The last time I flew into Queenstown I completely bypassed the popular tourist mecca (ok, I lie, I did stop off at Fergburger on my way back to the airport) and headed straight to Wanaka for four days of laid-back lakeside fun. If you're keen to head south but you don't want do deal with the Queenstown crowds, check out my itinerary below and head to the winter wonderland of Wanaka!
I did this trip in July, so it was cold but the snow hadn't started falling yet - so this itinerary is perfect for both summer or winter. Of course, if you do go in Winter, you're definitely going to want to check out our epic SKI4FREE offer, where you can get up to SIX days of free skiing at Treble Cone with any JUCY car hire. Keep an eye on our facebook page for info on the 2017 season!
- Arrive in Queenstown - the tourist gateway of NZ's South Island.
- Pick up your car from the JUCY branch - we are located in the airport so this is super easy!
- Head to Wanaka - approximately one hour drive over the spectacular Crown Range
- Accommodation suggestions, or of course there are some amazing and well-equipped campgrounds with epic views. I recommend Edgewater Resort if you want a roof over your head, or Glendhu Bay campsite if you're feeling adventurous.
- If it's a Thursday make sure you check out the Farmer's Markets right in the middle of town.
- Dinner - treat yourself! After a long day of driving head to Kika restaurant for a delicious modern Italian meal
- Breakfast at Urban Grind - best coffee in town!
- Head to Makarora and take a helicopter ride with Wilkin River Jets. This family owned and operated business have been in Makarora for years and know the area so well. They took us deep into Mt Aspiring National Park where we had lunch at a hut and took lots of photos.
- After your helicopter ride, or instead of if you're not feeling up to it, head to the Blue Pools - these stunning waters are a natural beauty and look amazing in the right light.
- Stop at as many photo stops as you can on the way back! This drive is amazing and you want to take it all in! Don't forget to do the #JUCYwave to all the JUCY vans you pass!
- Dinner - takeaways and beers on the lakefront at Bremner Bay as you watch the stunning sunset.
- Breakfast at Relishes Cafe
- Kayaking and/or paddleboarding at Paddle Wanaka - these guys were so amazing! We kayaked all over the lake, and they even brought hot coffee in themos flasks for us to enjoy while we were out on the water!
- Lunch at Federal Diner - feast on the best food in town!
- It's time to get the legs pumping! Either do the Diamond Lakes Walk or the Mt Iron Walk
- Dinner at Amigos Mexican Grill
- Home time! Enjoy your drive home over the Crown Range and don't forget to pick up a delicious Fergburger on your way home!