Queenstown to Wānaka: 5 Places to visit along the way

emilysintransitJanuary 19, 2022

Queenstown is beautiful, Wānaka is gorgeous, but the journey between the two is just as pretty. The trip should only take about an hour and 15 minutes but with plenty of beautiful spots along the way, make sure you give yourself lots of time to enjoy the ride. Here are 5 must-do activities on your drive from Queenstown to Wanaka.

Lake Hayes

Your first stop is only 10 minutes from the Queenstown airport, the beautiful Lake Hayes surrounded by stunning mountains. You can either make this a quick stop just to admire the area or do the 8km loop walk, which will take about 2-3 hours.

Crown Range Lookout

There are two wayThere are two ways to get to Wanaka from Queenstown; you can either via Cromwell or over the Crown Range. We decided to go the Crown Range route, and there are parts of the road that require you to take care, but the views from the top are incredible.

If you’re planning on going between May and September make sure you’re prepared to drive in snowy winter conditions.

Cadrona Hotel

Not only is the Cadrona Hotel an excellent spot for a photo, but it’s also an excellent place to stop for a meal. The hotel has plenty of seating and a beautiful outdoor garden area. The food is delicious and is the perfect spot to take a break from driving.

If you want to spend time in the area, you can even stay at the hotel, which has 16 rooms available.

Cadorna Distillery

Just down the road from the Cadorna Hotel is the Cadorna Distillery. This award-winning distillery has only been open since 2015 and produces Single Malt Whisky, Gin, Vodka and Liqueurs.

Our original intention was just to stop by and have a quick look, but when we found out they were doing a distillery tour, it only cost $25 and involved a tasting at the end, we decided to give it a go.

The tour was really interesting and well worth it. Just be warned that you’ll probably want to take a bottle after tasting the spirits because they are all incredible.

Wānaka Lavender Farm

The final stop before you make it into Wanaka’s main centre is the Wānaka Lavender Farm. Wander through the beautiful row of lavender, say hi to the farm animal and explore the shop filled with every kind of lavender product you can think of. After you’ve finished looking around, take a seat in the café and enjoy a cup of tea or other sweet treats.

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