Media release

Queenstown’s new Orbus service launches next week

Thursday 16 November 2017

Queenstown’s game-changing new $2 bus service will kick off next Monday with a community event and a week of free bus travel for everyone.

The new Orbus network will be operational from Monday 20 November at 6am. To celebrate the launch of the highly-anticipated service, commuters will be treated to cupcakes and coffee at Camp Street and the Frankton Bus Hub from 6am-8am. 

A public launch event will be held at the Village Green in central Queenstown from 10am-midday, with performances by popular Queenstown band LA Social. Launch formalities will include speeches from ORC Chair Stephen Woodhead, Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult and Transport Agency spokesperson Jim Harland. 

Stephen Woodhead says the new bus service plays an integral part in the future of transport in Queenstown. 

“Monday represents the culmination of a bold vision and a lot of hard work behind the scenes” he says. “We hope that Orbus will be a significant step for the future of Queenstown.”

Woodhead emphasises that the network and service that will evolve over time to meet demand. “We hope locals and visitors will support the initiative as we get it off the ground. We’re asking people to bear with us in the early stages and share their feedback along the way.”

As part of the launch, all Orbus travel will be free from Monday, November 20, until Sunday 26 November, with GoCards available free of charge on the bus for this week only.

From Monday 27 November, GoCards can be purchased for $5 from the O’Connell’s Mall kiosk, Queenstown Airport or on any Orbus bus. Credit can also be loaded onto the cards at any of these locations. Orbus riders will need a GoCard to receive the subsidised $2 fare; cash fares are $5 per adult, $4 per child (cash fares to and from Queenstown Airport are $10).

Orbus Bus Ambassadors will be riding the current Connectabus service on Thursday and Friday of this week, and the new Orbus service from Monday through until Sunday of next week. They’ll help riders with queries and route planning for the new service.

Orbus offers extended hours and more frequent services on four routes; Fernhill to Remarkables Park, Arrowtown to Arthurs Point (via Frankton), Kelvin Heights to Frankton Flats and Lake Hayes Estate to Jacks Point.

Full timetable and route information can be viewed on the ORC website at and additional information is available via the Orbus facebook page. Riders can track bus movements in real time via the Transport Agency’s free Choice app

The new bus service is being delivered by the Otago Regional Council with support from the Queenstown Lakes District Council and the New Zealand Transport Agency. It will be operated by Ritchies. The service is one part of a wider coordinated plan geared towards addressing transport issues in the Wakatipu Basin, with partners NZ Transport Agency, QLDC and Queenstown Airport.

For further information, passengers can call the Orbus helpline on 0800 ORBUSQT (0800 6728778) or email

For further information contact:

Stephen Woodhead
Otago Regional Council
Ph 027 280 1635

Communications contact:

Eleanor Ross
Senior strategic communications and engagement advisor
Otago Regional Council
Ph 027 558 9914