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Lindis Pass, New Zealand – Complete Guide

Lindis Pass, New Zealand – Complete Guide

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Lindis Pass is a stunning mountain pass that’s really one of a kind in New Zealand. Most people just stop for a quick look but if you truly want to enjoy Lindis Pass follow the steps in this blog to the best Lindis Pass viewpoint!

Lindis Pass is one of New Zealand’s most beautiful mountain passes. I myself have visited Lindis Pass on many occasions and to be honest, it’s my favorite!

With all of this grass covering every inch of the mountains, it makes for a really unique landscape unlike anywhere else in New Zealand. It’s that classic NZ tussock grass with the backdrop of the mountains that I (and others) love so much.

While driving through Lindis Pass is a must on any road trip on the South Island, stopping and admiring the view is a great excuse to stretch your legs. However, if you want to enjoy the most amazing views at Lindis Pass, then you’re going to need to follow our blog to find the best viewpoint!

This blog is our guide to enjoying Lindis Pass that’ll show you where to get the best views and some amazing photos to get you excited about this South Island destination!

Where is Lindis Pass?

Panoramic photo from the top of the Lindis Pass Lookout
Panoramic shot from the top of the Lindis Pass Lookout

Lindis Pass is on State Highway 8 between Omarama and Wanaka. State Highway 8 is most commonly driven by people traveling between Queenstown (or nearby towns) and Lake Tekapo.

Basically, if you want to head north from Queenstown via Mount Cook you are going to drive Lindis Pass. In fact, if you rented a campervan or motorhome, you know Lindis Pass is coming because it’s a struggle to the top for some cars!

Lindis Pass Road is approximately 60 km (37 mi) long but it’s the top section of the mountain pass people come to see!

Related Read: Overwhelmed on where to start exploring in New Zealand? Here are several different road trip itineraries in New Zealand to give you some direction!

Getting to Lindis Pass

couple posing for the camera on the road to Mount Cook
Most tours to Lindis Pass go to Mount Cook too!

To reach Lindis Pass, you can either drive or join a tour with transport. If you like doing your own thing and want to be able to explore Lindis Pass on your own time then renting a car is a must! We have found DiscoverCars to be consistently the best as far as price and service go!

If you don’t plan on renting a car, almost all of the tours to choose from will depart from Queenstown and last around 12 hours. The tour that is the most similar to going in your own car is the Mount Cook Small Group Tour because they allow you to choose your own itinerary where you can add a stop at Lindis Pass! This tour is really exceptional because you’ll get the chance to enjoy tons of iconic sights between Queenstown and Mount Cook at your own pace.

The next option is the Sightseeing Tour of Mount Cook, which is very similar to the Mount Cook Small Group Tour with a stop at Lindis Pass, but the main difference is that it is not as independent and the itinerary is set. However, you will still get 3.5 hours of free time in Mt Cook to choose which type of activities you want to do there.

The final option I would recommend is the Mt Cook and Hooker Valley Hiking Tour which, as the name suggests, is great for hikers! This one also visits Lindis Pass but instead of the whole tour being brief stops at towns and sights you’ll actually be able to hike at a lot of the other stops too, the Hooker Valley Hike being the most notable from the list!

All of the tours mentioned above are priced at $199 NZD which for a full day of transport and exploring in the way you would most enjoy is pretty reasonable!

The Official Lindis Pass Lookout

The official lookout at Lindis Pass
The official lookout

At the highest point along Lindis Pass, there is a sign that marks the lookout. This lookout is at 971m (3,186 ft) above sea level!

On the side of the road, there is a car parking lot for visitors to get out and enjoy the scenery of Lindis Pass. It is signposted as “Lindis Pass Lookout.” From the car park, there are two short trails to viewing decks.

This lookout is actually right next to the state border between Otago and Canterbury.

I highly recommend pulling over and having a good look around. But, if you are feeling a little more adventurous, don’t stop there. Instead, follow the steps below and enjoy the most breathtaking view you could imagine!

The Best Lindis Pass Lookout

The view from the top of the Lindids Pass lookout hike
The view from the top of the Lindids Pass lookout hike

The official Lindis Pass lookout is nice don’t get me wrong, but if you’re like me and crave adventure and want to get some amazing photos you’re going to have to go a little further.

From the car park, take the trail on the left-hand side (if you’re facing away from the road). From there, you can see a trail heading up the hill to the right. The catch is that you do have to go over (or under) the small fence.

Lindis pass fence to lookout trail
This is the fence we went through to get to the amazing lookout. You can also see the trail!

There were no signs warning people not to pass, but it was very, very clear that many people go venturing up the hill (a trail has been formed because of all the people walking this way and the fence was all bent to make it easy for people to go through.)

The hike up the hill is very short and could be done in 10-15 minutes but it is steep. Watch your step and take it slow if you’re getting tired.

Bailey poses for a photo on Lindis Pass

When I was hiking up I was so focused on walking that I didn’t even look back behind me at the view. So when I stopped finally and had a look I was astounded!

From the top I saw all of the grass-covered mountains for miles and miles and then behind them, I could see snow-covered peaks. The view was so much better than I expected!

Another view of Lindis Pass lookout
Another view of Lindis Pass lookout

I’m not sure why this area hasn’t been made into a properly managed trail as I’m sure everyone would love to see this view. But for now, it’s fenced off and a little less accessible. But, if like us, you are curious about what you can see from up on the hill then you will have to do a little fence jumping.

