Travel to Queenstown
Flying to Queenstown
There are no direct flights to Queenstown from the UK. Indirect flights to Queenstown are available via Auckland with Air New Zealand and via Sydney with Qantas. The peak season to fly to New Zealand is between December and February during the summer. The cheapest flights are often available between mid-April and mid-June.
From London - 28 hours (including stopover); New York - 25 hours (including stopover);Los Angeles - 16 hours 30 minutes (including stopover); Sydney - 3 hours.
Travel by road
If you want to drive around New Zealand, you’ll be in good company – self-drive holidays are popular thanks to the country’s largely uncrowded roads, scenic routes and short distances between different destinations. Road conditions are excellent but in winter and spring, some roads on the South Island may be closed due to snow and ice.
Traffic drives on the left. The legal driving age is 16 years, although there are restrictions placed on drivers under 18. Speed limits are 100kph (62mph) on open roads, 50kph (31mph) in urban areas and 20kph (12mph) in the vicinity of schools and stopped school buses.
You need an International Driving Permit or a current driver’s licence from your home country to drive in New Zealand.
The New Zealand Automobile Association (www.aa.co.nz) provides information on road conditions (tel: 0900 33 222, in New Zealand) and general information (tel: 0800 500 444, in New Zealand) and has a reciprocal agreement with the British AA, so visiting members can get free maps.
Emergency breakdown services
AA New Zealand (tel: 0800 500 222, in New Zealand).
The main road through Queenstown is Highway 6, which runs from Invercargill on the south coast, through Queenstown, then north via Cromwell, the Haast Pass and the West Coast, right up to Nelson and Blenheim. Highway 89 is a more rugged alternative route north to Wanaka; it may however be impassable for certain vehicles in winter.
Intercity Coach Lines (tel: +64 3 442 4922; www.intercity.co.nz) run competitively priced services to Invercargill, Dunedin, Christchurch, Milford Sound and the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers via Wanaka. Buses depart from the Athol Street bus terminal.
Atomic Shuttles (tel: +64 3 349 0697; www.atomictravel.co.nz) is another locally based provider.
Time to city
From Wanaka - 1 hour; Milford Sound - 5 hours; Franz Josef Glacier - 5 hours; Christchurch - 6 hours.