Skiing Near Auckland

By Viator, May 2013

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It isn’t too often that you find ski resorts on South Pacific islands.

Yes, you can ski on Mauna Kea in Hawaii, although there aren’t any lifts and the conditions can be harsh. It will also occasionally snow in Papua New Guinea, although the snow is nothing more than frosty rock piles which tower over an equatorial jungle.

In New Zealand, however, the volcanoes of the North Island and the peaks of the Southern Alps make for a true ski destination which is the best in Oceania. Even for those who are living in the city, there is enough skiing around Auckland to justify keeping some skis and goggles ready at a moment’s notice. While most people regard Auckland as a city of sailboats, vineyards, and hidden beaches, the largest skifield in all of New Zealand — Mt. Ruapehu — is only a four hour drive away. Or, if you’re short on time, hop a 45 minute flight from Auckland to Taupo and then make the easy one hour drive to the mountain. Mt. Ruapehu is comprised of two ski areas — Whakapapa and Turoa — and for advanced riders Turoa features the longest vertical descent found anywhere in Oceania (over 2,300 ft.).

While not as amenable to beginner riders, advanced skiers looking for skiing around Auckland can also head to the Manganui ski area in Taranaki. Accessible via a five hour drive or a 45- minute flight to New Plymouth (plus a one hour drive to the mountain), the skifield here is on the slopes of Mt. Egmont and receives about 120 inches of natural snow annually.In both Taranaki as well as Ruapehu, the ski season usually starts around mid June and will last until late October or early November.

Or, of you’re looking for skiing around Auckland and are willing to fly a little further, in under two hours you can be landing in Queenstown to hit the slopes of the fabled Southern Alps.

Contributed by Kyle Ellison

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