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Driving via Lake Tekapo to Queenstown

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Sydney, Australia
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201 posts
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Driving via Lake Tekapo to Queenstown

Hello all,

The trip I was planning for 2 seniors to NZ a couple of months ago didnt go through cos they had to deal with some family issues.

Anyway they are leaving now ( Emirates) to Christchurch from the

21 nov to 27th. THis is for 2 seniors and 2 people who are.40 plus

They were planning to get from CHC to Queenstown via Lake Tekapo. do you recommend the road or is it windy. they are good drivers but nervous. So they were thinking of staying one night in Lake tekapo

Lake tekapo 22 nov

to QWSTN s 23 nov

Milford sound 24 nov

Fox Glacier 26 nov

to CHC 27 nov

Not really sure if they can get back from Fox Glacier to CHC in one day??

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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1. Re: Driving via Lake Tekapo to Queenstown

I think this far too much driving for anyone nervous behind the wheel. I suggest ;

21 arrive Chch, fly to Queenstown

22 explore

23 bus/cruise Milford Sound, bus or fly back to Q'town

24 TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak Station, farm tour

25 drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook

26 Tasman glacier tour, drive to Chch

27 fly out

hope this helps :)

Wanaka, New Zealand
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2. Re: Driving via Lake Tekapo to Queenstown

Hi there,

The drive between Christchurch and Tekapo is a relatively easy one, with a bit of winding road after Geraldine, but nothing too spectacular. Between Tekapo and Queenstown you have the Lindis Pass, which winds its way between the mountains, is a spectacular drive, and again, not too tricky if you take care.

Trying to drive from Milford Sound to Fox (9.5 hours) and then from Fox to Christchurch (6 hours) is way too ambitious for nervous drivers.

You would be better driving:

22 Chch - Tekapo (3.5 hours)

23 Tekapo - Queenstown (3.5 hours)

24 Queenstown (you can do a Milford Sound coach-cruise-coach from here)

25 Queenstown - Wanaka (1.5 hours take the Cromwell road rather than the Crown Range)

26 Wanaka - Fox (3.75 hours)

27 drive to Greymouth (3 hours), drop off the hire car and catch the 1.45pm train from Greymouth to Christchurch (arrives 6.05pm)

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3. Re: Driving via Lake Tekapo to Queenstown

I completely agree with the first posting. Your itineary is way too much for a short visit. If visiting Lake Tekapo, a side trip to Aoraki Mount Cook is well worthwhile. Also the Milford Sound trip is a huge day, whether driving or flying.

I would also avoid the West Coast roads.

If the cost of a flight and a one way car hire is too expensive, for your drive back to Christchurch, you could turn off (east) at Omarama, through Otematata and on to State Highway one south of Timaru, then up to Christchurch.

Hope this helps.

Chicago, Illinois
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4. Re: Driving via Lake Tekapo to Queenstown

Check out the vidoe on You Tube -


London UK
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5. Re: Driving via Lake Tekapo to Queenstown

At the end of October it was possible to fly from Christchurch to Queenstown for NZ$29 single. Perhaps you might to look at that option especially if the plane overflies any glaciers. Driving in South Island is easy. The density of traffic is so light it is possible to drive for 20 minutes without seeing another vehicle, so there should be no worries for nervous drivers.

With an overall speed limit of 100 k/hour and 50K/hour in towns, you should assume an average speed of 65 k/hour for planing purposes.

Wanaka, New Zealand
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793 posts
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6. Re: Driving via Lake Tekapo to Queenstown

Jetstar fares of $29 are a bargain, but that is with carry on luggage only - for check in luggage, add an extra $10

7. Re: Driving via Lake Tekapo to Queenstown

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