Bucket List, Destination, New Zealand

Christchurch to Queenstown Road Trip


The road trip from Christchurch to Queenstown takes you on a journey teeming with natural wonders, cultural delights, and a plethora of breathtaking landscapes. But before you can enjoy everything the open road offers, there’s one important step you need to take – finding a camper rental in Christchurch.

From there, the road through New Zealand’s South Island promises an odyssey of discovery through picturesque valleys, alpine vistas, and charming towns. There is a slight issue with so much to see, though – finding the time! To make things easier and to help you plan your Christchurch to Queenstown road trip, we’ve compiled a list of the very best stops to make along the way.

Are you ready to set out on your adventure? Let’s go!

Lake Tekapo

With its brilliant blue glacial waters set against a backdrop of the mighty Southern Alps, Lake Tekapo is an absolute must-visit as you travel the road from Christchurch to Queenstown. While you’re here, make sure you check out the Church of the Good Shepherd, which you’ll find sitting on the lakeshore, and if you’re an avid stargazer, Lake Tekapo’s dark sky reserve status means you’ll get some awesome views of the stars and planets once the sun sets.

Mount Cook National Park

Home to Aoraki (Mount Cook), which is New Zealand’s Highest Mountain, Mount Cook National Park is an excellent stop for anyone looking for some scenic photography opportunities or simply to breathe in the crisp mountain air. You’ll find some awesome hiking trails here that make it possible to explore the glacial valleys and scenery up close, and with a mix of easy and more challenging hikes, there’s something for every experience level.

Lake Pukaki

On your way to Mount Cook National Park, swing by Lake Pukaki and pull up at the lookout spot for some breathtaking views across the vivid blue waters. This is a great alternative if you haven’t found the time to stop at Lake Tekapo, and you’ll also be given a fantastic opportunity to indulge in some birdwatching. It’s particularly beautiful here during the summer when the sun bounces off the lakes and the snow-capped mountains, making for some truly Instagram-worthy content.


As you head back on the road, take a break between Lake Pukaki and Wanake with a stop in Omarama. This is known as New Zealand’s gliding hub, and it’s ideal for thrill-seekers looking to take to the skies and soar over stunning landscapes. Don’t worry if you aren’t keen on gliding, though, as you can also enjoy a scenic flight offered by local tour operators for a bird’s eye view of the area.


Another awesome place for adventure lovers to stop, Wanaka is a small lakeside town surrounded by rugged, snow-capped peaks, offering plenty of opportunities for hiking, kayaking, and, if you’re feeling particularly brave, sky diving! Wanaka is also a very popular destination during autumn when the tree foliage turns bright red, contrasting beautifully with the surroundings.


If you’re looking to learn a little more about New Zealand’s heritage, a stop to the former gold mining town of Arrowtown is an unmissable stop. Here, you’ll find buildings and avenues dating back to the 1800s that are just begging to be explored, and there are also several boutiques and art galleries to discover. Multiple events take place throughout the year in Arrowtown as well, including the famous Arrowtown Autumn Festival, where you can sample local produce while enjoying live music.


Tucked away at the end of Lake Wakatipu, Glenorchy is a must-visit destination for Lord of the Rings fans, as you’ll be able to explore loads of filming locations here and take a guided tour that walks you through each of them. Even if you’re not a Tolkien nerd, it’s still worth stopping at Glenorchy purely for the mountain scenery and incredible walking opportunities. Just don’t forget your hiking boots!


As you reach Queenstown, your adventure is far from over! Welcome to New Zealand’s adrenaline capital, where you’ll find the opportunity to bungee jump, jet boat, skydive, and more. If you can think of an adventure sport, you’re guaranteed to find it here. But if thrill-seeking isn’t your thing, you’ll still find plenty to enjoy, including strolling the famous wineries or taking the Skyline Gondola for unparalleled views over the town and Lake Wakatipu. Once you’re done exploring, head to the Stratosfare Restaurant and Bar to enjoy a delicious meal made with New Zealand’s finest produce while basking in the amazing views.

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