Your roadie guide: Queenstown to Te Anau​

July 20, 2022

Your roadie guide: Queenstown to Te Anau​

The journey from Queenstown to Te Anau encapsulates New Zealand’s scenery at its finest – as you venture along emerald-blue lakes, dramatic mountain ranges, and through charming high-country townships. It’s a route that rewards the curious, encouraging you to stop and spend a while.

While you can drive the 170km trip non-stop in just over two hours, those who slow down and pause to admire the hidden gems along the way are treated to spectacular views, friendly locals, and one-of-a-kind experiences. Here are some of our top towns and spots to enjoy along the way, whether you have a few hours, an entire day, or if you’ve long stopped checking the clock.


At the southernmost tip of Lake Wakatipu, 45 minutes’ drive from Queenstown, lies Kingston, a relaxed lakeside settlement. On your way, stop to admire the unique views of the lake from the Devils Staircase Lookout, then once you arrive in town, park up to enjoy a coffee from The Kingston Flyer, situated in the heritage railway station building.  

If you time your visit right, you can ride the rails and experience a throwback to the golden era of train travel aboard the historic Kingston Flyer itself, a steam train journey across the expansive alpine plains that’s run in various forms since 1878. For those with more time, take on the country golf course, go trout fishing or enjoy a half-day hike in the Eyre Mountains – an area known in Te reo Māori as Taka Rā Haka – ‘where the sun dances on the mountain tops’. 

If you’ve got a need for speed, the team at Xtreme Off Road will satisfy all your adrenaline cravings – and some! Strap into their all-terrain turbo vehicles for the 4WD adventure of a lifetime. Choose from a half-hour blast around an epic off-road track, or a two-hour tour up Kingston Hill to soak up panoramic views of Lake Wakatipu, the Southern Alps and beyond. 

Radfords on the Lake Kingston Xtreme Off Road


Continue south along SH6 and you’ll come across Garston – a spot to stretch the legs and meet the locals. Coffee Bomb, New Zealand’s most inland food truck, are experts in fuelling thirsty travellers for the journey ahead – their Bacon and Egg muffin is a must-try. After something sweet? Find out what all the buzz is about at Garston Hunny Shop sample their natural clover, manuka, and thyme honey and take a jar or two home with you. Before you hit the road again, peek into Garston Stables next-door to peruse the selection of antique and furniture, art and collectibles from across the globe. 

Radfords on the Lake Garston People Eating Food

Credit: Great South

Adrenaline-seekers will love the remote and rugged terrain of Welcome Rock, an exhilarating 27km biking and hiking trail built by hand. Venture off-grid and you’ll soon get that away-from-it-all-feeling, as you’re surrounded by giant tussocks, beechwood forest, panoramic views and well, nothing else! Rest up after your trail adventure and catch a spectacular sunset or sunrise or with a stay in their rustic farm-style huts – complete with luxe outdoor bathtubs to rest and relax in. 

Radfords on the Lake Garston Rock Trails

Credit: Great South/Ben Arthur


Originally a major railway junction with lines departing to all four points of the compass, you’ll find remnants of Lumsden’s rail heyday dotted throughout town – including vintage locomotives and wagons. In the restored station building lies a quaint information centre and the Five Finger Co-op, a collective of locally-made arts and crafts – pick up a hand-made treasure to brighten up your home, wardrobe, or to give as a gift. 

Lumsden is also full of delicious spots to grab something to eat and drink and experience classic Southern hospitality. From the 1950’s-themed Americana café Route 6, to small-batch coffee roastery Roar, and the locals-favourite Bafe Bakery, you won’t leave town hungry. Bafe’s mouth-watering pineapple lump slice is a true taste of Kiwiana, and makes for a perfect road trip snack! 

Radfords on the Lake Roar Coffee Lumsden

Credit: Great South

If you’re keen to see the sights on two wheels, then the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail includes plenty of show-stopping scenery – and has well-and-truly earned its place as one of New Zealand’s 23 Great Rides. Hire a mountain bike or e-bike from one of the town’s rental outfits (you can also begin your journey in Kingston or Mossburn) and hit the trails. Ride the entire 186km track in 3-5 days or choose a smaller section for a day ride – you’ll enjoy endless mountain vistas, glacial-carved lakes, sparkling rivers, and the beauty of Southland’s rural heartland. 

Radfords on the Lake Cycle Trail Lumsden

Credit: Chris McLennan

Mavora Lakes 

Whether you’re a novice or experienced angler, a guided flyfishing experience with Fiordland Fishing Guides is the perfect introduction to the vast fishing opportunities on offer in and around Te Anau. With expert local knowledge and handy hints for landing the perfect catch, try your luck at trout fishing in Fiordland’s crystal-clear waters. 

Radfords on the Lake Mavora Lakes Bridge

Credit: DOC

Te Anau surrounds 

You’ve almost reached your destination – but first, stop off at the Te Anau Lion Lookout Point for some sweet, sweet scenery. Gaze across to the high-country landscape and the Kepler and Murchison mountain ranges – you’ll be rewarded with plenty of photo opportunities as you soak up the 360-degree views.  

Now it’s time to head to Lakefront Drive and check into your luxurious room at Radfords on the Lake. What adventures await in Te Anau and Fiordland? That’s a story for another day… 

A garden view next to Lake Te Anau

Looking for more road trip inspiration? There’s even more itineraries over at Fiordland NZ – and if you’re looking for some tunes to enjoy the drive with, then tune your speaker to this Great Kiwi Roadtrip playlist full of classic songs. Driving down the highway in the warmer months? Then this Kiwi Summer collection is full of catchy Kiwi bangers from New Zealand artists. 

