A family ski holiday in Wanaka with the Commerfords

Join Sheree Commerford from Captain and the Gypsy Kid with her beautiful family as they discover the magic of winter in Wanaka.

Who is Sherree?

I am the director of a homegrown creative agency called Captain and the Gypsy Kid which also doubles as a family lifestyle platform, where we document unique family editorials and stories. We collaborate with like-minded brands and people across travel, fashion and cultural projects using our work to continually educate our family and to connect with people and the planet. 

Can you explain what travelling with a family means to you?

It’s so many things. The freedom to live outside the realm of real life with none of the domestic burdens and obligations that are tied to our everyday.

It’s quality time with one another. I always feel after a trip with a concentrated amount of quality time together, I discover something new about the kids and who they are becoming. It might sound strange, but it’s where I get to truly enjoy them from the moment, we wake up till we go to sleep.

Also, they are so happy on the road. Being with us, going on adventures, being outdoors and meeting new people, learning new things by experience is when they are their best selves. Ours too. It gives Sam and I the chance to enjoy each other’s company as friends, and not just parents. Where we get to remind ourselves what it is about one another that we love. It’s that rare time where every member of the family is truly gaining something wonderful simultaneously.

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Nothing better than a family holiday

What is the best piece of advice when travelling to Wanaka with a family?

Plan out your activities as much as you can in advance. Even if you want to be a bit more spontaneous with your time and don’t want to book so far ahead, be aware what is on offer for the season and your children’s ages. This will help you with where you stay, pack and what your itinerary will mostly look like.

For example, if your wanting more time on the slopes, look into the times of the ski schools, kids’ classes and costs. This will help you plan your days based around the time available.

Same goes for horse-riding, hiking and other adventure activities.


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The neighbours @criffeldiscovery #farmstay #nz #catgkfamilytravels #alpaca #farmtour @lakewanakanz

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What is something you discovered on your trip in Wanaka?

Firstly, that I LOVE the place, but also that we are a snow family.

We knew that we were surf and country folk, but we didn’t expect to love the snow like we did. I totally get it now. For me it was the first time I had ever really seen snow like that. The kids had never seen snow before and the three of us had never skied.

Family travel takes work, especially in the cold, but it was the team at Cardrona that really made it so manageable and awesome for all of us. They were phenomenal with kids. From the hiring process of gear (which we didn’t have) to the ski school; group or private lessons. Everyone is so pumped up there. Must be the altitude. We loved it.  

What’s your favourite spot in Wanaka and why?

You know this is a hard question, hard to choose.

I fell in love with the Snow Farm. Maybe because we were there on a quiet day, but it was one of the most magical places. The crystal blue sky and white snow winding it’s way across the countryside as far as the eye could see. It felt very peaceful, untouched.

It had never occurred to me to try cross country skiing, but I really loved it. Skiing 4km out to the backcountry hut where we stayed, completely isolated, no electricity, no hot water, no cell service, just the four of us and our sleeping bags was such a unique experience. Waking up on first light with the snow falling, knowing we were truly alone out there, just nature and each other - unforgettable.