How to drive from Queenstown to Mount Cook

After all the amazing adventure activities in Queenstown, you will pass captivating vineyards, enchanting lakes and mountains, pausing for a spot of fishing before arriving at Mount Cook for skiing and unforgettable scenery.

Queenstown to Omarama
 164 km (103 miles)
Approximately 2 hours
Road Conditions: State Highway

The alpine resort of Queenstown is a rich, vibrant, picturesque and breath-taking little city. It is the New Zealand’s adventure capital and has nearly every kind of adventure available, from jet boating to bungy jumping, from skiing to paragliding. Not only is it a thrill seekers paradise, it is also a place of indulgence and luxury experiences, spa treatments and gourmet food and wine, against a backdrop of the Remarkables Mountain Ranges and the striking Lake Wakatipu.

As you pass through the Gibbston area, prepare to give into temptation and stop in at one of their amazing vineyards. After that, stop and check out the Roaring Meg power station in the Kawarau Gorge.

The restored town of Cromwell is a wealth of treasure for visitors, or you can take a detour to the old gold workings of Bannockburn. Lake Dunstan is a picturesque spot, perfect for a picnic lunch before you head into the magnificent Lindis Pass, a piece of paradise when there’s snow around.

You’ll know you’re in Omarama when you see the giant merino sheep statue. This area’s unique geography has made it a magnet for gliding enthusiasts. The north-westerly wind blows steadily to form the famous Northwest Arch, a thermal that can take the glider pilots to 10,000 metres. Scenic soaring can be arranged.

Omarama to Twizel
 30 km (19 miles)
Approximately 0.5 hour
Road Conditions: State Highway

Thanks to Omarama’s special geography, it has made the town a magnet for gliding enthusiasts. The north-westerly wind blows steadily to form the famous Northwest Arch, a thermal that can take the glider pilots to 10,000 metres. Scenic soaring can be arranged, golf and fishing are other entertainment options.

It is an easy drive to Twizel from here, and it’s a route that takes you through rural sheep farming country that’s fringed with breath-taking mountain ranges. If you fancy a spot of fishing, why not stop at the Ahuriri River, a spot famous for its rainbow and brown trout. You can also detour to the fascinating Paritea cliffs, which are constantly being exposed by the active Osler fault line.

Twizel is well known as a base for mountain climbing, biking, skiing, hiking, horse trekking and more. If you don’t have enough time to catch a few salmon of your own, head down to the local salmon farm who sells it smoked or fresh. Twizel is also a place where you have the opportunity to spot the rarest wading bird in the world, the Black Stilt.

Twizel to Mt Cook Village
 64 km (40 miles)
Approximately 0.75 hour
Road Conditions: State Highway

The route to Mt Cook clings to the sides of Lake Pukaki, an exquisite opaque turquoise lake that is caused by the fine, glacier-ground rock particles held in suspension. The surrounding landscape is a majestic mixture of farmland, snow peaked mountains and high country tussock.

The Aoraki Mount Cook National Park includes the highest peak in Australasia (Mt Cook – 3.755 metres). The region attracts mountain climbers, hikers and scenery fanatics.

Heli-skiing, heli hiking and aerial sightseeing provide visitors with wonderful memories. A variety of walking trails begins in or near Mount Cook Village most of them takes only a couple of hours. In the bar of the local hotel, huge windows provide a faultless view of Mt Cook