Ski New Zealand

Cardrona Resort Reviews

Ski New Zealand

Cardrona Resort Reviews

Visitor reviews for Cardrona Ski Resort

Cardrona Ratings

Overall: 3.6. Based on 22 votes and 22 reviews. Vote

Access: 4.3

(1) At least one overnight stop, (2) requires a whole day, (3) requires more than half a day – you may have time for a few turns (4) arrive by lunchtime and ski all afternoon, (5) there is a main airport within an hour of Cardrona.

Public Transport: 4.0

(1) There are no buses or taxis to Cardrona, (3) there are slow or infrequent buses / trains available, (5) getting to the resort is easy with frequent bus / train connections.

Scenery: 4.4

(1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.

Accommodation: 3.1

(1) No places to stay in/near Cardrona, (3) a few places to stay in the resort, (5) a wide variety of accommodation suitable to suit all budgets.

Cheap Rooms: 2.6

(1) No budget accommodation available, (3) just one or two hostels so book ahead, (5) several cheap hostels and pensions available.

Luxury Hotels: 3.2

(1) No luxury accommodation available, (3) just one or two luxury hotels so book ahead, (5) several up-market hotels in Cardrona.

Ski in/Ski out: 3.8

(1) The ski area is located far from any accommodation, (3) a free ski bus takes you to the ski area in a short trip, (5) Ski-in ski-out accommodation is available.

Childcare: 4.6

(1) There are no child care facilities at Cardrona, (5) the resort has excellent child-care facilities including at least one reasonably priced creche.

Snowsure: 3.9

(1) Occasionally gets enough snow for skiing, (2) is often closed due to a lack of snow, (3) occasionally suffers from a lack of snow, (4) rarely suffers from a lack of snow, (5) Cardrona is snowsure even in the poorest seasons.

Snowmaking: 3.8

(1) Cardrona relies entirely on natural snow, (3) there are just a few snow cannons, (5) there are snowmaking facilities on all pistes.

Snow Grooming: 4.7

(1) There are no snow groomers at Cardrona, (3) occasionally some pistes are left ungroomed and in a poor state, (5) all the runs at Cardrona are groomed daily.

Shelter: 2.6

(1) there is nowhere to ski when it is windy or visibility is bad and lifts often shut, (3) there are some trees for poor visibility but main lifts sometimes close, (5) Cardrona is mostly in forest where you can ski in flat-light and windy days, lifts rarely close.

Nearby options: 3.1

(1) If snow conditions are poor at Cardrona, it will be poor everywhere nearby, (3) there are good alternatives within an hours drive, (5) other locations on the same lift pass provide a rich variety of snowsure ski conditions.

Regional rating: 4.4

(1) Cardrona usually has poor snow conditions compared to other resorts in region, (3) has average conditions for the region, (5) usually has the best snow conditions in the region.

Lift Staff: 4.7

(1) The staff at Cardrona are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Cardrona are pleasant, cheerful and eager to help.

Crowds/Queues: 3.3

(1) the resort is always busy and there are usually long lift queues, (3) it is quiet apart from occasional weekends and school holidays, (5) it is uncrowded and lift queues are very rare.

Ski Schools: 4.6

(1) No ski schools available, (2) one or two ski schools but local language only, (3) a few ski schools but book early for multi-lingual instructors, (4) plenty of ski schools and multi-lingual instructors available, (5) excellent ski schools with friendly multi-lingual ski instructors.

Hire and Repairs: 4.3

(1) Nothing can be sourced, not even ski-wax or ptex. (3) there are some ski shops but rentals need to be booked in advance, (5) good quality ski equipment can be purchased or hired and overnight repairs are possible.

Variety of pistes: 3.8

(1) The ski runs are featureless and unvaried, (3) the ski runs are varied but not extensive enough for a week, (5) Cardrona has diverse and interesting pistes including forests and high alpine terrain.

Beginners: 4.3

(1) Beginners can only watch others ski and snowboard, (3) a few gentle slopes but beginners will get bored in less than a week, (3) Vast areas of gentle terrain.

Intermediates: 4.6

(1) No intermediate terrain at Cardrona, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.

Advanced: 3.5

(1) Nothing for advanced skiers and snowboarders, (3) enough steep terrain for a few days with some good offpiste, (5) Enough steep terrain and offpiste areas to entertain advanced skiers for at least a week.

Snow Park: 4.6

(1) Not even a kicker at Cardrona, (3) average sized park quite well looked after, (5) huge park area and expertly crafted pipes, jumps and boardercross trails.

Off-piste: 3.2

(1) No off-piste worth mentioning, (2) off piste is out-of-bounds, (3) some varied offpiste that stays fresh for one or two days, (5) a vast array of off-piste routes that can stay untracked for several days.

