The Cardrona Hotel

The Cardrona Hotel – Buy 

Dating back to 1865, the Cardrona Hotel is an iconic pub/hotel situated in the Cardrona Valley, that dates back to the Otago gold rush days. It had numerous owners of the years, however none more famous than proprietor James “Jimmy’ Patterson. Having purchased the hotel in 1926, Jimmy Patterson owned the establishment for 35 years until his death at the age of 91 in 1961. His attitude towards serving alcohol to patrons was legendary in the area. He preferred not to sell alcohol to women, and the amount you could drink depended on the direction you were heading. For those heading into Wanaka, he would allow two drinks while those heading over the Crown Range were limited to a single glass.

The Cardrona Hotel

The Cardrona Hotel – Buy 

Leaving Queenstown I headed up the Crown Range, intending to pass through the Cardrona Valley, eventually aiming to end up in Wanaka. Having passed over the Crown Range, I drove along the Cardrona Valley Road, following the river before coming to the iconic Cardrona Hotel. Not being able to resist photographing the legendary Inn, I pulled into the carpark opposite the hotel, only to discover that a large group of cyclists had gathered directly in front of the building. 

The average age of the group must have been in the mid 70’s, and clearly this outing was serious business. They were doing all manner of stretching exercises that were intermixed with lots of pointing and nodding of heads. At one point they all gathered around a bike and looked fascinatingly at the back wheel. Clearly they had just discovered it was round!

They were also heavily dressed in lycra, which was not something the rest of the world wanted to see.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to lycra, it’s just that it shouldn’t be worn in public by certain members of the human race, and this group were most definitely not the right type of people. 

All of this fussing over bikes and lycra went on for a good deal of time before the peloton eventually moved off in the direction of the Crown Range Summit and I was left to photograph the old hotel in peace and quiet.