This post is part of my Blog4NZ series. March 21, 22, and 23 has been set aside by travel bloggers throughout the world as 72 hours of content generation about travelling to New Zealand in order to bring awareness to the fact that, despite the February 22 Christchurch earthquake, the country is still very much open for business.
Since I have taken my high boots from the closet today I could officially declare Autumn is here and it is not long before the Winter descend on us and the fun in the snow will begin.
Though it might seam as if New Zealand is more of a Summer destination (not that Summer doesn’t have its days when a fashion conscious girl needs to take her boots out of the closet) there is still lots to do during Winter and the South Island is a key destination for Winter sport aka Skiing and Snowboarding.
I think I have already mentioned our favourite ski field is Mt Hutt. Now, where was it that I wrote it? Oh, yes, in my guest post “The New Zealand You Discover Riding an 8 Wheel Amphibious Vehicle” kindly published by Over Yonderlust. We like it as it’s only an hour and a half drive from Christchurch, and taking the scenic route via Darfield there’s an added bonus of the beautiful drive. It has excellent snow (and as far as I know the longest season in New Zealand), the chair lifts are a breezer and the new covered Magic Carpet tunnel provides for a fun and sheltered ride up the beginner slopes. The beginner slopes was our main destination. It is about time for our boys to do their first steps down the slopes.
First thing, first – the drive
Coming from Christchurch you can either take the road to Methven, via Rakaia, and from there to drive to Mt Hutt. Or you can take my favourite, which is driving towards Darfield on the West Coast Road, then take Route 77 towards Mt Hutt. Adam Seper wrote the best description I ever read which explains why this route is so unique and why it is considered to be the Best Drive Ever.
Unlike other ski resorts around the world, NZ’s ski fields are literally in the middle of nowhere. It will take a good drive up the mountain before you start to see what it’s all about. One reward the mountain is offering is the view of Canterbury Plains.
The road is not easy. Living in Christchurch we are used to strong winds, and it is often during Winter that when the winds blow I wonder how this will affect the ability to drive up the mountain. But the sight of the white, snow covered slopes is all worth the terrifying moments of driving on the edge (of both – the cliff and the seat…).
Views from the top of Mt Hutt are simply breathtaking and on a clear day you can see all the way from the Pacific Ocean to the heart of the Southern Alps. If your goal is hitting the slopes then you are rewarded with the largest skiable area in the South Island, a well developed trail network, a 10000sqm terrain park with halfpipe, triple black diamond runs and steep chutes, including one of the largest vertical drops in the South Island! How cool is that? Well, very, including the temperatures
Are you a Winter travel enthusiast? Share your winter memories with us.