Explore wineries, epic film locations, adventure activities or spoil yourself with a trip to a spa. Here are the top 10 things to do in Queenstown.
1. Push your adventure limits
Known as the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown is home to a range of adventures, from the world's first and most famous bungy jumps - the Kawarau Bridge Bungy(opens in new window) - to jet boat thrills through the rugged beauty and unspoilt grandeur of the white-water rapids of the Shotover River. Go skydiving and take in the epic views of the Southern Alps and surrounding lakes, or for those who like to be a bit closer to the ground, explore the rocky gorges and creek crossings by quad bike.
Queenstown’s diversity is perhaps best experienced via your tastebuds! Try one of the famous burgers at Fergburger(opens in new window), grab something sweet at one of the dessert shops such as Patagonia Chocolates or Cookie Time Cookie Bar or try out one of the many fine-dining restaurants.
Explore the wine scene and book a wine tour and explore the renowned Gibbston wine region where you can taste award-winning Pinot Noir and visit New Zealand’s largest wine cave at Gibbston Valley Winery(opens in new window).
Whether you’re looking for easy scenic short walks or multi-day walks, you will find the perfect trail in Queenstown.
Explore the Queenstown Gardens as you wander along the walking trails or try a different way and have a go at playing the Disc Golf course – an 18-basket course that takes you through the 14 hectares of landscaped gardens. For longer walks that feature Queenstown’s natural beauty, try out the Queenstown Hill Walking Track or the Ben Lomond Walkway, giving you spectacular 360-degree alpine views.
Enjoy an iconic Queenstown experience and take the Queenstown Gondola(opens in new window) up 450 metres up to Bob's Peak. From the top, enjoy panoramic views of the aptly named The Remarkables mountain range and Lake Wakatipu. Try your hand at the Queenstown Luge(opens in new window) and zoom down the course of banked corners, tunnels and dippers. If you’re feeling hungry, grab something to eat at the Market Kitchen Café or at Stratosfare Restaurant. Visit the Jelly Belly Store and take home some sweets and check out the art gallery – yes, art pieces made out of Jelly Beans!
5. Experience Lake Wakatipu
Take a picturesque cruise across Lake Wakatipu on board the TSS Earnslaw(opens in new window), a century-old coal-fired steamship. Or if you’d like to stay a little closer to land, have a drink at New Zealand’s only floating bar, Perky’s Floating Bar, where you can even bring takeaway food on the boat! For a faster-paced experience on the lake, go jet boating or try the Hydro Attack Queenstown(opens in new window) and get a feel of what it’s like to be a shark, speeding up to 80km per hour.
6. Cycle along the Queenstown Trail
Ride along one of the Queenstown Trail’s 130km of cycle trails, which take you past the spectacular scenery to Arrowtown, the iconic Kawarau bridge bungy jump and several cafes and wineries. Queenstown is also a well-loved destination for avid mountain bikers – with three lift-assisted mountain bike parks and range of scenic mountain bike trails around the area suited to all skill levels.
Queenstown isn't all about heart-pumping adrenalin - wind down and indulge at Onsen Hot Pools(opens in new window), a boutique retreat and day spa that offers ultimate relaxation. Looking over the Shotover River, the spa has 14 world-renowned cedar-lined hot pools that are open during both the afternoons and evenings. Whether you book an hour-long soak in the Original Onsen, or treat yourself to the Ultimate Relaxation Experience, you’ll surely feel fully rested at the end of your visit.
9. See Queenstown from above
Scenic flights are an excellent way to enjoy the natural splendour of Queenstown. A light plane or helicopter is the perfect way to take your holiday to the next level as you admire lush grasslands, tussocks, vast lakes, and snow-capped mountains from your vantage seat. Book a helicopter ride that also offer alpine landings to give you more time to take in the views. For those who are feeling a little more daring, try out paragliding or book a hot air balloon ride as the sun rises to a new day.
10. Visit nearby towns Arrowtown and Glenorchy
Situated on the banks of Arrow River is historic Arrowtown, established during the gold rush of the 1860s and is still a vibrant town centre today. Only a 20 minutes’ drive east of Queenstown, this picturesque destination is home to the Lakes District Museum and Gallery(opens in new window) – showcasing the area’s history and relics. Hire a Gold Pan and try your luck at gold mining down at the river!
Set against a background of native beech forest and towering mountain ranges, and only a 45-minute drive from Queenstown, you can find the beautiful Glenorchy. An outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, Glenorchy has plenty of things to do, from walking tracks, horse riding, fishing, to finding those perfect photography spots. It is also home to filming locations from The Lord of the Rings, including Isengard, Amon Hen, Lothlorien Forest, The Misty Mountains and Ithilien.
Bonus: Experience winter in Queenstown
Queenstown is the perfect destination for any season of the year, especially in winter! From snow-capped peaks, buzzing ski fields and a variety of après ski offerings, Queenstown has something for everyone.