  • "From the easy parking to the super warm welcome from Kerri & the brilliant night's sleep - what's not to like at Radfords? Great location - 5 mins walk to the main street, 10-12 mins at most to the farthest restaurant - 2 mins to the seaplane, 5 mins to the heliport & 30 seconds to the lakeside - so well positioned. Rooms large, fast Wifi, did I say comfy bed? Large bathrooms & well-equipped kitchenettes & spotlessly clean rooms - each had a lovely spot to sit outside for an afternoon wine. Kerri is a hive of information about the local sights & eats - upon her recommendation, we ate at Redcliff & Fat Duck - both fantastic. If you have time do the Heli-Hike with Southern Lakes Heli to the Kepler Track - all-day activity but SO worth it."
    KiwiNZExplorer – April 2022 – Queenstown, New Zealand  Read Reviews
  • "What a magical stay... the best accommodation and most impressive host during our two-week SI road trip. Kerri was so warm, and helpful and gave us the best tips for our stay (Redcliff's Restaurant and the Cruise Milford experiences were amazing). The location of the property was perfect, with views of the lake and the rooms were beautiful... exactly how they look in the photos. Stunningly fitted out, comfortable bed and the added benefit of great kitchenette facilities to prepare your own breakfast, if preferred. We, (two couples) would definitely return."
    Robin B – May 2022  Read Reviews
  • "Fantastic time staying at Radfords, the service was outstanding, great recommendations, and beautiful rooms. We are a family of 5 and it was a nice home away from home for our 2 night stay, wish we could have stayed longer."
    Jess G – June 2022  Read Reviews
  • "Kerri the owner was very warm, friendly & super helpful. She made us welcome right from the start! The rooms were very spacious & the decor was lovely. The beds were super comfy. We had a superb view over-looking the lake. The motels were within easy walking g distance to town & the restaurants etc. We would definitely recommend this place to stay."
    PaulaMM – April 2022  Read Reviews

Our Environmental Promise

We are committed to preserving our beautiful surroundings and reducing our footprint on the environment.



A wonderful surprise delivered this afternoon from some lovely Australian guests that stayed recently. Thank you Andrea, Scott and Allanah we look forward to welcoming you back
Three generations working together ♥️ with the next generation not far away from learning the ropes! 

With Mother’s Day just around the corner it got me thinking how lucky I am to be surrounded by these amazing ladies. 

Left to right Shelley, Phyllis, Kerri. Katie was unfortunately unable to be here for the photos. 

We hope everyone has a wonderful Mother’s Day this Sunday 🌸 

📸 @mgphotonz

Relax and enjoy a much deserved getaway on us!

Wake up to majestic views and locally sourced in-room breakfast, experience some of Te Anau’s many unique activities and amazing restaurants on offer.

We are giving you the chance to win a 2 night stay @radfordsonthelake follow instructions below to go in the draw.


🌟Two nights accommodation for two people in our Premier Lakeview Studio

🌟 Locally sourced in-room continental breakfast each day

🌟 $100 restaurant voucher to dine at a Te Anau restaurant of your choice

🌟 Movie tickets to watch local film Ata Whenua 


👉 Follow @radfordsonthelake 

👉 Tag the person you would like to treat to a weekend away (each tag is an entry)

👉 Share to your story and tag us for an extra entry

Good luck 🤞 

T & C’s

Closes 4th April at 7pm and winner will be announced that week.
Prize must be redeemed before 30/09/22
Need a Valentines gift for your loved one? ♥️ 

Book a romantic getaway in Te Anau and soak up the scenery together!

Mention this post at time of booking to receive a complimentary gift on arrival.

Valid until 28/2/22

Golden hour 🌅 taken on dusk just before the sun disappeared 

📸 @graham_dainty 

We were stoked to be able to host these lovely ladies @brodiejeankane @jokane80 over the weekend while Brodie knocked the Luxmore Grunt off! Great to see all their stories out and about enjoying what Te Anau has to offer and we can’t wait to host them again to share more. 

Just like you, we love our stunning Fiordland environment 💚 Caring for our local wildlife is super important for us - did you know we’re proud supporters of the Antipodes Island Parakeet, also known as the Kākāriki?

Thanks to fantastic conservation efforts from our friends at Te Anau Bird Sanctuary (only a 20 minute walk from us), these special birds are being protected from extinction.
It’s that time of the year to vote for Bird of the Year for 2021 - so jump on with us and vote and if you can make a donation towards their great efforts.
Link in bio

📸 @nzbirdsonline
We were recently visited by travel blogger @findingalexx. A connoisseur of all-things NZ tourism, Alexx has compiled a list of top places to stay across the country, and thanks to her enjoyable stay with Radfords, we’ve made the list! 
Hear what Alexx had to say about her time with us - link in our bio
Finalist…. With the MC
We love all of our guests, and sharing their joy as they discover the pure, pristine beauty of Fiordland. So we’re more than pleased to share some rather exciting news: we have been named a Finalist in the Qualmark 100% Pure New Zealand Experience Awards! 

No matter what the end results may be, we are so honoured to be amongst such a fantastic list of finalists and to be recognised for our efforts.