Cardrona is the largest, most accessible ski area from Wanaka, and the largest accessible ski area from Queenstown, with 20-35% more terrain than its neighbouring resorts. With 3 gloriously wide basins and the promise of consistent snow to cover its 320 hectares of terrain, Cardrona is an expansive mountain with plenty of high level on and off trail choices.

A definite favourite for families and learners due to having four dedicated kids centres and 2 fully licensed early childcare centres, a well-developed beginners area, and high-level ski pros.

Accommodation wise, if you get in early enough then its possible to actually stay ‘on mountain’ as Cardrona is the only place in the area that has accommodation facilities right at the base of this mountain resort. The alternatives to that are lodgings in the spectacular alpine village of Wanaka, which is just 35 minutes by road, or the larger epi centre of the area, Queenstown, being 60 minutes drive.

Not just for skiers, Cardrona is a snowboarders paradise with designated areas to include: 4 half pipes, combo terrain park, a boarder-cross course, and various ‘boarder’ calendar events throughout the season.

Shona Headshot

Renowned for its consistent snowfall, combined with a stack of exciting and expansive terrain, Cardrona offers up endless on and of trail options leaving you feeling like you have the entire mountain to yourself.  Cardrona is also well setup for families.  Another phenomenal Southland resort with views to die for! Shona – Amped

10 Top Reasons to Ski Cardrona

  • Accessible: Located just 60 minutes drive from Queenstown, or 35 minutes from Wanaka. Or … a 10 minute heli flight ex Queenstown. Also, there are multiple shuttle services that run daily from both Queenstown and Wanaka to get you across to Cardrona for the day.
  • Terrain: Cardrona has expansive terrain stretching over 3 wide open bowls, and a nice mix of green, blue and black diamond terrain.
  • Highest Mountain: Cardrona is the highest mountain in the area, so the promise of consistent snowfall here is higher than anywhere else in the region.
  • Uncrowded: Cardrona is a big mountain with plenty of trail options, and therefore doesn’t feel to crowded.
  • Kids under 6 ski FREE: Cardrona offer free day lift passes for children aged 6 years and under.
  • Family Friendly: Cardrona is well setup for families and progression. With various ski school programs on offer, and an on site day care.
  • Any Budget: Queenstown/Wanaka lodgings range from budget backpackers, to luxurious hotels, apartments and private hide aways, to suit any budget.
  • Apres: Queentown and Wanaka’s Apres culture is king, with multiple choices of restaurants and bars to choose from – you’ll have an absolute ball!
  • ONEPASS NZ – great value: With the Onepass NZ you can ski Cardrona, Treble Cone, Snow Park, Mt Dobson, Ohau Snow Feilds, Porters, and Roundhill, all on the one pass
  • Scenery: The region of Wanaka will literally blow your mind. Honestly, you won’t ever of witnessed countryside quite like this before, it is truly spectacular!

Skiing Cardrona back country - with colourful effect

Freshly groomed show on Cardrona ski field - photo by Chris O'Connell

Sledding fun for kids at Cardrona ski field

Cardrona Facts & Stats

  • Elevation: 1,849m
  • Vertical: 390m
  • Skiable Area: 320 hectares
  • Terrain: 25% Beginner, 55% Intermediate, 20% Advanced
  • Number of Lifts: 7
  • Longest Run: 1.8 kilometres
  • Base Facilities: Large modern base complex with 3 restaurants, a cafeteria, first aid and medical facilities.
  • Equipment Hire: Yes
  • Ski School: Yes
  • Childcare: Yes
  • Snow Making: Supplements natural snow
  • Ski Season: Mid-June to Mid-October
  • Hours Open: Daily 9:00am to 4:00pm
  • Nearest Town: Wanaka
  • Distance: 34 km (13km unsealed)
  • Shuttle Services: Daily service to and from Wanaka and Queenstown

Cardrona Kids


Getting to Cardrona


Cardrona is 58 kms (60 mins) from Queenstown, and 34 kms (35 mins) from Wanaka. Or, for those wanting to trip around and take in some of New Zealands unbelievable scenery, the drive from Christchurch to Queenstown is around 5 hours (420 kms), or from Dunedin is 3 hours (280 kms).

