Media release

Queenstown’s new bus service unveils route map

Thursday 2 November 2017

Queenstown’s new bus service, Orbus Queenstown, has today launched its new route map.

The map, along with timetable and key information on the new service, will be distributed as a pocket-sized leaflet to mailboxes in the Queenstown area this weekend, ahead of the Orbus service launch on Monday, November 20.

Queenstown map

2020 Update: The above Route Map has now been updated. View the current version here.

The new bus service is being delivered by the Otago Regional Council, with support from the Queenstown Lakes District Council and New Zealand Transport Agency. It will soon be the easiest, most convenient and most affordable way to get around Queenstown with flat-rate, one-way fares for just $2 for GoCard holders.

Regional Council Chair Stephen Woodhead says “Getting the route map into the hands of locals is a really important step towards getting the new service launched.”

“We’re seeing the network from 20 November as a starting point for future growth and change to meet demand. Right from day one it’s a huge step change for public transport in the area.”

“The routes and timetables have been planned around principles of regularity and simplicity, which we hope will make it easy for locals and visitors to use the bus.”

Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult is also heralding the release of the map as an exciting and important step. “It’s fantastic to see these routes taking shape and to have something tangible to provide to people who will be using the Wakatipu’s new $2 bus.”

“This is a great starting point and it’s worth keeping in mind that these are the first iterations of the bus routes, there is certainly room to change and improve them if the service is well used, which we are confident it will be.”

The Transport Agency’s Regional Relationships (South Island) Director Jim Harland says the release of the route map signals the beginning of a new era for public transport in Queenstown. “This is sure to be an important turning point for public transport for this area,” he says. “A lot of work is going into ensuring a successful launch to give this initiative the great start it needs, to deliver the significant increase in public transport usage required to improve transport and broader economic and social outcomes for the Wakatipu Basin.”

The new Orbus map provides detailed information on the four routes in the new service – Fernhill to Remarkables Park, Arrowtown to Arthurs Point (via Frankton), Kelvin Heights to Frankton Flats and Lake Hayes Estate to Jacks Point.

As well as the printed map and timetable, timetables and other information on the bus service can be viewed on the ORC website at By mid-November, the online timetables will be updated to show estimated timing details for every individual bus stop. 

Riders will also be able to find the location of their nearest bus stop and track bus movements in real time via the NZTA’s free Choice app.

As an overview, Route 1: Fernhill to Remarkables Park runs every 15 minutes from 6am until 7pm, then every 30 minutes to midnight, with buses to and from Sunshine Bay during peak hours. 

Route 2: Arthurs Point to Arrowtown (via Queenstown town centre and Frankton hub) runs from 6.05am until 10.05pm, with half-hourly peak services and hourly off-peak services.

Route 3: Kelvin Heights to Frankton Flats runs hourly from 6.10am until 10.25pm.

Route 4: Lake Hayes Estate to Jacks Point runs half-hourly during morning peak hours and hourly during off-peak hours, from 6.02am until 10.25pm.

All routes run in both directions.

The routes are as per the Regional Public Transport Plan – an addendum to this plan specifically for the Wakatipu Basin was approved in May 2017, following consultation with Wakatipu residents in March and April. “Getting a new transport network up and running so rapidly hasn’t been easy,” says Stephen Woodhead “but given local demand we have planned towards a launch in as short a timeframe as possible.”

Residents who haven’t received a map by next week can contact Orbus on 0800 ORBUSQT (0800 6728778) or to arrange to have one sent to their home. Maps will also be available to pick up from the Queenstown Lakes District Council reception. More distribution points will be confirmed soon and advised via the Orbus facebook page.

From November 20, riders will be able to identify Orbus buses from the new yellow logo. Some buses will feature full Orbus treatment from the launch date; others will be minimally branded with full treatment to come.

GoCard users are entitled to $2 fares to go anywhere in the network, with a free 30-minute onward transfer included. Cash fares are also available on all Orbus buses at $5 per adult, $4 per child (cash fares to Queenstown Airport are $10 per adult, $8 per child). Children under 5 ride free.

For the first week of the new bus service (Monday 20 November – Sunday 26 November), bus travel will be completely free on all Orbus buses. During that week GoCards will be given out free on the bus.

After the free bus week, GoCards will be available with an issuance fee of $5 from Queenstown Airport, O’Connells Mall kiosk or on any Orbus bus. The minimum amount for topping up a GoCard is $10 at time, with topups available from the same locations.

As well as being an affordable alternative to driving, Orbus aims to reduce traffic congestion on Queenstown’s road network and reduce the impact that private transport has on the environment. The new bus service is part of a wider coordinated plan between ORC, QLDC, New Zealand Transport Agency and Queenstown Airport Corporation to address transportation issues in the greater Queenstown area. It is a modern, reliable and efficient solution designed to meet the needs of both locals and tourists, and jointly funded by ORC, QLDC and NZTA.

For further information contact:

Stephen Woodhead
Otago Regional Council

Communications contact:
Eleanor Ross
Senior strategic communications and engagement advisor
Otago Regional Council