A privately owned, bookable hut, with excellent facilities.
Where is it?:
Snow Farm, Cardrona Valley. From either Wanaka or Queenstown, head for Cardrona village and then follow signs to Snow Farm. Close any gates behind you. There is a road toll but if you are paying for Snow Farm facilities this is included in the cost.
A very gentle, easy 3.5km walk, initially downhill amongst cross country ski trails, then into wee mini-valley, still following a ski trail, beside a bubbling brook for the last part. An ideal first tramp for little legs and really cruisey for older kids. We headed there with a bunch of school age kids, left late morning, lunch at the hut and then explored for the afternoon. Took about 1hr for this age group. Can also be biked, or cross country skied or snow shoed in winter.
A well-equipped 20 bunk hut. See photo below – some mattresses on floor of mezzanine which has a door (parent peace-of-mind). Cookers, gas, stoves, equipment, firewood, water, and solar lighting provided. Temperature was -5C outside when I checked in the morning but was still fine inside the hut. The hut is nestled in quite a sheltered spot with the stream running behind it – great for splashing in summer or skating on in winter when it freezes. Across the stream are some awesome rock outcrops to explore, or head further up the hills for views of the surrounding area.
Good to know:
The huts can be booked exclusively or per bunk. See website link below. The area is about 1500m above sea level (think ski field) so be prepared for proper cold and no protection from conditions getting to/from huts. Conversely, in summer – hot and dry with no shelter.
Visited by: Waitati Adventure Group, May 2021