Getting to Queenstown is easy whether you decide to fly, drive or catch a coach.
Queenstown International Airport receives daily direct flights from around New Zealand and Australia's main ports, and great road access on major New Zealand highways makes driving into Queenstown an easy and beautiful experience. Exploring the region once you’re in Queenstown is simple with a range of local transport options.
Where is Queenstown?
Queenstown is located in the southwest corner of the South Island of New Zealand and is very accessible with multiple daily direct flights from all of New Zealand’s main centres as well as direct scheduled services from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Coolangatta in Australia. Queenstown international airport is located just 15 minutes from downtown Queenstown and links to the city centre with shuttles, taxi services, buses and rental cars.
For visitors that chose to drive, experiencing the beautiful Southern Scenic Route through Otago and Southland is a stunning way to arrive in Queenstown or meander down the South Island from the West Coast or Canterbury, taking your time to take in the scenery along the way.
Explore the interactive map to plan your scenic journey to Queenstown, New Zealand today.
Travelling to Queenstown
Fly to Queenstown
Queenstown airport is the gateway to the lower South Island. Located 15 minutes from downtown Queenstown, the Queenstown international Airport services the region with daily domestic flights and regular direct trans-Tasman flights. It receives direct scheduled services from New Zealand’s main metropolitan ports of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch which provide strong regional links throughout the country, as well as from the Australian cities of Brisbane, Coolangatta, Sydney and Melbourne. Auckland and Sydney airports are the major international hub airports for long haul visitors and some international airlines also fly to Christchurch Airport.
Four major airlines provide scheduled services in and out of Queenstown Airport. Air New Zealand and Jetstar offer both domestic and international flights to and from Queenstown and Qantas and Virgin Australia fly internationally between Queenstown and east coast Australia.
In 2016 after dark flights were introduced to Queenstown, opening up even more convenient travel options, with evening flights to and from both Auckland and Australia now available.
Travellers flying Air New Zealand can use the Air New Zealand downtown check-in on their day of travel from 20 November 2019 as part of a three-month trial. The service is open seven days a week from 8:00 - 14:00 at 5 Earl Street opposite Novotel Queenstown. Air New Zealand staff check the travellers in at the pop up site and bags are transported to the airport and straight into the airport's baggage system.
Queenstown Airport is also New Zealand’s busiest helicopter base and is heavily used for ‘flightseeing’ on fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft. There are many great products available for visitors to explore the region by air.
Drive to Queenstown
Driving to Queenstown is a very scenic option and if you’re planning to travel by road you can drive yourself, hop on a bus or join a coach tour. Major New Zealand highways connect Queenstown to surrounding South Island regions and you’ll come across incredible natural landscapes and different attractions on the drive to Queenstown - making it an ideal trip if you have time to explore.
Roads to Queenstown are well signposted from the surrounding regions. New Zealand highways are fully sealed and well-maintained but some side-roads to activities & attractions may be loose gravel and require more time and care.
In New Zealand we drive on the left hand side of the road and some of our roads can be narrow and winding. It is also possible to encounter sheep and cattle on rural roads in New Zealand. It pays to give yourself extra time and to understand New Zealand road rules and signs. Visit Drivesafe New Zealand for helpful tips and information if you are planning a self-drive trip to Queenstown.
There are daily buses to Queenstown from Wanaka, Dunedin, Invercargill and Christchurch to Queenstown as well as scheduled coach tours and backpacker tour buses. There are also rental car and motor home depots based at Queenstown airport and some operators have offices in downtown Queenstown.
Once you arrive in Queenstown, getting around is easy, whether you hire your own car, use the $2 public bus network which links Queenstown’s main suburbs or explore the region by foot or cycle on the Queenstown Trail. Or for a new transport experience, take the lake and hop on the Queenstown ferry network from Frankton Arm to Queenstown. You can check out the ferry timetable here.
Many local activity operators also offer free transport from the town centre and hotels making it easy to get out and about and experience what the region has to offer. The compact downtown area of Queenstown means many restaurants, attractions and accommodation are within walking distance of each other and can be reached easily on foot so you can leave the car behind.
If you prefer to self-drive, Queenstown is home to the best known rental car brands from around New Zealand and the world. With car rental outlets at Queenstown International Airport, and in downtown Queenstown, picking up or dropping off your rental vehicle is easy and convenient.
Campervans and motorhomes are a great way to explore the Queenstown region and hiring a campervan or motorhome in Queenstown is easy, with both internationally recognised and local vehicle hire companies operating in the town centre or airport.