Explore Wanaka and Cardrona Alpine Resort
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Explore Wanaka and Cardrona Alpine Resort

This winter head for the locals favourite – the alpine village of Wanaka.  Base yourself in a centrally located apartment and from here you’ve got the best skiing at Cardrona. On your days off the mountain, head out for a hike around the lake, or maybe take a trip to one of the local breweries for a cheeky pint!

Tour summary and feature

South Island Ski including Car Hire

This suggested tour costs from NZD$2,130 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Queenstown, finishes in Queenstown

6 days/5 nights

Motels

 Rental car included

 Viewed 89 times in the last 7 days

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Tour at a glance

Day 1: Arrive into Queenstown, collect your car and enjoy the scenic drive to Wanaka. Accommodation: The Moorings Wanaka

Day 2: First Day skiing at Cardrona. Accommodation: The Moorings Wanaka

Day 3: Try a new part of the field you haven't been to before. Accommodation: The Moorings Wanaka

Day 4: Give your legs a rest and explore what Wanaka has to offer or go heliskiing. Accommodation: The Moorings Wanaka

Day 5: Your last day of skiing, head to Captians Basin for lunch and a beverage on the deck. Accommodation: The Moorings Wanaka

Day 6: Return to Queenstown and depart for home.

Tour full itinerary
Itinerary
Explore Wanaka and Cardrona Alpine Resort - Day 1
Collect your Ski New Zealand rental car

Ski New Zealand have a superb range of cars from all the top companies and with a range of insurance options and inclusions like ski racks, and snow chains that will suit you perfectly.

Take the short drive from Queenstown to Wanaka

Head out of Queenstown and over New Zealand's highest sealed road, Crown Range Road before dropping into Wanaka. Take it easy as this road can be a little 'interesting' in winter. There are plenty of signs advising the road conditions and there is a slightly longer but lower altitude route via Cromwell. If you do take the Crown Range route then you should time your trip to stop at the Cardrona Hotel for 'sustenance'. This 'world famous in New Zealand' landmark will have some great food and a welcoming log fire.

Arrive into Wanaka and collect your lift pass

Welcome to Wanaka for your winter ski or snowboarding holiday.  It’s not just the skiing that makes Wanaka a fantastic winter destination, there’s also the spectacular scenery, amazing adventures, and endless activities to keep you entertained when you’re not on the slopes.  After each action-packed day, you’ll also find a superb variety of cafes and restaurants to relax and refuel at. Today we recommend you visit the Cardrona x Treble Cone Wanaka Office (located at 50 Cardrona Valley Road, Wanaka) and collect your lift pass.  This will save you heaps of time tomorrow as you’ll avoid the morning queues and can head straight to the mountain with more time to ski and ride. 

Your accommodation: The Moorings Wanaka

The Moorings motel and luxury apartments are an easy 5 minute walk along the Lake Wanaka waterfront to Wanaka’s dining and shopping area. Choose from the Studios which overlook the lake and mountains or for families and friends the spacious apartments are the way to go.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 60 kms / 37 miles : 0.9 hours

Explore Wanaka and Cardrona Alpine Resort - Day 2
Cardrona & Treble Cone - 3 of 7 Day Dual Mountain Lift Pass and Rental Package

Cardrona is New Zealand's fun and family-friendly ski resort with the most reliable snow conditions in the region. Its high elevation and southerly aspect mean dry natural snow is plentiful, which is further enhanced by snowmaking facilities. Cardrona is the perfect place for beginners and intermediates, with NZ's only combined gondola chairlift, easy-to-use surface lifts, specialised beginner packages and plenty of wide open trails spread over three basins. If you're up for a challenge, you'll find it in Arcadia, with secret powder stashes, chutes and cliff drops. Cardrona is home to the NZ Park & Pipe Team & offers the most extensive terrain park facilities in the Southern Hemisphere with four terrain parks, two half pipes and a gravity-cross course. Boasting eight distinctly different cafes, fully licensed kids' centres, on-mountain accommodation, retail; ski & snowboard lessons; and a fully equipped rental department, Cardrona is pure gold.
This pass also allows access to Treble Cone Ski Field, the largest ski area in NZ’s South Island It is famous for its long, uncrowded groomed runs, legendary off-piste terrain and unrivalled views over Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps. Located just a 35-minute scenic drive from Wanaka and a 90 minute drive from Queenstown via the Crown Range road.
Treble Cone is a must-do experience for skiers and snowboarders with a massive 700m of vertical, which also allows for some of New Zealand’s longest groomed trails and best free-riding terrain.
Your rentals and lift pass may be collected from Cardrona or Treble Cone Ski Field, and allows you to change from skiing to snowboarding during the day if you feel like trying something new.

