How to Get to Mt. Aspiring National Park

How to get to Mt Aspiring National Park (ALL the best options!)

The first few times our team tried going to Mt. Aspiring National Park, it seemed to play an elusive game of hide-and-seek with us. More than once, we found ourselves parked at the side of a winding gravel road, our GPS signal long gone, or our gas tanks running on E. 

But after some careful planning, we eventually made it to Mt Aspiring National Park (more than once) without any hiccups along the way! Luckily for you, that means we can now show you how to get to Mt Aspiring National Park easily.

There are three main ways to get to Mt Aspiring National Park: by plane, car, and bus. 

We’ll share with you the steps for each one!

How to get to Mt Aspiring National Park by plane

DifficultyEasy ●●○○○
Number of steps4
Time to get to Mt Aspiring National ParkFrom 1 to 5 hours  (depends on your departure city)
Things you needAirplane tickets to Queenstown/WanakaTransportation from Queenstown/Wanaka
  1. Determine which city is the most convenient for you to depart from. Some popular cities with airports that offer flights to the region are these:
  • Auckland
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Queenstown
  1. Book a flight to Queenstown or Wanaka. The closest airports to the park are Queenstown Airport (ZQN) and Wanaka Airport (WKA). 
  • From Auckland (AKL), you can fly directly to Queenstown with Air New Zealand or Jetstar, with flight durations ranging from 1 hour and 50 minutes to 2 hours and 10 minutes. Ticket prices vary depending on the time of year and how far in advance you book, but generally range between NZD 100 – $300 for a one-way ticket.
  • From Wellington (WLG), direct flights to Queenstown are available via Air New Zealand and Jetstar, taking approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. Ticket prices typically range from NZD 100 – $250 for a one-way ticket.
  • From Christchurch (CHC), you can take a direct flight to Queenstown with Air New Zealand or Jetstar, with a flight duration of around 1 hour. Ticket prices usually range from NZD 70 – $200 for a one-way ticket.
  1. Arrange transportation from the airport to Mt. Aspiring National Park. 

Once you arrive at Queenstown or Wanaka Airport, you’ll need to arrange transportation to the park. There are several options available:

  • Car rental: Renting a car provides the most flexibility, allowing you to explore the park and surrounding areas at your own pace. Queenstown and Wanaka airports have on-site car rental agencies, such as Avis, Hertz, and Europcar. 
  • Shuttle service: Shuttle services are available to the park from both Queenstown and Wanaka airports. Companies like Alpine Connexions offer shared shuttles, ranging from 40 to 60 NZD per person for a one-way trip. 
  • Private transfer: For a more convenient and comfortable travel experience, consider booking a private transfer from the airport to Mt. Aspiring National Park. Companies like Black ZQN and Wanaka Limousines offer luxury vehicles and personalized service, with prices starting around 300 NZD for a one-way trip.
  1. Get to Mt Aspiring National Park. If coming from Queenstown airport, you’ll be on the road for approximately 2 hours, depending on the bad traffic. From Wanaka Airport, it’s 52 minutes.

How to get to Mt Aspiring National Park by bus

DifficultyMild ●●●○○
Number of steps5
Time to get to Mt Aspiring National ParkVaries depending on departure city 
Things you needBus tickets to Wanaka Mobile phoneCharged power bank 
  1. Choose your departure city. Popular cities with bus terminals that offer transportation options to the region include these: 
  • Auckland
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Queenstown
  1. Book a bus to Wanaka. Wanaka is the closest town to Mt. Aspiring National Park, with regular bus services. We recommend booking your bus tickets in advance like we did to secure your seat and get the best prices.

Several bus companies operate routes from major cities to Wanaka:

  • Ritchies Transport: Ritchies is a bus service that operates daily. Depending on where you’re coming from, fares start at 35 NZD. 
  • Intercity: Intercity is New Zealand’s largest bus network, offering daily services between various cities and Wanaka. The route you will take depends on where you’re coming from. We were coming from Auckland, for example, so we took a bus to Wellington, then Christchurch and then to Wanaka, as you see in the screenshots.
Choose your departure city
Book a bus to Wanaka
Book a bus to Wanaka
  1. Prepare for your bus journey. Before embarking on your bus journey to Mt. Aspiring National Park, make sure to:
  • Check the bus schedule and departure times for your chosen route.
  • Bring a valid form of identification, as some bus companies may require it for boarding.
  • Pack snacks, water, and any necessary medications for your journey.
  • Charge your electronic devices and bring a power bank, as not all buses have charging facilities.
  1. Take the bus to Wanaka! While on the bus, sit back and relax or watch a movie on your phone like we did to pass the time. 
  1.  Arrive in Wanaka. Once you arrive in Wanaka, you’ll need to arrange transportation to the park. 

