Tips for the best family ski holiday in Wanaka

There’s nothing better than a family ski holiday, seeing the kids take their first turns and experience the magic of snow is priceless. 

If you haven’t done it before, a holiday in the snow with the kids can seem a little daunting – so we’ve put together a checklist to ensure you have the best ski trip possible


Research is key. You want to know where you’re staying? How you’re getting up the hill? And what you’re doing for ski gear? Take the time to plan beforehand - that way you can enjoy yourself more when you’re here. Fortunately, there is plenty of information available; on our website, the local ski area sites of Cardrona, Treble Cone, and Snow Farm as well as independent blogs so it’s easy! 


Getting to Wanaka is easy. It’s a short, scenic 60-minute drive from the closest international airport located in Queenstown.
If you’re not interested in driving - not a problem! There are a range of transfer options from the airport to Wanaka, including buses and private shuttles. To get you up the mountain, the ski resorts offer shuttle buses that leave from downtown or from your accommodation.
Driving more your thing? Then grab a rental from Queenstown Airport, a 4wd with a set of chains is ideal and there are plenty of companies to choose from. They also provide car seats, ski racks and GPS as add ons. Remember it’s winter and you will be driving on mountain roads so just take it easy and drive to the conditions


There is nothing worse than having cold and miserable kids, so to get the most out of your time on mountain make sure to wear the appropriate gear. Layering is key! Start with some merino base layers to keep you nice and snug and to wick away the sweat. From there you want a mid-layer, a warm good fitting jumper will do the job. Waterproof outerwear is a must - you will no doubt be spending a bit of time in or on the snow, especially the kids. No point having all those layers if they are wet! Lastly, you’ll need good gloves, beanie, glasses or goggles and suntan lotion is a good idea as well. 
When it comes to ski equipment, you can rent on mountain and in town. Most places offer package deals as well so it’s nice and easy! 


Pocketable snacks are the best. If you keep snacking throughout the day you will be surprised how much longer the kids can stay out on the hill. A good mix of chocolate and nuts is a winner.
For the bigger meals there are plenty of great dining options available at Treble Cone and Cardrona that makes it so easy to grab it on-mountain and save the hassle of battling the supermarket and mooshed sandwiches. 


When the weather isn’t that nice or you’re just tuckered out from all that skiing there is still a heap to do around Wanaka for the whole family. Cinema Paradiso offers a unique cinema experience with freshly baked cookies and comfy couches to enjoy the latest out of Hollywood. The Farmers Markets are on every Thursday to check out the best in food from the local producers. For a bit of a brain workout, Puzzling World is the perfect place to keep the kids entertained for hours, at Warbirds and Wheels you’ll learn about the region's aviation history. Feeling adventurous climb a waterfall, kayak to a secluded island or learn to fly a plane and of course there’s plenty of wining and dining options around town for every budget and craving.