Driving the Scenic Road From Queenstown to Glenorchy

There are countless scenic roads in New Zealand, but for me the 45 km stretch of tarmac between Queenstown and Glenorchy stands out from the crowd. This picturesque road skirts the pristine shores of Lake Wakatipu and is surrounded by mountains — it’s stunning at any time of year but it really comes alive in winter.

Driving from Queenstown to Glenorchy

It’s best to treat this drive as a sightseeing experience and take it slow. There a heaps of places to stop along the way, including simple roadside viewpoints and popular hiking trails. If you were in a hurry and didn’t stop along the way it’d take around 45 minutes to drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy.

One of the best places to stop between Queenstown and Glenorchy is Bob’s Cove. It’s a short hike a stunning beach, but if you have the time you should climb up to the nearby lookout for an incredible view.

Bob’s Cove

I made lots of other stops while driving between Queenstown and Glenorchy. There are lots of places to pull over and admire the views. I even saw a waterfall – I can’t remember where exactly along the road it was but keep an eye out for it. This area is quite green compared with the barren landscapes usually found around Queenstown.

There were a few times that I wished there was access down to the water’s edge. There are some nice little beaches and coves but most of them are impossible (or very difficult) to access.


This tiny town nestled amongst mountains makes for a great spot to eat lunch or grab a coffee. There’s not much going on in town but there are a few shops and cafes. You can ride on a jet boat, go fishing or continue your scenic drive. I continued on to Paradise and it was another nice drive. You’ll also pass through Glenorchy on the way to the start of the Routeburn Track – I haven’t done the whole thing yet but I did a short hike on it a little while back and it left me wanting more.

The drive between Queenstown and Glenorchy is one of the highlights of a trip to this part of New Zealand. Don’t miss it if you want to see some awesome views from the comfort of your car.

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Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who has just returned home after 6 years abroad. Join me as I see as much of the South Island as I can.

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