Seven seriously cool slippery New Zealand winter adventures

Seven seriously cool ways to enjoy New Zealand’s slippery winter slopes without skis or boards.

When winter snows arrive, New Zealand’s mountain resorts are the southern hemisphere’s destination of choice for hordes of winter sports lovers keen to tame the slopes. But, for those less interested in strapping on some skis or a board and descending a downhill, there are so many other cool winter activities and experiences on offer. 

The Chondola – Cardrona Alpine Resort, Wanaka

New for the 2017 winter season, The Chondola at Cardrona is especially for sightseers who can slip up to the top of the mountain in a gondola cabin, staying warm and dry the whole way up. Visit the new Vista Bar at the top of the mountain (1860m) for a glass of Mumm champagne, a craft beer or a barista-made coffee. The top of the lift overlooks the Wakatipu Basin and has spectacular views of the Southern Alps towards Mt Cook – the perfect spot for a great Instagram shot. Other new non-ski products including snow tubing will be introduced at Cardrona during this season. More information on Cardrona Alpine Resort  

Aotea Square Ice Rink – Auckland City

Auckland - New Zealand’s biggest city - is far from the snowy slopes but that doesn’t mean winter isn’t celebrated. Aotea Square Ice Rink, in the centre of the city, offers an exciting variety of special events including a thrilling new Skate Path, DJ nights, themed parties, skating lessons and much more. Skate amongst the downtown buzz to experience the magic of your very own winter playground. For those who haven’t yet had the chance to experience real snow in all its glory, a magical snow play area will be on offer too. More information on Aotea Square Ice Rink  

Mt Cook Ski Planes - Mt Cook, Southern Alps 

Experience the adventure of flying through the towering mountains of the Southern Alps and explore the snow covered Tasman Glacier with a ski plane landing. New Zealand is one of only two places in the world where a ski plane can land on a glacier, so this is one not to be missed. Fully appreciate this remote alpine landscape with panoramic views of Aoraki Mount Cook and Mount Tasman, and you won’t need skis or a snowboard for this incredible experience. This is one of many different scenic flights with Mt Cook Ski Planes to discover the snow and mountains from above. More information on Mt Cook Ski Planes

Sledding - Mt Ruapehu, Central North Island

Experience the magic of snow building a snowman, creating a snow angel or try sledding on an active volcano. Whakapapa and Turoa Ski Areas offer public and lift-accessed sledding areas for all ages to experience the exhilaration of whooshing down the slope. Or, take a the sightseer’s chairlift to the upper slopes and New Zealand’s highest café at Whakapapa’s architecturally-awarded Knoll Ridge. Watch skiers and snowboarders rip down the slopes and take in the spectacular views from the North Island’s highest mountain. More information on Mt Ruapehu  

Maniototo Curling International Ice Rink - Naseby, Central Otago 

The charming early Otago gold rush settlement of Naseby offers a cool winter fix with the Maniototo Curling International ice rink on the town’s outskirts, where visitors can have a go at the ancient ice sport of curling. The rink is the largest year-round indoor curling rink in the southern hemisphere. An outdoor ice rink alongside is open only during winter for curling, ice skating and ice hockey, and there’s a thrilling downhill luge as well. More information on the Maniototo Ice Rink   

Franz Josef Glacier Guides - Franz Josef, Westland  

The Franz Josef Glacier Heli Hike tour is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Climb into the chopper and your experienced pilot whisks you away, up and over the jaw-dropping landscape. After a scenic flight high above the rugged terrain to land on the glacier for a three-hour guided hike across the ice. Follow the guide through some of the world’s most pristine and awe-inspiring glacial scenery - spectacular ice formations, extraordinary towering peaks and glistening blue ice. More information on Franz Josef Glacier Guides

Snowshoeing - Wanaka

Snowshoes are a great way to get off the beaten track and explore the snow covered hills of the Pisa Range. They say that if you can walk, you can snow shoe. Snow Farm NZ has snowshoe trails that cross alpine meadows, rock features and alpine streams in the Pisa range. Travelling these trails is a breeze with lightweight, easy to use Atlas snowshoes. Trails and routes take from 20 minutes to 2 hours to complete, with plenty of awesome photo opportunities. More information on Snow Farm NZ