Originally published in June 2016 and updated in August 2019.
Coronet Peak is one of the most popular ski resorts in New Zealand due to its proximity to Queenstown and varied terrain. It is located on the South Island of New Zealand, in the Otago Region. It is easily accessible from Queenstown via a sealed road and the journey from the Queenstown town centre is only 20 minutes. If you don't have a car, the Snowline Express starts early and runs regularly to the mountain. The facilities are world-class, with an excellent recently upgraded day lodge offering good on-hill mountain food, full services (including gear shop and rentals) and excellent express chair lifts.
NZ Ski operates both Coronet Peak and The Remarkables in the Queenstown area. A season pass is available that will cover both these mountain resorts. In fact NZ Ski operates Mt Hutt as well so if you fancy a drive north, your season pass will work at Mt Hutt too.
Elevation: 1649m, 462m vertical drop
Skiable Area: 280 hectares
Lifts: 2 high-speed six-seater chairs, 1 high-speed quad chair, 1 T-bar, 4 surface conveyor lifts
Average snowfall: 2.03 metres per annum (excl. snowmaking)
Snowmaking: 217 snow guns. Extensive coverage top to bottom
Operating Hours: 9am to 4pm. You can purchase a 'First Tracks' upgrade which allows you to ride from 8am (excellent on those pow days!)
Night Skiing: 4pm to 9pm Wed, Fri & Sat
Terrain: 32% beginner / 41% intermediate / 27% advanced
What's it like to snowboard and ski Coronet Peak?
Coronet Peak caters for all levels of skiers and snowboarders, from an excellent beginners area off to looker's right, to challenging Back Bowls which are for experts only and is accessed from Coronet Express. Coronet Peak is known for its great groomed, rolling runs. When there is a little fresh around, the mountain transforms as you can pretty much ride anywhere. Unlike other close-by New Zealand snow resorts, Coronet has tussock grass under the snow pack (instead of schist!) so you can go a little wild on a powder day! Head into the Back Bowls and hidden gems like Walk About, when the snow pack allows.
And how about night skiing in Queenstown? Well Coronet Peak is the only New Zealand ski resort to offer night skiing (on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays). And the amount of snow terrain that's lit up is pretty decent too!
We've had some awesome days at Coronet Peak, riding pow one day and carving fun groomers the next. There are minimal flat areas (snowboarders will love this!), and there's plenty of varied and easily-accessible terrain, from wide-open groomed runs, steep black runs and challenging off-piste slopes.
If the snow has been a bit light in the Queenstown area, you'll be happy to know that Coronet Peak has excellent snow cannon coverage, probably the best of all the New Zealand ski resorts. Man-made snow is not as good as natural powder but it's a whole lot better than riding on ice or rocks!
If you're looking for varied all-mountain skiing and snowboarding, Coronet Peak is an excellent choice. There is a caveat - for those who like to spend a decent amount of time in the terrain park, your options will be quickly exhausted at Coronet Peak. You'll need to head over to The Remarkables or Cardrona if you want to hit some challenging terrain park features.
Special Memories at Coronet Peak Queenstown NZ
Coronet Peak has a super special memory for us as we had our 'wedding waltz' here. Well, I use wedding waltz in the loosest sense of the term - we actually rode down from the top of Greengates in our wedding attire, after being dropped off via helicopter!
And apart from that very special time, we've ridden Coronet Peak many, many times and we can personally vouch for the fun that can be had on this mountain. And with it only being 20 mins from Queenstown, it's an easy choice to make when you're not in the mood for a long drive.
One thing to keep in mind, Coronet Peak is at a fairly low altitude so on warmer days the base can get a bit slushy. It can also be subject to thaw/freeze so if it’s warm during the day and freezing at night, be prepared for a hard morning. And if it has been raining in Queenstown, and the temps are not that low, you may want to consider driving to higher altitude snow resorts like Cardrona, Remarks or Treble Cone instead. Always check the snow report first!
Check out Coronet Peak's Webcams HERE.
Have you been to Coronet Peak and want to share some insight? Or do you have any questions? If so please leave a comment below. (Make sure you click on 'subscribe via e-mail' to be notified when we write back).
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Mick is a lover of speed runs and hitting every feature on the mountain. Ex road bike and motocross racer with plans to dabble in mountain bike racing. Spends a lot of time looking at fast cars and bikes. Jen’s instagram model and selfie camera holder due to long arms. Sometimes an optometrist.