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7 reasons to stop in Cardrona this summer

There's so much to do in Cardrona this summer, so make a stop on your way over the Crown Range and try one of our favourite Valley activities!

Sitting pretty between Queenstown and Wanaka, the Cardrona Valley is full of hidden (and not so hidden) gems; there's a tonne to do here that will easily fill a day or three! We put together some of our top activities to do both on the mountain and down in the Valley this summer – keep reading to see if your favourites made the list!

1. Feeling adventurous? Go mountain carting! called it "the coolest thing to do in New Zealand"... we might be a bit biased, but we totally agree! Cardrona is the only place in the country where you can go mountain carting, and it's a whooole lot of fun – whether you're racing your mates, or cruising the trails and admiring the views.

2. Have a drink at the iconic Cardrona Hotel

It's been around since the Central Otago Gold Rush, and you can still get a bloody good drop from the Cardrona Hotel. Founded in 1863, the Cardrona Hotel is home to a lot of interesting history. You can sit outside in the gorgeous garden area and enjoy the sunshine, some great food, and some of the region's best brews, spirits and wines. The Cardrona Hotel sits conveniently at the bottom of the Cardrona Peak to Pub mountain bike trail – the perfect spot to refresh after 1100m of bike descent! 

3. Take in the sights from the Cardrona summit

If you want to get a perfect Instagram shot with the Southern Alps as your backdrop, head up Cardrona's gondola (at the top of the Cardrona mountain road) and take a short walk to the summit – the view will take your breath away! Keep walking on the Captain's Loop for more incredible views, or take a downhill stroll through the alpine daisies back to the Cardrona Base area on the Skyline trail. If you use our uphill walking trails, you can even bring your dog with you!

4. Try a tipple at the Cardrona Distillery

They're right across the road from us, and they're doing some pretty exciting things. If you're a spirits lover, you've got to take a tour and tasting at the Cardrona Distillery this summer! The team will take you through the Distillery's processes, and you'll finish the tour with a tasting of some of their unique artisan spirits – our favourites up here are The Source Gin and the Rose Rabbit Orange Liqueur...

5. Learn the basics of downhill mountain biking

New to mountain biking? We've got you covered! The Cardrona Bike School can get you rolling comfortably with our Bike First Timer Package – it includes a lift pass, full-suspension bike rental, safety gear and a lesson with our amazing bike instructors

6. Take a photo at the Cardrona Bra Fence

You can't really say you've "done" Cardrona without a visit to the Cardrona Bra Fence. It's next door to the Cardrona Distillery, and it provides a bit of a giggle while raising funds for the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation. Leave a bra, a donation, or both, and make sure you get a photo!

7. Explore the Valley on a horse or quad bike

If you'd rather explore the valley on a less-traditional mode of transportation, embrace your inner Hobbit and go horse riding with The Cardrona or Backcountry Saddles. The Cardrona also offer quad biking tours if you prefer your travel a little more grunt and a little less gallop!

We can't wait to see you in the Valley and on the mountain for another amazing summer here. Let us know in the comments if you've done any of the activities we've suggested, if there's anything you reckon we've missed, and what your favourite Cardrona summer activity is! 

About the Author

Jen Houltham


Jen is Cardrona's resident word nerd. She's out & about on the mountain most days; a big fan of carving groomed runs, powder hunting & laps through Lil' Bucks!