The roads are well sealed with the exception of the last 13 kms which is the drive from the main road up to Cardrona base village. During the Winter Season and especially over the Crown Range, from Queenstown to Wanaka, you will require chains at times due to snowfall.

Ex New Zealand:

  • Daily domestic flights from most major hubs around New Zealand into Queenstown. Whilst some departure points won’t provide direct flights through to Queenstown, there are generally connections via Christchurch.

Ex Australia:

  • Daily International flights ex Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne, Australia into Queenstown during the winter season, and by various carriers.
  • Domestic connections from surrounding major ports within Australia are often available to connect with these international flights, however inbound flight arrival time dependant.


There are various companies who operate daily shuttle services from both Wanaka to Cardrona, as well as Queenstown to Cardrona.

Another option would be to get a helicopter ride from Queenstown to Cardrona. The trip takes about 10 minutes, and certainly cuts out the drive time, and beats the crowds!


Whilst having a rental car is not an absolute requirement to have during your time in Queenstown and Wanaka, it is definitely worth considering if the budget will allow. Having a rental car in the region will allow you the freedom to visit anyone of the 5 surrounding ski fields, and on any given day. A worthwhile commodity in my opinion!

Cardrona Trail Map


Wanaka Area Map

Wanaka Area

Queenstown Village Map

Queenstown Map

Shotover Jet - Shotover Jet

Scenice Hot Pools ZQN

Lake Wakatipu - Ben Crawford

Other Resort Activities

  • Jet boating
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Snow-shoeing
  • Tubing
  • Ice Climbing
  • Ice Skating
  • Snow Mobiling
  • Walking tour of art and craft galleries
  • Explore National Parks of Mt Aspiring or Fiordland
  • Shopping
  • Lake Cruise
  • Apres
  • Sky Diving
  • Paragliding
  • Bungy Jumping
  • Rafting
  • Zip-trek Eco Tours
  • Canyon Swing
  • Queenstown Winter Festival (June)
  • NZ Mountain Film Festival (1July)
  • Peak to Peak (August) Multisport event
  • Burton NZ Open (August)
  • 100% Pure NZ Winter Games 2013 (August)
  • Gay Ski Week QT (Aug/Sept yearly)

Cardrona Ski School and Daycare


Cardrona offer ski and snowboard programmes for all ages, and any ability, and are on hand to help you advance your ‘on snow’ skills to the next level.

Ski Services available range from:

  • Private Lessons
  • Group Lessons
  • Beginner/first timer packages
  • Women’s programmes
  • Adaptive Programmes


Cardrona has dedicated beginner terrain to make learning snow sports a safe activity for your child. Complimented also by licensed ‘Skiwiland’ early learning centres, to give parents an opportunity to have some time out to themselves on the mountain.

Ski Services Available range from:

  • Kids under 5: Nursery & ski kindy
  • Kids 5 & over: Groups, private, all day, speciality programmes
  • Private lessons
  • Speciality clinics


Cardrona’s Kindys are licensed early childcare centres which cater for 3 months to 4 year old.

Note: reservations are required for all children’s services

Accommodation at Wanaka

Wanaka Hotel – Moderate Lead-in Wanaka Hotel

This is a great little lead in hotel with all the facilities and amenities either on site or close by. Situated right in the middle of Wanaka township, The Wanaka Hotel offers clean and comfortable budget Hotel accommodation at affordable prices.

Facilities: Bar, Restaurant, Cafe, Internet, guest laundry, self catering kitchen, car parking. All rooms come with baths, TV, tea & coffee making facilities, and fridge.

Available are:
• Economy Quad Room (Queen Bed + set of bunks, or two sets of bunks)
• Standard or Lake view Hotel Room


Grand Mercure Oakridge Resort – Superior Wanaka Hotel

Situated on the fringe of Wanaka township, this luxurious property offers a choice of either a hotel room, or fully equipped 1 and 2 bedroom apartments. An absolutely beautiful property which is suited to anyone wanting a luxurious hideaway, without being to far from town.


Available are: Restaurant and bar, day spa, 9 outdoor heated pools, outdoor lap pool, tapas bar, Swedish sauna and gymnasium.

