The scenic Crown Range Road in NZ is often covered in snow

Crown Range Road is a memorable journey in the Otago region of the South Island of New Zealand. It’s an exhilarating road with hairpin bends, serpentines, and steep grades.

Crown Range Road

How long is the Crown Range Road?

This soaring road (formerly known as State Highway 89) is 50km (31 miles) long, running south-north from Arrow Junction to Wanaka (on the southern end of its namesake lake). The road was fully paved in 2001.

Is the Crown Range Road challenging?

It is very curvy and potentially dangerous. The drive can pose certain difficulties, especially for the weak-hearted. This drive is not for the faint-hearted, and several of the bends are actual hairpin turns. The drive on the descent drops away to a seemingly bottomless gorge.

Is the Crown Range suitable for campervans?

Due to its challenges, it’s not recommended for newbies. There are some switchbacks on the descent, and the road is not advised for towing vehicles or vehicles longer than about 12 meters.

How high is the Crown Range Road?

Set high in the Crown Range, it’s one of the highest roads of the country topping out at 1,079m (3,540ft) above sea level, at Crown Range summit. It’s said to be the highest main road in New Zealand.

Is the Crown Range Road open?

The weather can be challenging during winter (May-October), and snow is not uncommon at the summit of the road. Extreme care is required when driving the road in winter, and snow chains must be carried. In winter, the road is often covered in snow and ice, making for very difficult driving conditions.

Is Crown Range Road worth it?

The trip affords spectacular views of the mountains and offers breathtaking vistas at every turn. Along the way, you should also allow time to stop and admire the massive views. The views along the road are simply stunning and spectacular, and the driving is well worth it – with absolutely spectacular views over Queenstown. Many stops to get out and enjoy the views and take photos. The descent from the Crown Range into the alpine valley below provides the most breathtaking late afternoon views.

How long does it take to drive Crown Range Road?

Plan 1.30 hours to complete the drive without any stop; however, the views are so breathtaking that you will want to stop often and take that camera out to make new memories. The road can also be a busy thoroughfare, so be prepared for slower traffic.