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New Zealand/Australia Trip August 2006 - NEED ADVICE!!!!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Continuing on with the "ski on 7 continents in the next 7 years plan" that my buddy and I hatched in a bar a year ago today (and after subsequently checking off S. America last August (Portillo), N. America all this past winter, and having Europe (Chamonix) booked for February 2006) the next logical trip would seem to be Australia/New Zealand in August 2006.

Here's where we need the help... My frequent flier miles will get us to Auckland or Sydney for free. Then where? We want to do both Australia and New Zealand if possible, even if it means a long or inconvenient flight. We have about 10 days total for the trip.


1. Is August the right time period? (searching the archives seems to indicate that August is our best chance for good snow cover)

2. Which would be best to fly to, Sydney or Auckland?

3. Is this a viable plan...? Fly into Auckland, drive to the ferry to the South Island and on to Christchurch, hitting Mt. Hutt, Broken River, and Craigeburn for a day each along the way, then down to Queenstown for Treble Cone and Cardrona for 2 days. Then we would fly from Queenstown to Australia and ski there for a couple of days, then fly back to Auckland and home? Or is that too ambitious?

4. Where should we fly to and ski in Australia?

5. What about backcountry? We'll probably start at the ski fields, because the 2 guys coming with me prefer on-resort, but I would love some backcountry near the ski fields or hike-to spots. Where is our best bet to get a mix of both?

Some guidance is needed here - we're all over the place right now and the websites we've found for information don't have a ton of info to answer some of these questions.

Any other advice that anyone has would also be appreciated!

post #2 of 11

if you fly to Sydney you can then
a) Fly to Canberra & catch a bus to snowfields(they have special snowbuses that do the trip)
b) Fly to Cooma (smaller plane but you go further... may need to check out how they suggest you get to mountains)
c) Fly to Mount Hotham(resort)

From the first 2 your resorts are Thredbo & Perisher Blue.... you can stay in the resorts or in Jindabyne (town) & travel up - CAR needed for that...

Remember our backcountry is not steep but we do still have the odd avalanche thingy... also our backcountry is rather LARGE... we have the same area under snow as switzerland & we have not much in the way of anything in a fair bit of that.. so if you go backcountry you may want to think about a guide

I would think you could then fly straight to Christchurch from Sydney rather than Auckland & drive (unless you want the drive)

From Melbourne you have Hotham,Falls Creek, Mt Buller a syour resort choices
post #3 of 11
It would be tricky to hit NZ and Aus in 10 days without spending more time travelling than skiing. Fly down to Chch, don't waste your time driving the length of the North Island. Grab a rental car and go for a tour. Craigieburn and BR are basically lift accessed backcountry anyway, you don't need to go far to get away from the crowds and into fresh snow in NZ.

What I want to know is what is your plan for Antarctica? There are boats that go from South America but I am not sure they hang around in any particular place for long. There is a rope tow near Scott Base but it is not exactly open to tourists.
post #4 of 11
You should get an Open Jaws flight. Fly into Auckland or Sydney, and fly out of the other one. check online to see which way it's cheaper to fly: Auckland to Sydney, or Sydney to Auckland. www.travel.com.au is good for airfares.

Our backcountry is good for the lighter touring style of XC, rather than the heavy tele or AT, as most of it is undulating. Great for getting some mileage and views, avalanches aren't an issue we think about much to be honest. Most people just clip into some touring skis and shuffle off. Bit like Eastern US. You can rent XC stuff at all resort areas very easily.

Cars are pretty much essential for Australian skiing as the public transport isn't all that crash-hot. Probably easier to rent your car wherever you fly into Australia... I guess you'd fly into Sydney if you want to ski teh NSW snowfields, and Melbourne (or Albury) if you want to go with the Vic resorts. If you are flying into Aus from NZ, you might find more choice of towns to fly into.
post #5 of 11
kiwiski is right, don't waste your time driving from Auckland to the South Isalnd, you only have 10 days. Byt he time you rent a car, and buy ferry tickets you will have spent more than your airfares. Go onto Air NZ web site now and book some super saver flights if there are any available


If you are flying from the US there are direct flights from Los Angeles to Christchurch, but only on Air New Zealand.

