For Southern Hemisphere snow bunnies, New Zealand is the winter wonderland we all live for: it’s easy to get to, the views are incredible, the slopes are even better, and there’s plenty to do should you ever get tired of all that skiing and snowboarding (never).
But how to choose where to go when you have limited time, limited funds and want to see as much as possible – while also not sticking entirely to the most tourist-heavy parts of the country?
Small group, local led, snow tours that take you off the beaten tourist track are the answer.
Haka Tours is designed by Kiwis who love everything there is about New Zealand and its culture, they’ve stripped tours down to the basics: small groups of like-minded people, the best adventures, and plenty of optional extras to add-on to packages depending on what you’d like to do.
While they’ll show you the best of the touristy spots, they’ll also head off the grid to show you exactly what the locals love about the country.
The Snow Odyssey club fields of New Zealand
Chairlifts are fun, but there’s something super fulfilling about getting the hang of a rope tow at one of New Zealand’s favourite club fields. The nutcracker rope tow involves attaching a harness to your hips and clamping onto a rope with a ‘nutcracker’ metal clamp to get up a mountain. It’s the old school way of skiing the country’s best runs, and you’ll be able to give it a red-hot crack on the Haka Tour Snow Odyssey.
Where: This trip visits 11 mountains over 12 days, kicking off in Queenstown to see The Remarkables, Cardona, Coronet Peak and Treble Cone; you’ll then shift to the spots that are most-loved by the locals and pros, including Porters ski field – an off-piste heaven with one of the largest vertical drops in New Zealand – and the hot pools in Lake Tekapo.
Who for: Best suited to intermediate to advanced skiers and boarders, the trip includes your accommodation, 11 lift passes, 11 breakfasts, two dinners, a tour manager and – most importantly – your rope tow gloves and nut-crackers. Just be sure to get a picture once you’ve mastered it to show your ski & boarder friends back home.
2. The Heli Tour to beat all heli tours – three days three ranges
You know what’s better than one day of heli skiing? Three days of heli skiing over three different mountain ranges, plus a guided tour of the deep backcountry of Treble Cone. On the Haka Tours 7 Day Ultimate Heli Tour, you’ll enjoy some of the longest and deepest heli runs in the Southern Hemisphere across Methven, Mount Cook, Wanaka and Queenstown.
With an expert tour guide in tow and a maximum tour group size of just eight people, you also get all your transport, mountain and heli transfers, three full days of heli with lunch, a day of guided backcountry touring, a day at Mt Hutt with a heli upgrade option, six nights accommodation, six breakfasts and two dinners.
Did we mention this trip is from just NZ$5999 (less 15% for SnowsBest Readers booking before March 31)? Take our money.
3. The Snow Safari of the South Island
You won’t see any elephants or giraffes on this tour, but you will be seeing a lot of the fluffy white stuff – six different mountains over seven days, to be exact, with an expert guide showing you exactly where to find the best runs and powder stashes.
It’s perfect for those who want to see plenty of New Zealand, because the tour takes you across Christchurch, Lake Tekapo, Ohau, Wanaka and Queenstown; it’s also good for beginners, because you can opt to add lessons to your ski package.
The trip includes accommodation, six lift passes, all transport and mountain, breakfast and your hot pools entry in Lake Tekapo. Plus you can sign up to a whole lot of different blood-pumping activities for Queenstown, including the canyon swing, sky dive, bungy jumping, jet boating on the Shotover River, or a Milford Sound Day Trip to soak up more of those epic NZ views.
4. Off-piste heaven in the club
You want to go hard before you go home? Alright. The Snow Explorer is for you – you’ll leave the most popular ski fields far behind as you sample up the country’s best-kept secrets, including Porters, Broken River, Mt Olympus/Temple Basin and Craigieburn.
These are local’s favourites best-suited to intermediate to advanced skiers and snowboarders, and yes, those nutcrackers will be coming out again for the rope tows but it’ll be worth it for that sweet, sweet pow.
Best of all, the tour is just five days long, with five lift passes over four different mountains, so you won’t even have to dip too far into your annual leave to attend.
15% off for SnowsBest.com readers
Get 15% off all Haka Snow Tours, booked before 31 March, 2019 for travel up until 30 September 2019.
Just book a tour and email promo code SNOWSBEST99 to email@example.com to receive your discount.