Heading to NZ’s favourite winter playground?  Queenstown has so much to offer, and is a must visit slice of NZ paradise.  With exquisite eateries, stunning views, retail therapy and more, the town itself has a fair amount to keep you occupied. 

However, we believe (and call us biased), that some of the best attractions around Queenstown are the ones you need to drive to. See below our top reasons why it is worth hiring a car on your next trip to Queenstown.


Approximately 20 minutes from Queenstown lies the quaint village of Arrowtown.  A bit of a blast from the past, Arrowtown features gorgeous, gold rush style heritage buildings, narrow cobble alleys and some of the best eateries around (try Chop Shop Food Merchants for brunch or Aosta for dinner). Popular attractions in the area include the Onsen Hot Pools, The Hills and Millbrook Golf Courses, 4WD tours and more. 

Thrifty Tip:  Make sure to visit the Remarkables Sweet Shop – they feature a new delicious fudge flavour every month

Ski Field’s

Planning a trip to the snow?  With a great range of AWD’s, ski racks and easy to fit snow chains, Thrifty will help you get safely up and down the mountain. Queenstown and surrounds is home to 4 great ski fields: The Remarkables, Coronet Peak, Cardrona and Snow Farm.  Hiring a car is a great way to have a day on the snow that suits your plans, before heading back down to town for a warm meal at the end of the day.

Wine Country

Some of New Zealand’s most beautiful cellar doors lie between Queenstown and Cromwell through the Gibbston Valley and Bannockburn, and are a must visit for every foodie and wine lover.

Start with brunch at Akarua Wines & kitchen by Artisan before heading through the valley towards Wet Jacket, Peregrine wines and Chard Farm.  Carry on through to Cromwell before taking in the views with a late lunch at Mt Difficulty Wines in Bannockburn or try the organic varieties at Aurum.

Thrifty Tip: Double check opening times before you go – hours are often reduced in winter.

Cardrona Valley

Whether or not Wanaka is on your itinerary, the drive up over the Crown Range through the Cardrona Valley is more than just a through route.  One of the highest main roads in New Zealand, we recommend a stop at the top to take in the breathtaking view of the valley before heading down to the historic Cardrona Hotel for a bite to eat and a photo op. During the summer, Cardrona Adventure Park is known for its range of adrenaline filled activities such as Mountain Biking, Go Carting and Horse Riding.

Thrifty Tip:  Like the roads up to the ski fields, the Crown Range Road can be icy during winter and you will often have to carry chains. For more information on snow chains for your vehicle click here.


Perfect for a day trip escape, Glenorchy is located a 45 minute drive around the lake from Queenstown. Known for its stunning scenery, Glenorchy is home to one of Aotearoa | New Zealand’s most photographed buildings – the Red Railway Shed. If you are a keen walker, it is well worth bringing your boots and camera along, as Glenorchy is the starting point for many day and multi day tracks.

To book your next Queenstown adventure with us – click here.