When it comes to measuring price vs. quality, choosing between Australia and New Zealand’s snow seasons can be a tough decision to make. The good natured rivalry between these two countries is well known, and so it can be hard to get a straight answer from those whom you ask. Before you turn to surveys and stats, check out our rundown of the differences between Australia and New Zealand when it comes to the snow season.
Skiing in New Zealand… and Australia?
You might think that this category is a no brainer, right? After all, New Zealand has amazing mountain ranges and some seriously alpine peaks and Australia is all about sun, sand and surf, right? Wrong. The answer is a lot more complex.
Australia has a lot more snow than you might expect! Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales all have excellent skiing in the winter and plenty of high country resorts. Their best locations are accessible from big cities – you can reach Mount Buller in just a three-hour drive from Melbourne. Even if you want to head further afield, Thredbo and Perisher in New South Wales are only about 6 to 7 hours from Sydney. Not too shabby!
New Zealand’s peaks have all of the components of a world class skiing destination. Mountainous terrain, a robust tourist infrastructure, high latitude and reliable snowfall – this is some of the best skiing possible.
How does the quality stack up?
Alright, so you now know that Australia has some top quality skiing, but how does it compare to its Kiwi counterparts?
It might surprise you to find out that Australia is actually home to the Southern Hemisphere’s largest commercial ski field. It’s true – Perisher is located in the Snowy Mountains (in New South Wales), and it is home to 3,076 acres of skiing terrain. Thredbo offers the longest run between the two rival countries, at 3.7 miles in length.
New Zealand’s biggest commercial ski field is a lot smaller. It is Mt Raupehu’s Whakapapa resort, home to a relatively small 1,259 acres of skiing terrain. That said, size isn’t everything! New Zealand blows Australia out of the water when it comes to annual snow fall, so if you want reliable powder, the Kiwis have it. In Canterbury, Mount Hutt and the club fields of Craigieburn, Cheeseman and Broken River can all see more than 13 feet of snow per season.
One more point in New Zealand’s column is the possibility for heli-skiing. One of the most exciting and exhilarating experiences on land, heli skiing allows you to traverse pristine terrain, and it is not yet available in Australia.
The Verdict – Which is best?
While New Zealand offers more snow, Australia has larger ski resorts – so who comes out on top? Honestly – it is truly a matter of personal opinion.
If you are just getting started, or you plan to do some skiing with your family, Australia offers good value for money and accessible resorts. However, if you want thrills and challenges, you might find New Zealand a better option. No matter what, you’ll have a great season. Enjoy!
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