New owners for ‘Southern Man’ pub

The Cardrona Hotel

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The Cardrona Hotel near Wanaka has sold after a long marketing campaign by Colliers.

Christchurch-based owner-operators have acquired the land, buildings and business for an undisclosed price, representing a 10% net return on the busness and property.

The deal was brokered by Mark Simpson of Colliers in Queenstown and Christchurch-based colleague Phil Cooper.

The new owners, Cade Thornton and business partner James Jenneson, have been involved in interior design management.

They placed high value on the pub’s history and a chance for a lifestyle change.

They plan to enhance the business and make improvements to the land and buildings while promoting the historic character of the area.

The historic hotel on Cardrona Valley Rd is one of the few buildings remaining from the original Cardrona settlement, which was founded amid the Central Otago gold rush of the 1860s.

It has been altered since it was built in 1863 but the main building and its famous façade, registered with the Historic Places Trust, are still largely original.

In 2002 the building was refurbished and extended to provide a new reception area, bar, lounge, dining room, commercial kitchen, cool store, office and wine cellar. The original bunkhouse was also modernised and converted to accommodation.

A new two-storey building to the rear of the property, also designed in period style, was added to provide a total of 16 guest rooms.

Originally called the Empire Hotel, the hotel was part of a busy gold mining community, standing among three other hotels, four butchers, a post office, baker, blacksmith, bank, school, police headquarters and a jail. At its peak in the 1870s Cardrona’s resident population reached 1000, predominantly Chinese miners.

The hotel has often featured in Speights beer advertising campaigns featuring the “Southern Man”.


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Great pub, just needs a great menu!

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