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Celebrate in Cardrona

Written by Margo Berryman

The historic Cardrona Hotel has been serving up its distinctive hospitality since the 1860s when miners flocked there for a well-earned break from the goldfields.

Today locals and visitors continue the tradition and the hotel has become an exceptional destination for contemporary style cuisine in an idyllic garden setting, particularly in the warmer spring months.

 “Spring is the ultimate season for fresh produce and our menus move away from comforting casseroles and the slow braises we love in the winter to showcasing fresh, colour combinations in full-flavoured dishes,” says marketing manager Alexis Thornton.

“ This season we are looking forwarding to planting our garden to support the vegetables, herbs and garnishes that our kitchen team buy in locally. Dishes like our classic slow-roasted lamb shoulder remain on the menu served with artichoke, asparagus and courgettes alongside our delicious roast chicken with new season potatoes and snow peas. We like to support local producers and our venison, a firm favourite, is sourced locally through Alpine Meats in Wanaka while all our breads are from the other side of the Crown Range from European Bakery.”

Breakfast is available at the hotel until 11.00am daily while evening dining offers a sophisticated menu served in the charming dining room.

“ The atmosphere in the dining room is cosy and relaxed but with top-notch service,” says Alexis. “Meals are from 6.00pm and bookings are definitely recommended particularly for weekends and holiday periods. However, if the restaurant is full guests can always sit in the bar or outside and order off the all-day bar menu. We’ve recently added six glasshouses to the beer garden offering more sheltered outdoor dining options on cooler days.”

The snack and all-day bar menus are ideal for travellers or post activities such as mountain biking, horse riding or hiking.

“Our snacks are designed to share over a beer or a wine in the afternoon sun with dishes like nachos, fried chicken and our famous frickles (deep fried pickles) available. The all-day bar menu offers more substantial dishes such as slow braised beef brisket bao buns or broccoli bites with whipped tofu. All the traditional pub favourites are there with a slight twist including our signature parmesan and herb crumbed chicken served with creamed corn and a fennel slaw.”

From legendary cheese scones, breakfast on the go to take-out coffees the Cardrona Hotel meets everyone’s expectations.

“ Anything on our all-day menu can be ordered to take out and there is a wonderful range of Central Otago craft beers and wine available in the pub,” says Alexis. “We sell local beer produced by Ground Up Wanaka and products from our local Cardrona distillery.”

Celebration venue

The Cardrona Hotel’s historic ambience and rustic charm offers the perfect backdrop for a range of events, from milestone birthdays to corporate functions, family reunions and engagement parties. 

“ Whatever the occasion our superb front- of-house staff will create an event your guests are guaranteed to love,” says marketing manager Alexis Thornton.

“We cater for up to 180 guests for a cocktail-style function or as many as 85 guests seated in the restaurant. There are options for drinks and canapés in the garden or a sit down meal with a range of food and beverage packages to suit any event.” 

Cardrona Hotel venue hire provides exclusive use of the back restaurant area and in warmer months an area of garden can be sectioned off for an event.

“For outdoor functions we can offer half of our lawn and garden bar for a reduced rate. There are 16 charming ensuite hotel rooms so plenty of onsite accommodation for guests who want to stay the night or we can help organise transport from Wanaka or Queenstown. We recommend booking in advance to avoid missing out.”

About the author

Margo Berryman