It may take a full day, but you can take buses to and from the major towns in the Southern Alps and Fiordland area. InterCity operates a daily bus service between Christchurch and Queenstown down the South Island’s eastern flank via Dunedin or the longer, more scenic route via Mount Cook Village, with a one-hour stop at the Hermitage Hotel for lunch. Their coaches also make daily trips from the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers through Wanaka to Queenstown. InterCity also has a daily bus round-trip route from Queenstown and Te Anau to Milford Sound. Alpine ConneXions sends buses between Wanaka and Queenstown several times a day. They also run to Cardrona, Clyde, Cromwell, Dunedin, Ranfurly, Alexandra, and pickup and drop-off to various walking tracks and rail trails.
Alpine Connexions. 03/443–9120; www.alpineconnexions.co.nz.
InterCity Coachlines. 03/442--4922; www.intercity.co.nz.