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Queenstown/Southern lakes 2019

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
After a record warm autumn we now have the first winter snow on the mountains. This is just in time as the first lifts are due to open in the next two weeks and with cold showery weather forecast for the rest of the week it is looking good. Temperatures should be good for snow making to enhance the natural falls.

Over the summer there have been a couple of developments both good and bad for us so a quick run down on the local ski areas.

Treble Cone; nothing new that I know of.

Cardrona; a new chair lift installed below the Captains Basin area, bad news is that it's not opening due to the discovery of native lizards in the area and they have to wait until an assessment of the environmental consequences.

Coronet Peak; the Coronet Express four seat chair has been replaced by a new six seat Leitner Telemix chair/gondola. This will increase capacity and the gondolas are mainly for the summer mountain biking and sightseeing business.

The Remarkables; plans to replace the old slow Sugar Bowl chair with a high speed six seat chair put on hold until next summer due to delays in consent process.

That is just a little catch-up for you all before the lifts start spinning.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I'm heading out to NZ for 4 weeks at the start of November. Slightly too late to catch the end of the ski season and 24 hours too late to watch the Rugby World Cup Final in Japan on tv.

I blame the missus on both counts Mad
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Check out the 3 posts on Wildsnow from 2015 on New Zealand. November still potentially in the high mountain touring season.
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Watching with great interest Sarge McSarge - just under 7 weeks until Mrs MA and I arrive in Queenstown as part of 12 days on the South Island Very Happy.

Staying Q'town for 4 nights then Wanaka for 3 nights - for 6 or 7 days' skiing. Can't wait - currently looking at ski hire options, lift passes and maybe some heli or cat skiing too.
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Tell us more Whitegold! ie (before I get over excited) confirm that the photo is of NZ right now! wink
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
We have had a few days of full on snow making and now snowing on the mountains this morning and it looks like snow off and on for the next 24hrs and then a bit more in a couple of days. The forecast is saying about 20cm total so not a major fall but with the made snow we will be getting close to opening a few lifts.
@mountainaddict, There should be plenty of snow by the time you make it down here.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@mountainaddict, I flew up to Auckland yesterday and it is looking like that.

Usually does between May and October.

Getting to it is not easy though.
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Quote:
Getting to it is not easy though
How do you mean
hang11 Puzzled

Puzzled of UK.
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He means that a lot of the touring terrain is rather inaccessible.

Apparently The Remarkables is opening tomorrow but I believe it will be limited lifts and terrain.
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Great re The Remarkables Very Happy.

Not too long until our trip (only 6 weeks until we arrive in Queenstown) - so just need to work out where we'll ski and suss out lift passes.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@mountainaddict, if you are hiring a car have a look at juicy rentals - they do a deal that includes free passes for treble cone. Passes for there are usually really expensive (to the point of being not worth it) but the juicy deal brings them within reach of normal people that don’t own private jets. I think the cost of the hire car can be less than the cost of the free pass they give out
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
I know this is a thread about southern lakes but have a think about a trip to Oahu - couple of hours from wanaka, great drive, great little field, Oahu lodge is a nice spot to do a night. Very different vibe to wanaka and Queenstown
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Cheers hang11....Unfortunately, we've already sorted a car rolling eyes

We are flying into Queenstown but - on our return date - could only get a flight out of Christchurch. Still, mustn't grumble as I have sorted a one way car (Q'town to Christchurch) for 12 days for £120.

Which leads on to a question...I guess we are going to need snow chains?? Puzzled

On the last day of our trip, we are looking to ski at Mt Hutt en route to Christchurch. I will have a look at Oahu too - though I haven't come across it on any internet searches of NZ ski areas....You sure it isn't actually a Hawaiian ski area? Very Happy
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@mountainaddict, That's a stunning drive. A side trip up to Mt Cook is well worth it. I do it for work quite often, have driven the road hundreds of times, and I still get blown away by the scenery.

Around Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki in the Mackenzie is stunning in the right weather - which it often is.

Hire company should give you chains, but it's quite unusual to need them on a 4wd, a bit more common if you only have a 2wd. Only really if it's just snowed do roads get closed or chain restrictions on them, and same for the ski fields. You can get a bus up the wanaka/queenstown fields easily enough.

Lindis Pass and Burkes Pass are probably the only two other areas that could have a chain restriction on that road. The metservice website will have warnings if it's looking likely.

Not worth getting too worried about overall, most people don't carry them and there's no legal requirement to have them.

