Getting from Wellington to Queenstown (and return)
Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and most likely where you’ll arrive if you fly from abroad. The city boasts stunning sceneries, thanks to being surrounded by hills and having a rugged coastline.
But many travelers looking for adventure, extreme sports and excellent wines travel to Queenstown to enjoy all of those and many more. That’s why it’s important to know what means of travel are available between the two cities and how much it costs to travel.
The quickest and cheapest way to travel from Wellington to Queenstown is by air. The flight time is about 1 ½ h and the single ticket starts at NZ$89*.
Flights from Wellington (airport code: WLG) to Queenstown
Wellington International Airport (WLG) is located in a suburb of the city and is the secondary hub and focus city for Air New Zealand. It is the third busiest airport in the country and , aside from offering domestic flights, it also links New Zealand to Australia and Fiji.
Queenstown Airport (ZQN) offers mostly domestic flights. During the ski season, the airport gets plenty of seasonal international flights.
Direct flights between the two cities are operated by Air New Zealand and JetStar Airways (from late December). The flight time is 1h 25 min.
Should you need to travel between the two cities in late December 2011, then you can grab a flight for just NZ$89 per person one way from JetStar Airways . Before late December, only Air New Zealand flights are available but they start at over NZ$200. Return flights start at NZ$240 on JetStar Airways.
For early March 2012, expect to pay from NZ$93 per person one way on JetStar Airways.
>>read more about Cheap flights to Wellington
Overland from Welling to Queenstown
Should you plan to travel overland between the two cities, then you need to follow the steps:
Step 1: Wellington to Christchurch by ferry and Coastal Pacific Train or bus: the most comfortable and scenic way to travel between Wellington and Christchurch is by Interislander ferry and the connecting Coastal Pacific. There are daily departures at 8:25 a.m. from the ferry terminal in Wellington and you’ll get to Christchurch after 10 hours.
If you need to travel from Christchurch to Wellington, the trains departs Christchurch daily at 7 a.m and arrives in Wellington at 4:25 p.m. the same day.
The combined one way ticket costs NZ$130 per person. Tickets can be bought from here.
There is another way to travel overland from Welling to Christchurch: by ferry and bus.
The the Interislander ferry from Wellington to Picton. There are five sailings per day and the crossing time is 3 hours. Single tickets start at NZ$65 for an adult.
Then the InterCity Coachlines or Newmans Coach Lines bus from Picton to Christchurch. There are two departures (from each company) a day and the bus ride takes about 5 ½ h. Single fare starts at NZ$31.
Step 2: Christchurch to Queenstown by bus: this route is serviced by InterCity Coachlines and Newmans Coach Lines . Each company offers three departures per day and the travel time is between 8 h and 11 h , depending on the type of bus. Fares start at NZ$55 per person, one way (on the fast bus) and they vary according to season.
Driving from Wellington to Queenstown
You can rent a car and drive between Wellington and Queenstown. But since you need to get from one island to the other, the route also includes the ferry crossing. The ferry route is run by Interislander.
The total travel distance is 938 km and it can be covered in about 14 h 30 min. Part of the journey you’ll be driving right by the coastline, which means you’ll be rewarded with superb views.
Note:* price valid at the time the article was written