4 day Queenstown and Wanaka Short Break
South Island Self Drive from Queenstown to Queenstown
New Zealand tour itinerary name and information

4 day Queenstown and Wanaka Short Break

Enjoy a short break to the Southern Lakes of Queenstown and Wanaka, with the flexibility to customise this tour to your interests. Did we mention it also gives you 4 star hotels at a 3 star price tag? Treat yourself with a little bit of luxury.


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Tour summary and feature

South Island Self Drive

This suggested tour costs from NZD$720 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Queenstown, finishes in Queenstown

4 days/3 nights

Hotel 4 star

 Rental car insurance included: Fully inclusive with variable excess/deductible

 Rental car inclusions: GPS navigation, unlimited kms, airport/ferry terminal fees, additional drivers

 Viewed 19 times in the last 7 days

Tour at a glance

At a glance - 4 day Queenstown and Wanaka Short Break

Day 1: Welcome to the 'Adventure Capital' of Queenstown. Accommodation: Scenic Suites Queenstown

Day 2: Day in Queenstown. Accommodation: Scenic Suites Queenstown

Day 3: Take a trip to Wanaka today. Accommodation: Edgewater
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 60 kms / 38 miles : 0.9 hours

Day 4: Today you'll depart Wanaka and head to Queenstown before heading home.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 68 kms / 42 miles : 1.1 hours

Tour full itinerary

Detailed itinerary: 4 day tour starting in Queenstown

Day 1 - Welcome to the 'Adventure Capital' of Queenstown

4 day Queenstown and Wanaka Short Break - Day 1
Welcome to Queenstown

Renowned for its adrenaline inducing activities Queenstown is synonymous with adventure. Parked on the shores of Lake Wakatipu this small alpine town is nestled below soaring vistas of The Remarkables Mountain Range. While arguably the brightest gem in New Zealand’s crown, Queenstown offers far more than an action-packed getaway. Spend time on the Gibbston valley wine trail and end with a meal at Michelin star chef Josh Emett’s restaurant, Rata. Take a trip down memory lane on a 100 year old steamship the TSS Earnslaw. Soak in the scenery on your walk around the lake, or venture further afield into Fiordland National Park. Head over the hill to resort town Wanaka, or re-live scenes from Lord Of The Rings by four wheel drive. But - if you really do want that rush - head out on the Shotover Jet, dive off the Nevis Bungy, freefall on the Canyon swing or Zip line the Gondola. Just be sure it's done on an empty stomach  – don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Collect your rental car

This tour can be priced with any of the rental cars available in our fantastic range, from economy hatchbacks to prestige saloons and SUV's.

Queenstown Skyline Gondola Ride

Hop aboard the Skyline Gondola - the steepest cable car lift in the Southern hemisphere! From which you can take in the awe-inspiring views of this spectacular landscape. Sit back and relax as you enjoy panoramic views of The Remarkables, Walter Peak, Cecil Peak, Coronet Peak and the magnificent Lake Wakatipu.

Your accommodation: Scenic Suites Queenstown

Scenic Suites Queenstown offers guests exquisite style, comfort and spectacular views over Lake Wakatipu and the Southern Alps. The hotel prides itself on its four star hospitality that will make your stay in Queenstown even more memorable.

Day 2 - Day in Queenstown

4 day Queenstown and Wanaka Short Break - Day 2
Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Although celebrated as New Zealand's ‘adventure capital’ Queenstown offers far more than a fast paced action-packed holiday. Settled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath a soaring panorama of the Remarkables Mountain Range, this alpine town is surrounded by a plethora of historic, gastronomic and scenic wonders.
Head down the Gibbston Valley wine trail to sample some of the region’s best Pinot or catch a ride on the 100 year old Steamship - the TSS Earnslaw -  to Walter Peak Station for dinner and a farm tour. Browse the waterfront cafes and have lunch at Michelin star chef Josh Emett's ‘Rata.’ Check out nearby historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown.
Take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views. Venture further afield into the Fiordland National Park or head over the Crown Range to Wanaka. Drive through Lord Of The Rings country - or for the really fanatic, jump aboard one of many dedicated LOTR tours. And after all of that - if you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Nevis Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or Heli-ski.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - TSS Earnslaw cruise and Walter Peak Farm tour including gourmet BBQ lunch

Enjoy a quintessential Kiwi experience - a delicious barbeque lunch and farm tour in a stunning lakeside setting. First take a scenic cruise from Queenstown to Walter Peak High Country Farm on board the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw - one of the last remaining fully functional coal-fired passenger ships in the southern hemisphere. The vintage steamship was originally built in Dunedin and once completed it was dismantled, shipped by rail to Kingston and then reassembled before being launched onto the lake where it has been transporting goods and passengers since 1912.

Disembark and take in the picturesque shores of the Station. Relax on the lakeside terrace at the Colonel's Homestead Restaurant and savour the aromas of the best local produce being cooked on the grill. The seasonal menu has plenty to choose from - salads, vegetables and succulent meat. If you're vegetarian, you will be well catered for also. Finish your meal with a scrumptious dessert before joining an entertaining farm demonstration or exploring the beautiful lakeside gardens.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Shotover Jet Canyon Jet Boat Ride

Shotover Jet is the only company permitted to operate in the Shotover River Canyons. It's a thrilling ride! Skim past rocky outcrops at close range in your Shotover Jet 'Big Red', as you twist and turn through the narrow canyons at breathtaking speeds. And a major highlight - hold tight for the world-famous Shotover Jet full 360-degree spins!

