16 August 2021 | Written by Bachcare Holiday Homes

The Ultimate Wellington To Queenstown Road Trip

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Wellington To Queenstown Road Trip

Have you ever thought of exploring and experiencing the breathtaking scenery and adventures in Eastern and Central New Zealand? If you have, a great way to do it is via a Wellington to Queenstown road trip. Taking State Highway 1 and State Highway 8 is the quickest option. Travel time is a little over 14 hours plus stops as you appreciate the beauty and activities along your 912km trip.


1 – In Wellington

cable car wellington
Credit: Wikicommons

Before you leave Wellington, a great option is to see one of the country’s best museums. The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. This interactive museum is located on the waterfront, and has a distinguished natural environment. Explore culture, treasures and learn of the area’s art heritage.

For another unique experience, ride the famous Wellington cable car. This historic means of transportation first traveled the tracks in 1902. This one-way ride takes about five minutes. Make your way through the shopping district, and explore the cable car museum before you leave town.


2 – Picton

picton bay
Credit: Wikicommons

This area is loaded with spectacular wildlife and unique plants. You can walk around the shoreline and explore the trails. There are self-guided walks to explore the Marlborough Sounds. Each walk varies in length and terrain challenges.

The area is home to over 30 wineries and several breweries. Experience the region’s best beverages on an official tour or on your own. Many of the wineries and breweries offer excellent food options with plates featuring beautiful platters from the local area.

There are multiple cruises to choose from in the area. They are typically four-hour cruises, so you could plan one on the front or back end of your Wellington to Queenstown road trip.


3 – Blenheim

blenheim vineyards
Credit: Pxfuel

Blenheim is Marlborough’s largest town. Majestically nestled in the mountains, the area provides the ideal conditions for growing grapes and wine-making. This area produces the majority of New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blanc. You can visit the wineries and take home a special bottle of one of the world’s favorite wines.

If you are a wartime airplane enthusiast or appreciate history, visit The Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre. It has many unique memorabilia and wartime airplanes. Peter Jackson, famous for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, has his personal collection of World War I planes and memorabilia on display. They have several detailed exhibitions that are open seven days a week.


4 – Kaikōura

kaikoura beach
Credit: Wikicommons

About an hour and forty minutes south of Blenheim is the town of Kaikōura. Located on the Pacific Ocean, this area is a must stop. Its natural beauty and ocean wildlife will astound you. This area has an abundant sperm whale population. You can also see New Zealand fur seals on platforms across the area. Don’t leave this locale without visiting the 1800’s Fyffe House. It is a cottage built on a foundation of whalebones. You can also learn about the area’s whaling history at this site.


5 – Christchurch

christchurch trees
Credit: Wikicommons

If you are a Lord of the Rings fan, several movie tours depart directly from Christchurch. You will take a 4WD vehicle and explore many memorable spots from the film series.

You can visit a working sheep farm at Christchurch Sheep Farm. Watch sheep dogs round up the flock of sheep. See sheep shearing, and have a cup of tea on site. There is a petting area for you to get up close. This tranquil setting is the perfect experience for all ages.


Side Trip – Akaroa

akaroa bay
Credit: Wikicommons

A little over an hour southeast of Christchurch, you will find the small town of Akaroa. Located on the Banks Peninsula, you can spot rare Hector’s dolphins. Akaroa is rich with historical buildings. Three heritage buildings take you back to the town’s 19th-century British and French colonial heritage. The area is graced with sculptures, gardens and mosaics. Everyone on your trip will appreciate how special this locale is.


6 – Lake Tekapo

lake tekapo
Credit: Wikicommons

Experience the famous Grand Traverse from Lake Tekapo. This award-winning flight lets you see sprawling mountain ranges and the best alpine scenery around. They have flight options that make each adventure unique.

Rent paddle boards or kayak on the lake. The tranquil banks of Lake Tekapo are perfect for paddling along. Going out in the morning or evening will give you a different experience, so try them both.

If you are looking for a break, the Tekapo Springs Day Spa offers hot springs with spectacular views of the mountains. This full-service spa has something for everyone to enhance and make the trip relaxing. Treat yourself.


7 – Cromwell

cromwell new zealand
Credit: Wikicommons

Cromwell’s history goes back to the 1800’s as a gold mining town. Because of the Clyde Dam power station that was completed in 1992, the original business district is now under the lake. Before the transformation, volunteers relocated as many buildings as possible to higher ground. The ones that could not be moved were reconstructed down to the last detail. Thanks to the people’s dedication, you can walk through the recreated historic district and appreciate buildings from 1860 to 1900. There is also a restored wooden motor boat launch from 1929 on the wharf.


Arrival! – Queenstown

queenstown to wellington road trip
Credit: Flickr

Queenstown is a resort town. You can easily spend days here in any season. For water sports in the summer, you can choose from whitewater rafting, jet boating, parasailing, fly fishing and more. There are endless mountain bike trails, and walking tracks. Bring your golf clubs or rent them to golf with a spectacular backdrop.

As the site of the first commercial bungy jump, Queenstown has become a destination for bungy enthusiasts from around the world. You are sure to experience new thrills at Aj Hackett Bungy. You will have a variety of adrenalin-filled choices with three bungy jumps, two high flying swings and a triple zip ride to choose from.

For winter sports, enjoy downhill skiing at one of four magnificent resorts. You can also cross- country ski across the pristine countryside.

In Queenstown and throughout your Wellington to Queenstown road trip, you will discover holiday home rentals to accommodate any sized group at Bachcare Holiday Homes. You can find spacious and relaxing homes to make your trip complete and worry-free. Bring your family and friends and let the road trip begin.


View our other “road trip” blog posts:

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