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, playing in the snow and experiencing the magic of the mountains is priceless.

But if you haven't done it before, a ski holiday with the little ones can seem daunting. But fear not! Because we've put together the ultimate checklist so that you can have your ducks in a row before taking on the holiday.

Research, research, research

It's key. Where are you staying? How are you getting everyone up the hill? And what are you doing for ski gear? Take the time to plan your trip - that way the whole family will enjoy it more when you’re here.

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Fortunately, there is plenty of information available; on our website, or the local ski area sites of Cardrona, Treble Cone, and Snow Farm. Or, the lovely team of the Wanaka i-SITE can help you plan everything from start to finish! Give them a call at (03) 443 1233 or email [email protected] 

 

Getting here

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.

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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 is winter and you will be driving on mountain roads, so just take it easy and drive to the conditions

Get the family geared up!

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!

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Lastly, you’ll need good gloves, a beanie, sunglasses or goggles. Suntan lotion is a good idea as well!

Forget something? Or want to do a little shopping? There are several ski shops in town with helpful and friendly staff who will be more than happy to get you and the family outfitted for the slopes!

Bites

For on-mountain, '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. If you're on the way to the mountain and need a quick grab and go, or something to keep for later, check out Wanaka's food trucks or cafes.

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For the bigger meals, there are plenty of great dining options available on-mountain at Treble Cone or Cardrona making it so easy to save the hassle of battling the supermarket and smooshed sandwiches. 

Off-mountain

When the weather isn’t playing 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, while Ruby's Cinema is right next to the BaseCamp rock climbing gym and gives you and old Hollywood vibe.

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The Wanaka Artisan Market is 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 and at Warbirds and Wheels you’ll learn about the region's aviation history. Meet a few animals at the Wanaka Lavender Farm!

If you're feeling adventurous, climb a waterfall, kayak to a secluded island, learn to fly a plane and more!