Queenstown is synonymous with adventure and beautiful scenery and is one of the ultimate places to visit in New Zealand. Located on New Zealand's South Island, alongside attractions such as Fox Glacier and Milford Sound, its position of the edge of Lake Wakatipu and at the foot the Southern Alps means that it is the perfect destination for lovers of the outdoors.
When winter rolls around, it is a firm favourite with skiers from all over the world, who are looking for great ski conditions, long runs and good value skiing. Yearly, Aussies flock in their droves to experience a more reliable and longer ski season and a wider range of ski experiences than are available at home.
Night skiing at Coronet Peak is one of those experiences.
Coronet Peak is Queenstown's closest ski resort. Located around 20 minutes from the city, it can be reached by car or bus from the town centre. If you're not used to driving in the snow, we recommend the Snowline bus. The road up is quite windy in parts, and shuttles depart between 8:30am - 11:30am and return from 1:30pm onwards. At NZD $20 pp return, they are a cost effective alternative to driving.
Featuring four learner conveyor belts, one six seater express chair, two high speed quad chairs and a t-bart there are a variety of ways to navigate the mountain. The resort covers 280 hectares of terrain, and features two terrain parks, and a tubing park.
The majority of the runs at Coronet Peak are beginner or intermediate, with a range of black runs located at the peak.
Equipment Hire & Lift Passes
The resort caters to all levels of skiers. If you don't have any equipment, no worries. First timer packagers cater to both skiers and snowboarders. If you're already set and just need a board or skis, no worries, you are also catered for with lift and and ski hire packages. For the experts, lift tickets without hire start at NZD$99 for a day and also allow you access to The Remarkables ski field. Bargain!
If you're a beginner, or its been a while since you've skied, we recommend before the sun starts to set so you can best enjoy your skiing experience. Lessons are available for varying ability levels, for example I took a group lesson on turning down steeper hills to build my confidence and was tackling black runs after the lesson.
The daytime skiing at Coronet Peak, but come Friday and Saturday nights, night skiing is where it is at! Night Ski passes are valid from 4pm until 9pm at Coronet Peak only. At NZD $56 they are great value and give you a ticket to ride a most unforgettable experience. If you'd like to start late and get in a full day, but still enjoy night skiing, a Twilight Pass at NZD $99 allows you to ski from 12:30pm until 9pm.
At around 4pm the mountain closes temporarily and the snow groomers come in to groom the runs in preparation for the beginning of night skiing. At this point many weary skiers head home, clearing the way for the dedicated.
With the sun setting and the lights ready to be turned on, the resort reopen the M1, Shirtfront, Big Easy Trails and Magic Carpet and the skiers and off.
Day skiing at Coronet Peak was simply spectacular. Night skiing was something else again. We opted for the Twilight passes and hit the mountain at around lunch time, so we could get the best of both worlds.
With fresh legs, we headed up the six person to the top of the mountain and enjoyed the best of the more challenging terrain. With plenty of time on our hands, we could relax for an early dinner and enjoy the music and great atmosphere that Coronet Peak offers and we felt lacking at the other resorts we visited.
The atmosphere in the village was building as the snow groomers came out and the mountain cleared of those with day passes. We knew we were in for something special and that we'd be able to enjoy the runs without the crush that can sometimes happen during the day.
Sunset on the mountain
As the sun began to set, we the sky turned pink and we were greeted with the most stunning sunset over the snow capped peaks. Be prepared to stop and take photos mid run, it is almost as essential as the skiing itself!
The whole vibe of the mountain changes at sunset and your style of skiing does too. Instead of speeding down the hill, you're more inclined to want to cruise along and take in the moment. If there was ever a moment you are more than happy to focus on the moment. Truly, it makes you feel alive!
The best thing about night skiing is, its not about being a great skier! The runs are manageable for beginners and with the M1 running for 2.4kms there's plenty of time to cruise down the mountain before you have to hit the lift to run again.
Off piste attractions
If you tire of skiing, the village offers live music and lights up with a great off piste vibe. This was perfect for us, as my ski buddy had had a few crashes during the day and tired more quickly than I. I could happily go for a few more runs whilst she enjoyed the village, without having to worry I was leaving her behind.
If you're in Queenstown and you're looking for a unique way to enjoy the views, try night skiing at Coronet Peak. You won't regret it! If you're a little sore after your skiing trip, there is always the Onsen Hot Pools back in town, where you can have a soak and relax those sore muscles!
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