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Christchurch to Queenstown Scenic Drive

Gold Coast...
Level Contributor
5 posts
59 reviews
Christchurch to Queenstown Scenic Drive

My partner and I are doing a 7 day trip to the South Island in late July- early Aug. We will be flying into Christchurch, and everyone has told me that there is more to see south of the island, so we are looking to make our way to Queenstown ASAP. I am a little wary of driving in the snow as I have no experience what so ever driving in those conditions. Would we be better off flying from Christchurch to Queenstown, or would we really be missing out on some amazing scenery/attractions not doing this drive?

I would appreciate any suggestions!!

Aoraki Mount Cook...
Level Contributor
787 posts
58 reviews
1. Re: Christchurch to Queenstown Scenic Drive

The odds of driving in snow aren't very high. Don't let this put you off driving Chch- Qtn

However it will be winter and some parts of the road is very likely to be icy. (particularly though the Lindis & the Kawarau Gorge)

Sensible driving is what is required - it is better to take your time to get there than not at all.

New Zealand
Level Contributor
9,492 posts
12 reviews
2. Re: Christchurch to Queenstown Scenic Drive

Traveling Angel- Definatly don't miss the ChCh-Qtwn drive, it is very beautiful but it's also quite a long drive.

Funny- snow's all I want when I've travelled that road in winter(4 or 5 times) and I've yet to strike it, but good to be cautious and make sure you allow enough time to arrive into Qtwn before dark.

Norfolk, UK
Level Contributor
133 posts
1 review
3. Re: Christchurch to Queenstown Scenic Drive

I've travelled Chrictchurch to Queenstown a couple of times and would thoroughly recommend it. If you drive I'd suggest you maybe have a night in either Lake Tekapo which is absolutely stunning or at Mount Cook and then do the rest of the drive from there the next day. It would be around 1hr 1/2 to 2 hours to Lake Tekapo and then 3hrs on to Queenstown.

Or I've also travelled on the tranzalpine train from Christchurch to Greymouth, you'll see amazing scenery from the train. Then picked up a hire car in Greymouth and drove down to Fox Glacier for 1 night and the next day drove on to Queenstown, this way is quite long winded as from Fox to Q'town is 5hours but the scenery is soooo good its absolutly worth it.

I've done these trips in Spring and Autumn so I can't tell you what the Fox to Q'town road would be like it wintry conditions I'm afraid.

I hope this helps a bit.

Philadelphia
Level Contributor
160 posts
4. Re: Christchurch to Queenstown Scenic Drive

Thanks to help from Zappers and NettieNZ we'll be arriving in Nelson and traveling down the west coast and coming into Queenstown that way. But I have a question related to this thread. Given that we've done the west coast drive and 'only' have three nights in Queenstown, would you a) leave early and drive back to CC or b) stay a bit later and fly to CC. I'm sure the scenery on that side of the mountain will also be stunning. I'm wondering if it could be a 'see next time' or 'definitely do the drive!'

Thanks,

Skis and Songs

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
60,942 posts
42 reviews
5. Re: Christchurch to Queenstown Scenic Drive

Hi S&S

Well. here just another tourist from Holland.

I know it 's just a word and many times it's overrrated but: AWESOME.

So IMHO: Definitely do the drive (only with blue skies of course).

Tet

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
328 posts
26 reviews
6. Re: Christchurch to Queenstown Scenic Drive

Hi Skis & Songs,

The drive from Queenstown - Christchurch is seriously awe-inspiring. My hubby and myself couldn't helped but marvelled at the beauty of Lake Tekapo and Mount Cook Alps...

Tho the roads can be winding on certain routes, it is safe with careful driving. Check out our family site for some ideas: www.first-new-zealand-trip.com

Cheers.

New Zealand
Level Contributor
9,492 posts
12 reviews
7. Re: Christchurch to Queenstown Scenic Drive

So there you go S&S, the concensus is to drive the road. This would be my recommendation as well, it truly is a beautiful drive- although most of it is closed today due to heavy snow (keep this in mind, you still may have to fly in the end).

Gold Coast...
Level Contributor
5 posts
59 reviews
8. Re: Christchurch to Queenstown Scenic Drive

Thank you to everyone for your responses. I think given our limited time my partner and I will end up driving one way and flying back (this also works well with our connecting flight from Christchurch). One more question- I am most probably going to drive from Christchurch through to Mt Cook and then Queenstown- would this be the best drive given the scenery or should be consider taking the longer route by the coast?

Any thoughts would be appreciated!!

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
60,942 posts
42 reviews
9. Re: Christchurch to Queenstown Scenic Drive

Mount Cook. Hands down (:o)

Nashville
1 post
10. Re: Christchurch to Queenstown Scenic Drive

My husband and business partners made the drive late May/ early June last year. He said the roads were really give or take with the icy weather then. They actually left Q'town early to avoid a big storm. We then made the drive again early December as a family. Weather was warm and the snow topped mountains could still be seen all around, esp. Mt. Cook. Queenstown is beyond amazing! IMO our best day trip from there was a flight to Milford sound. A small chartered plane, a chance to see the coast, Mitre Peak looming over the sound, beautiful!!! , but a little on the expensive side. Just thought I would share our experience!