Cardrona Adventure Park is a petrol heads paradise run by Ian Soanes, a world renowned stuntman originally from South Africa, and no small petrol head himself.
Anyone can drive one of the several very large monster trucks or quad bikes around an obstacle course purpose built on a farming property.
Even my 12 year old got a chance to drive the "Schoolbully" monster truckj even though she has never driven anything before in her life.
The guys that run the show take good care to prevent accidents and are always on hand to 'steer' you out of trouble.
It can be a very expensive day out but the kids loved the feel and smell of raw horsepower at thgeir control.
No one would know that you were actually in New Zealand if you showed them any of the pictures that you've taken in the town of Cadrona.
Even the petrol pump, sited at the left of the Cadrona Hotel, looks like it has been there since the 1940s.
Driving into Cadrona, Jac and I were sucked into what seemed like a town where time stood still. I was half expecting to see men in cowboy hats trodding down the street. We did not see a single soul on the streets and the house that we came across seemed deserted.
The road to Cardrona is over a scenic mountain pass over the Crown Range Summit, which at 1,076m above sea level, is the highest sealed road in New Zealand.
Not recommended if you are prone to car sickness so take whatever precautions work for you.
It's a "Local Custom" but maybe it's mostly visitors to Cardrona who build this fence. It just evolved probably with someone finding a bra and hanging it on the fence. Now there are hundreds and it just keeps getting bigger. Situated near the Cardrona Skifield entrance, and in front of the airfield, it's pretty easy to spot as you drive along the Cardrona Road.
Obviously this has become an "attraction" especially for people (such as myself!) stopping and taking photos. Now (Nov 2005) beaurocracy in it's infinite wisdom, has decided to declare this fence is a "sign" and must come under the laws for signs. That means it must comply with strength and construction restrictions as for signs. So we will see how this develops........
Cardrona Ski Field
A wide, high mountain with loads of room and fabulous snow.
Higher, drier, naturally better. With a base elevation of 1670m above sea level Cardrona is higher, colder and renown for getting the best snow and keeping it that way.
Base elevation.. 1670m
Vertical drop.. 390m
Annual SNOWFALL ....2.6 metres
The township of Cardrona began in 1865, when hundreds of settlers came to the Cardrona Valley, eager to stake their claim. As word got around, the settlement quickly developed and a commercial centre was soon formed. Within three years there were four hotels, three European stores, four Chinese stores, four butcheries, one blacksmith and a baker.
As the years passed, Cardrona expanded and by 1871 the population was such that it had become the centre of the butchery trade in Central Otago. Cardrona remained an important commercial centre through the 1870s and 1880s, although it fluctuated with the changing fortunes of the mining industry.
The Cardrona Hotel, Annexe and adjoining General Store are now the only remaining buildings from the early gold rush days.
The Hotel has had several owners but by far the longest serving and most memorable for people today would be James Paterson. James Paterson came to Cardrona from Oamaru about 1890 and worked a gold claim for 40 years. In 1926 he took over the Hotel.
Many people today remember Jim Paterson standing behind his bar (which still remains), wearing his spectacles and braces, serving warm beer from a bottle that had a cork in it. He was also remembered for the fact that he didn’t serve women (this woudl not go down well with the women of today ehehe!)and that he would ration his customers. Patrons who were about to drive the Crown Range Road were only allowed one glass, but those who were heading for Wanaka were allowed two.
He made a sign outside the Hotel which read “If you have a shilling stop, if not step on it”. Travellers loved the sign and the funny old man behind the bar. He would reminisce with them about the Gin and Raspberry claim opposite the Hotel, and the many characters of the Cardrona Valley.
Fondest memory: Checking out where the Hobbits had been