Queenstown to Christchurch Road Trip

Need a week getaway from Christchurch? Or visiting New Zealand and need help putting together what things you should see, this post will help you plan a great trip.

Day 1-2 Queenstown 

Take a flight into Queenstown, you can pick up some pretty cheap flights with Easyjet. This is also a very flight seeing the southern alps as you head south. Once you get to Queenstwon pick up a rental car, you will be best to book this before you leave, there are a few options and they are all within walking distance from the terminal. 

For accommodation we booked an AirBnB, there are many options here this being a well known spot for bach ownership. This is the place we stayed in.

The views over the lake were amazing, on night one we ordered pizza and had it on our balacy. 

When you head into the city, parking can be hard at times, Park Street next to the gardens has free parking, otherwise the carpark on the corner of Stanley and Ballarat always has spaces. 

For Breakfast head down to the waterfront, you want to start your day with a good meal for all the activities you are about to do. We had a lovely meal and Ivy and Lolas. We can recommend the chicken and waffles. It was amazing, the whitebait tacos were also great. 

Now it is activity time! We did the GoOrange Jet Boat experience, this got the adrenaline rushing! It’s also the classic Queenstown experience that you must. There are also many other adrenaline activities, like bungee jumping, fear factory, indoor skydiving, walking down the streets you will be given so many options on what you can do.

We then went up the gonada to get a view of the city and to do some laps on the luge. If you are there during the school holidays it will be busier!

After this we headed to Glenorchy, this is an easy drive with great views, once at Glenorchy, this is a great photo spot and you can wander around the lakefront. 


Once the night rolls around, you can get a drink at the Ice Bar, for dinner, you can line up and get the famous Fergburger, otherwise we can recommend the Saigon Kingdom, or if you want to save, go to the supermarket and cook up your meal in your airbnb. 

Day 3 Queenstown to Wanaka

From Queenstown you can head to the historical Arrowtown, where you can see the old Chinese settlement from the gold rush. Arrowtown also has lovely shops to look around with many handmade items, there are also a few restaurants if you want to grab brunch here. 

After Arrowtown you have an option on what way you want to head to Wanaka, there is the Cardona, a mountain pass or via Cromwell. We went via Cromwell, having look at the Highlands experience, then we headed to the old town and learnt about how this town has changed with the creation of the Dam. 

In Wanaka we used AirBnB again for our accommodation, we got a real unique stay here, in the hidden hills, here is the link to it. You go a lift up the hill to your chalet, this is a cute spot with everything you could need looking out to the lake, plus there is a beautiful outside bath! This was a spot that you write home about.

Lift up to our accommodation

In Wanaka, there are many great food spots, we headed to the Speights Ale house for a classic pub meal. 

Day 4 Lake Hawea

We started the day at a café for brunch, then went down to ‘that Wanaka tree’ to get the classic shot. Then we keep going along the lake to Glendhu bay to dip our feet in the water and enjoy the fresh air. After this we headed to the Lavender farm, this is a great spot for all ages, we loved interacting with all the animals, there were many cheeky goats! The Lavender and perfectly placed purple door were also great to see. 

In Lake Hawea we stayed at the campground, the campground is on the waterfront and has cabins. We stayed in the ‘little lake house’. This is a tiny house with the sweetest day core and a great wee fireplace which even if it’s warm you just can’t help yourself to start up. 

Little Lake House

In Lake Hawea you can enjoy a slower pace to the Queenstowns and the Wanakas. Grab a book, and enjoy the view. For dinner you can walk to the pub and enjoy the offerings that they have. If you get there on a nice day the lake can be reflective and a sight to see. 

Day 5 Mt Cook

From Wanaka we made our way to Mt Cook, there is a selection of walks you can do here to see the different glaciers or to get a better view of Mt Cook. In the Hermitage, there is a small museum which takes you over the history of Mt Cook. We were there at the end of 2020, many places had closed and the Hermitage was the only location you could eat. Hopefully this has now picked up with the borders opening. 

Day 6-7 Tekapo

From Mt Cook we headed to Lake Tekapo, Tekapo has always been a favourite spot of ours and we were very happy to visit after being away for a few years. In tekapo we always stay at the campground, they have many cabin options that are on the waterfront. We also love this spot as it is a great location to walk to either the hot pools to spend the afternoon, or once the night rolls around to head to the pub for a meal and drink. We can recommend the Ramen restaurant, this was a great find. Our old favourite of the traven has had a fire, so we are still trying to find a good pub spot. 

For the time that we were there, we headed to Lake Alexandrina, up to the St John observatory, to the church on the lakefront and of course spent time at the pools. 

Day 8 Home time

After Tekapo, we headed home. You could have spent less time in Tekapo and split up this time. There are also a number of stops to make. But you must stop at the Fairlie Bakehouse for an award winning pie.

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