The tiny hamlet of Cardrona is on the Crown Range Rd between Queenstown and Wanaka, only a 20-minute drive from Wanaka.
Originally a gold rush town in the 1860s, Cardrona became a forgotten backwater with a run-down pub, revived by what is now Cardrona Alpine Resort, which opened in 1980. Things got even busier when the notorious Crown Range Road’s sealing was completed in 2001, making for easier access for those staying in Queenstown.
These days daytrippers drop in from both resorts to ski, snowboard, cross-country ski, ride horses and enjoy lunch or an ale at the buoyant Cardrona Hotel, now known country-wide after featuring on Speights Beer commercials.
There’s even a new whisky distillery and the most photographed fence in the country.