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The best après ski experiences in Canterbury

25 May 2018

Visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to skiing in the Canterbury and Mackenzie regions, with a mix of commercial and club ski fields within one to two hours’ drive of Christchurch and Lake Tekapo. Even better, there are plenty of après ski options – from soaking in New Zealand’s highest hot tub to tucking into a classic Kiwi burger at a sub-alpine lodge. 

Porters Lodge

Porters is the closest ski area to Christchurch, just over an hour from the city on the way to Arthur’s Pass. The ski area recently took over year-round operation of Porters Lodge, a cosy sub-alpine building surrounded by beauty and, in winter (sometimes), snow. Porters Lodge is six kilometres along the ski area’s access road with accommodation, a café/restaurant and licensed bar on site. Ski all day and stay the night in a comfy bed after chilling out by the fire with a local craft beer or hot toddy and enjoying a menu stacked with homemade burgers, pizzas and classic Kiwi dishes.

Hanmer Springs

Hanmer Springs is a great place to unwind after a day’s skiing at Hanmer Springs Ski Area – a friendly, fun ski area just 17 kilometres from the alpine resort town. Soak in natural thermal waters at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa before enjoying a meal at Monteith’s Brewery Bar – directly opposite the pools. You’ll find an interior of natural timbers and river stone features, with indoor and outdoor fireplaces and the best local wine and food on the menu. Hanmer Springs is an easy 90 minutes’ drive north of Christchurch.

Mt Olympus

Mt Olympus is one of the region’s unique ‘club’ fields that are run by members but also open to the public. Accommodation at these rustic ski areas is often on the mountain and most of them have a bar. Mt Olympus has a reputation for having the rowdiest parties of the lot, which often start with après ski beers while soaking in New Zealand’s highest hot tub followed by an invitation to raid an amazing dress-up box.

Mt Lyford Lodge

Mt Lyford Lodge is a traditional log cabin nestled in the foothills of the Inland Kaikoura mountain range. The lodge is an ideal alpine retreat with breathtaking scenery, mouthwatering food and a cosy atmosphere. Snuggle up by the log fire in the public bar or find a table in the restaurant. The lodge is just 90 minutes’ drive from Christchurch and 45 minutes from Kaikoura and Hanmer Springs. It caters to a variety of guests from backpackers seeking bunk rooms to those looking for a more deluxe experience. Its owners, Karyn Jans and Cristi Rogoz, moved to the area from the North Island after falling in love with the landscape.

The Methven Pubs

You can’t miss The Blue Pub because it’s in the middle of Methven and, well… blue. The Brown Pub is easy to find too – it’s just across the road. Just a snowball’s throw from Mt Hutt and within driving distance of several other ski areas, both are great places to relax after a day on the slopes. The Blue Pub has a fantastic bar, restaurant and backpacker style accommodation upstairs. It’s also a popular live music venue. If you’re looking for more of a country pub experience, go across the road. The Brown Pub has a welcoming, warm atmosphere. You’ll feel right at home the minute you walk in the door.

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo offers some choice activities after a day’s skiing at Mt Dobson Ski Area or Roundhill Ski Area. Treat yourself to a facial or relaxation massage at Lakestone Lodge on the shores of Lake Pukaki or go stargazing tour at Tekapo Springs. You’ll learn what many of the southern night sky’s prominent features mean for both European and Maori culture and the tour is followed by a relaxing soak in the hot pools. There’s also Earth & Sky for stargazing. Tin Plate Kitchen & Bar is a great spot for a fireside wine and delicious pizza.

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