Cardrona Ski Resort

Cardrona Ski Resort is one of New Zealand's top commercial ski resorts
Cardona has a "Chondola" which is a mix of chair & gondolas
The base area of Cardrona Ski Resort
Cardona has some nice rock features keeping the terrain interesting
Cardrona ski resort has great facilities for kids
Cardrona is big on terrain parks with the biggest jumps in NZ
Cardona New Zealand has a competition half-pipe
Cardrona continues to develop the lift infrastructure
There are a few steep pitches around Cardrona ski resort
Most of the terrain is reasonably mellow
There are plenty of heli skiing options around Cardrona from Wanaka & Queenstown
Dog sled tours are available across the valley at Snow Farm
The spectacular Wanaka is the closest town to Cardrona
Wanaka has some lovely restaurants & bars
Queenstown is also a popular base for people skiing at Cardrona
Queenstown has over 100 restaurants & bars
The Cardrona Hotel at the base of the ski area is a must visit for apres
The Earnslaw in Queenstown is a very popular activity
And jet boating is a must do whether you stay in Wanaka or Queenstown
Other resorts near Cardrona include Treble Cone (pictured), Remarkables & Coronet Peak

Cardrona Ski Resort

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Cardrona3.5 out of 5 based on 13 reviews
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Cardrona Ski Resort New Zealand

Cardrona Ski Resort is a favourite amongst many visitors staying in Queenstown or Wanaka. Whilst many powder hounds and experts prefer nearby Treble Cone, Cardrona New Zealand is popular with most others for its terrain parks, beginner terrain and wide open groomers for intermediates. The Cardrona Ski Resort is so well-liked that it has the most skier visits per season of all the New Zealand ski fields.

Pros and Cons of Cardrona New Zealand

  • The on-mountain accommodation at Cardrona Ski Resort, albeit limited, is a major drawcard because this is quite rare for a commercial NZ ski resort.
  • Cardrona New Zealand is very family friendly. The licensed child care facilities are impressive and the ski school programs are very well set up for the wee ones.
  • The beginner terrain is very good, as are the lifts that service it.
  • The terrain parks and half pipes are fantastic.
  • The Cardrona Alpine Resort continues to invest heavily in lift and infrastructure upgrades. Cardrona has a chondola as well as 2 high speed quad chair lifts, which for NZ is quite remarkable.
  • Views across the mountains and down into the South Lake Valley are beautiful. 

  • Cardrona Ski Resort is usually very busy and lift queues can be horrendous.
  • Many of the cons of Cardrona are the same as most other NZ ski resorts: limited snowfall and inconsistent snow conditions; treeless terrain so visibility can be an issue in foggy weather; and a challenging access road.
  • The ski field doesn’t have a lot of expert terrain and most steeps are short lived.

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 400 hectares of terrain consists of groomed slopes suitable for beginners (25%) and intermediates (25%).

Cardrona undeservedly has a reputation for being a mountain just for beginners and intermediates because it’s compared to its neighbour, the gnarly Treble Cone. Whilst there are very few areas for experts at Cardrona relative to Treble Cone, Cardrona has lots on offer for advanced riders and it’s an off-piste playground when the snow’s on. What sets Cardrona NZ apart from its neighbours is that it has the best of all worlds – it’s a very good all-rounder.

The Cardrona lift system is pretty good by New Zealand standards, which includes a chondola (a cross between a gondola & a 6-pack chair lift) and two high speed quad chairlifts.

Cardrona Snow

Powder hounds 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 to southeast facing aspect assists with snow retention. Snowmaking is used in main traffic areas to supplement the natural snow cover.

Where is Cardrona New Zealand?

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 access road from the valley up to the ski area is unsealed and it’s a fraction friendlier than the scary goat-track access roads evident at some other NZ ski fields.

Cardrona Accommodation

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 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.

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 multiple cafes on the mountain so knock yourself out!

Cardrona Activities

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 is 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.
Tours That May Include Cardrona

Safari (Road Trip) Tours

South Island Snow Odyssey
11 Nights | 11 Days Riding at 10 Areas
Ability: Intermediate to Advanced
Take an odyssey of the South Island to the best New Zealand ski fields ranging from big commercial ski resorts to club field gems with barely any crowds. No need to worry about driving or organising anything as your host looks after all the logistics.
Price p/p From price based on quad share option.
Base/invoice currency is in NZD.
Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Base/invoice currency is in NZD.
Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
AUD 3,060
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South Island Snow Safari
7 Days | 6 Nights | 6 Skiing | 6 Resorts
Ability: Beginner to Advanced
This 7 day adventure is ideal for the young at heart who want to pack in as much skiing or snowboarding and fun as possible into a single week. You will visit up to 6 of NZ's great ski areas with professional hosts who will get you to the best skiing/snowboarding in each of the locations.
Price p/p From price based on multi-share "lift only" package for 2020.
Base/invoice currency is in NZD.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
AUD 1,854
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See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Cardrona here

Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours

Wanaka Explorer
Fully Hosted & Guided | All Ground Transport Included
Ability: Intermediate to Advanced
Take all of the organising out of your next NZ ski or snowboarding trip by joining an Explore Wanaka package tour. Packages include accommodation of various levels/budget, daily on-mountain hosting, transport to/from Queenstown airport to your accommodation plus daily 4x4 transport with your host to/from the mountains.
Price p/p "From" price is based on 3-night, twin-share, 3-star accommodation package.
Base/invoice currency is NZD
Displayed prices may vary slightly to fluctuations in exchange rates
AUD 1,577
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Wanaka Heli & Resort Combo
2 Days Heli | 3 Days Resort
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Head to Wanaka this winter and experience some of the best value heli skiing on the planet plus Wanaka's best resorts. This package can be customised from 3+ nights however the sample is based on 7-nights deluxe lodging, 2 days heli + 3 days resort.
Price p/p "From" price is based on 7-night, twin-share, package.
Base/invoice currency is NZD
Displayed prices may vary slightly to fluctuations in exchange rates
AUD 6,400
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See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Cardrona here

Heli Skiing Tours

Harris Mountains Heliski Queenstown Wanaka
Packages from 4 to 10 runs
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Don't miss the opportunity to experience New Zealand's best heli skiing with Harris Mountains Heliski. Heli ski Queenstown and Wanaka heli ski packages are either 3, 4, 7 or 10 runs with the option to purchase additional runs on the day. Includes Queenstown or Wanaka accommodation pick-up/drop-off. Share
Price p/p From price based on Intro 4-run package (per person).
Base/invoice currency is in NZD inclusive of tax.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
AUD 1,016
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 Mega Discounts: $300 off 4 runs, $400 off 7 runs, $500 off 10 runs. Book by July 31.
Harris Mountains Heliski Private Charters
Fully customisable
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Private heli skiing charters offer the ultimate in flexibility and freedom to explore the vast heli skiing terrain, set your own pace, and ski or snowboard as much as you want, and wherever conditions permit. Get together your own group of up to 4 (single load) or 5-10 (double load).
Price p/p Per person price based on a group of 8 with 2 hours of helicopter flight time.
Base/invoice currency is in NZD inclusive of tax.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
AUD 1,275
View Details
See all Heli Skiing tours that visit Cardrona here