The Cardrona Alpine Resort is known for dry snow and wide slopes with something on offer for everyone. Located in the Southern Alps of New Zealand and situated between Queenstown and Wanaka, Cardrona is ideally located close to both the adventure capital of the island and the natural beauty of Lake Wanaka.
Wanaka is closest and easiest to access from Cardrona, with a driving distance of just 35 minutes, while you can get to Queenstown in an hour by car or bus.
Cardrona is where you’ll find the only ski field in the country that offers the Chondola, a combination of chair lifts and gondolas with a ratio of four chairs to one gondola.
You’ve got three main choices if you want to be near the snow in Cardrona:
Cardrona Mountain: Firstly, you can stay on the mountain and be a minute’s walk away from the lifts. There are no grocery stores up here and your meal options are limited, so this is best suited to the keenest of skiers and those willing to BYO supplies.
Cardrona Village: This is a short drive from the ski fields. You’ll find a small handful of accommodation options to choose from here, plus the historical Cardrona Hotel where you can relax and have a drink after your day on the snow.
Wanaka: This lakeside town is an easy 35-minute drive from Cardrona and you have the added benefit of being based in a more lively town if your holiday is not going to be all about the snow.
Our top picks: Cardrona hotels
Cardrona Alpine Apartments from HotelsCombined
Address: Cardrona Valley Road, Cardrona
A rarity amongst ski resorts in New Zealand, these on-mountain apartments will have you only a minute’s walk from the lifts and are ideal for any diehard ski fans. Cardrona Alpine Apartments are self-catering with full kitchen facilities, and there’s also a café open for dinner service.
A luxury lodge in the Cardrona Valley and just a stone's throw from the famous Cardrona Hotel. Transfers are offered to Cardrona Ski Field and there are two large open fires to keep you cosy and warm when you get back.
Blending historic charm with modern comforts in a truly unique package, the Cardrona Hotel is one of New Zealand’s most iconic hotels. Don’t be fooled by its rustic facade. Inside you’ll find a stunning beer garden, a restaurant for that much-needed pub fare at the end of the day and charming hotel rooms.
Features: Bar and restaurant, laundry facilities, spa pool, ski drying room
Located in a picturesque rural setting with 10 acres of beautiful stream boundary grounds, the Homestead has stunning views of the mountains. When you’re not on the ski fields, you can fill your time in the private guest lounge or the outdoor spa, in front of the fireplace or playing a game of petanque.
Features: Outdoor hot tub, outdoor fireplace, swimming pool, petanque court
For something a little more feature-rich, head towards the only accommodation directly on the beautiful Lake Wanaka, Edgewater. With a stay here you can complement an arduous day on the snow with a treatment at the day spa or a detox in the sauna.
Features: Spa pools and sauna, all-weather tennis courts, 9-hole putting green, kid’s playground, petanque court, day spa
Closest lift: Valley View Quad
Does it have ski-in/ski-out? No
Why we love it: This is the ultimate luxe stay. Go on, treat yo'self.
Wanaka Homestead Lodge and Cottages from HotelsCombined
Address: 1 Homestead Close, Wanaka
Whether you’re travelling solo or with a big group, there’s space for the whole crew at the Wanaka Homestead Lodge and Cottages. Choose from a cottage with self-catering accommodation available for up to seven or get cosy with a bed and breakfast stay in the lodge.
Snow report: Check out the Snow Report for an accurate and detailed look at recent snowfalls and conditions
Trail breakdown: 25% of trails are for beginners, 25% are for intermediates, 30% are for advanced skiers and 20% are for experts
Number of runs:40
Longest run: 4km
Number of terrain parks: 4
Number of chair lifts:5
Number of magic carpets:2
Skiable terrain: 400 hectare
Cardrona trail map
Plan out your day on the slopes using this Cardrona trail map:
Cardrona lift passes
Tickets are available in day, multi-day and season ski pass options. If you plan to spend more than 10 days in Cardrona, purchasing a season pass is your best option.
2020 season pass pricing
There are two passes you can choose from:
Saver: Avoid the peak July school holiday period and save for the rest of the season. This pass is not valid from 29 June – 17 July 2020.
Unlimited: Ski or ride on any day of the winter season.
Ski schools available in Cardrona
There are ski and snowboard lessons available for all levels in both group as well as private sessions at Cardrona Alpine Resort. Some programs include packages with gear and lift passes included, and children’s lessons can also include a day at the Kid’s Snow Sports Club.
Who can participate?
What is involved?
Childcare and Snow Sports School
Children under the age of 5
Get them started young with their first skiing experience in private or group classes with kids the same age and level.
Kids Group Lessons
Children between the ages of 6 and 12
A fun way to learn to ski or snowboard with instructors that will help your kids gain valuable skills and fall in love with snow sports. Choose from single group lessons or full day lessons.
Children between the ages of 5 and 14
These run every week of the season for four consecutive days (Monday to Thursday). The Adventure Programme is packed with fun activities and kids get the same instructor every day. A great way to encourage improvement and a fun learning environment.
Adults or children who are skiing or snowboarding for the first time
Packages start from one day to three days and include Beginners’ Area lift passes and rental equipment. Separate child and adult lessons start and finish at the same time so you can learn while your kids do.
Adult group lessons
Skiers of all levels and abilities
Sharpen your skills with your choice of single group lessons or a full day of instruction in a group to best suited your ability.
Anyone can participate in private lessons
Accelerate your learning with private lessons. Learn to ski or snowboard by mastering the basics or develop new skills.
Ski and equipment hire in Cardrona resorts
Make your holiday just that much easier by renting your clothing and equipment on the mountain. Or save some cash and use the nearest ski and snowboard rental outlet to your accommodation.
Available on select dates and activities like getaways, hot air balloon flight, jet ski, spas, sightseeing cruise, tours and more. Destinations include Sydney, Hunter Valley, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Perth and more.
Cristal Dyer is a travel writer at Finder. She has been writing about travel for over five years and has visited over 40 countries around the world. Cristal currently travels full-time, writing about her favourite cities and food finds, and she is always on the lookout for amazing flight deals to share.
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