Join Art and Matilda as they roadtrip from iconic Queenstown to scenic Lake Tekapo. Exploring in their 4-berth maui Beach motorhome, they relished the opportunity to take their home with them – overnighting in some of the South Island's classic spots – waking to stunning sunsets and crystal clear lakes. And of course making some life long memories along the way.
Queenstown to Queenstown
Best Time of the Year
All year round
The Blue Pools
Lunch at Pukaki
Mt John Walk
Lake Ohau camping
Queenstown Half Marathon
Queenstown to Glendhu Bay
Distance 120km - Driving Time 1.5 hours
Where was the best view? The best view was from the top of Mt. John overlooking Lake Tekapo and the surrounding countryside. Mt. John summit is an easy 30 minute walk/hike from the lake-side.
Where did you stop for a picnic? The best lunch stop was at Lake Pukaki – such incredible blue water. We went for a quick swim but made it very quick as it is a glacial lake so it was freezing!
Where was your favourite place/town visited and why? Tekapo for its beauty, Arrowtown for its cute and quaint township, rich in history.
What was your favourite experience/activity and why? Favourite experience was going for a swim in The Blue Pools just by Makarora (45mins out of Wanaka). It’s a beautiful drive getting there and then the pools themselves are the most incredible clear blue colour.
Top highlights? Running the Queenstown Half Marathon. Camping on Lake Ohau right on the water’s edge. Walking up Mt. John at Tekapo. Swimming in The Blue Pools.
Best café for coffee? Yonder in Queenstown.
Favourite pub/restaurant? Jervois Steak House in Queenstown.
Did you have a favourite Holiday Park you stayed in and why? The campsite at Glendhu Bay on Lake Wanaka. We were able to camp right by the water, incredible views and a nice beach for swimming.
What would be your top tip for other campervan travellers? Ask locals for recommendations. Definitely check out Lake Tekapo and The Blue Pools.
What is your greatest memory of the whole campervan holiday? Waking up right on the water’s edge at Lake Ohau and watching the sun rise.
We picked up the campervan first thing in the morning. After picking up supplies from the supermarket we set off up to Lake Wanaka via Cromwell. I made it my mission to swim in as many lakes as possible on the trip and so the first dip was Lake Dunstan in Cromwell. We got to Wanaka mid arvo, headed round to Glendhu Bay and found ourselves a spot at the campground there. Went for swims in the warm afternoon sun and skimmed some rocks before heading into Wanaka for dinner.
Glendhu Bay to Lake Ohau
Distance 160km - Driving Time 1.5 hours
Enjoyed breakfast and coffee on our camp chairs and table next to the lake before setting off to Lake Ohau. We drove through Lindis Pass and stopped at the top to check out the unique landscape. Arrived at Lake Ohau and managed to find a spot to park up literally right on the water’s edge! Read our books and chilled for most of the afternoon against the stunning backdrop.
Lake Ohau to Lake Tekapo
Distance 88km - Driving Time 1 hour
Left Lake Ohau mid morning and drove up to Lake Pukaki. This lake was breathtaking – it was so unbeleiveably blue and sits at the foot of Mt Cook National Park, so the views are incredible. We went for a swim, which was freezing, and got attacked by a swarm of sandflies before jumping in the camper and continuing on to Lake Tekapo. We arrived at Lake Tekapo and again were blown away by the colour of the lake – just the most incredible clear blue. Went for a beer at one of the quaint pubs in the township, met the local policeman for a yarn before heading to the campsite to find ourselves a spot.
Lake Tekapo to Lake McGregor
Distance 11km - Driving Time 0.25 hours
Enjoyed breakfast and coffee on our picnic table and chairs on the edge of the lake and then went for a hike up Mt. John. It was a relatively easy hike and took about 30–45mins. At the top we had a coffee at the café up there and admired the incredible views over the lake and surrounding countryside. After getting back to our campsite we went for a run around the lake and then cooled off with a mandatory swim. We then went for an explore of the neighbouring lakes (Lake Alexandra and Lake McGregor) and decided to stay at Lake McGregor that night. We watched the most incredible sunset over the lake that evening where the hills surrounding went a beautiful pink and purple.
Lake McGregor to Cromwell
Distance 385km - Driving Time 5 hours
Set off in search of the Blue Pools, which a few people had recommended that we check out. The drive from Wanaka to The Blue Pools was amazing – driving alongside Lake Hawea and then Lake Wanaka. After driving 45mins we arrived at the carpark for the Blue Pools walk, which was a short walk through beautiful forest listening to some native birds. We arrived at the Blue Pools and were blown away with their beauty. We chilled in the sun at the edge of the pools for a couple of hours cooling off in the icy water whenever we got too hot.
Left the pools and drove back down to Cromwell where we had arranged to stay at a maui Winery Haven – Carrick Wines. Arrived at this beautiful winery and parked up in the special campervan bay and enjoyed a beautiful platter and some wine as the sun went down.
Cromwell to Queenstown
Distance 55km - Driving Time 1 hour
Up early and on the road back to Queenstown. I had just enough time for one last swim in Lake Wakatipu (bringing the total unique lake swims to eight!) before returning the campervan and jumping on our flight back to Auckland.