There are a few options available:

  • Shuttle service: Alpine Connexions and Eco Wanaka Adventures offer shuttle services from Wanaka to the park. For a one-way trip, prices range from 40 to 60 NZD per person. 

Booking in advance is essential, especially during peak travel seasons.

  • Car rental: Renting a car in Wanaka provides the most flexibility, allowing you to explore the park and surrounding areas at your own pace. Local car rental agencies like Adventure Rentals  and Wanaka Rent-A-Car offer a variety of vehicles to choose from. 
  • Cycling: For adventurous travellers, consider renting a bicycle in Wanaka and cycling to Mt. Aspiring National Park. The journey is approximately 50 km (31 miles) and offers stunning views along the way. 

Local bike rental shops like Racers Edge Powered by Torpedo7 can provide you with the necessary equipment.

How to get to Mt Aspiring National Park by car

DifficultyMild ●●●○○
Number of steps4
Time to get to Mt Aspiring National ParkVaries depending on where you’re driving from
Things you needCarDriver’s license Mobile phone for GPS / paper map Cash / debit card to refuel gas tank 
  1. Prepare for your road trip. Before embarking on your road trip to Mt Aspiring National Park, make sure to:
  • Check the weather forecast and road conditions for your planned travel dates.
  • Ensure your vehicle is in good condition, with sufficient fuel and all necessary safety equipment.
  • Pack plenty of water, snacks, and necessary medications for your journey.
  • Bring a GPS device or offline maps to help navigate the route, as cell phone coverage may be limited in some areas. We suggest downloading the offline directions from Google Maps to keep you from getting lost in the middle of the road!
  1. Rent a car or use your own vehicle. If you don’t have a car, you’ll need to rent one for your journey.

Some car rental companies we’ve used before are Avis, Hertz, and Europcar. But, if you’re using your own car, stock up on gas, and check that your engine is running smoothly.

  1. Plan your route. Depending on which city you’re driving from, the directions will vary. 

But no matter which city you start your road trip in, eventually drive towards State Highway 6 (SH6) to Wanaka, then follow the signs to Mt Aspiring National Park.

  1. Drive to Mt Aspiring National Park. Here are some general driving instructions to follow if coming from Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. 

OPTION 1: Auckland to Mt Aspiring National Park (21 hours) 

  1. Get on SH 1 in Grafton.
  1. Follow SH 1 to Horahora Rd in Piarere. 
  1. Follow Old Taupo Rd, State Hwy 32 and State Hwy 41 to Volcanic Loop Hwy/SH 1 in Tūrangi.
  1. Follow SH 1 to Centennial Hwy in Ngauranga, Wellington. Take the exit toward State Hwy 2/Hutt Valley/Picton Ferry from SH 1.
  1. Continue on Centennial Hwy. Take Hutt Rd to Wellington – Picton (Interislander Cook Strait Ferry)
  1. Take the Wellington – Picton (Interislander Cook Strait Ferry)
  1.  Follow Lagoon Rd and Kent St to SH 1 in Picton
  1. Continue on SH 1. Take State Hwy 62 to State Hwy 63 in Renwick.
  1. Turn right onto State Hwy 63 (signs for Waiirau Valley/Westport/Christchurch/Rainbow Ski Area/Lake Rotoiti)
  1. Follow State Hwy 6 and State Hwy 7 to State Hwy 6 in West Coast. 

OPTION 2: Wellington to Mt Aspiring National Park (13 hours)

  1. Take Jervois Quay, Waterloo Quay and Aotea Quay to Wellington – Picton. (Interislander Cook Strait Ferry)
  1. Take the Wellington – Picton. (Interislander Cook Strait Ferry)
  1.  Follow Lagoon Rd and Kent St to SH 1 in Picton.
  1. Continue on SH 1. Take State Hwy 62 to State Hwy 63 in Renwick.
  1. Turn right onto State Hwy 63.  (signs for Waiirau Valley/Westport/Christchurch/Rainbow Ski Area/Lake Rotoiti)
  1. Follow State Hwy 6 and State Hwy 7 to State Hwy 6 in West Coast. 

OPTION 3: Christchurch to Mt Aspiring National Park (6 hours)

  1. Take Durham St S to State Hwy 76 in Sydenham.
  1. Take SH 1 to State Hwy 79 in Rangitata.
  1. Follow State Hwy 79 to Mount Cook Rd/State Hwy 8 in Fairlie. 
  1. Continue on State Hwy 8. Drive to State Hwy 6 in Makarora.