About the Mackenzie District & Waitaki Valley

The Mackenzie basin is a true winter wonderland. Experience the breath-taking contrast between the grand, open tussock terrain with turquois blue lakes, snow-capped mountains and New Zealand’s highest mountain Aoraki Mt Cook. Fairlie, Tekapo and Twizel are all small and unique rural towns in the area. If you are in the Tekapo area make sure you check out Tekapo Springs, one of New Zealand's premier family attractions.

It's here in the Mackenzie District that you will find both Fox Peak and Mount Dobson. Fox Peak is one of the smaller ski clubs on the Chill Pass, but one of the largest when it comes to its terrain and suitability for all skiing levels. It's 35 minutes from Fairlie. Mount Dobson is an under-rated gem with a triple-seater chairlift and a T-bar accessing two massive valleys, and come powder days a short traverse or walk will ensure you score fresh tracks all day long.

The Waitaki valley is an untouched valley home to rivers and lakes with arguably some of the best scenery in New Zealand. Take a drive through Omarama, Otematata, Duntroon or Kurow for food and a fuel stop or feel inspired to get in touch with nature.
Near Kurow, in the Waitaki Valley is Awakino, a club-operated ski area that opens for group bookings during the weekends in winter. The beauty of the ski area is its club charm, touring options and how remarkably unchanged it's remained over the years.

Ski | Stay | Transport & Services

Where to ski in the Mackenzie District & Waitaki Valley

Fox Peak

Fox Peak is one of the smaller ski clubs on the Chill Pass, but one of the largest when it comes to its terrain and suitability for all skiing levels. Located 35 minutes from Fairlie, along the spectacular Two Thumb Range, the ski area boasts amazing views of South Canterbury and the Mackenzie Country.

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Mt Dobson

For those in the know Mt Dobson is an under-rated gem. Firstly, it’s big. A triple-seater chairlift and a T-bar access two massive valleys and come powder days a short traverse or walk will ensure you score fresh tracks all day long. It’s also high, boasting the highest car park in the Southern Hemisphere at 1725m. The road is an engineering feat that has been lovingly crafted and cared for by one man, Peter Foote. It’s wide and suitable for 2WD’s with chains.

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Awakino is a club-operated ski area located high up the St Marys Range, near Kurow in the Waitaki Valley. When you arrive you get the impression that it’s a little different, some use the term ‘old-school’. In essence there’s a place to stay, a mountain to ski and two tows to gain easy vertical credits, what else does one need? The beauty of the ski area is its club charm, touring options and how remarkably unchanged it’s remained over the years.

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Where to stay in Mackenzie District & Waitaki Valley

Wander Lodge

Self-contained two bedroom cottage nestled in five acres of private forest. Sleeps seven. Well equipped kitchen. Cosy log burner. Outdoor fire pit, BBQ and pizza oven.  Enjoy star gazing while relaxing in the
outdoor bath. Linen supplied. Only 30 minutes to Dobson Carpark.

Ph: +64 21 029 34633 
Web: wanderlodge.co.nz 
E: info@wanderlodge.co.nz
Address: 67b Strathallan Road, Ashwick Flats

Pinewood Motels

Stay in the beautiful small town of Fairlie, Mackenzie Country. An affordable option just 25 minutes from Tekapo, Pinewood Motels’ units are recently refurbished, modern, clean and comfortable.  Walking distance to bakeries, pubs and restaurants.  Numerous local tracks to explore with mountain views. Sky box with Sport in every room. Fast free unlimited Wi-Fi, 50+ sky channels, cooking facilities, bathrooms and outdoor seating areas.

Ph: 0800 858 599
Web: Pinewoodmotels.co.nz 
E: pinewoodmotels@xtra.co.nz
Address: 25 Mount Cook Road, Fairlie

Discover Tekapo Holiday Homes

Experience Tekapo in comfort - book a holiday house. You don’t have to clean and linen is provided! From ultra-modern to 70's retro and to suit all budgets, they have the ideal home for your holiday.