Hotel rooms have: Bathroom, tea and coffee making facilities, fridge, Sky TV, and balcony or patio.
Apartments have: Full kitchen, patio or balcony, laundry access, Sky TV, car parking, drying room.

• Hotel Room
• 1, 2 bedroom apartments

Grand Mercure Oakridge Resort Lake Wanaka

Wanaka Private Holiday Homes – Various star rated properties around Wanaka

Choose from cosy cottages, executive apartments, or modern homes. There is a choice that is suited to any requirement and living standard within this selection of accommodation. All are located relatively close to the Wanaka township, the furthest is a 15 minute walk, at most.

Facilities: Fully equipped kitchens, TB, ipod docs or CD/DVD player, heat pump or gas/wood fireplace, electric blankets on beds, garage, drying areas, and are tastefully furnished to make for a cosy environment.

Available are:
• 2,3,4,5 bedroom homes


6 Heaton Place017 

Pinot cottage

Accommodation at Queenstown

Breakfree The Waterfront – Moderate Queenstown Village Apartments

With a hard to beat location of just 100 metres from the main street of Queenstown and directly across the road from the beautiful shores of Lake Wakatipu, Breakfree The Waterfront offers comfortable, value for money apartments, which are just 3 minutes stroll from town.

Facilities: Ski lockers, complimentary parking, guest laundry, wireless. Apartments feature balconies, full kitchen, sound system, sky TV, and security system.

Available are:
• Studio (with kitchenette)
• 1 Bedroom Apartment
• 2 Bedroom Apartment
• 3 Bedroom Apartment

BreakFree The Waterfront

Scenic Suites – Superior Queenstown Apartments

Located a leisurely 5 minute stroll from town, the Scenic Suites offer guests sleek and stylish apartments, spectacular views, along with all the comforts of home.

Features: Ski lockers, exercise room, guest parking, laundry, restaurant and bar. Rooms all have Sky TV, fridge, wireless, tea and coffee making facilities, bath and shower (separate), patio or balcony. The one and two bedroom apartments have full kitchens and their own laundry facilities.

Available are:
• Studio
• 1 bedroom Apartments
• 2 bedroom Apartments

Scenic Queenstown

Crowne Plaza Queenstown – Deluxe Central Queenstown Hotel

This luxurious, contemporary, deluxe hotel holds a prime in-town location, whilst based right on the waters edge of Lake Wakatipu. With worldly amenities and an award winning restaurant, guests who stay at this hotel may never want to leave!

Facilities include: Restaurant, Martini lounge, wireless, valet parking, business centre, gym, guest laundry, ski storage, drying room, 24 hour room service.

Hotel rooms: private balconies, en suite with bath, LCD TV with sky, bathrobes, Internet, minibar, tea & coffee making facilities, choice of twin or double configurations.

Available are:
• Courtyard Room
• Mountain View Room
• Balcony Room
• Lake-view Room

Crowne Plaza

Pounamu Apartments – First Class Apartments

These architecturally designed stylish apartments offer up nothing but the best for their guests. Located just on the outskirts of the centre of Queenstown village, the views across Lake Wakatipu from these apartments are to die for!

Facilities: Designer kitchens, home entertainments systems, plasma TV, underfloor heating, gas fireplace, desktop PC, Internet, fax and printing facilities, underground parking, and ski locker storage.

Available are:
• Studio
• 1 bedroom apartment
• 2 bedroom apartment

Pounamu Apartments Queenstown

Hilton Hotel – First Class Queenstown Hotel

Located directly across the lake from Queenstown Village, easily accessible by way of water taxi or car, is the prestigious Hilton Hotel. This luxurious hotel with it contemporary interior design and high end furnishings is a lovely way to end your day.

Facilities: Lakeside dining, Wine Bar and lounge, Pub, Noodle Bar, cafe/grocery store, Spa, business centre, gym, sauna, steam room, heated indoor lap pool, whirlpool, valet parking, Internet, ski drying room and ski storage facilities.

Available are:
• Hotel Room
• Deluxe Lake View
• Relaxation Room (features private terrace and hot tub)
• 1 and 2 bedroom Residence Apartments

Hilton Queenstown


IMPORTANT NOTE: the above images are to be used as guides for room types available. Due to room configurations and decors differing from condo to condo, not all rooms will look or appear the same.