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Getting Around Queenstown in a Rental Car

Queenstown driving tips

Located in the South Island on Lake Wakatipu, the incredibly popular town of Queenstown is a top destination to visit in New Zealand. With so much to see and do, we know it can be a little overwhelming for you at first. If you are planning to explore this amazing place with a rental car, here is your complete quick guide to Queenstown!

Where to Drive Your Rental Car in Queenstown

  • Central Queenstown: Visit the city centre of Queenstown to find all the shops, restaurants and bars. Take a stroll in the city's lakeside gardens while you're in town.
  • Frankton: As the location of Queenstown Airport, most visitors will pass through Frankton. There are plenty of accommodation options in the region.
  • Arrowtown: Just north of Queenstown, visit the delightful, historic settlement of Arrowtown. Follow the hiking trails alongside the river and stop in at the unique eateries.
  • Arthur's Point: This region also has some unique holiday homes for travellers. It is also the home of the famous Shotover Jet.
  • Kelvin Heights: With sweeping views of Lake Wakatipu and a world-renowned golf course, it isn't difficult to see why many visitors stop by Kelvin Heights.

Driving Tips in Queenstown

  • Many tourists visit the Queenstown Lakes District—especially over the holidays. So keep your cool and just be patient. Also, always leave room for cyclists and allow extra time for your trip.
  • Always keep an eye out for road signs.
  • On open roads and highways the travelling speed is 100 km/h unless otherwise stated.
  • Remember to keep to the left hand side of the road in New Zealand.
  • You are not permitted to use your mobile phone while driving.
  • The highways surrounding Queenstown can be challenging, with tight bends and corners. Note that from April to October, ice and snow can affect the roads.
  • The weather can change suddenly. If you are heading to the mountains, it is best to check the weather forecast and highway conditions before you get on the road.
  • Read more about the local road rules in New Zealand here.

Parking in Queenstown

Usually, parking in the town centre is priced between $1-$2 per hour. However, take note that the town's parking spaces are filled up swiftly so you may want to arrive early morning or early evening to get a parking space. If you are driving a large campervan, park your camper at the Boundary Street. Illegal parking fees cost between $40-$60.

Toll Roads in Queenstown

There are no toll roads around Queenstown. In fact, there are not too many toll roads in New Zealand - only three. You will only encounter toll roads if you are travelling north. These are the Northern Gateway Toll Road, the Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road and the Takitimu Drive Toll Road.

Driving Distances

  • Queenstown to Wanaka: 1h 04mins
  • Queenstown to Lake Tekapo: 3hrs
  • Queenstown to Mount Cook: 3hrs
  • Queenstown to Dunedin: 3hrs 33 mins
  • Queenstown to Milford Sound: 4hrs 15mins
  • Queenstown to Christchurch: 5hrs 55mins


Refuel your rental car to avoid additional charges. Here are a few centrally located petrol stations in Queenstown.

  • Z Energy Limited — 846 Frankton Rd, Frankton, Queenstown
  • Mobil Queenstown — 1 McBride St Queenstown
  • Shell Queenstown — 846 Frankton Rd Frankton Queenstown
  • Caltex Queenstown — Gorge Rd Queenstown
  • Glenorchy Motors — Mull St Glenorchy Queenstown
It's time to treat yourself! Make sure you don't miss the many attractions in Queenstown such as Skyline Gondola, The Remarkables, Lake Wakatipu, Milford Sound, the Queenstown Garden, Kiwi Birdlife Park, Otago Central, Coronot Peak and Kawarau Suspension Bridge. If you love hiking, climbing the Queenstown Hill is a must.

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