From Cardrona to The Remarkables, New Zealand's breathtaking landscapes provide the ultimate playground for snow bunnies and ski enthusiasts. While NZ ski is a family holiday favourite, hitting the slopes can be a costly adventure. When you factor in flights, accommodation, lift passes, ski gear, transfers and food, things can add up very quickly and make family holidays seem near impossible. However, with some careful planning and savvy spending it is possible to ski on a budget. Here are 5 money saving hacks for a NZ ski holiday.
In Australia and New Zealand, peak ski season coincides with the winter school holidays which (surprise) causes prices to surge. From July to September, ski resorts can become overly crowded, the slopes are busy and there are often long queues for the ski lifts. To avoid the crowds, we recommend visiting during the shoulder months of June and October. However, if the school holidays are the only time you can travel, we suggest booking as far in advance as possible and taking advantage of a ski holiday package. Often, these packages will include early bird accommodation rates, discounted lift passes, ski hire and even transfers to and from the mountain. Providing unbeatable value and inclusions for families, these ski packages are a very popular option.
Rather than splurging on an expensive hotel and buying three meals a day, opt to stay in a self-contained apartment and cook your meals from home. Holiday apartments are available all over New Zealand and offer a variety of options to suit any travel budget. Perfect for families and those travelling in groups, these self-contained apartments allow you to cater to fussy eaters as well as enjoy a comfortable and spacious living area to unwind after a day on the slopes.
If you're a first time skier/snowboarder or are still getting the hang of things, we recommend hiring your ski gear until you feel completely comfortable with the equipment. From board hire and boots to helmets and gloves, you can hire absolutely everything you need at the ski fields when you arrive. You'll also save plenty of room in your suitcase for packing extra clothing and warm items. If you want to be even more savvy, consider borrowing clothing and ski gear from friends and family.
Whether you want to hone your skills in a private lesson or just learn the basics with other beginners, ski lessons are a great way to fast track your technique. If you've already secured your flights and accommodation, consider booking your lessons well in advance. There are only so many ski instructors and availability in the lessons, so it's important to get in early and secure your spot. You'll also save significantly by scoring early bird prices and can relax knowing that everything is booked and taken care of. To enjoy even more savings, consider bundling together your lessons with lift passes, gear hire and mountain transfers in an affordable ski package.
Whilst New Zealand has a number of tour buses and rail options, the best way to experience the country is with your own vehicle. Allowing you to explore at your own pace, hire cars also provide unbeatable value for travellers, particularly those wanting to hit the slopes. Without a car, transfers to the ski fields from Queenstown will cost upwards of $75/day per person, whereas your hire car will simply cost you the petrol. You will also receive free parking at all of New Zealand's ski fields and enjoy the freedom of arriving and leaving whenever you please. Perfect for families, hire cars are readily available all over New Zealand and range from just $54 a day.