The drive from Wanaka to Queenstown is only 112 km if you choose Highway 6 and according to google maps, should only take around 1 hour and 20 minutes. For us however, the drive took around 3,5 hours, because we had to stop several times and admire the surroundings and the views.
The drive takes you along beautiful country scenes, with mountains on both sides of the road and the Kawarau Gorge to your left. We stopped off at Goldfields Mining Centre. They a nice restaurant and wine bar that offers wine tastings to customers, a jewellery shop and gift shop. They also offer tours of the old gold mines, gold panning and jet boating tours. If you have the time and the money, I’d strongly suggest you stop in here for lunch or dinner, the menu looked very nice and so did the wine collection! And I would have liked to take a tour of the old mining tunnels too, but we were short on time and money, so we had to give it a miss.
As we drove further, we drove past one winery after another and it was hard not to stop at them for wine tastings, I wanted to so badly, they looked so lovely. If we ever go back to New Zealand, I would definitely like to schedule in some time and money for wine tastings at all these beautiful vineyards. We did however stop off at AJ Hackett Bungy, the inventors of Bungy Jumping as we know it today, not to jump but just to have a look. They have built quite an impressive emporium over the last few decades by the Kawarau Gorge Bridge, which was the first Bungy spot in the world, at 43m high above the turquoise river, it makes for quite a sight! Personally I wouldn’t spend that much money on something that will only last you about 5 seconds – but each to their own. Never the less, it’s still impressive to see and interesting history to the company too.
Well in Queenstown, we parked our van up a bit further from the city centre and walked along the lake back in to town and wandered around for a bit. Queenstown and it’s surroundings really is a beautiful town with the lake and all the mountains. It’s considered as the party capital on New Zealand and it’s easy to see why, it’s full of bars, clubs, restaurants and young back packers wherever you look. It offers all sorts of adrenaline driven activities from downhill mountain biking in the summer and all sorts of skiing and snowboarding in the winter to sky diving. It’s definitely a place where you can end up spending some serious money. You could say that it’s the southern hemisphere alps.
We stayed at a really lovely little DOC site about 30 min drive outside of town by Lake Wakatipu.