Pros: Some awesome chutes, open faces, rustic charm of lodges
Cons: 0% beginner terrain, getting there
Craigieburn is the classic club field (run by club members on a non-profit basis). It has rope tows which to the uninitiated can be hard work but once mastered whisk you up the hill, plus you can get off pretty much when you like. The terrain is a good skiers dream, chutes, faces and steeps, but don't come here to ski trees, like 99% of skiing in New Zealand it is all above the tree line exposing it to the elements namely wind.
DO NOT come here if you are a beginner unless you want to just hang out in the bar. There is 0% beginner terrain if you don't count the car park and no rental equipment. Having said this, generations of kiwi ski families have learnt to ski here...somehow.
Glen Plake made Craigieburn famous back in day and there is a run called Plake's Mistake, worth a try if you don't mind going to hospital. Now it's popular with powder hounds trying to get away from the masses of the commercial fields.
It is hard to rate nightlife, there is one bar in the main lodge that can be super fun. And unless your family all ski well and are big enough to ride rope tows it won't be much fun. The terrain park 'is' the natural terrain, Craigieburn has no groomers!