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Do we need a car to get around queenstown?

new jersey
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Do we need a car to get around queenstown?

We are traveling to Queenstown in the begining of July. We have a couple of questions.

1) Do we need a car to see the local sights & activities?

2) What is the road to Te Anau like in winter? Should we take the bus instead? (Note: we have experience driving in winter)

3) Not sure how much we should plan ahead, because of winter weather, what do you think?

Thanks for your advise,

Beth

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1. Re: Do we need a car to get around queenstown?

I would recommend that you have a car. If you have to rely on the infrequent buses you are going to lose a lot of valuable holiday time.

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2. Re: Do we need a car to get around queenstown?

The bus service around Queenstown/ Arrowtown has improved considerably and it is possible do many activities without a car in the Queenstown area.

If the roads are icy the rental car is a liability. The road from Queenstown to Te Anau in winter will change on a daily basis so check the conditions before beginning your journey .

Many people do the coach day trip from Queenstown to Milford Sound (including cruise) and jump off the coach to stay in Te Anau on the return trip. This avoids having to pay the extra cost of travel from Queenstown to Te Anau. No need to book ahead as there is ample capcitity.

Road conditions in July can test even the most experienced winter drivers, so take care and I would suggest you avoid driving at night because the icy roads are more difficult to detect.

Edited: 23 May 2010, 06:47
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3. Re: Do we need a car to get around queenstown?

Hello Beth, welcome to the forum :)

Queenstown is quite well set up for those travelling without a car. Most activities will collect clients from their accommodation or at a central meeting point. Also depending on where you stay a car can be a liability as parking, if it isn't provided by your accommodation, can be expensive.

But really, it depends on what you hope to do while in Queenstown. If you wish to enjoy some of the local activities such as a wine tour, horse riding, jet boating etc, a car isn't necessary. You can also explore further afield with tours to Glenorchy and so on.

The road down to Te Anau is a good road with no hills to worry about, though it is a bit wriggly. However driver inattention has caused two fatal accidents on that road in the last month. Both accidents had tourist drivers.

if you do decide to drive, best to do it in the late morning (after 10am) or early afternoon. Some roads are now icy early morning due to frosts. Some locals have already been reminded of this as they slide off the road.

There are a few bus and shuttle companies to get you to Te Anau if you don't wish to drive.

safe travels :)

new jersey
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4. Re: Do we need a car to get around queenstown?

Thanks for the advise. More Questions!

Trying to figure out which place is best to spend time in winter. Lake Wanaka, or Te Anau? (We are open to other suggestions) If Te Anu is not to be missed, should we book the bus trip to Milford now, or wait to see what the weather brings?

After Queenstown the plan is to drive along rt 6 to the Franz Josef Glacier staying 2 nights there, leaving in the morning to get to Greymouth to catch a 1:45pm train to Christchurch. How long is the drive?

Thanks for your help,

Beth

new jersey
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5. Re: Do we need a car to get around queenstown?

Glenarchy looks beautiful. Do you recommend a day trip or overnight? How far away from Queenstown is it?

Thanks

Beth

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6. Re: Do we need a car to get around queenstown?

Wanaka or Te Anau? both :)

If you post your entire planned itinerary it would be easier to offer advice.

Are you flying into Queenstown and heading up the West Coast to Chch? Then you could go;

Queenstown

Te Anau to explore Milford

Wanaka

Franz

Glenorchy is a 45 minutes drive from Queenstown, it makes a nice day trip. Though the best scenery is further up at Paradise on back country unsealed roads. You could do a 4WD tour with Nomad Safaris.

You can check other drive times here www.aatravel.co.nz/main/td-calculator.php

Your route includes two mountain passes, Haast Pass and Arthur's Pass which do get icy and snowy in July. When collecting your rental car ensure it comes equipped with snow chains and they show you how to use them. The roads are seldom affected by snow for long, but it does happen occasionally.

Safe travels :)

new jersey
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7. Re: Do we need a car to get around queenstown?

Thanks for your help! NZ seems very far away sitting here on my

computer here in NJ, USA.

So far this is what we have- what

do you think? Also for 3 adults, road widths/winter conditions what size car should we get?

6/30 arrive in Queenstown mid day after long plan ride

6/1 Queenstown

6/2 Queenstown

6/3 Wanaka

6/4 Wanaka

6/5 Franz Joseph

6/6/ Franz Joseph

6/7 Train at Greymouth to Christchurch

6/8 CC

6/9 Sydney

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8. Re: Do we need a car to get around queenstown?

Hi Beth, your trip looks good :)

If wanting to visit Milford Sound you can bus from Queenstown and possibly fly back after the cruise. You could also fly/cruise/fly from Queenstown or Wanaka but the road is stunning (especially after snow) so is worth doing by bus.

What type of car? Any type of larger car will be comfortable. Some prefer a 4WD for added height and so on. No matter what type of car do ensure it comes equipped with snow chains and they show you how to fit them. You probably won't need them but at least you will be prepared.

www.newzealand.com/travel/accommodation has good accommodation options.

www.wotif.com offers discounts.

You may want to consider B&B's. They range from moderate through to luxury and are a great way to meet the locals.

Happy travels :)

new jersey
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9. Re: Do we need a car to get around queenstown?

Wanaka Lakes

Thanks for your feedback. We are veru excited about our trip!

10. Re: Do we need a car to get around queenstown?

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