Transportation - Get In
Queenstown Airport (IATA: ZQN) is the country's 4th busiest airport by passenger numbers. It is served by Air New Zealand, Jetstar, Qantas and Virgin Australia. There are direct flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbaneand Gold Coast in Australia, and from Auckland, Wellington andChristchurch in New Zealand. The frequency of flights varies seasonally, with the biggest number during the winter ski season. Typically, flying to Queenstown is more expensive than to other South Island destinations from Australia.
Queenstown Airport is known for its spectacular approach, the snow-covered mountains of the Southern Alps surround it on four sides and there is a complicated path to the runway. Low cloud and cold weather can close the runway, especially in winter, resulting in cancelled flights; however new precision approach equipment has considerably reduced this.
Queenstown Airport also provides for private jets and other aircraft, and there is a huge number of helicopter take-offs and landings each day. Scenic flights and heli-skiing are a popular attraction for the region.
From the airport, the cheapest way into town is on the Connectabus service 11/12, which runs every 20 minutes (check that it's going straight into town and not via Arrowtown) and this costs $8 one way - pay the driver when boarding (Jan 2014). Taxis into town cost about $30-40 while shared shuttle vans work out almost as cheap as the bus if you can get a big enough group together and these will take you straight to your accommodation.
Daily services from Christchurch, Dunedin, Invercargill, Te Anau, Wanakaand the West Coast (Fox Glacier, Franz Josef and Greymouth) .
National bus operator InterCity Coachlines and Newmans Coach Linesprovide daily services in and out of Queenstown with connections throughout the South Island. Fares start from just $1 and can be purchased on-line or via numerous local ticketing agents including the i-SITE information network. Services arrive and depart from the Athol Street car park located in the main retail shopping area.
National sightseeing tour operator GreatSights New Zealand has daily tour options to Queenstown from Christchurch via Mt Cook and operates daily services to the West Coast including (Fox Glacier Franz Josef and Greymouth).
There are also a number of smaller shuttle operators who connect to and from Queenstown including 'Atomic Shuttles' and 'nakedbus.com'.Connectabus, the local Queenstown transport provider, also has 2 return trips to Wanaka a day.
Many international tour companies carry holidaymakers into Queenstown by coach.
Queenstown is 6 hours non-stop from Christchurch via the Mackenzie Country and the Lindis Pass, so allow a full day driving. The drive is spectacular, through the diverse countryside of New Zealand's South Island, with vast plains, rolling hills, multicoloured lakes and mountain passes. The Lindis Pass does occasionally closes in winter due to snow; a slightly less scenic detour via Oamaru and Alexandra will add 2–4 hours to your journey.
Major international and all national rental car and camper van companies have offices in Queenstown.
The Taieri Gorge Railway scenic tourist train seasonally operates to Pukerangi and Middlemarch, with a coach connection for the remaining distance to Queenstown.
Transportation - Get Around
The Queenstown town centre itself is small enough to walk around. Parking is at a premium and can be hard to find during the day. For further distances a bus or car is necessary.
There are a number of tour operators to be found in the CBD of Queenstown. Transport from Queenstown's CBD to adventure activities is often part of the tour package. Some operators may pick up from your tourist accommodation.
A number of boat tours depart from the Queenstown Wharf at the bottom of the Mall - including the historic steamship TSS Earnslaw, affectionately known as the "Lady of the Lake".
There is also a water taxi service.
Queenstown has a small local bus service operated by Connectabus . There are three routes - the most useful for tourists being services 10/11 which run every 30 minutes to the airport and the Remarkables Park shopping centre and alternate services continue to Arrowtown. Fares are expensive eg, $6 single/$10 return from the airport to Queenstown, or $13 for a network day pass. All buses stop on Camp Street outside the O'Connell shopping mall.
A door to door Night Bus now operates in the weekends from in front of O'Connell shopping mall to Frankton, Arrowtown and Kelvin Heights. The service runs every hour on the hour 24:00-05:00 and provides an economical alternative to taxis.
Renting or buying a vehicle is convenient for getting around town, and to nearby areas. Many budget and premium car rentals provide services in Queenstown.