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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 four 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.
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 if you’re staying more than a couple of days you might get a bit bored.Search Hotels and Deals
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 are various shuttle services from Wanaka.
- Alpine ConneXions Snow Shuttle has daily transfers.
- Ridgeline Adventures offers private transfers.
- Yello! Has scheduled and chartered options from Wanaka and Queenstown. A round trip from Wanaka is $35 adult/$28 child.
The following companies offer daily transfers from Queenstown (round trips start at $45 adults/$32 children)
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.
|Base Elevation||5479ft / 1670m||Express Quads||2||Beginner||25%|
|Summit Elevation||6102ft / 1860m||Quad Chair||2||Intermediates||50%|
|Vertical Drop||1968ft / 600m||Platter Tow||1||Advanced||25%|
|Skiable Area||852ac / 345ha||Magic Carpet||2|
|Annual Snowfall||106in / 2.7m|
|Operating Hours||9.00am –3.30pm||Lift Capacity per hour||11,000 people|
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