We chose a slower route to travel from Christchurch to Queenstown, instead of traveling via plane, we took a tour bus. The itinerary we had for the day, our tour bus made a stop at Mount Cook Village which is at the bottom of Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, the highest mountain and the longest glacier in New Zealand, and we had a few quick stops where we are able to take the picturesque photos along our way to Queenstown.
How to get to Queenstown?
Taking a bus to Queenstown
Where to buy the tickets?
129NZD – 312NZD
86NZD – 156NZD
Get your ticket from intercity or awesomenz, their price for the ticket is cheaper than greatsights. I am not sure why the price differences, but from the schedule all of the options seem to be the same, so taking the cheaper option would be a better choice.
Total Trip Duration
Our tour bus departs at the Bus interchange, which is a few minutes walk from our hotel.
The bus will depart at 07:30 am, we do not want to miss our bus, hence we arrived earlier.
Bus interchange looks new and quiet early in the morning, the ticket counter, intercity is straight ahead.
Easy to recognise sign to follow:
We did not notice the sign from the outside, hence, either way (walk into the bus interchange or walk outside), you will reach here.
Our tour bus for that day:
Interior with comfortable seat:
The best part is we can charge our phone:
The bus depart on time and our tour size for that day was approximately 15 people, which did not even fill up half the bus. After 2 hours on the bus, we were given our first pit stop for toilet break and to grab breakfast.
First photo stop
A short pullover to have a look at the vast scenery of the farm and mountains.
Second photo stop
Church of the Good Shepherd
Summer: 09:00 – 17:00
Winter: 10:00 – 16:00
The gates are closed at 20:00
Nighttime access is not permitted except by tour booking.
Lake Tekapo a picturesque location by day and dazzling by night. It is a part of the UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, and the perfect spot for stargazing and southern light.
Third photo stop
Lake Pukaki viewing point
Lake Pukaki, the largest lake out of the three roughly parallel alpine lakes, Oharu and Tekapo. Showing off its shimmering blue under the sun and it is also the setting for ‘Lake-town’ in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
The shimmering blue lake without any filter.
Lunchtime at Hermitage Hotel (Own Expenses)
At the Hermitage Hotel, Mount Cook Village, we are given some rest time for our lunch and to explore the village and soak up the view. Alternatively, if the weather is good and you have enough time, you can arrange the flight with your driver-guide on the day to experience a scenic helicopter or ski plane flight for incredible views of mountain peaks and glaciers.
Our bus will be here for an hour plus for lunch and more photo-taking at this area.
Off we go for our lunch.
7.50NZD-30NZD (Per person)
What did we order?
Clockwise: Caffe Latte, Tempura battered fish and chips, salt pepper and squid
Fourth photo stop
Aoraki/ Mount Cook
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, the highest mountains and the longest glaciers in New Zealand. You can choose to stay here for one day or two to explore the beautiful alpine with skyscraping peaks, glaciers and permanent snowfields, all set under a star-studded sky. However, due to the bad weather that day, it is a pity that we did not get a chance to see the beautiful Mt Cook as it was covered with clouds. If the weather is good and time allows, you can choose to experience a scenic helicopter or ski plane flight.
Last stop before reaching Queenstown
Jones Family Orchard
The Jones Family Fruit stall seems like a must stop fruit stall in Central Otago, because we went there twice with different tour bus. The fruit stall stocks a huge array of fresh fruits, dried fruits, nuts, honey products and vegetables.
08:00-18:00 (Daily) Extended hours during summer
A lot of tour buses stopped here for their guests toilet break and not forget to buy some fresh fruits, dried fruits, nuts, honey products and vegetables back home or to eat it there. The price for the fruits are cheaper compared to the supermarket, we bought a box of kiwi back home. If you want to bring it home, you can inform them your departure date and seek for their professional advice, the staff will help you to choose and pack the fruits accordingly.
We reached Queenstown around 18:30, our tour bus made a few stops for some of the guests to drop off at their hotel before the final stop at Athol St in the middle of the car park.
We enjoyed our bus tour even though there is a small disappointment because we are unable to see Mt Cook. Nonetheless, the trip was comfortable with friendly bus guide, ample time for photo taking was given at each stop, and most importantly, our group were always on time for departure, making the whole trip smooth and pleasant without any delay.