[Trip] New Zealand- A day out of Queenstown to Wanaka and Arrowtown

We were a little bored staying in Queenstown the whole day, we decided to join a local tour group that brings us out of the town to Wanaka and Arrowtown. Both places can be covered within one day if you drive, if taking public transport, it will be better to split into 2 days. In this post I will explain the reason for that.

Wanaka or Arrowtown why not both?

For more information visit:

Arrowtown Official Website

Wanaka Official Website

How to get there?

Self-drive

Book a day tour with the local tour agency

Bus from Queenstown

What did we choose?

We join a small tour group which brought us to both Wanaka and Arrowtown in a day visiting all the not to be missed photoshoot location and places that are worth visiting

The map below indicated the places that we stopped and visited.

How much does it cost?

Private small tour group:

Adult

169 NZD ~ 229 NZD

Child (0-14yrs)

99 NZD ~ 169 NZD

Bus:

The only route to take the bus is from Queenstown to Arrowtown, then back to Queenstown and to Wanaka.

Here are the 2 bus operator, Intercity and ORBUS.

Estimated Cost (Full round trip) :

35NZD~65NZD

Orbus will stop at Arrowtown, Lakes District Museum.

Attached with the map and bus information:

Self-drive

Compare your car rental price or rent your car here.

Suggestion:

Would encourage to join a private tour group or self-drive to cover both places in a day. Taking the bus would be a little inconvenient to cover both locations. If taking bus is the only option, best to split into 2 days. Compare prices before booking or purchasing any day tour package.

I will be only covering on what we did with the tour and the places we’ve been.

Total duration for the full trip:

Around 8 Hours


Places we visited

Lake Hayes Pavilion

A 15 minutes drive from downtown Queenstown, Lake Hayes is a tranquil and beautiful lake which attracts walkers, runners, and cyclists to the natural beauty of the area. The reflective lake offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and is an invitation to take your camera out and snap away.

Lake Hayes Pavillion is a popular venue for events and weddings, which is situated on Highway 6 (Gibbston Highway). There are two main areas to park your car and enjoy the lake.

Where?

Cost?
Free

Operating hours
24/7

Duration?
15 mins

Pillars of the Kings (LotR)

The famous movie scene which featured in the opening sequence of The Two Towers. From Glenorchy, you can also discover Lothlorien – the beech forest on the road to Paradise. Although the Pillars were computer-generated in the studio, but you are able to see the spectacular view of the Anduin and Argonath (Pillar of Kings) from the Chard Farm winery.

Where?

Cost?
Free

Operating hours

24/7

Duration?
15 mins

Cromwell Forage Information Centre and Cafe

We had our first break at the Cromwell Forage Information Centre and Cafe to have our breakfast.

Where?

What we had?

Food is included inside our tour package, we can choose any item from the selves and drinks.

Ham, Cheese, tomato and onion muffin

Cheese Scones

Caffe latte

Hot chocolate

45th Parallel at Lowburn Lookout

The place for fabulous panoramic views, you are able to walk along the top of the terrace to a viewing point aligned with the 45th parallel, for some excellent photo opportunities. There is also a place to park your car along the way.

Where?

Duration:

15 mins

Cost?

Free

Photo spot

Introduction of Wanaka

Located in the stunning Alps of the South Island in New Zealand, visitors from around the world are drawn to the Wanaka region by its outstanding natural beauty. Wanaka’s lakes and mountains and proximity to Mt Aspiring National Park makes it the ultimate base for outdoor activities.

But it’s not just the outdoor enthusiasts who have plenty to do, stroll the streets and be inspired by galleries, stylish shops and be spoilt for choice with a great selection of cool cafes and restaurants.

Duration:

1 hour ~ 2 hours

#thatWanakatree

The Instagram famous tree in New Zealand is a picture of a lonely tree in a lake, otherwise known as “That Wanaka Tree” or #thatwanakatree!

Where?

Cost?

Free

Operating hours?

24/7

The Wanaka Wharf

Located on the lakefront, The Wanaka Wharf is in the centre of town is a popular swimming spot and a family favourite for feeding the fishes.

Where?

Operating Hours:

24/7

Cost?

Free

Duration:

30min~1 hour

The fishing spot:

Wanaka War Memorial

Wanaka War Memorial is at the top of the small hill and overlooks the small town.

Where?

Cost?

Free

Operating hours?

24/7

Duration:

5-10 mins

Photo spot

There are quite a lot of restaurants around the wharf if you would like to have some food

At the end of our Wanaka trip as we head off to Arrowtown In-between we had a few more scenic spot to take some photos, and to try the famous Cardrona beer.

Cardrona Bra Fence

A controversial tourist attraction in Central Otago, in New Zealand. At some point between 1998 and 1999, passers-by began to attach bras to a rural fence. The fence gradually became a well-known site as the number of bras grew to hundreds.

The Cardrona Bra Fence where we had a brief stop here for some shoot before reaching Cardona Hotel.

Where?

Operating hours:

24/7

Cost?

Free to visit, you can bring some cash to donate to the Breast Cancer Society.

The Cardrona Hotel

Established in 1863, the Cardrona Hotel is one of New Zealand’s oldest hotels and is one of only two remaining buildings from the Cardrona Valley gold rush era.

Where?

Duration:

30 Mins~1 hour

Here for the famous Cardrona Ale which is a must-try if you are here.

**Drinks are included inside our tour package**

Crown Range Summit Lookout

The road up is steep and narrow when reaching the highest altitude of 1,121 metres and has been sealed since the early 2000s.  Renowned for stunning views, rugged tussock and rocky landscapes, and roadside snowmen during winter, the road is often covered in snow and ice, making for very difficult driving conditions.

To note:

Always check the road conditions before setting off, chains are often required especially during winter.

Where?

Duration

15~30 mins

Cost?

Free

We also had another stop at Crown Range Road Scenic Lookout before heading down to Arrowtown.

Introduction of Arrowtown

20 minutes drive away from Queenstown, one of the most picturesque settlements in New Zealand. Arrowtown that was established in 1862, during the height of the Otago gold rush sits alongside the gold-bearing Arrow River. The settlement grew quickly as pioneers constructed cottages, shops, hotels and churches, more than 60 of which can still be seen today.

A special highlight is the  “Chinese settlement” at the edge of the river. Built by Chinese miners from 1868, this area of restored shelters and buildings paints a picture of earlier times.

Duration:

1~2 Hours or more

Where?


Cost?

Free

Operating hours?

24/7

Free and easy time around the town

X- Marks the Spot

Where?

Operating hours:

24/7

Cost?

Free

Duration:

15 Mins~30 mins

Have a short walk along the river, if you are interested.

 .

We spent quite sometime around the little town and passed by this post office which has been here since the discovery of gold in 1862. However, a fire destroyed the original post office and the Arrowtown’s iconic Post and Telegraph Office was rebuilt in 1915.

Overall:

Our tour group was less than 10 people and it was really fun, we were well taken care of by our tour guide. He brought us to lots of places and told us about the history and story behind each location. We spent sufficient time at each place which I felt that it is not rush, as some of the photo-taking the spot you do not need to spent too much time there. However, at the larger town area like the Wanaka and Arrowtown, we were given enough free time to walk around and enjoy the scenery. I think this kind of tour is suitable for people like us, want to see and visit most of the famous attractions in a day.

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