For a long time, the only obvious points of interest in the hamlet of Cardrona, which sits in the valley between Queenstown and Wānaka, were the famous hotel and access to the ski field of the same name.
The pub-hotel is one of the oldest in NZ, once marking a stopping point on a famously difficult stagecoach trail from Queenstown over the Crown Range to Wānaka. But there is now a bit more to Cardrona and every year there are a few more houses and holiday homes scattered along the valley.
From the car park opposite the hotel, you can walk down to the Cardona River for a better view of historic gold diggings – the craggy looking small peaks on the side of the river. Then wander over to the historic church and school, before heading back to the hotel for a step back in time and a meal or a drink.