Cardrona is a small village close to Wanaka that oozes rustic charm. It was established as a gold rush township in the 1860s and lies on the banks of the Cardrona River. Set in a quaint location along the famous Crown Range Road (the highest paved highway in the country) it is close to both Wanaka and Queenstown.
The iconic and charming Cardrona Hotel at the heart of the village is one of the most photographed buildings in New Zealand, made famous by the advertising campaign of Speight's brewery of Dunedin. The hotel is popular all year round, particularly for après ski in the winter months where you can enjoy a blazing fire both inside and out. In the summer, the sun drenched beer garden has a relaxed feel and helps to while away the time during long, hot summer days.
Home to two of Lake Wanaka’s popular ski fields, the Cardrona Valley is well-established internationally as a ski, snowboarding and cross country skiing mecca. Popular with families and beginners right up to international athletes, Cardrona Alpine Resort attracts enthusiastic skiers and snowboarders every winter.
Just across the valley, Snow Farm - New Zealand’s only premier cross country ski area – offers a different experience. Peace, tranquillity and solitude amid acres of striking back country trails, some with views all the way to Mt Aspiring and Mt Cook. Snow Farm offers snow shoeing, dog sledding, overnight back country hut stays, excellent lodge accommodation and dining.
A year-round destination, the Cardrona valley boasts a variety of high country mountain bike trails and walks. From rugged 4WD farm tracks to fluid downhill single tracks, Cardrona and the Pisa Ranges attract heli-biking and die-hard mountain bikers nearly all year round. Explore the high country on a horse trek or quad bike. Ride deep into the heart of a working high country station and see the remnants of gold mines.