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Journeys : Jun Jul 2011
There are three fields in the wider Mackenzie region – Mt Dobson, Ohau and Roundhill. All offer on-field ski hire, as well as ski schools and patrols. Catering facilities are basic but adequate – no fancy restaurants and bars, but all the hot snacks, cold drinks and good coffee you could ask for. And there’s one more winter experience in the area that demands a mention – the magnificent ski descent of the Tasman Glacier. This is the only ski run that isn’t at the end of a steep mountain road – reaching the other fields usually means fixing tyre chains and driving uphill in low gear. But not on the Tasman, where you’re whisked to the top of the run in a ski plane! So clip those boots, pull on a beanie and goggles and join us on a few runs in New Zealand ’s beautiful Mackenzie Countr y. Roundhill, Tekapo Ski here on a school day and you might meet the kids from Tekapo Primar y School enjoying a day out on their local slopes. A T-bar lift reaches the top of Roundhill itself, accessing a network of intermediate trails and the terrain park. There’s a platter lift on the easy green run. Last season, a new rope tow opened up some exciting advanced terrain. Round Hill is just 30 minutes’ drive from the scenic lakeside tow n of Tekapo, where there’s a w ide var iety of accommodation, from the Tailor- Made Tekapo Backpackers to suites in the Godley Hotel or Peppers Bluewater. After a day on the snow, don’t miss a relaxing soak in the soothing heat of the outdoor hot pools at Alpine Springs and Spa – and try the authentic Japanese cuisine at Kohan, in the heart of the village. w ww.roundhill.co.n z Ohau Yes, it’s pronounced ‘oh how’, and ‘Ohau I Love to Ski’ is the slogan of this spectacular field, set high above the glacial waters of Lake Ohau. There’s a double chair to the top of The Boulevard, the cruisy way down, and there are plenty of challenging black and blue trails. A snow-mat in the beginners’ area makes things easy for learners. Ohau has its own wonderful accommodation at the foot of the mountain – M ike and Louise Neilson are the friendly, welcoming hosts at the Lake Ohau Lodge. www.ohau.co.nz Mt Dobson The or iginal ski field owner spent two years on a bulldozer pushing a road through to reach the highest carpark in New Zealand and the snow-filled bowls on Mt Dobson. Then he and his sons built the field’s lifts – a triple chair, T-bar, platter and beginners’ rope tow, accessing excellent, uncrowded skiing of all grades. Fairlie, 20 kilometres away, is the closest town w ith accommodation, but Tekapo is only a 40 minute dr ive from the mountain. www.dobson.co.nz Mt Cook and the Tasman Glacier Picture it – three spectacular flights, a snow landing, two eight-kilometre runs, hours of easy and delightful skiing, insights into the secret life of glaciers and the serene summits of the Southern Alps all around. That’s Ski the Tasman, a full-day outing from Mt Cook Village with Alpine Guides. At around A$625 per person, it’s not the cheapest day you’ll spend on skis – but as a unique and unforgettable experience, it’s wor th ever y single cent. To cap it off, spend a couple of nights at The Hermitage, the splendid hotel that has been a home in the hills for generations of visitors to the mountains. w w w.alpineg uides.co.n z w w w.thehermitage.co.n z Chris Viney wa s a guest of Destination Mt Cook Mackenzie. Clockwise from top left: Aoraki/Mt Cook from The Hermitage; the road to Mt Dobson skifield; Lake Tekapo Photos: Chris Viney Destinations June / July 2011 19
Apr May 2011
MNJ Aug Sep 2011