Coronet Peak is New Zealand’s oldest ski field and remains a popular choice for people heading to the slopes during the southern hemisphere’s ski season. Snow bunnies can take to one of the ski field’s many trails, while sightseers can enjoy the stunning views of the Wakatipu Basin and the Southern Alps from the summit of the peak.
Located fewer than 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of Queenstown, Coronet Peak has a large number of trails designed for skiers and snowboarders of all experience levels, from beginner courses at the base of the mountain to black diamond slopes that branch out from the summit. Lessons are available for first-timers young and old.
Coronet Peak isn’t just a hot spot for snowsports, though. Sightseers can take a chairlift up to the top of the summit and relish the panoramic views of the Otago region and the rest of the Southern Alps. Experienced hikers and mountain bikers can start the picturesque Devils Creek Track on Coronet Peak Road. Visitors looking for a bit more adventure can try hang gliding or paragliding from the summit.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Coronet Peak is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts, and with daycare options and free passes for children under 5 years old, it’s a great ski field for families.
- Temperatures on the mountain can dip below freezing, so make sure to wear boots, warm layers, and waterproof jackets and pants.
- Ski and snowboarding gear, jackets, pants, and helmets are all available for rent from Coronet Peak’s rental shop.
- If heading to the nearby Remarkables ski field the next day, you can have your rental gear transferred to the field.
- Coronet Peak has two cafés and a restaurant that are open for most of the day. If you fancy a wine or beer while looking out over the Southern Alps, the Ice Bar is located just off the M1 trail.
How to Get There
Coronet Peak is a short drive from Queenstown, but you’ll need chains to make it the whole way there. Alternatively, catch the express bus from the Queenstown Snow Centre on Duke Street, which leaves every 20 minutes during the morning—or, for a small fee, you can get the bus to pick you up from your hotel.
When to Get There
Ski season typically runs from June or July to October, and snow cover is usually best in late July and August—the snow starts melting when spring hits. If you’re more interested in excitement and atmosphere than top conditions, plan to visit in early July, when the annual Queenstown Winter Festival takes over the mountain day and night.
Ski by Night at Coronet Peak
Coronet Peak is typically open only during the day, but the slopes remain open late during the height of the ski season. If you time it right, you can ride the slopes during an Otago sunset, then head to the restaurant or Ice Bar for food, drink, and a live DJ performing late into the night.