Queenstown has an international airport ( served by Qantas, Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia and Jetstar. There are connecting flights from all New Zealand's major centres and, during the ski season, direct flights daily from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in Australia. In summer this reduces to three times a week from Sydney. Typically, flying to Queenstown is more expensive than to other South Island destinations from Australia.
Queenstown airport is known for its spectacular approach, the snow-covered mountains of New Zealand's Southern Alps surround it on four sides and there is a complicated path to the runway. Low cloud and cold weather can close the runway, especially in winter, resulting in cancelled flights; however new precision approach equipment has considerably reduced this.
Queenstown airport also provides for private jets and other aircraft, and there is a huge number of helicopter take-offs and landings each day. Scenic flights and heli-skiing are a popular attraction for the region.
From the airport, the cheapest way into town is on the Connectabus service 11/12, which runs every 20 minutes (check that it's going straight into town and not via Arrowtown) and this costs $8 one way - pay the driver when boarding (Jan 2014). Taxis into town cost about $23-28 while shared shuttle vans work out almost as cheap as the bus if you can get a big enough group together and these will take you straight to your accommodation.
National bus operator InterCity Coachlines and Newmans Coach Lines provide daily services in and out of Queenstown with connections throughout the South Island. Fares start from just $1 and can be purchased on-line or via numerous local ticketing agents including the i-SITE information network. Services arrive and depart from the Athol Street car park located in the main retail shopping area.
National sightseeing tour operator GreatSights New Zealand has daily tour options to Queenstown from Christchurch via Mt Cook and operates daily services to the West Coast including (Fox Glacier Franz Josef and Greymouth.
There are also a number of smaller shuttle operators who connect to and from Queenstown including 'Atomic Shuttles' and 'nakedbus.com'. Connectabus, the local Queenstown transport provider, also has 2 return trips to Wanaka a day.
Many international tour companies carry holidaymakers into Queenstown by coach.
Allow a full day from Christchurch (about 6 hours driving). The drive is spectacular, through the diverse countryside of New Zealand's South Island, with vast plains, rolling hills, multicoloured lakes and mountain passes. Major international and all national rental car and camper van companies have offices in Queenstown.
The Taieri Gorge Railway scenic tourist train seasonally operates to Pukerangi and Middlemarch, with a coach connection for the remaining distance to Queenstown.
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