Cross-country: 2.4

(1) There is nowhere to go for cross-country skiing around Cardrona, (3) there are some cross country trails available, (5) the area features many spectacular and well maintained cross-country trails.

Luge/Toboggan: 1.7

(1) No designated luge or toboggan runs, (3) there are toboggan runs that open quite often, (5) Cardrona has long and well maintained luge / toboggan facilities suitable for all ages.

Mountain Dining: 3.9

(1) Nowhere to buy food by the pistes, (3) some places to eat up on the mountain but they are often busy and expensive, (5) there is a variety of excellent mountain eateries right next to the slopes to suit all budgets.

Eating: 3.7

(1) Bring your own food, there isn't even a shop. (5) A wide variety of places to eat and drink in the resort, from fast food to fancy restaurants.

Apres-Ski: 3.1

(1) Nothing to do, not even a bar, (3) there are a few bars in the resort but nothing special, (5) clubs and bars stay open until very late and have a friendly atmosphere.

Other Sports: 1.9

(1) No sports facilities at all apart from ski lifts, (3) resort has just a small public swimming pool, (5) resort has all kinds of sports facilities, including a full-size swimming pool.

Entertainment: 2.5

(1) Besides the snow and walking there is nothing to do here, (3) the non-skier will find things to do for few days but may become bored after a week, (5) the resort area is a fascinating place to visit, regardless of winter sports.

Winter Walks: 2.2

(1) Very limited walking and no snowshoe trails, (3) a couple of designated scenic walking/snowshoe trails, (5) extensive and diverse winter walking trails for all abilities.

Ski Pass Value: 3.6

(1) A 1 week ski pass is overpriced compared to the number of lifts available, (3) the ski pass is averagely priced and covers a reasonable number of lifts, (5) ski passes are excellent value for money and cover a lot of lifts spanning a big area.

Value (National): 3.9

(1) Overall, Cardrona is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the country and not worth the money, (3) overall represents average value for money, (5) overall offers the best value resort in the country.

Value (Global): 3.6

(1) Overall, Cardrona is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world, (3) overall it offers pretty average value for money compared to resorts from other countries, (5) internationally the resort offers excellent value for money.

