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Queenstown in a Rental Car

map of new zealand highlighting queenstown town

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! 

A quick guide to Queenstown

  • Adventure capital: If you are looking for thrills, Queenstown has a lot to offer. You can ride the Skyline Gondola if you want to enjoy the best views in town or take a scenic flight for more  awe-inspiring sights. The town is home to some of New Zealand's premier golf courses such as The Hills and Millbrook.
  • Best party town: Want to have fun, relax and enjoy awesome music? Queenstown is also known as the party capital of New Zealand with many awesome bars and clubs.
  •  NZ's favourite four season destination: Summer is an ideal time to visit Queenstown if you like outdoor activities. But wintertime can be fun too. You can try night skiing under the stars, take a scenic chairlift ride or see stunning views of Mount Cook.
  • Cheap as Chips: Want to get the best of Queenstown even if you are on a budget? Just follow our top 5 list of free and cheap guide and you will be fine.

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.


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.

Are there 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

Returning your rental car

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

Unmissable attractions

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. Find out more Queenstown attractions here