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Getting to & around the Lake Wanaka region

Getting to Wanaka is just the first part of your spectacular journey. By air, bus or self-drive, getting here is easy. A scenic 60 minute drive from Wanaka, Queenstown Airport is an international gateway into the Lake Wanaka Region. A number of transfer options are available including self-drive, private transfers and shuttles and the regular bus services.

Christchurch and Dunedin Airports are within a 5 hour drive and are linked by bus services and car rentals.


Three international airports are in close proximity to Wanaka and the Queenstown Airport is serviced daily from all major New Zealand airports and over 40 services a week from Australia directly into the international airport. From Queenstown it is a short drive to Wanaka or you can catch one of the scheduled shuttles. Regular coach services to and from the main centres arrive and depart daily and if driving yourself then you can choose your destination.

Airlines Flying to Queenstown:

Wanaka Bus Services:

Regular coach services link Lake Wanaka with Queenstown, Dunedin, Christchurch, Invercargill and the West Coast including Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers.

  • Alpine ConneXions - daily coach service to Cromwell, Alexandra, Dunedin Airport and Dunedin. 4 times daily to Queenstown
  • Connectabus - daily coach service between Queenstown and Wanaka. 4 times daily to Queenstown.
  • Inter City - daily coach services to Queenstown, Christchurch and West Coast
  • Atomic Shuttles - daily coach services to Queenstown, Christchurch, Dunedin and West Coast
  • Southern Link - daily coach services to Queenstown and Christchurch
  • Catch A Bus - daily coach service to Dunedin

Driving to Lake Wanaka

Driving on the South Island roads of New Zealand is fairly straight forward with wide, relatively quiet roads and some of the most amazing scenery just right outside the window. Just remember to watch the road and keep left.

All the major car and campervan hire companies are available at Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown airports. Many of these offers specials and discounts so keep an eye out for these.

New Requirements for Overseas drivers

From 1 October 2015 all rental car companies and operators are encouraged to make sure every overseas driver is adequately prepared for driving in New Zealand and understands ‘what’s different’ about driving in New Zealand. Here are some handy resources for you if you are doing a self drive tour in New Zealand.

  • Complete the AA on-line assessment, print the ‘certificate of completion’, signed by you, you can present this to your car rental provider to show you have taken steps to prepare yourself for driving in New Zealand.
  • Read the basic information about New Zealand road rules and etiquette on It also provides  links to more details about everything that drivers unfamiliar with our roads need to know. It
  • Take the Tourist Driving Theory Quiz to learn the essential Road Code rules you'll need to know to help you stay safe and minimise your chance of an accident in New Zealand.
  • Download the Driving  and New Zealand Self-drive Holidays  fact sheets (these are a great resource to print and keep with you)

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Driving times:

Place Distance Time
Queenstown (via Crown Range Road) 68 km 1 hr 10 mins
Christchurch 424 km 5 hrs 25 mins
Dunedin 276 km 3 hrs 30 mins
Franz Josef Glacier 287 km 3 hrs 35 mins
Milford Sound 394 km 5 hrs
Mt Cook 203 km 2 hrs 30 mins
Tekapo 198 km 2 hrs 30 mins
Invercargill 285 km 3 hrs 35 mins
Greymouth 469 km 5 hrs 50 mins
Picton 773 km 9 hrs 40 mins