It’s no secret that some of the best mountain views in New Zealand are found at ski fields, but what if you’re not a skier? If it’s summer, you’re in luck. There are several ski fields in the Queenstown / Wanaka region that you can visit in summer, and Coronet Peak is one of the best. We recently drove up to Coronet Peak and then rode the gondola to the top – keep reading if you’re thinking of doing the same!
The Drive to Coronet Peak
Coronet Peak is the closest ski field to Queenstown and you can drive there in about 20 minutes. The road is steep and winding but I thought it was a lot easier than the one up to the Remarkables Ski Area. There are a few places to pull over and admire the views, not as many as the Remarkables road though (we really loved that drive).
Riding the Gondola
Once at the top you can grab a bite to eat at the café or organise a trip on the gondola (or maybe some mountain biking). The gondola ride was fun – it takes you high above the sprawling town / city of Queenstown and is much higher than the Skyline Gondola.
The View from the Top
We were one of the few groups on the mountain that day, meaning once we were at the top we pretty much had it all to ourselves. There’s a viewing platform close to where you exit the gondola, and the views are amazing from there, but you’ll want to do the short walk to the summit for a different angle.
From the top you’ll get amazing 360-degree views. The gondola guy told us you could see all the way to Mount Cook from the top – my eyesight (and camera) wasn’t good enough to pick it up though. It only takes five minutes or so to walk to the top – be a bit careful though and keep your kids on a tight leash!
Other Ski Fields in the Area
The Remarkables Ski Area is another scenic ski field to visit, and if you do it in summer you can do the short hike up to Lake Alta. I’d also recommend checking out Cardrona – there are great views from up there and the little town at the bottom of the mountain is interesting as well.
Are you planning a trip to Queenstown? Check out our list of the best things to see and do!