Mountains are what make this southern road trip special. Alpine landscapes and high country, and stunning glacial lakes, will have you reaching for your camera. Plan to leave time to stop along the way to bask in the surroundings. With your Queenstown Airport car rental from Hertz, you’ll be all set for the drive of a lifetime.
Driving from Queenstown to Christchurch via Mt Cook
Queenstown is ideal for a luxury getaway – gourmet food and wine, spa treatments and boutique hotels. Try dining at Rata or Wakatipu Grill for get a sense of the local flavour. Arrowtown, a charming historic village, is less than an hour away. Take the scenic route over the Shotover Bridge and through Arthur’s Point, or the shorter route past the airport and then Lake Hayes, where you’ll find the delightful Amisfield Winery Bistro.
In Arrowtown, check out A Taste of Gibbston Valley, with a cellar door, deli and cafe. Explore the Chinese miners’ settlement by the Arrow River, and visit the Lakes District Museum.
From Arrowtown through the Gibbston Valley, brimming with vineyards, you’ll carry on north. Pause to view the Roaring Meg power station in the Kawarau Gorge. In Cromwell, you can take a step back in history. Then it’s on through the valley of Lindis Pass, through the tussock covered mountains, which are stunning when there’s been a flurry of snow. Be careful in winter as conditions can change rapidly.
In Omarama you’ll immediately see the giant merino sheep statue. Further along in Twizel, you can go fly fishing, mountain climbing or biking, kayaking, horse trekking and hiking.
The road to Mt Cook follows the shores of Lake Pukaki. The bright blue waters must be seen to be believed. Aoraki Mount Cook National Park attracts climbers, hikers and photographers.
From Mt Cook to Christchurch, you will descend the Tasman Valley, again seeing Lake Pukaki. The next big lake is Lake Tekapo, most famous for the Church of the Good Shepherd. Stargazing and photography are popular pursuits here. In summer, beautiful lupins bloom on the lake’s coast. It’s then an easy journey on to Christchurch, the South Island’s largest city.