Reduce the pace on one of Wanaka's self-guided short walks

If you have had enough of those tight boots or just want to explore more of the local area, these short walks come highly recommended by the whole Ski New Zealand team:
Waterfall Creek Track

A must when you visit Wanaka, the track starts from the west end of Roys Bay and soon reaches Wānaka Station Park, a beautiful picnic area, on the left. The track then winds along the lake's western shores for superb views and a great photo opportunity at the famous “Wānaka Tree”. The trail then passes Edgewater and Rippon Vineyard – where a cellar door and wine tastings are available – and on to Waterfall Creek with views of Ruby Island.
Distance: 2.5km Completion Time: 1 hour
Outlet Track
This is a local favourite as it is an easy walk suitable for all ages and abilities. It begins from Wanaka town centre and takes you around picturesque Lake Wanaka to the outlet to the Clutha River and on to Albert Town. This track can also be explored by bike.
Distance: 3 km one way. Completion Time: 1 hour one way.
Mount Iron Track
This very popular, close-to-Wanaka-town loop walk suits all ages and abilities and offers great views of Lake Hawea from the summit.
Distance: 4.5 km. Completion Time: 1.5 hours.
Diamond Lake and Rocky Mountain Tracks
These two excellent walks in the Diamond Lake Conservation Area give wonderful views of the surrounding alps and Lake Wanaka.
Distance: 2km - 7 km depending on the trail. Completion Time: 45 minutes - 3 hours depending on the trail.

Your accommodation: The Moorings Wanaka

The Moorings motel and luxury apartments are an easy 5 minute walk along the Lake Wanaka waterfront to Wanaka’s dining and shopping area. Choose from the Studios which overlook the lake and mountains or for families and friends the spacious apartments are the way to go.
Meals included: Breakfast
Explore Wanaka and Cardrona Alpine Resort - Day 3
2nd Day Cardrona Alpine Resort

Set over 465 hectares with 25% beginner, 25% intermediate, 30% advanced, and 20% expert terrain, there is definitely something to suit all abilities. With 5 lifts spread over 4 basins, there is plenty to explore. Cardrona also offers parks and pipes of different levels for those that enjoy jumps and freestyle fun.

Cinema Paradiso - Suggested Activity

Feel like a relaxing night, take yourself to the movies, Cinema Paradiso is not your average cinema. A classic movie theatre with comfy old sofas, an old Morris Minor car, and a cafe & bar serving delicious meals before, during, or after the movie. A great option for days when the weather is not so great up the ski field, especially for families! Paradiso provides a novel experience - they even have a half-time intermission where you can get homemade ice cream, a hot chocolate, or a freshly baked cookie! Tickets can be purchased at your own expense at the cinema prior to the session or up to a few days before the movie you wish to see. The seating is unallocated, so if you arrive early you get the pick of the couches, chairs, and cinema seating.

Your accommodation: The Moorings Wanaka

The Moorings motel and luxury apartments are an easy 5 minute walk along the Lake Wanaka waterfront to Wanaka’s dining and shopping area. Choose from the Studios which overlook the lake and mountains or for families and friends the spacious apartments are the way to go.
Meals included: Breakfast
Explore Wanaka and Cardrona Alpine Resort - Day 4
Explore the winter wonderland of Wanaka

Explore what else Wanaka has to offer, including a range of cafes, bars, and restaurants to enjoy, miles of scenic walking and biking tracks, vineyards and distilleries to visit, and if you are looking for something indoors experience Puzzling World, Transport and Toy Museum or the Base Indoor Climbing Wall. If you still want to be skiing and your legs can handle it then book heli-skiing as it's one of the most breathtaking places to do it in the world.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Stuart Landsborough's Puzzling world

Stuart Landsborough’s remarkable Puzzling World is home to the original Great Maze as well as numerous illusion rooms which will leave you scratc...

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Stuart Landsborough’s remarkable Puzzling World is home to the original Great Maze as well as numerous illusion rooms which will leave you scratching your head in wonder.  This is a great destination for those days when the weather doesn’t play ball or you need to rest the legs and still keep the kids entertained.  Great for all ages this is a must for your winter holiday in Wanaka.

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SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Central Otago Afternoon Wine Tour

Winter in Central Otago is a magical time, with crisp days and frosty mornings.  A great way to unwind from your previous days adventures on the s...

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Winter in Central Otago is a magical time, with crisp days and frosty mornings.  A great way to unwind from your previous days adventures on the slopes is to join an afternoon wine tour of the boutique vineyards and wineries that the region is famous for.  Travelling in a small group you’ll explore the countryside surrounding Wanaka as you visit 4 specially chosen vineyards.  You’ll taste the delicious Pinot Noir the region is best known for as well as excellent examples of Pinot Gris, Riesling and Chardonnay.  Enjoy a gourmet canapé matched tasting at one of the vineyards and throughout the tour take in the magical Central scenery.

