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Transport services are available to take you to Rainbow Ski Area from our bottom car park. From State Highway 63, turn right onto Rainbow Valley Road (left if coming from Blenheim) and drive along the 12km sealed road. The road passes through five fords before reaching the mountain bottom car park (shuttle pick-up zone) at Six Mile Creek. Please allow 30-40 minutes to drive from the turn-off to the bottom car park. 

If you plan to drive your own vehicle beyond the bottom car park it is our mountain policy that all vehicles carry the appropriate sized chains at all times. Conditions can and do change quickly. If you need to hire chains see below for a list of chain hire services in the area. Please note snow chains can't be hired from the bottom car park.  Also note that snow socks and studded tyres are not sufficient for driving up our mountain road. The mountain road is inaccessible to campervans. 

The Rainbow 4WD Shuttle Service operates seven days a week on every day that Rainbow is open during the season. Pre-bookings are available online. We strongly advise you either pre-book or check availability for the time you plan to travel to Rainbow Ski Area. Priority will be given to pre-booked passengers.

Update.  From Monday 31st August masks are compulsory on Public Transport. Please bring your own face covering/mask. No mask no ride

Departure times from the bottom car park are 9:00, 10:00, and 12:00. Return times are 15:00 and 16:00. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to departure. 

On weekdays, the 9:00 shuttle may not be available to book online due to school group trips. Passengers may book online for the 10:00 trip and space permitting, may be able to depart on the 9:00 shuttle instead. If you wish to depart earlier, please arrive at the car park at 8:45 and be prepared to wait until your scheduled departure time in case no space on the earlier trip is available. If you contact the ticket office, we should have an idea of whether this earlier departure will be possible on the day you wish to book. 

Click here to make a shuttle booking.

For inquiries phone 03 521-1861. 


Adults $28.00 (return)
0-17 years old $22.00 (return)
Family special* $76.00 (return)
School parties** $15.00 (return)

* Family special includes a maximum of 2 adults & 2 children 0-17 years old.
**School price applies to both adults and children in the school party. This price is available for pre-arranged school groups only.  

Car Pooling & Snow Chains

From Nelson or Blenheim

If you are looking for a ride - or you have a car that you want to fill to share fuel costs then go to  You can look for ride on the day you want to go OR offer seats in your own car. Follow the steps in the website - its easy and its NZ's most popular Ski car-pooling website. Please check back regularly if there doesn't seem to be rides for you yet. We suggest a $20 donation for every person taking a car pool from Nelson or Blenheim.

Remember to get someone to share costs - you need to advertise your space.
To get a lift you need to advertise that you need a ride.

Snow Chains

If you intend driving up the Rainbow Access Road it is MANDATORY  that you have a set of chains, from the bottom car-park onwards. Even on days where chains do not need to be fitted,  you MUST still carry a set of chains that will fit your vehicle. Conditions in this Alpine environment can and do change rapidly requiring that you fit chains to leave the mountain. For this reason chains must always be either carried or fitted to your vehicle. You will be turned away at the base of the mountain or at the top car park if it is discovered that you are not carrying chains. The shuttle service is a good regular service for customers who do not have chains for their vehicle.

Please note snow chains can't be hired from the bottom car park.  
Snow socks and studded tyres are not sufficient for driving up our mountain road. 
Snow chains must be carried at all times.

No chains, no access, no exceptions!

Chain Hire Services 

Chain Hire is available from the following locations: 

  • St Arnaud -  Alpine Lodge- 03 5211869 
  • Blenheim - Mag and Turbo Blenheim - 27 Grove Road - (03) 579 1645
  • Stirling Sports Motueka | 201 High Street, Motueka  (03) 528 9845

Purchasing Chains

Chains can be purchased from the following retailers: 

  • Stirling Sports Motueka | 201 High Street, Motueka  (03) 528 9845
  • Repco Nelson, 49 Gloucester Street, Nelson  (03) 546 9992
  • Repco Richmond, 8 Gladstone Road, Richmond  (03) 543 9301 
  • Repco Motueka, 400 High Street, Motueka  (03) 528 1101 
  • Repco Blenheim, 32 Main Street, Blenheim  (03) 577 8141
  • Blenheim - Mag and Turbo Blenheim - 27 Grove Road  (03) 579 1645
  • Nelson - Bowater Toyota - Rutherford and Halifax St E - (03) 546 9269


North Islanders

Coming from the North Island

Bluebridge Cook Strait Ferries    Island hop with Bluebridge to experience warm Kiwi hospitality and save 10% on any passenger or vehicle fare. Your ticket includes free WiFi, free movies, and you’ll earn Airpoints Dollars™. Ts&Cs apply.   Check them out online at