Waiorau Nordic Ski Area is the first all-mountain dedicated terrain park in New Zealand. It offers 34 miles of well-maintained, high quality cross-country ski trails within a 3,500 acre high country ski farm. Waiorau Snow Farm lies across the valley from Cardrona Ski Resort on Otago’s Pisa Range in the Southern Alps, in the south of New Zealand’s South Island. The closest towns are Wanaka and Queenstown.
The high country ski farm provides facilities for classic skiing, ski skating, cross-country wilderness skiing and snowboarding. There are no ski lifts or pistes in Waiorau Snow Farm ski resort and the well maintained trails are fenced to keep the snow on the tracks. The trails vary in difficulty, from beginner to very difficult. Classic skiers follow two narrow grooves cut into the snow slope by a grooming machine. There is plenty of untracked snow along the ridges and valleys of the Pisa Range.
The trails begin on ‘Main Street’, with some, such as ‘Mary’s Trail’, going into a circular run. Others, such as ‘River Run’, are all day trails on which one can ski for a whole day in the wilderness, away from the resort. The longest trail loops are about 15 miles and there is even a sprint track. There are rest huts dotted around the skiing terrain and cross country skiers with their goodies packed in a rucksack can go on for as long as they wish. Waiorau Nordic Ski Area also has a well-equipped board park with a rope tow that includes half-pipes, tabletops and spines to thrill snowboarders.
The Alpine Lodge, which is located near the start/finish of all trails offers spectacular, panoramic views of the Southern Alps and can accommodate up to 70 guests in a variety of rooms. Relax in the evening at their restaurant and the Snow Bar. Wanaka, 22 miles to the north of Waiorau, offers plenty of accommodation and a pretty active night life. Every year Waiorau hosts the ‘Merino Muster’ which is the largest international cross-country ski race in New Zealand.