Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Riding New Zealand - Queenstown to Wanaka

All roads from Queenstown are superb motorcycling roads no matter which direction you travel in. It's hard to go wrong here really. Leaving Queenstown and heading out to Arrowtown via the Gorge Rd is a great start, just have to watch slow moving tourist traffic as the shotover jet, canyon swing and white water rafting is conducted up this road. The pic below shows the Gorge Rd from the Gondola.
Its a short 20km trip to Arrowtown through the country side with mostly straight bits with a few sweeping bends. Arrowtown is a quiet but beautiful little place on the banks of the arrow river.
This was the Ford of Bruthien in the Fellowship of the Ring

Leaving Arrowtown we head south towards the main Highway between Queenstown and Cromwell. Its no far till you turn off onto the Crown Range Rd which climbs dramatically winding its way up into the mountains towards Cardrona Ski fields.
The road here is pretty good but can have a bit of slow moving traffic on it. Also quite a bit of grit on the lower end of the road. There are spectacular lookouts points along here as well. You can see the road rises very quickly here.

Looking out towards Queenstown

After climbing up over the range the road steadily winds its way down through the valley to Cardrona. This would be superb riding in warm weather After this the road follows the valley floor till it comes down to Wanaka on the Lake shore.
Above - Cardrona township
Above - Wanaka

At around 80kms this is a short but brilliant ride, just need to be careful of grit and slow moving vehicles. You can see the elevation change on the map below the steep climb is 700m in 11kms.


  1. What a marvelous scenery. Looks like there were not many travelers around. Those roads definitely need to be explored by bike (the motorized kind of course).

  2. Staying in Wanaka one of the nights rather than Queenstown. Hope the grit is sweep away more before I get there. Lewis Pass to the north had alot of grit last time I was there which would make it rather tricky on a bike.

  3. @Iron Chef - There was a bit of grit on the road and most of it was on the bottom end of the road near the decline down from the top of the pass down to the main hwy towards queenstown. Hopefully by the time you get there most of that should be gone by then.

  4. Oh and fuel in NZ is pretty pricey with regular unleaded being $2.13 a litre. Yikes