Cardrona

New Zealand

Cardrona is a fantastic choice for families and intermediate skiers wanting a wide choice of ski runs and excellent facilities. It’s within easy reach of Wanaka while also being accessible from Queenstown.

Scout Loves

  • Can be more reliable in poor snow years.
  • One of the bigger ski areas with 345ha of skiing.
  • Cool terrain parks.
  • If coming from Queenstown, the drive over the Crown Range is one of the most spectacular in the world.
  • Family friendly atmosphere with great open groomers for beginners and intermediates.
  • Have a late lunch at the Francesca’s Pizza truck at the bottom of the road - serving fresh, delicious Italian-style pizzas from 3pm daily.
  • A visit to the historic Cardrona Hotel is a must for après.

Scout Tips

  • Cardrona is a long but doable day trip from Queenstown. It’s a shorter distance to Wanaka. The road to the resort off the Crown Range road is dirt and can be quite corrugated. Take it easy.
  • If you’re driving and already have your lift ticket you can park at Tower Corner further down the hill from the base area. It’s quicker access to the lifts as the others generally require you to hop on the back of a trailer for a lift up from the car park.
  • If you’re planning to ski Treble Cone as well you may want to buy a OnePassNZ which, once loaded with cash, can be used for day tickets at either resort as well as lessons, rentals, food and a ton of other off-mountain activities.

Scout Review

When you arrive at the base of Cardrona ski resort you would be forgiven for thinking you’re at an entrance for some theme park. After being shuffled from the car park on the back of a trailer, the yellow buildings and blue clock tower look out of place for a New Zealand alpine resort.

And like any theme park, you’re certain to have a lot of fun. The skiable area is big, as far as ski resorts in New Zealand go, and with a new "Chondola" (Gondola and chiar lift together) and three quad chairs (two being express) it is able to move plenty of people around the mountain. Added to this are some fantastic terrain parks and jumps that will keep even the most advanced rider or freestyle skier happy.

Cardrona is a relaxed and friendly resort and offers great facilities for families. Along with the great beginner slopes and family friendly dining options, there is nursery and kindy care for kids aged 3 months to 3 years, a ski kindy for 3-4 year-olds and ski school for 5-14 year-olds. And the best part is that kids under 6 ski for free.

Most ski resorts in New Zealand only have one or two food options, but Cardrona boasts five cafes on the mountain. Add to this Cardrona Hotel and the Francesca’s Pizza van at the bottom of the resort road and you’re almost spoilt for choice. The Cardrona pub is one of the oldest and most photographed in New Zealand – it’s featured on many ads for New Zealand including the South Island’s most popular refreshment – Speight’s Ale. It’s well worth a visit after a day on the slopes.

Cardrona Accommodation

Unlike most ski fields in New Zealand, there are a few basic options for staying right at the resort base, as well as at the start of the road up to the resort. If staying up at the mountain you will need to bring your own supplies, and entertainment as there isn't much to do after the resort shuts.

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Getting There and Around

Cardrona is a 35-minute drive from Wanaka and about 60 minutes from Queenstown, depending on the traffic over the Crown Range. The 10km access road to the resort is dirt, but easier than other ski resorts in the area. It can become slippery when corrugated. Chains may be needed. There is also a shuttle service every half hour in mornings and every hour in the afternoon to and from the carpark at the bottom - a great option that let's someone else do the rough part of the drive.

Cardrona resort also offers a shuttle service from both Wanaka and Queenstown.

When To Go

The mountain is open late June until the first week of October. Most reliable snow is late July and August. The first three weeks of July can be very busy due to the school holidays and the mountain’s popularity with families.

Facts & Figures

Mountain Information   Lifts   Terrain    
Base Elevation 5479ft / 1670m Express Quads 2 Beginner 25%  
Summit Elevation 6102ft / 1860m Quad Chair 1 Intermediates 25%  
Vertical Drop 1968ft / 600m Platter Tow 1 Advanced 50%  
Skiable Area 852ac / 345ha Magic Carpet  2      
Annual Snowfall 106in / 2.7m Chondola 1      
Operating Hours 9.00am –3.30pm Lift Capacity per hour 11,000 people      
             
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