You will drive right past Ohau heading up to Christchurch - between Omarama and Twizel. Roundhill is just a bit further on near Lake Tekapo. It's a small hill up the end of the lake, with a T Bar - good fun. But it also has the most brutal rope tow ever and the highest vert of any south island field on that. If you're up for it and the conditions are good it's well worth a shot. The views at Ohau and Roundhill are stunning. Proper South Island stuff, big mountains, blue lakes, nobody around.

Dobson is also on that drive, just past Burkes Pass. A fun little spot too.

There's quite a lot of similarity with Hawaiian names in NZ - polynesian Very Happy

www.metservice.com has snow reports and forecasts for all the ski fields.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Ta for that hang11 - very informative, especially as Google searches just bring up the mega-resort areas around Queenstown and Wanaka.

Trouble is....we now have too much to do in our 12 days in NZ and our minds are totally blown... Shocked

Plan so far is:

- Stay Queenstown on arrival night as we arrive early evening from Oz.
- Couple of nights in Te Anau as we just gotta do a Milford Sound trip. Looking at a cruise and some kayaking.
- 4 nights in Queenstown.
- 3 nights in Wanaka.
- 1 night Lake Tekapu.
- 1 night Christchurch.

The skiing will be from Queenstown and Wanaka, plus Mt Hutt en route to Christchurch. Haven't ruled out heli or cat too...But we also want to fit in a trip to a vineyard/wine region, some mountain biking and some sightseeing - e.g. Arrowtown looks worth a look...

Helllllpppppp!! Confused (But not a bad dilemma to have really - and at least we're not Lord of the Rings fans - so no need to visit filming locations Laughing)
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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Sounds like a great trip

I think the Milford road does require you to carry chains. Take some time to stop and enjoy that drive and check the forecast before you go - can get closed with avalanches.

The overnight cruise there is great and they do kayaks off the boat - saves a night in a hotel in te Anau too.

Would also suggest looking into the hermitage at mt cook as an alternative to overnight in tekapo. Not far off the main road, nice hotel and amazing scenery and walks around there.

(I used to work in tourism down that way Happy
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@mountainaddict, I would strongly suggest you take your own boots...in general the hire kit is pretty bad.

Decent(ish) skis can be hired if you ask for the Demo list in most places.

This is a good source of special offer prices on a lot of "experience" tourism:

www.bookme.co.nz

You can save a lot of money using it.

If you do a jet boat (which is surely a must-do) I would strongly suggest this one:
https://www.gojetswanaka.co.nz/

We did several, and this was by miles the best....and a LOT better than the famous Shotover river ones
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@mountainaddict, I've got a nephew who's on his 3rd ski season out there, and he's mentioned the following:

"There's a Cat operation based round the side of Cardrona (https://sohobasin.com) but not heard much about it tbh (good or bad). There's Heli operators in Wanaka/QT, heard good things about the guides at Harris Mountain Heli ski and its best talking to them about where to go depending on conditions, experience of the group etc."

I was out there in Nov/Dec 2017 and really loved Doubtful Sound, v peaceful, spectacular scenery, dolphins and all sorts of wildlife and you get to play on a sea-kayak as part of the overnight trip. IIRC it involves less driving than the Milford one, with a nice boat-bus combo from Manapouri before you board the cruise-ship itself.

There's a brilliant road/touring map that'll really whet your appetite that you can get foc from the London NZ tourist office via
https://www.newzealand.com/uk/utilities/request-a-map/ or @
https://www.newzealand.com/netstorage/assets/pdf/f62081_6.pdf

Have fun!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I’ve done Milford and doubtful overnight cruises a few times. Both are amazing. The drive into Milford is stunning however. Doubtful is a boat trip over lake manapouri and a bus over wilmot pass.

Best I’ve done is a private charter on a chopper into doubtful and overnight on a barge for a fishing trip, then fly back through Fiordland. Not cheap though.

One good option I believe is a heli out of Queenstown to Milford with a snow landing, overnight on the boat and then bus back to Queenstown. Never done that but then no need to overnight in te anau.

There’s a few good heli options. Methven heliski are great. Could be a good alternative to mt Hutt. There’s also a couple of operators around mt cook - one of them does a full day tour down one of the glaciers which looks great but they don’t let snowboarders on it because of all the flat bits. And I’m a rubbish skier so never had a go at that
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Cheers all - some great info there Very Happy

Only trouble is....so much to do and so little time Confused. Still, not a bad dilemma wink
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