Filled with adventure for thrill seekers and majestic scenery to enjoy on foot, bike or from the air, Queenstown is less than an hour's flight from Christchurch, or an easy 3-hour flight direct from the Eastern Seaboard. It's also the ideal place to relax and indulge, with a plethora of award-winning accommodation, food and wine options.
With so much to do and discover in Queenstown, you could easily spend a whole week here, but if you are looking for day trips in the surrounding areas, here are a few great options.
1 hour from Queenstown – 66 km
The charming lakeside town of Wanaka will welcome you with open arms. Get up close with nature in some of the South Island’s most beautiful surroundings. Operators like Eco Wanaka operate sightseeing tours out into mountain, lake and island landscapes straight out of Middle‑earth. Wanaka’s also a handy base if you plan on hiking or climbing in Mt Aspiring National Park. Canyoning, climbing, fishing, tramping and skydiving are popular year-round.
Stop at historic Arrowtown on your way out to Wanaka. Only 15 mins from central Queenstown, Arrowtown was built at the height of the gold rush, and fittingly, in April and May the tree-lined streets come alive in a burst of autumn colours.
50 mins from Queenstown – 58 km
Central Otago is wine country through and through. Leaving Queenstown, you’ll pass through Gibbston valley, before reaching the towns of Bannockburn, Cromwell, and a little further out, Alexandra and Clyde. There are more than 80 wineries in the area. Enjoy al-fresco dining with some of the country's best fresh, seasonal food - this is the undisputed home of summer fruit from cherries to apples and apricots - along with local Pinot Noir, the region’s claim to fame.
45 mins from Queenstown – 46 km
Tucked away on the northern shores of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by native beech forest and towering mountain ranges, this rustic town is a paradise for true outdoor enthusiasts. Horse trekking, jet boating and kayaking are popular activities; Glenorchy is also the gateway to some of New Zealand's best hiking trails. Mt Alfred is a popular day hike while the Routeburn Track - one of the Great Walks - is also nearby, as are the Rees and Dart Track and the Greenstone/Caples Track. You'll be wowed by the landscapes around here, many of which featured in the Lord of the Rings films as well as the Narnia movies.