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SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Ruby Island Cruise & Photo Walk

Leaving from the Wanaka lakefront, take a gentle cruise to the jewel of Wanaka, Ruby Island. Experience magnificent alpine scenery complimented by the...

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Leaving from the Wanaka lakefront, take a gentle cruise to the jewel of Wanaka, Ruby Island. Experience magnificent alpine scenery complimented by the crystal clear waters of Lake Wanaka. Your skipper will pull into a secluded beach and put guests ashore via her hydraulic bow ramp. The walk around the island is self-guided and suitable for all ages. Discover the intriguing history dating back to the days of prohibition along with great photo opportunities.

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SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Harris Mountains Heli-Ski - Intro 3 Run Day

The mountains surrounding the world-renowned resort towns of Queenstown and Wanaka feature thrilling backcountry terrain and dramatic scenery. Enjoy a...

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The mountains surrounding the world-renowned resort towns of Queenstown and Wanaka feature thrilling backcountry terrain and dramatic scenery. Enjoy an unforgettable day with 3 runs of heli-ski or heli-board bliss. Runs vary between 1500 to 2500 vertical feet of treeless skiing in sheltered basins, bowls and wide rolling mountain flanks This 3 run experience is a day focused on taking your time to enjoy the alpine playground.

It is important you read and understand the risks associated with this activity. For more information click here.

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Your accommodation: The Moorings Wanaka

The Moorings motel and luxury apartments are an easy 5 minute walk along the Lake Wanaka waterfront to Wanaka’s dining and shopping area. Choose from the Studios which overlook the lake and mountains or for families and friends the spacious apartments are the way to go.
Meals included: Breakfast
Explore Wanaka and Cardrona Alpine Resort - Day 5
Your 3rd day at Cardrona Alpine Resort

Started in the 1970s Cardrona ski field is the dream child of the Lees, a local farming family. In 1978, they installed the first tow rope on the mountain and added an access road with a suitable gradient for even a bus to travel along. The field went from strength to strength with the introduction of the fields first snow groomer in 1981 and double chair lift in 1983. By the end of the 80s snowboarders had also caught on that there was fun to be had and the county's first international halfpipe was built above the learners' area. Since then Cardrona ski field has gone from strength to strength and is opening up more terrain all the time.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Cardrona Distillery Classic Tour

The tour includes a journey through the working distillery and barrelhouse and finishes with a tutored tasting of Cardrona Distillery's artisan spirit...

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The tour includes a journey through the working distillery and barrelhouse and finishes with a tutored tasting of Cardrona Distillery's artisan spirits.

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Cardrona Hotel Dinner - Suggested Activity

If you feel like spoiling yourself and learning about the area's history we recommend taking yourself out for lunch or dinner at The Cardrona Hotel, one of New Zealand's oldest and most iconic hotels which sits between Queenstown and Wanaka on the stunning Crown Range Road. Nestled in a beautiful mountain valley, the town of Cardrona boasts a rich and vibrant history: settled in the 1860s as hundreds of hopeful prospectors flooded into the valley chasing gold, the Cardrona Hotel was one of four hotels quickly established to offer accommodation, food, livery services and a coaching-stop for miners and travellers. With the short-lived gold mining boom beginning to wind down in the late 1800s, the area quietened down, with the Cardrona Hotel eventually becoming the sole remaining hotel in the valley. In more recent times the township of Cardrona has seen a resurgence in visitors, people clamouring to get a taste of old the old town feel, stopping in for a pint or delicious meal and a few fantastic photo opportunities in the quaint village that harkens back to a time of hope, gold and good fortune.

Your accommodation: The Moorings Wanaka

The Moorings motel and luxury apartments are an easy 5 minute walk along the Lake Wanaka waterfront to Wanaka’s dining and shopping area. Choose from the Studios which overlook the lake and mountains or for families and friends the spacious apartments are the way to go.
Meals included: Breakfast
Explore Wanaka and Cardrona Alpine Resort - Day 6
Wanaka to Queenstown

Leaving Wanaka you head over New Zealand's highest sealed road, Crown Range Road before dropping into Queenstown.

Take one last spin around Queenstown before returning your car to the airport.

If time allows sneak in a few more Queenstown sights or maybe take an early morning ride on the Skyline gondola before returning your rental car to the airport and catching your flight home.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Jet Boating on the Shotover

Take the ride of your life this winter through the spectacular canyons of the upper Shotover River.  Your Shotover Jet Boat driver takes you caree...

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Take the ride of your life this winter through the spectacular canyons of the upper Shotover River.  Your Shotover Jet Boat driver takes you careering past rock faces, boulders and jutting crags with an ease that belies the power of the ‘Big Red’ jet boat.  Just when you think you can’t scream any more the boat suddenly stops with a 360 degree spin amidst a spray of water.  To keep warm during this winter adventure wear your ski jacket and gloves and keep your hands firmly on the heated hand rail.

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Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 65 kms / 41 miles : 1.1 hours

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