We just had to build a snowman
Cardona ski field is particularly good for beginners - choosing which mountain and ski field was a bit of a mine field, but I was greatly assisted in my research by Powder Hounds www.powderhounds.com - a comprehensive site that reviews and ranks mountains and skiing all around the world. So for me, a third time skier, and my children (5 and 7) who are absolute beginners, Cardrona came out on top (luckily there were a few treacherous black runs to keep my husband happy too).
The beginner slopes
We all had lessons every day, which were invaluable, and perfect for learning technique and gaining confidence. Watching the little kids learn to ski, coming down the mountain in their little "ski-train" going choo-choo all the way brought tears to my eyes! The ski instructors were fantastic - calm, kind and experienced - just what you need.
There are only three cafes on the mountain (that I found) and Noodle Bar was the best - fresh, tasty and satisfying.
Now to the accommodation - we found an absolute gem of a luxury Bed and Breakfast called Waiorau Homestead on Trip Advisor - after reading a mixture of good and bad reviews on just about every hotel/guesthouse in the area (think bedbugs, zero cleaning and rooms with no windows...) we found his place that has no negative reviews. Well earned too - the hosts bent over backwards to make our stay happy and comfortable - even lighting an outdoor fire on one of the nights so the kids could toast marshmallows.
The house and rooms are stylish, luxurious (feather duvets and heated bathroom floors), and most importantly, warm! A roaring fire goes day and night, and meals are accompanied by music, candles, and the most wonderful food thanks to one of the hosts being a chef.
The family room at Waiorau Homestead
Nearby, the Cardrona Hotel is the perfect place to unwind after a day on the mountains - fires are lit indoors and out, there's a quaint, historic, rustic feel, and pretty good steak too.
The scenery around Cardrona is breathtaking, and Wanaka is a pretty good place for a day trip if you need a break from skiing - I recommend the gorgeous cinema Ruby's, and Puzzling World for laughs.
It was the perfect little break from life in Sydney and Yellow Front Door - the only downside being the price - skiing will definitely be a once a year treat!