Tourism giant seals ‘coolest acquisition’: Cardrona

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A Queenstown-based national tourism player Real Journeys has purchased Cardrona Alpine Resort from Australian based Vealls Ltd for an undisclosed sum.

Real Journeys, a family-owned South Island business that operates historic steamship the TSS Earnslaw and Walter Peak High Country Farm in Queenstown, will run the ski field as a separate entity from its other interests.

Those include world-renowned cruises in Milford and Doubtful Sounds, the Te Anau Glowworm Caves, day walks on the Milford Track and Stewart Island ferry and tour services. The company also has stakes in Black Cat Cruises, Queenstown Rafting and Milford Sound Flights.

Real Journeys chief executive Richard Lauder, announcing the purchase today as their “coolest acquisition”, says they are excited to be bringing Cardrona back into Kiwi hands and the Real Journeys family.

“Cardrona is a fantastic brand and is undoubtedly one of the best ski fields in New Zealand, it’s only fitting that it has a proud and local Kiwi owner.”

Real Journeys chairman Ian Fitzgerald says the purchase of Cardrona is about Real Journeys diversifying and growing its business.

“Cardrona is a quality operation underpinned by the value of its assets, the acquisition of which will be positive for both companies,” Fitzgerald says.

Cardrona will be run as a separate entity but Lauder says there will be good opportunities, particularly for seasonal staff, to shift between the organisations.

“There are some great synergies between Real Journeys and Cardrona from both a brand and operational point of view.

“For the first time in around 60 years Real Journeys is actually looking forward to winter.”

Real Journeys was named preferred bidder for Cardrona in May 2013, with due diligence and shareholder approval from both boards required in order to complete the sale.

To celebrate what they are in jest calling their “coolest acquisition” Real Journeys intend to give out ice blocks to staff and stakeholders.