Queenstown to Wanaka
While we were staying with friends in Queenstown, we were tempted to stay “at home” and not do much at all. There is, however, so much to see in this region of New Zealand, that we didn’t want to let any exploration time go to waste. We managed to find a good balance between downtime with our new friends, and time outdoors. We thoroughly enjoyed the views from the Skyline Gondola and Luge, our happy hour date in the city center, the scenic drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy, and our explorations of charming Arrowtown. Before our time in Queenstown came to an end, we knew we wanted to take a drive to Wanaka.
There are two ways to drive between Queenstown and Wanaka, and this one is the most memorable. The Crown Range lies between Queenstown and Wanaka. The road over the range, known as the Crown Range Road, is the highest main road in New Zealand. It reaches an altitude of 1121 metres, which does bring challenges. In winter, the road is often covered in snow and ice, making for very difficult driving conditions. This route, although steep goes via the small settlement of Cardrona.
While the Crown Range Road is a shorter distance to journey between Queenstown and Wanaka, travel time is longer and the road is much more challenging than the usual route through Cromwell. You should also allow extra time to stop and admire the massive views.
We stopped along the way to make the most of the view points. It is amazing how few people we saw on the roads. It was almost as though we had this whole island to ourselves!
We stopped at the Cardrona Bra Fence along our way.
Read more about this interesting, and often controversal, tourist attraction HERE.
Cardrona is a small settlement in the Cardrona Valley, on New Zealand’s South Island. It lies on the Crown Range Road, a steep, mountainous route between Queenstown and Wanaka. To the west, Cardrona Alpine Resort has downhill ski runs and terrain parks. On the valley’s east side are Snow Farm NZ’s cross-country ski trails. The 1860s clapboard Cardrona Hotel, built during the gold-rush era, sits in the hamlet’s centre.
The School House Art Gallery was closed while we were there, but I peered inside the window to take this pictures. This tiny little settlement looked more like a movie set that a real place.
Our Next Stop: Wanaka