The sensational Remarkables Road in NZ

The Remarkables is a ski resort at an elevation of 1.622m (5,321ft) above the sea level, located in Otago in the South Island of New Zealand. It’s one of the highest roads of the country.

The Remarkables

Can you drive to the Remarkables?

Set high on the southeastern shore of Lake Wakatipu, the road to the resort is called the Remarkables Road. It’s 13.2 km (8.2mi) long, starting at the paved SH 6 just south of Q-town and Frankton.

Is it safe to drive to the Remarkables?

The road to the resort is pretty narrow in parts but very scenic since the highest portions of the road are above the clouds. It was said to be one of the most dangerous roads of the country. There are now lots of safety rails so it’s not quite as treacherous as it used to be. The first 10km of the access road is now sealed and the remaining 3km is unsealed in good condition. The road is mostly steep and has numerous sharp turns - bottom gear stuff. A chairlift service road (-45.057682, 168.808085) at the resort climbs up to 1.844m (6,049ft) above the sea level.

Is the Remarkables Road steep?

The road to the summit is very steep, hitting a 15% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. Starting at SH 6 road, the elevation gain is 1296 meters. The average gradient is 9.81%.

Do you need snow chains to drive to the Remarkables?

This road is usually open all year round, but it can be closed anytime when the access is not cleared of snow. After snow fall, the road could potentially be treacherous and chains definitely need to be carried. Signs on the way up the mountain will indicate if chains need to be put on 2-WD or 4-WD vehicles. It is always advisable to carry snow chains as the upper roads can often be snowy. If you don’t want to drive, but would rather put your life in someone else’s hands, there are frequent shuttle bus services to and from Queenstown.

Why are they called the Remarkables?

The drive is very scenic. Plan 25 minutes to complete the drive without any stop. The views on the drive begin almost immediately up the road, but 4km up is a looping pull off worth a first gawk. At the 6km mark there’s a parking area and short path up to the 900m Trig’s phenomenal view, both out over the lake and down directly below at the confluence of the Shotover and Kawarau Rivers. The mountains were allegedly named the Remarkables because they are one of only two mountain ranges in the world which run directly north to south. An alternate explanation for the name given by locals is that early Queenstown settlers, upon seeing the mountain range during sunset one evening, named them the Remarkables to describe the sight.