Show all 35 ratings

January 19, 2004
Alistair Todd from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Cardrona is an awesome resort. The staff are incredibly friendly and helpful. Forget the Remarkables and Coronet Peak. Cardrona has without doubt some of the best boarding in NZ.
October 05, 2004
Doug Denmead from Ski Australia Australia
I had a great time blasting around the resort. Then snow was excellent for this time of the year. {sept} Spent a lot of time in Captain's bowl inventing different ways to get down. I am sure I have improved my technique over these hols. as each day i seem to be going faster and more confidently. Had a great day following my daughter around and down the Arcadia chutes. I didn't do this too well, but have been practicing lots of short turns and getting a kick out of the tails of my crossmaxes, trying to ski around the pole plant with a more exaggerated up and down movement. It works for me. I am sure i am addicted to all this white stuff! I love the run down to the bottom of the Whitestar chair closest to the lodge. This is nice and long and straight and is good for getting you going with some rhythm {however you spell that} What is great is the huge area available off piste with no trees. Care must be taken though, with no marking of the cliff off piste to the north of the Whitestar. {maybe i could have skied off there when going down casually one day} As Arnie said: 'I'll be back' {Hopefully in 2005}
April 15, 2005
Marty Cart from Ski Australia Australia
Great snow, the best around the area. If you want a great lesson, and I have had lesson all around the world. Get one with Chissy Bradshaw. The best lesson I have ever had, made skiing so much more fun
November 11, 2008
anthony from Ski France France
Ok everyone, Cardrona: it's not the biggest ski resort in New Zealand with massive snowfalls but it's a very nice little ski resort and I've had good time skiing there. Some people expect to get super freeride with lots of powder no, stop, if you want that get heliski on Mount Cook or go to Japan. For me Cardrona has been excellent!
August 26, 2010
Ilona from Ski Australia Australia
Cardrona has always been our favorite ever since our girls were teenagers. We all learned how to ski there. We have also skied overseas in Italy, Dolomites and and it was absolutely spectacular skiing there with the magnificent scenery. Each ski resort or ski field has its own magic and with Cardrona we have always found that the staff, the terrain ,the road the radio blurb is always spot on. Our family is a big fan of Cardrona as all the staff are 100% with looking after this spectacular mountain resort and there is constant improvement to it. Sometimes you have to take in what there is around you and just get on with it you might be surprised with what happens at the end of the day. Well done Cardrona.
September 28, 2018
Jonny from Ski New Zealand New Zealand
Cardrona has had a lot of money invested in it over the last 3 seasons. This includes a complete revamp and new chair/gondola for the beginner slope. This summer they are putting in a new chair at the bottom of ‘Captains’ which will take the total number of chairs to 6 on the mountain. Cardrona have also secured the rights to the Soho Basin which will open in 2020. This will take the total skiable area to 900ha making it the largest ski field in New Zealand. Cardrona also has the best snow park in NZ and has two half pipes. All new snow making equipment and science means that there is always a good amount of snow on the mountain. Like all resorts across the world in can get busy in the NZ/OZ school holidays. But with the new chair and areas opening this will help disperse the crowds. Otherwise, Cardrona wait times are normally pretty good. Early season and spring are also good snow-sure options. There are lots of places to eat and drink on the mountain. Prices are not hugely inflated and there is a good variety of food and drink to suit any budget. Cardrona has an excellent selection of rental gear and update it every season. This means if you are renting up the hill you are getting modern, often new gear. not old worn out 6 season old stuff. There is also an option to hire ‘advanced’ skis and snowboards. The staff here are excellent. The ‘Parks’ crew work tirelessly to keep all the jumps and rails in pristine condition. The lifties are always happy and cheerful and ski patrol know their business. You will be safe up the mountain at all times. Most people wear helmets up Cardrona (80%) and there is a higher percentage of skiers over snowboarders. There is always a good friendly vibe on the mountain and the runs are well thought out. And the best part is there are 3 other mountains all within an hour's drive.
May 20, 2008
James Stafford from Ski Australia Australia
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Cardrona and found it to be the most suited NZ resort to my ex-skateboarding style of snowboarding (in 07). Their man-made features seem to mesh well with the natural flow of the mountain and I found myself frequently carving new lines down the few major runs. I had enormous amounts of fun with the simplest of banks, allowing me to nail my first 180s and 360s in natural terrain. I have to compliment the staff for having not only found my passport, but getting it back to me with the $100 or so dollars still inside!!! That experience alone was amazing enough to write home about. I also found their mushroom soup to be one of the tastiest meals I had in the whole trip to NZ, and that's saying something. Having been to Perisher in Australia, and the Remarkables and Coronet Peak in NZ, I would highly recommend Cardrona as Queenstown's first resort of call.
August 29, 2009
Bronnie from Ski New Zealand New Zealand
Cardrona is a great resort, especially when you head over towards the Captains Basin. There you can find a great playground for all levels. We ride Snowscoots and Cardrona is awesome for all users with plenty of space to get away from the crowds. As a local, I rate Cardrona as a great resort for all levels. Go the Snowscoot.
August 20, 2013
Phil from Ski Australia Australia
Just returned from Cardrona and the other southern resorts. Cardrona has nailed a niche for terrain parks, well done. I really enjoy skiing at Cardrona with my family but it was super noticable this year that the crowds have grown over the years to a point that it's worse than OZ and other facilities haven't kept up. Same at the other resorts. Not even a seat outside to sit and have lunch beyond the same ones that were there 10-15 years ago. Someone in New Zealand has to step up and lift the experience to world class otherwise the world will go elsewhere as we did the past two years to Chile; it's totally affordable and better value for money.
September 01, 2014
Graham from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Visited in late August 2014 along with Coronet Peak and Treble Cone. As indicated in previous reviews, NZ ski fields are much smaller than many of those in Europe. They are not resorts, they are more akin to the drive-to-and-ski fields such as Sunshine Village and Lake Louise in Canada (albeit smaller). Cardrona is a really pleasant field. It's not huge and a good skier will have skied it all in a day (or less). However, the runs are nice (mostly Euro blue-red standard) and the scenery is stunning. Lifts are generally modern and speedy; slightly annoying that NZ lifts don't to have foot rests, and McDougalls lift is very slow and uncomfortable. Main restaurant if v busy at lunch-time (not sure on prices, we bought our own food, as did many others). Drive up, on gravel, was ok; was chain free for us (but very dusty). Have chains with you. Easiest to get to from Wanaka. Not many enticing multi-day deals to be had (you save $3-5 on subsequent days), with the adult price being ~$98 per day. Compared to area passes, in some Euro resorts, this strikes me as a bit expensive given the size of the fields. Multi-day passes bought for Cardrona can also be used at Treble Cone (but not Coronet Peak or Remarkables; different operating companies). Staff are really pleasant and its good to see lifties marshalling the list queues to ensure that lifts are full and there is no pushing-in (Europe could learn from this). Liked Cardrona, but I think Coronet Peak offers that bit more.