the Lake Ohau lodge, ski during the day, then collapse into the spa pool (or bar) at night.
Last but not least, by any stretch of the imagination, the Makenzie is dominated by New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki/Mt Cook. And in the shadow of the mountain lie two of the best adventures you can have on the snow. Accessible to virtually any skier, the Tasman Glacier is an experience not to be missed. Get dropped at the top of the glacier by ski plane, and then ski with a guide down the gentle slopes, skiing between seracs and other glacial features, for what undoubtedly will be one of your most memorable days. Step it up a little and then jump in a helicopter with Mt Cook Heli and ski one of the most beautiful places in the world with endless terrain options and the most snow in the country.
If you’ve done Queenstown and want something different, the Mackenzie won’t disappoint.