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Driving and Road Safety > Regional Road Information - Queenstown and Southern Lakes

Regional Road Information - Queenstown and Southern Lakes

Click for Land Transport Safety Authority website This information has been kindly supplied by the Land Transport New Zealand. For more information, please visit the Land Transport New Zealand website.

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Regional Road Information
Welcome to the Queenstown and Southern Lakes Region:

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State Highway 6: Between Cromwell and Queenstown is one of the most demanding sections of highway in the Queenstown Lakes District. A fair portion of this 60km of highway travels high above the swift flowing Kawarau river is narrow. Drivers are required to negotiate several tight bend and corners.

Keeping speeds down and travelling around corners at the signposted speeds is essential. From April to October ice and snow can this affect this road.

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Caution Gravel! Gravel roads are common in the Queenstown area and those who are not used to driving on this type of road should take extra care. The loose gravel found on these roads make it easy to get a vehicle into an uncontrollable skid or slide if it is driven to fast. Always keep to the left as many of the gravel roads around Queenstown carry a considerable amount of traffic. Also watch for cyclists. Bikes are becoming an increasingly popular mode of transport with tourists visiting this area.

Gravel beware! When travelling on gravel roads be aware that oncoming traffic will be travelling on the same middle wheel track as you. When another vehicle approaches slow down and move to the left side of the road. As you pass from the wheel tracks on the road to the loose gravel take care. Travelling too fast is the major cause of the most accidents on gravel roads

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Milford Sound Road: The Milford Road to Milford Sound from Te Anau offers the visitor views of lush native bush, beautiful rivers and waterfalls, gorges and spectacular mountainous ranges. However be aware that this road is also traveled by numerous other cars and buses. SPECIAL CARE IS NEEDED: navigating the many one-lane bridges, the ‘Homer Saddle’ with its tight twisting road, the Homer Tunnel and many narrow sharp bends. Keep the speed of your vehicle down and if you wish at any time to stop and take photographs, park as far to the left as possible, where your vehicle is easily seen and it is safe for you to walk of stand.

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Wandering Livestock: Within the area there is extensive sheep, dairy and deer farming. When driving around the region you will need to watch out for wandering stock on the road or roadside. Stock signs, broken fences, open gates or droppings may indicate that there is stock wandering up ahead. If you encounter stock on the road or roadside SLOW DOWN immediately, pull over to the side of the road and be prepared to stop. Do not sound your horn or make a noise to frighten the animal/s and if a farmer is there follow his/her directions. If you see wandering stock on the road and no farmer present go to the nearest house and tell the occupant.

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Caution Narrow Roads: Take care when driving along narrow streets like this one in historic Arrowtown, which is about 20 minutes drive from Queenstown. Watch for pedestrians. Pedestrian traffic in Arrowtown and Queenstown in particular can be heavy during the day.


Winter Driving
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Winter driving conditions may be encountered in Otago and Southland any time between April and September, although the risk is higher between the months of June, July and August, creating road conditions that demand extra care and attention by drivers.

Here are a few simple rules that will make your journey safer:

  • Your Trip: Check the road conditions ahead - choose safety over convenience to select your route. Keep your SPEED DOWN at all times

  • Your Car: Check the brakes, wiperblades (make sure the windscreen is clean), battery tyre pressure and tread. Keep your SPEED DOWN at all times

  • Yourself: Dress warm - carry warm clothing in case you get stuck or breakdown. And remember ... Keep your SPEED DOWN at all times



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