Hitting the Slopes at Cardrona Ski Resort

cardrona ski resort what to expect and tips

A Day at Cardrona Ski Resort

The other day Dan and I ventured further than our normal stomping ground for a day of skiing and snowboarding at Cardrona Ski Resort. We had heard so many good things about Cardrona that we just had to check it out for ourselves before the season ended. And what better of a way to end the winter than to hit the slopes at one of NZ’s largest ski resorts!

This blog is all about how our day went, what we thought of Cardrona, and a couple tips that you may find helpful if you plan on going for yourself.
hitting the slopes at cardrona ski resort

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A little bit about Cardrona

Cardrona ski resort is located 34km from the town of Wanaka in New Zealand’s South Island. Cardrona is best known for its wide variety of runs and jumps suitable for the pros. With insane mountain views and a variety of facilities, this is a common choice among locals and tourists for a ski resort.

From Queenstown, it takes about 1 hour to drive to Cardrona.

cardrona ski resort

The Drive

One thing to note about getting to Cardrona is that the road is gravel. For the last 14 km of the drive as you climb the mountain, the road is gravel. The road can also be easily affected by snow and ice so it is important to carry snow chains at all times! The weather can change at a moments notice up there!

That being said, buses can easily be arranged from both Queenstown, Wanaka, and the base of the mountain.

Check out Cardrona’s website for more info on the different transport options to Cardrona Alpine Resort!

Along the drive, you will wind up through the clouds and have amazing views of the surrounding mountains.

If you do drive yourself then you will have to get parking. If you arrive early enough then you could be able to park in the closest parking lot to the base. This is ideal as it is only a two-minute walk from the base. But, there is actually a lot of parking available all within walking distance to the base.

We had a pleasant drive up to Cardona and our 2002 Toyota van tackled the road and the mountain just fine. We also arrived around 9:30 am so we were able to park nice and close to the base.

map of the base at cardrona ski resort
A map of the base. The closest parking lot is just to the left of the building next to the drop-off zone.

Hitting the Slopes

When we first arrived it was a little bit overwhelming. There were so many different routes and I didn’t know where to start. Since I really only learned to ski this year, I am still a little nervous on my skis and like the first run of the day to be an easy one. Luckily, the chairlift closest to the base (Mcdougall’s Chondola) has two easy trails from the top. So that is right where we started!

map of all of the runs at cardrona
A map of all of the runs at Cardrona

From the top of “Mcdougall’s Chondola” chairlift, there are several different choices for runs to get back down. As our first run we stayed on the green (or easy) option as a warm-up but on our next time up after we decided to adventure a bit more. There was a fairly flat trail called the “Over Run” that goes across the mountain to another side. From here, the views were completely different and we could take a slightly steeper and longer run to the bottom of the “Captain’s Express” chairlift.

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the over run at cardrona
The “Over Run”

Over the course of the day we explored lots of the different runs and were thrilled about all of the options available that kept us busy for quite a while!

The Views

For me, one of the best things about skiing is getting to enjoy the beautiful mountain setting. Going to a new ski resort means more than just new runs to explore, it means completely different scenery!At the top of “Mcdougalls” chairlift there was a sign point pointing to a viewpoint. I just had to check it out! So we left my skis and Dan’s snowboard and went for a little walk. From the top, we had an amazing view of white snowy peaks!

the main viewpoint at cardrona
Just look at that view!
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What I liked About Cardrona

To me, Cardrona was a great ski resort to check out. The variety of runs available for all experience levels was great and I couldn’t help but be in awe of the professionals on the jumps. Every time I was on the chairlift I watch the jumps and saw some people getting insane air!

taking the gondola at cardrona
The gondola was a great way to get up the mountain!

I also really like the gondola option on the “Mcdougall’s” chairlift. It was quite a windy day when we were there so sitting on the chairlift was cold, but inside the gondola was a much more enjoyable option!

The great facilities mixed with some beautiful views made our day at Cardrona one to remember!

Early-bird passes for 2019 are on sale now! Click here for more information!

We had a ton of adventures in New Zealand, check out all of our New Zealand blogs here!
-Bailey

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