A Cross-Country Skiing Destination
Waiorau Nordic ski area has New Zealand's first commercial XC trail system with the Snowfarm Lodge (Altitude about 1500m.) providing on-snow accommodation. The trails drop down from the lodge to the valley of the Meg River then follow the valley to the north and south.
Location: Otago Region, New Zealand
Getting There: The nearest airport at Queenstown (about 60km. to the south) is served by domestic flights from major NZ cities and directly from Australia on Saturdays in the ski season. The main road north from Queenstown crosses the Crown range then follows the Cardrona valley to Wanaka. The resort access road turns off to the East, half way along this road. There are buses from the airport and the lodge can arrange to meet guests at the turn-off.
Accommodation: Wanaka has the full range of hotels, motels, lodges and bed and breakfast places. Staying here means a 45 minute drive each day and may require fitting chains. Alternatively, one can arrange transport from the airport to the lodge and stay on the snow. There is a choice of bunkrooms downstairs or private rooms with ensuites upstairs. All meals are catered for and full board packages are available.
Trails: About 60km of wide, well-graded trails are groomed for skating and classic. Careful trail preparation and summer maintenance means that good skiing is possible with very little snow cover. There are signs and a trail map but being above the tree line means that it can take a little time to work out the trails, particularly as there are not usually many other skiers to ask.
Other Features: XC gear can be hired at the lodge and instruction is available from excellent North American and European instructors. All of New Zealand's major XC ski races are held here. Great views of the mountains to the west are to be had from the main lounge/dining area. The fine downhill resort of Cardrona is just across the valley on the west side of the main road.
Opinion: The combination of well laid out trails, top class grooming and good accommodation make this arguably the best XC ski resort in the southern hemisphere. It is good value for Australians, and even better for Americans.
Reviewed by: Stan McDonald
Contacts: Phone (64= New Zealand) 3443 7542
Email to Mary Lee at