Ph: +64 22 3680 600 
Web: discovertekapo.co.nz
E: accommodation@discovertekapo.co.nz
Address: Lake Tekapo

Peppers Bluewater Resort

Located in an intensely beautiful part of the world; near the turquoise shores of Lake Tekapo in the heart of the Mackenzie Country. You can explore the natural wonders of the region from here. Ride through the mountains, go skiing, or marvel at an International Dark Sky Reserve with millions of stars.

Ph: 0800 448 891 
Web: peppers.co.nz  
Contact Peppers
Address: State Highway 8, Lake Tekapo

Fox Peak Fox Lodge

Nestled amongst the trees halfway up the access road is Fox Lodge, backpacker style-mountain accommodation. It's self-catered but there is a modern kitchen with everything you need to rustle up your yummy dinner. Don't forget your sleeping bag, pillowcase, food, and drinks.

Web: foxpeak.co.nz

Transport & services in the Mackenzie District & Waitaki Valley

Tekapo Springs

Tekapo Springs is a premier family attraction, located halfway between Christchurch and Queenstown. With relaxing options like hot pools and day spa, to active options like ice skating and snow tubing, there’s something for everyone. By night, Tekapo Star Gazing provides the only hot pools and stargazing experience in the South Island. Open 364 days a year from 10am – 9pm (closed Christmas Day). Bookings required for the Glacial Day Spa and Tekapo Star Gazing.

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Ph: 0800 2 353 8283  
Web: tekaposprings.co.nz  
E: reception@tekaposprings.co.nz
Address: Tekapo Springs, 6 Lakeside Drive, Lake Tekapo

Mount Cook Heliski

Discover the single largest heliski area in NZ, from exclusive terrain in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park to the Ben Ohaus above lake Pukaki. Hundreds of runs for all abilities across 6 mountain ranges. NZ's highest landings and longest runs.

Ph: +64 3 435 1834 
Web: mtcookheliski.co.nz 
E: mtcook@alpineguides.co.nz
Address: 98 Bowen Drive, Mount Cook National Park

Ski The Tasman

An extraordinary ski experience for ordinary skiers. Includes 3 breathtaking scenic flights, lunch on the snow, and the 2 longest ski runs in NZ. Safely explore amazing ice caves and formations with your professional guide.

Ph: +64 3 435 1834 
Web: skithetasman.co.nz 
E: mtcook@alpineguides.co.nz
Address: 98 Bowden Drive, Mount Cook National Park

Tasman Glacier - Heli-Skiing

Exclusive heli ski runs in the Upper Tasman Glacier region as well as other mountain ranges. They specialise in heli skiing on New Zealand’s longest and biggest glaciers. The helicopter landing sites are located in some of the highest areas of the Southern Alps inside the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, exclusive to their company.

Ph: +64 27 434 2277 
Web: mtcook.com 
Email: info@mtcook.com
Address: Situated at The Old Mountaineers Cafe Bar 3 Larch Grove Aoraki Mount Cook

The Chill Regions/Accommodation

Find out more about where to stay and play in the regions around the Chill Mountains. From Nelson Lakes & Marlborough in the North down to Queenstown & Wanaka in the South. In between there's Kaikoura and Hanmer Springs, Sensational Selwyn, the township of Methven, the Mackenzie District and Waitaki Valley and of course the home of Chill, Christchurch City. Here we share places to stay, eat, shop and explore to help plan your adventure in the Southern Alps.

The Chill Mountains

In 2019 The Chill6 accesses the 6 Ski Areas in the Selwyn District;  Porters, Cheeseman, Broken River, Craigieburn Valley, Temple Basin and Mt Olympus.

The Chill12 accesses the six ski areas above plus Rainbow, Hanmer Springs, Mt Lyford, Fox Peak, Mt Dobson and Awakino.

The Chill Travel Pass accesses the 12 mountains on the Chill12 Pass. Up to two days on the Chill Travel Pass can be used at Porters.