Using Cardrona As Your Next NZ Getaway
Located on the South Island, Cardrona Alpine Resort is considered to be one of New Zealand’s premier winter destinations. This winter playground lies on the Crown Range between Queenstown and Wanaka and welcomes visitors from all over the world. Cardrona brings in all sorts of snow enthusiasts with plenty of options for beginners and families, as well as Olympic and X Games athletes. As one of the Crown Range’s main attractions, Cardrona offers something for everyone.
Regarded as one of New Zealand’s most popular ski areas, Cardrona is worth the visit if you find yourself in the Southern Hemisphere. With plenty of activities to keep you entertained – both during the winter and summer seasons – Cardrona is a must-see destination in New Zealand. However, I highly recommend making it down there during the winter, as you’ll never run out of real estate to explore at New Zealand’s biggest ski area. If you find yourself down there in late August/early September, you’ll also be joined by some of the top professional skiers in the world.
Cardrona plays host to part of the Audi Quattro Winter Games NZ each year, which features some of the first World Cup events of the season. Taking place at the end of August and into September, athletes in freestyle skiing, snowboarding, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, and even curling will kick off their seasons in New Zealand. The games are seen as one of the world’s top five winter sports competitions and are the only one of their kind in the Southern Hemisphere. Additionally, this event is also New Zealand’s largest recurring sports event.
In 2018, Cardrona will host several different Junior World Cups, as well as one normal World Cup. At the beginning of September, the world’s best riders will compete in the first FIS World Cup Big Air event of the season. These athletes will throw down the best tricks they have on Cardrona’s 85ft Big Air jump, located right above the Base Area. This event provides from some amazing entertainment, and you won’t want to miss out if you’re in the Cardrona area come September.
Besides the draw of early season events, you’ll also find athletes in Cardrona for training camps as well as simply enjoying the terrain that’s offered. With just over 850 skiable acres, there’s plenty of terrain to explore at the resort. The average annual snowfall of 2.9m (9.5ft) doesn’t hurt either, and it’s not uncommon to get a rad powder day in the heat of the season. Starting at a base elevation of 1670m (5480ft) and reaching the highest lifted point at 1860m (6100ft), the almost 200m (656ft) of vertical will provide for some epic turns.
As far as getting to Cardrona, the easiest options are from Queenstown or Wanaka. Flying into Queenstown can be pretty easy, and once you’re there then it’s just a 58km (36mi) drive to Cardrona. Renting a car can be a great choice, but there are also shuttle bus options that will take the hassle out of driving. With services from Queenstown, Wanaka, and Arrowtown, you’ll have plenty of freedom as far as planning your trip. The shuttle bus option makes sense if you book accommodation up at the mountain, but you’ll want to avoid buying bus tickets every day if you’re coming from Queenstown or Wanaka. However, Real Journeys offers a season pass for the bus that runs between Queenstown and Cardrona if you’re interested in that.
The best option for transportation is definitely renting a car, and it’s worth it especially if you’re on vacation and looking to make the most of your trip. If you choose to drive, it’s best to carry chains and you can easily hire them on the Cardrona Mountain Road. Moreover, you can head to the pass offices located in Queenstown and Wanaka and pick up your lift tickets beforehand. This way you can park at the bottom of the Valley View Quad and save 10 minutes of driving, getting you to the slopes the fastest.
If you’re looking to find your limit, or simply just looking to enjoy a winter getaway – then Cardrona is your spot. With options for beginners all the way up to experts, there’s plenty of terrain to explore. Cardrona is also a great spot for families, with plenty of activities to keep everyone busy. If that’s not enough, you can catch the Audi Quattro Winter Games NZ taking place in late August/early September. These events bring in professional athletes from all over the world and are a must-see if you’re in Cardrona. Lastly, make the most of your trip by staying in Queenstown or Wanaka and experience everything these lake towns have to offer.
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