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Introducing: Carol's Food Truck!

This winter we’ll be relaxing in our newest food outlet, eating ice cream, and pies, and taking a leaf out of Carol's book.

Earlier this week, we revealed our latest food venture, Carol’s! Named after a beloved longstanding member of the whānau, and local legend, we brought her up the mountain to surprise her with the reveal. And this is what happened…

Here Comes Carol

Anyone who’s visited Cardrona in the last 20+ years has likely had an interaction with Carol. She started working for Cardrona in the café and has worked in almost every role imaginable ever since. Even now, Carol works at Après in Wānaka part-time.

With her iconic hair, impeccable fancy dress, enthusiasm, and fierce love for her people and place, Carol was the obvious choice of who to name our newest outlet after. Honouring her style and appetite for fun, we designed the food truck with her in mind.


But we couldn’t just tell her. We opted for a huge surprise, on-brand and Carol-style. Maggie, her granddaughter, and Cardrona’s Business Development Executive brought her up the mountain under the pretense they were visiting to catch up with friends. Little did she know there would be a whole team of them waiting to show her what she means to the community.

Walking through the Cardrona archway, Carol realized there was something happening, realized she was being honoured.

A Quick Chat with Carol

We caught up with Carol after it started to sink in.

Cardrona: So, big day! When you saw the food truck, what did you think?

Carol: It’s better than winning lotto. No money could buy what’s happened.

Cardrona: What did you think you were coming up here for?

Carol: I thought I was just heading to the top of the hill to show off my wings. I didn’t have a clue. Not a clue. I don’t know how to thank everybody.

Cardrona: I think it’s more that we didn’t know how to thank you! What was your response when you saw Carol’s? What did you feel?

Carol: I was flabbergasted. It took my breath away. I saw all my friends. And I never gave it a thought. I’m just so happy. All those years up here, and then to have this. Incredible when I saw it. The beautiful purples and lights, and then I saw that it’s me! It’s the loveliest gift I’ve ever had. I love this mountain.

"I’m the luckiest person in the world. I really am. No money could buy the beautiful times I’ve had here."

Cardrona: Did you ever think you would have an effect like this on your community?

Carol: No. But whenever I go away, there’s always someone coming up to me who knows me. When I visited the North Island, we got lost on a road in the middle of nowhere. When someone stopped, they knew who I was! In the middle of nowhere.  Even in Vegas. I heard someone yelling out “Carol! You flew out in a helicopter to Dunedin with my kid!”

Cardrona: What’s next for Carol?

Carol: I need nothing else. I’ve missed it so much up here. Covid stopped me from coming up, and I’ve missed it and missed it and missed it. It wasn’t safe. But now I’m back. And I’ve got an ice cream truck! I’m the luckiest person in the world. I really am. No money could buy the beautiful times I’ve had here.

We ended the conversation so Carol could speak to the radio about her experience. Carol, thank you for everything you've given to the mountains. You're an inspiration!

About the Author

Eleanor Stephens