To show our support for the Blog4NZ movement, we asked one of our Kiwi members to share a guest post about anything about New Zealand. Katherine Kearsley, a Christchurch local and member of our Travel Writers Network, agreed to share a post from her personal blog about a weekend ski trip to Wanaka – done in true Kiwi fashion…
Last winter, a friend and I decided to head down to Wanaka for the weekend to go skiing at Cardona, and stay in a camper van. I have never travelled in a camper van before so I was really excited to give it a go.
We picked up our Explore More camper on the Friday afternoon from their office on Moorhouse Ave and headed out for the great wild yonder in search of adventure! What an adventure filled weekend it was and totally awesome to boot.
Our “Queenie” camper van was fitted out with everything we needed, including the added extras of the linen, duvet, pillows and towels. It had a small fridge/freezer, pots/pans/plates/cutlery, plenty of storage space, a table/bed, and we even got the GPS unit.
My one bit of advice would be don’t leave it until too late in the evening to fill up the petrol or you might have to spend the night at an unplanned stopping point – ours was Omarama instead of Wanaka. Although, it did turn out to be a great evening with everyone at The Omaha Hotel/Pub.
The next day we got our petrol and headed off to Wanaka stopping at a few lovely places on the way to do a bit of retail therapy! The drive was great and the camper van was really easy to drive. On Sunday, we headed up to Cardona Ski Field. You can hire snow chains from Explore More and drive up there yourself or, if that is a bit too daunting for you, you can always leave the van in town like we did and catch the snow bus instead.
Once up there we got fitted for all our gear and met up with our American instructor, Biff. He was fantastic and by far the best instructor I have ever had. He was really patient with me (I haven’t been near a slope in two years since a bad snowboarding accident so I was a little more than nervous at the thought of skiing), but took to it like a duck to water.
I am pleasantly surprised to say that I had the most amazing time! There was fresh powder on the slopes and although the visibility wasn’t great (this was a bonus for me because not being able to see prevented me from freaking out). I had a fantastic time and am longing to get back on teh slopes again.
Cardona is amazing – by far the best ski field I have been to in NZ so far. Lovely wide, well-marked runs, great facilities, and delicious food well worth the wait. The staff were all incredibly helpful and really friendly.
All in all, it was a fantastic road trip weekend, and even though we got snowed in at Lake Tekapo on the way home (thanks to the lovely British guys who dug us out), it was worth the view in the morning. Needless to say, I can’t wait to do another camper van road trip soon!
Thanks Katherine for sharing one of the MANY thrilling parts of this breathtakingly beautiful country. Please learn more about Blog4NZ and check out other New Zealand blog posts here.