Even then, it seems extravagant, especially with the fantastic resorts of Europe on our doorstep and the cost of a trip to the North American resorts lower than ever. And how long is that flight again? And yet in many ways, New Zealand is closer than ever thanks to an explosion of interest in the place over the last decade. The success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy has changed tourism in the country irrevocably, with the Land of the Long White Cloud now unofficially rebranded as Middle Earth and more tourists than ever piling in. It isn't difficult to see why. The place has more moods than Pete Doherty's defence lawyer, from amazing surfing, a rich and diverse local history, vibrant cities, an awe-inspiring landscape and, of course, great skiing. Above all, though, what New Zealand has is space – and lots of it. With a landmass roughly the same size as the UK shared between only 4 million inhabitants, there's a lot of room to kick around in here; particularly on the South Island, where the main resorts are situated. The result is an appealingly laid-back lifestyle that will snare everybody who visits in some way. So where does it stand as a serious ski destination? It is best to think of it as a unique, standalone ski experience rather than trying to compare it to destinations such as Canada or France. NZ resorts tend to be bijou, but with fantastic facilities. The place is also given added muscle by the sheer number of resorts in a concentrated area, and the fantastic heliboarding opportunities on offer. And, in Wanaka and Queenstown, New Zealand has two of the liveliest, out there ski party towns on the planet. If you do make the trip, it is inevitable you'll base yourself in one of these two towns and as a result we have chosen the major resorts accessed by these two base towns.
|Facts & Figures|
|Currency||New Zealand Dollar (NZ$)|
|Time zone||GMT +12|