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Cromwell to Queenstown – Road Trip Itinerary

3 August 2023




Stratosfare restaurant

If you’re visiting the South Island, you’ll definitely want to check out Cromwell, which is one of New Zealand’s historic mining towns. Once you’ve explored Cromwell, take a road trip to Queenstown to experience New Zealand’s adventure capital. Whether you’re a solo traveller or visiting with family and friends, this guide has everything you need to know about the journey from Cromwell to Queenstown.

Ways to Get from Cromwell to Queenstown

Image credit: @cjmaddock.

Drive from Cromwell to Queenstown

The driving distance between Cromwell and Queenstown by car is about 60km. The drive begins at the junction of State Highway 6 and 8B and takes just under one hour (drive time can vary depending on traffic). If you’re comfortable driving by car along a winding route, the Cromwell to Queenstown drive through Central Otago is beautiful. Just make sure you have a map handy as reception is on and off!

Bus from Cromwell to Queenstown

You can opt to take the Intercity bus from Cromwell to Queenstown if you prefer. Intercity bus services depart daily, and prices start at $7 per person. These buses don’t require any transfers, so you don’t have to worry about changing buses on your way from Cromwell to Queenstown.

Taxi from Cromwell to Queenstown

If you want to sit back and enjoy the scenery between Cromwell and Queenstown, you can take a taxi. This option may suit you if you want to get dropped off at the Queenstown Airport rather than in town. Make sure you select a reputable company with a solid reputation and be sure to agree on a firm price before starting your journey by taxi.

Tips for Planning your Next South Island Road Trip

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Research your Destination

If you’re visiting New Zealand, it’s important to plan ahead before driving from Cromwell to Queenstown. Be prepared to take your time when driving on unfamiliar roads. New Zealand’s State Highway 6 is windy with tighter sections and can be busy in summer.

Plan your Itinerary and Activities

Whether you’re planning on exploring Central Otago’s history or skiing on your holiday, get the most out of your Cromwell to Queenstown road trip by researching the activities you’re interested in before arriving.

Check the Weather and Travel Advisories

Before driving from Cromwell to Queenstown, check the weather forecast, so you know what to expect.

Best Stops on the Drive between Cromwell and Queenstown

Old Cromwell Town

Image credit: @lifestylegearnz

Before you head on your drive through Central Otago, check out Cromwell’s historic precinct. Many of Cromwell’s historic buildings were relocated to higher ground after the completion of Clyde Dam in 1990, which created Lake Dunstan on the site of the original town.

Lake Dunstan Cycle Trail

Image credit: @lakedunstantrail

If you’re a confident mountain biker, check out the scenery along Central Otago’s Lake Dunstan cycle trail, which goes along Lake Dunstan between Cromwell and Clyde.

Highlands Motorsport Park

Image credit: @highlandsnz

If you’re a bit of a petrolhead, you’ll love getting on the track at Highlands Motorsport Park, located just outside the Cromwell township. Drive around their Go Kart circuit, or check out their Supercars for some heart-stopping fun.

Goldfields Mining Centre

Image credit: @ritua_

Visit Goldfields Mining Centre to learn about the mining history of Central Otago. Visitors can join one of the guided tours and try their luck panning for gold.

Roaring Meg Lookout

Image credit: @kdelarue

Stop at the Roaring Meg Lookout to check out this powerful stream that is used to generate hydroelectricity.

Gibbston Valley

Image credit: @gibbstonvalley

If you’re a wine enthusiast, you might like to visit Gibbston Valley, where you can experience wine tasting and tour the vineyard through an immersive wine journey.

Kawarau Bridge Bungy

Image credit: @nicole.marinellii

Inject some fun into your road trip by bungy jumping over the Kawarau River at Kawarau Gorge. Known for its breathtaking views, Kawarau Gorge is the perfect place to try bungy jumping for the first time!


Image credit: @yogi_photography_in

Located about 40 minutes from Cromwell, Arrowtown is a historic gold mining town full of restored buildings and cottages. Bike through the town, explore on foot, or check out the museum to learn about its history.

Lake Hayes

Image credit: @mykellance

Stop and rest at Lake Hayes, which is home to a beautiful scenic reserve. Wander the walking trails or enjoy a picnic before heading to Queenstown.

Explore More Amazing Things to Do and See in Queenstown

Once you reach Queenstown, take a relaxing walk along the shores of Lake Whakatipu or ride up the Gondola and check out the Luge. Then, take in the mountain views over lunch at the Stratosfare Restaurant. Explore our website for full details about our Skyline attractions.

Queenstown has no shortage of stunning hotels looking out to the mountains. We’ve put together our favourite places to stay in Queenstown to help you choose your accommodation. Looking for more New Zealand travel ideas for destinations beyond Cromwell? We’ve got you covered! Read about the best jet boating in Queenstown, things to do on a Dunedin to Queenstown road trip, and the best affordable things to in Queenstown. Don’t miss Wanaka, Dunedin, and Christchurch while you’re in the South Island, too.


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