Crown Range Road is a memorable journey located in the Otago region of the South Island of New Zealand. Exhilarating road with hairpin bends, serpentines and steep grades. It’s one of the highest roads of the country reaching an altitude of 1.121m (3,677ft) above the sea level.
This asphalted road (formerly State Highway 89) is 68km long. It connects Queenstown with Wanaka. This drive is not for the faint hearted and several of the bends are actual hairpins bends. The drive on the descent drops away to a seemingly bottomless gorge. There are some switchbacks on the descent and the road is not advised for towing vehicles or vehicles longer than about 12 meters.
The views along the road are simply stunning and spectacular and the driving is well worth it – with absolutely spectacular views over Queenstown. The views are so breathtaking. 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.
This route is not recommended if your passengers are prone to car sickness. The road is very windy and potentially dangerous. In winter, the road is often covered in snow and ice, making for very difficult driving conditions. Snow chains may be required. There are chains fitting bays on either side of the pass. Take your time to enjoy the trip. The drive can pose certain difficulties, especially for the weak hearted. The road does get busier at weekends and in the main holiday season.