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Getting from Dunedin to Queenstown (and return)

Dunedin (old Gaelic for Edinburgh) is the second largest city on the South Island of New Zealand. It is a town proud of its Scots heritage and where you can walk on the steepest street in the world – Baldwin Street.

Queenstown , also located on the South Island, offers year round attractions for travelers, as well as super panoramic views. Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables are the best known places to visit outside of the town.

If you plan to travel between Dunedin and Queenstown (and the other way around), it’s a good idea to know which means of transportation are available and how much the journey would cost.

Quick summary

If you are looking for a cheap way to travel from Dunedin to Queenstown, then take the bus. Single fares start at NZ$21* . But if you want a scenic ride, then take the tourist train from Dunedin to Pukerangi, followed by a connecting minibus.

Flights from Dunedin (airport code: DUD) to Queenstown

Dunedin International Airport (DUD) serves both domestic and international flights and is located about 22 km from the city. It is the largest airport on the South Island.

Queenstown Airport (ZQN) serves mostly domestic flights during the non peak season, while during the ski season it gets quite a lot of international flights.

There aren’t any direct flights from Dunedin to Queenstown. New Zealand offers a connecting flight through Christchurch and the single fares start at NZ$375, regardless of when you plan to fly.

Buses from Dunedin to Queenstown

The following companies run direct services between Dunedin and Queenstown:

  • InterCity Coachlines . There is a departure per day, at 1:55 p.m. from Dunedin and at 7:45 a.m. from Queenstown. The travel time is 4h 20 min and the single fare starts at NZ$21.
  • Atomic Shuttles . There is a departure per day, at 10 a.m. from Dunedin and at 3 p.m. from Queenstown. The travel time is 4h 30 min and the single fare is NZ$35.

>>read more about Bus travel in New Zealand

Trains and buses from Dunedin to Queenstown

The most scenic way to travel from Dunedin to Queenstown is by the Taieri Gorge Railway ‘Track & Trail’ , followed by a minibus connection. The Taieri is a preserved railway which runs daily year-round tourist trains through spectacular scenery, on part of the former Dunedin-Cromwell branch railway. The train terminates at Pukerangi (58km from Dunedin) and from there you take the minibus to Queenstown.

The train leaves Dunedin train station daily at 12:30 p.m. (May to September) and 2:30 p.m. (October to April). The total travel time is 6 h 15 min.
The combined ticket is NZ$115 for an adult and NZ$58 for a child.

>>read more about Train travel in New Zealand

Driving from Dunedin to Queenstown

You can rent a car and drive the 282 km between Dunedin and Queenstown in about 3h 40 min. You have the freedom to travel at your own pace, stopping wherever you want and don’t need to relay on the bus schedule either.

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