Cardrona Ski Field New Zealand
Cardrona ski field is a favourite amongst many visitors staying in Queenstown
. Cardrona NZ is not particularly ideal for powderhounds or experts, but the friendly atmosphere and wide open groomers make it very popular amongst families, beginners, intermediates and freestylers.
Views across the mountains and down into the South Lake Valley are beautiful, and the on-mountain accommodation, albeit limited, is also a major drawcard.
Cardrona Ski and Snowboard Terrain
As is typical for New Zealand skiing
, the terrain at Cardrona is above the tree line. The ski area is spread across three bowls, and much of the 345 hectares of terrain consists of groomed slopes suitable for beginners (25%) and intermediates (50%).
Cardrona undeservedly has a reputation for being a mountain just for beginners and intermediates because it’s compared to its neighbour, the gnarly TC. Whilst there are very few areas for experts at Cardrona relative to Treble Cone
, Cardrona has lots on offer for advanced riders. There are some steeps in the Arcardia Chutes, some excitement in the Tulips area, and much of the Captain’s area is an off-piste playground.
Similarly, Cardrona has to compete hard with its other neighbour Snowpark
, a dedicated shedders area. Cardrona contends well in this space. As home to Jossi Wells, Cardrona is well renowned for its freestyle terrain with three to four terrain parks, the Monster Big Air, and up to three half-pipes including a 22 foot Olympic superpipe. There is also a challenging boardercross course.
What sets Cardrona NZ apart from its neighbours is that it has the best of all worlds – it’s a reasonably good all-rounder.
The Cardrona lift system is pretty good by New Zealand standards, with four quad chairlifts, two of which are express chairs.
Powderhounds have to be really lucky to ski or board in knee deep powder at Cardrona considering that the mountain only receives an average of 2.7 metres of snowfall annually. However the powder that does fall is generally quite dry (by NZ standards) and the south facing aspect assists with snow retention. Snowmaking is used in main traffic areas to supplement the natural snow cover.
Where is Cardrona NZ?
Cardrona Alpine Resort is nestled amongst the spectacular mountains between Wanaka
(34km – 35 minutes away) and Queenstown
(58km – 60 minutes away) on the South Island of New Zealand. Major gateway airports are either Queenstown (50 minute drive) or Christchurch (5 hour drive). The Cardrona ski resort is approximately 12km from the village of Cardrona which is down in the Cardrona Valley.
Shuttles to Cardrona ski field are available from the towns of Queenstown and Wanaka, although hiring a car will provide more flexibility to get around. The 10km access road from the valley up to the ski area is unsealed and it’s a fraction friendlier than the goat-track access roads evident at some other NZ ski fields (but still a bit scary for the uninitiated!).
Many visitors to the Cardrona ski field stay in either Queenstown accommodation
or Wanaka accommodation
, but it’s also possible to stay in Cardrona Valley near the turn off to the ski area. There is also on-mountain accommodation within 15 apartments (2-4 bedrooms), only a one minute walk away from the lifts. Those staying on-mountain will need to BYO supplies and nightlife.
See our Cardrona accommodation
page for more information and for bookings.
Ski Resort Facilities
The on-mountain facilities at the Cardrona ski resort are of a high standard and include eateries, fabulous child care services, ski school, equipment rental and a retail shop. As is typical in NZ, the facilities are limited for choice, but there are five cafes on the mountain so knock yourself out!
Whilst the activities at Cardrona Alpine Resort are pretty much limited to the skiing and snowboarding, the proximity of Cardrona to Queenstown, Wanaka and Snowfarm means that there are a plethora of activities on offer for families, adventure seekers, or those just wanting a break from the slopes. See our Cardrona activities
page for more information.
Why Ski or Snowboard at Cardrona?
Cardrona New Zealand is loved by many beginner, intermediate and advanced skiers and boarders. It is also recognised as a great family ski area considering the terrain, the family friendly services and on-mountain accommodation.
The Powderhounds have provided Cardrona with the following "best skiing in New Zealand
" awards for:
- overall ski resort
- best beginner terrain
- best family resort
Hosted Ski Safaris That Include Cardrona
Another great way to visit CArdrona is by joining a hosted ski safari that includes this destination in its itinerary.....
||South Island Safari - 14 Days (10 days riding)
Visit up to 10 resorts (Canterbury & Southern Lakes areas) on this adventure of a lifetime! Includes breakfasts, accommodation, lift passes, transfers & guiding on/off the mountain....
||NZ Chicks Tour| 8 Days - Queenstown & Wanaka
|Join mint tours on this fabulous 8-day chicks only fully hosted & guided adventure to some of NZ's best ski resorts. Trip has an emphasis on freestyle & freeriding and includes daily coaching sessions..
Hosted Youth-Camp Packages That Include Cardrona
||South Island Safari - 7 Days | 6 Resorts
6 resorts in 7 days! For the younger crowd. Mt Hutt, Ohau, Treble Cone, Cardrona, Coronet Peak and The Remarkables. Includes accommodation, transfers, lift tickets, daily b/fasts & more..
These packages are specifically designed for teenagers and include adult supervision...
||10 Days Powder Storming New Zealand
Visit several of NZ's top ski areas around Queenstown & Wanaka & have the option to get all the POW you can eat with a heli ski adventure. One tour only - Aug 06– Aug 16 -skiers & boarders
Multi-Resort Packages Based in Wanaka
||Ski Camp - Wanaka / Queenstown NZ
Ski the pipes & powder at NZ's premier resorts and the dedicated jump park - SnowPark. This is a trip designed for serious & wanna-be shredders. 3 dates - boarders & skiers welcome.
If you want to stay in one place and visit several ski areas....
Skier Improvement Programs Based in Wanaka
||Wanaka Adventure - 7 Days | 5 Resorts
Ski up to 5 of NZ's premier resorts including Treble Cone, Cardrona, Snow Park, Coronet Peak and The Remarkables. Includes accommodation, transfers, lift tickets, daily b/fasts & more..
Recommended Self-Drive Itineraries That Include Cardrona
Here are a couple of self-drive itineraries that have been compiled by us at Powderhounds.com (and traveled many times by us)....
||7 Nights / 6 Days - Wanaka
Suggested itinerary to self-drive to Wanaka, skiing Treble Cone & Cardrona plus option to join with a week in Queenstown.
||10 Day / 9 Nights - Ride the BIG 5
Suggested itinerary to self-drive and ski New Zealand's top 5 commercial ski areas including Mt Hutt, (Wanaka) Treble Cone & Cardrona plus (Queenstown) Coronet Peak & Remarkables.