If you are a ski bunny or boarder - or in fact pretty much anyone with a sense of adventure - then you will know of Queenstown. And with Queenstown, comes the magnificent Coronet Peak and super sunny, North facing Remarkables ski field, both of which are worth ascending, if only for the spectacular views of Queenstown and beyond.
If you’re staying in Queenstown then access to both fields is easy with buses shuttling from the centre of town to the fields, and back again. Coronet is a mere 25 minutes from the centre of Queenstown and The Remarkables is about 45 minutes.
Once up the mostly sealed road leading to Coronet, the choices are vast. With over 280 hectares of field, and super fast quad and six seater chair lifts to transport you to the far reaches of the hill, along with a tee bar and learner conveyor belts, there’s something for everyone. The back bowls make for awesome off piste skiing, and the black diamond runs challenge the best of us. The main runs offer superb skiing and boarding for the intermediate or cruiser level and the gentler slopes of the Big Easy and Gentle Annie are perfect for getting your confidence and balance on.
There’s nothing nicer than skiing the teebar and then popping into Heidi’s Hut for a breakfast croissant and coffee, or a pizza and mulled wine sitting in the sunshine, around the brassiere. But if you don’t make it across to the tee, the main cafe has a huge array of food options for every dietary requirement. For a little sophisticated cocktail upon bean bags in the sun, pop up to the Outdoor Ice Bar at the top of Greengates express. The music will be pumping and it’s a very fine way to spend an hour or so, letting the knees and wrists get a little breather.
Coronet offers night skiing on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights, first tracks for the early risers, two terrain parks, group or individual lessons and often in peak times there are new seasons skis available for demo rides, so you can check out if you need to update your planks or board.
If you’ve just ascended the Coronet Express Chair, look out across the valley and you’ll see The Remarkables, sparkling in the sunshine.
A wee way out of Queenstown on the Kingston Rd The Remarkables is a smaller, slightly more boutique feeling field, but has awesome mixed terrain for all levels of skiing ability, with four chairs - quads and six seaters - plus three conveyors for the newbies and three options of terrain park to keep all the shredders happy.
And staying in Queenstown makes any holiday truly memorable, but in winter it’s pretty special as the fires are stoked, Otago pinot noirs readily flow, the streets and surrounding forests can be dusted with snow - just to make it even more pretty - pizzas and feasts from pretty much every corner of the globe are on offer, as well as a raft of different accommodation options for every budget. And if you’re wanting some fresh air and excersize off the mountain there are some wonderful walks around Lake Wakatipu, around Lake Hayes and into the native bush.
If the weather is a little inclement up the mountain, don’t worry, you can also do some laps in the pool, or squeal and shriek as you hurtle down the hydro slides in the Queenstown Events Centre. There’s the kookiest mini golf at Caddyshack City Mini Golf, you can spot the shy little kiwis in the Kiwi Birdlife Park, ride the gondola and then tear down the track on the luge, or simply explore the numerous and sumptuous vineyards in the area. (Oh and don’t forget to include the Bannockburn and Gibbston Valley if you’re having a little vino tasting road trip. And please remember, tastings are for passengers only. Drivers have to use the spittoons.)
Banner Photo Credit: Coronet Peak