Welcome to the first part of the ‘It’s Time to Ride the Southern Hemisphere Ski Slopes’ series. This post is dedicated to one of the best beginner ski resorts in New Zealand. Welcome to Cardrona Alpine Resort – ski. ride. sightsee.
The Best of the Southern Hemisphere Ski Slopes – Cardrona, New Zealand
In the center of New Zealand’s southern island lies the Cardrona valley. Originally home to pioneering gold miners, this valley was at the heart of the Central Otago Gold Rush during the 1860s. After the slow decline of mining in the area, Cardrona became a small, sleepy agricultural town – until John and Mary Lee bought the Mt. Cardrona Station and Hotel … and decided to farm snow.
Over the next decade, John worked on creating a ski field and ‘a high quality farm road’ leading up to the site. The gradient of the road is mellow and ideal for an easy bus trip from Queenstown. The resort’s first winter is harsh, but has good snowfall. Between days of clearing the road of snow with a bulldozer, there are only sixteen days of skiing. The second winter sees a full six-weeks worth of skiing. Realising that groomed snow surfaces were essential, the Lees purchase the resort’s first snow groomer in 1981. By 1985, the resort’s base building is completed and, uniquely, sits in the middle of the ski field. As a beginner skier, John Lee wanted to always be in the center of the action. The resort is now one of the best locations for beginner ski enthusiasts to learn the ropes and continues to grow yearly.
Things to Do in Cardrona – Other than Snow Sports
- Drive a team of sled dogs with Underdog Sled Dog Tours
- Visit the Cardrona Distillery & Museum – have a drink or two and warm up
- After a few drinks, for Dutch courage, donate your bra to the Cardrona Bra Fence
- And then take up Puzzling World‘s Great Maze challenge
- Follow up with the half-day High Country Pub horse trek
See you there!