If you go to the club fileds like Criagieburn, you can stay on the mountain cheaply, and have access to a lot of backcountry. My favourite club area is Craigieburn, and Treble Cone my favourite commerical area.

In New Zealand you are best to access the back country from the ski areas because you usually need an access road to get to the snow line, or ealse a helicopter. In NZ all towns are below the winter snow line, and you have to drive to the ski area each day, preferably with a 4WD vehicle so you don't have to fit chains unless it is exteremely icy. The club areas are the only South Island resorts that have on-mountain accomodation - backpacker style.

August is a good choice. Our season has not started well but that can change quickly, fingers crossed. The seasons have been starting and going later, so September is also a good choice.
post #6 of 11
NZ has better back country. heli skiing in NZ is a must
otherwise what everyone above said
post #7 of 11
Have a look at http://www.ski.com.au for all things Oz skiing. Jump on the forums if you want ...

Thredbo & Perisher are the 2 resorts in NSW (about 5-6hrs drive from Sydney).

Mt Buller, Mt Hotham & Falls Creek are the 3 main resorts in Victoria (from 3-5 hrs drive from Melbourne). Hotham & Falls have better backcountry.

August is the ideal time, but our season is quite variable. Currently we have rain falling in our alps, but a front will be passing through soon which should bring anywhere from 10-40cms of new snow in the coming days.

In NZ virtually all skiing is done above tree line, so give yourself some time for good weather, and accomodation is all off-mountain (bar Cardrona near Wanaka). Here in Oz there's lots of on-mountain accommodation, and trees (snow gums) so you can usually ride in bad weather.

Flights direct from Queenstown to Sydney or Melbourne may be possible during the ski season here.

If you can, go to a Aussie Rules game in Melbourne, and a Rubgy Union game in NZ.

Have fun.

post #8 of 11

New Zealand/Australia Trip 2006

Lucky you, Senator.

Re: New Zealand - advice regarding getting to Queenstown from Auckland has already been covered. But don't forget the 2 biggest hills are 4 hours from Auckland on the North Island. At this point, they also have the most snow (don't know if that is usual). That may be a more time effective option - maximise the "slopes" time. Good weblink for NZ hills: http://www.snowreports.co.nz/

It's easy to get cheap flights from Auckland to Melbourne or Sydney.

Re: Australia - my personal choice would be Hotham or Falls Creek . I find Perisher way too crowded and a pain to get to . But Jindabyne is a great town.

Hotham has an airport and both Hotham and Falls are 5 hours drive from Melbourne. Even better, their lift tickets are transferrable and you can catch a chopper (20 min flight) from one to the other. Don't even consider Mt Buller.

Have a great trip!
post #9 of 11

Airfare to EnZed

If you haven't yet booked airfare, I've had great results getting tix to NZ through http://www.skyauction.com. Last time I went down, $500 RT from LAX with a stop in Tahiti. (To AKL, and then booked a supersaver with air NZ to Q-town).

Have fun!
post #10 of 11
Quality of available snow will be one of the things to consider when choosing where in Aus. Thredbo is best if snows good - relatively decent long runs not available anywhere else here (eg 700m vertical 5 minute full on hard ski top to bottom with quads burning) some good off piste too (ask about golf course bowl). Thredbo a good town to stay in (Thredbo Alpine Hotel can be surprising value and great access with big hot breakfast so no lunch needed). Hotham best for steeps, but shorter runs. Perisher biggest uphill capacity but shorter runs again, lots of drag lifts and little village atmosphere, although good back country access, and a few interesting tree runs if decent snow (ask around Guthega). August is peak time quite expensive, and avoid weekends or go back country if you can. Ski.com.au is a great site and will be the source for decision on snow quality.
post #11 of 11
Quick tip guys

I just got back from my first NZ trip. Although Queenstown is a great town, I'd recommend Wanaka. The hills close to Queenstown (unRemarkables/Coronet Peak) are nothing compared to Cardrona and Treble Cone. These 2 are both closer to Wanaka, which is a funky little town with a great vibe.

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