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Appellation Private Boutique Wine Tour

For the more discerning wine lover, or simply people who prefer the flexibility of a private tour. Join one of Appellation's senior wine guides on a wine tasting journey to some of New Zealand's most memorable vineyards, at your own pace. Your guides local knowledge and familiarity with the vineyards of Central Otago is at your disposal for an intimate half day wine experience in a thriving wine region. Packages are tailor made for you, and you are encouraged to advise of any varietal or vineyard preferences when booking.

The private boutique wine tour includes tastings at four vineyards, typically two in the Gibbston Valley/Queenstown region and two in the Bannockburn/Cromwell region. You'll enjoy a delightful platter lunch at Carrick Winery with a glass of premium matched wine. You'll also explore the history and scenery of the region with a stroll through Old Cromwell Town and a stunning drive through the Kawarau Gorge. Tours last approximately 5 hours.

Your accommodation: Scenic Suites Queenstown

Scenic Suites Queenstown offers guests exquisite style, comfort and spectacular views over Lake Wakatipu and the Southern Alps. The hotel prides itself on its four star hospitality that will make your stay in Queenstown even more memorable.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3 - Take a trip to Wanaka today

4 day Queenstown and Wanaka Short Break - Day 3
Queenstown to Wanaka

Leaving Queenstown you'll drive over New Zealand's highest sealed road, the Crown Range before arriving into the resort town of Wanaka.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Puzzling World Great Maze and Illusion Rooms

Puzzling World is a world unique attraction specialising in puzzling eccentricity. For over 35 years this remarkable business has entertained and amazed visitors of all ages. Offering the world's first "modern-styled" Great Maze, incredible Illusion Rooms, a Puzzle Centre/Cafe and eccentric architecture and oddities. Each remarkable illusion room is an illusion in its own right. On entering you pass through the Hologram Hall. As there is nothing quite like this in the world we can only assure you that you will find the collection of amazing 3-D holograms fascinating! Carry on into the Ames Forced Perspective Room. The technique of this illusion was used in The Lord of the Rings film to create tall people and little people. Move on into the Hall of Following Faces illusion room where 168 giant models of famous faces seem to turn and follow you around the room. This illusion room offers visitors a world unique encounter of being followed left and right, up and down by some very illustrious company. The newest room, the Sculptillusion Room is themed around an illusionary sculpture garden, the gallery invites visitors to wander around the various larger-than-life exhibits that showcase visual trickery at its best. Featuring over 20 large sculptures, artworks and displays the building itself offers illusionary aspects within its design. From Living Walls, wave ceilings, stone carpet and hanging waterfalls the visitor is met with stunning creations from some of NZ's finest artists. All of this is located in the heart of the breathtaking Southern Lakes region of the South Island of New Zealand, set amongst 7 acres of rolling lawns, trees and gardens.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Lake Wanaka Cruise and Island Nature Walk

Lying close to the centre of Lake Wanaka is Mou Waho Island Nature Reserve. A unique glacial remnant of the last ice age, the island is also the historic site of early shipbuilding and used to be a stopping place for the steamers and log rafts that once plied the lake. Accessible from Wanaka by a 35-minute boat cruise, the landing is on the eastern side of the island where the remnants of the early settlement remain; a stone wharf and a hut. A well-formed track leads from the landing and climbs steadily through native bush to near the top of Tyrwhitt Peak. Just before the top, we see Arethusa Pool, a small lake on the island with small islands in it - very intriguing! From the top, we have a sweeping 360-degree view of Lake Wanaka, its surrounding mountains and valleys, and below Arethusa Pool. The perfect spot to stop for tea or coffee. Going back down the track gives us more time to take in our surroundings, listening to and watching the lively bird-life, and just enjoying this unique wildlife reserve. You will feel well rewarded as you re-join the boat for the cruise back to Wanaka. Total cruise time is 1.5 hours. The trip runs subject to weather and lake conditions. Depending on the planting season, you can help The Reforestation of Mou Waho by planting a tree.

Lake Wanaka Happy Hour Cruise

Leaving from the Wanaka lakefront, take a gentle cruise around picturesque Lake Wanaka while relaxing with a glass of local wine or beer and a selection of cheeses. The cruise is fully licensed so further drinks can be purchased on board.
The cruise takes you toward the 'Wanaka Tree' before tracking up to Waterfall Creek and Ruby Island. You then head across to Stevensons Peninsula before returning via Beacon Point and Eely Point.

Your accommodation: Edgewater

Edgewater is Wanaka's leading hotel located right on the edge of Lake Wanaka. A short stroll to the town centres shops, cafes and restaurants and close to many walking trails the resort is ideal to explore this wonderful Alpine setting.

Meals included: Breakfast

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 60 kms / 38 miles : 0.9 hours

Day 4 - Today you'll depart Wanaka and head to Queenstown before heading home

4 day Queenstown and Wanaka Short Break - Day 4
Wanaka to Queenstown

Leaving Wanaka you head over New Zealand's highest sealed road, Crown Range Road before dropping into Queenstown. This drive should be planned as a whole day to really enjoy the scenery and to allow time to explore the walks and many stops en route, including the Cardrona Distillery, Arrowtown and the wineries in the Gibbston Valley.

Depart Queenstown today

Explore more of Queenstown before dropping your rental car at the airport depot and continuing your onward journey.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 68 kms / 42 miles : 1.1 hours

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