Related Read: We’ve got the inside scoop on how to freedom camp in New Zealand and what it’s really like!

Important Tips for Visiting Lindis Pass

lindis pass lookout car park
This is the car park on the side of the road along Lindis Pass.

The Parking Lot

The parking lot at Lindis Pass is huge and I have never seen it completely full, however, this is an accident hot spot so please be careful pulling in and out. Also, be aware when driving past as people do pull out without looking.

I think everywhere in NZ you have to be cautious on the roads because of the sheer amount of tourists, but this is one spot I would take extra care on.

Winter Road Conditions

If you’re driving Lindis Pass in winter, be aware that it is a mountain pass and can receive snow and icy conditions. It is best to carry snow chains just in case and check the road report for Lindis Pass before heading off.

Where to Stay Near Lindis Pass

Omarama Hot Tubs view of the mountains
Don’t forget to visit the Omarama Hot Pools during your stay!

Omarama is going to be the closest and biggest town to Lindis Pass (about 31 km (19 mi) away), below you’ll find some great suggestions!

  • Hostel Dunstan Downs High Country Sheep Station – This place is rural, comfy, and quiet without being far from town. for under $100 NZD a night for a private double room with a shared bath and around $40 NZD for a bed in a dorm room, you will have a nice place to stay that can keep you on budget. The cabin by the river offers a heated bath and a composting toilet.
  • Omarama TOP10 Holiday Park – The TOP10 Holiday Parks are a New Zealand staple for cleanliness and comfort while being affordable. This one is on 10 acres with a playground and trampoline for kids. Rooms come in just about every size. From studios, cabins, apartments, and family rooms, there is fit for everyone and a majority of them include a kitchenette and private shower.
  • Sierra Motel and Apartments – A more pricey option starting at $359 NZD that is ideal for longer stays and holds up to 4 adults. They are all apartments so they have bigger kitchens and living spaces than most hotels. Located in the countryside of Omarama but still only a 10-minute walk to shops and restaurants in town.

Renting a Car or Campervan in New Zealand

Bailey takes a selfie with a JUCY campervan
Ready to hit the road!
Bailey stands infront of a JUCY campervan in New Zealand
JUCY is another favorite!

The first step to planning your New Zealand road trip is choosing your set of wheels! Most people rent a campervan or motorhome to get around, but you can also just rent a normal car and stay in hotels (as opposed to camping.)

You can search for rental cars online with Discover Cars in advance to compare car models and prices. We’ve used this website all over the world and if you want more details, read our honest review of Discover Cars for more details!

You can also do this with motorhomes and campervans on a website called Motorhome Republic. It shows all of the available campervans and motorhomes for your specific New Zealand road trip dates. You can compare prices and company reviews here too!

JUCY is our personal favorite campervan rental company in NZ. We love JUCY because they have such a range of both cars and campervans available, so you’re pretty much guaranteed to find something to suit your budget and travel style.

We’ve actually secured an exclusive discount code for our readers with JUCY. Just click here to browse their availability and use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off! What a good deal!

You can check prices, availability and book with JUCY online here.

Star RV is another company we personally recommend but specifically for motorhomes! They offer larger motorhomes (as opposed to budget campervans) at really reasonable rates.

Star RV has actually given us a discount code for our readers too! Use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off your motorhome rental! Note, this code is only valid for bookings made before June 21, 2024 with travel dates before Dec 21, 2024. Click here to browse availability, prices, and book with our discount code!

Thanks for reading!

Bailey sits down and looks out at Lindis Pass, New Zealand
What a view!

Thanks so much for checking out our blog! I hope you’re excited about Lindis Pass and that this guide helped you plan your trip there. If you have any more questions we are here to help and you can leave them below in the comments!

If not, that’s okay too, but if you did like this blog then be sure to check out all our New Zealand guides on our official New Zealand page. It’s got so many amazing blogs all laid out in popular regions and cities. I’ll also leave some related articles below!

Things to do in Mount Cook National Park

Queenstown to Christchurch road trip itinerary

The best Mount Cook helicopter flight

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Phil McNamara

Thursday 18th of April 2024

I'll be traveling there to photograph this region in the 1st week of AUGUST. A great tipp re the "Alternative" view point. I've photographed ther in Autumn and wanted to photograph ther region in Winter. Thanks!

Destinationless Travel

Friday 19th of April 2024

Hey Phil!

So glad you like the tips - it's such a beautiful spot!

Thanks Daniel

Qian Ning

Thursday 25th of January 2024

thank you for the blog, it helped me to get the best view on Lindis Pass

Destinationless Travel

Thursday 25th of January 2024

Hey Qian,

Glad it helped!

Thanks Daniel

June

Friday 22nd of December 2023

hi, is the hike suitable for kids? It looks dangerous from the picture haha

Destinationless Travel

Friday 22nd of December 2023

Hey June,

Yes they could do it but please be carful. Although steep, there is no large drop etc. However, use your own discretion when you go.

Thanks Daniel

Crystal

Tuesday 9th of October 2018

Oh wow, that is a stunning view that seems to go on forever! Sounds like it's hard work climbing up a steep hill for 15 minutes (would probably take me 30 hahaha!) but when I head to NZ I will be sure to stop by here!

Destinationless Travel

Tuesday 9th of October 2018

Haha it was a small amount of work for an amazing view! You will love it though! Do you have a trip planned to NZ?