If you’re visiting the stunning lake resort town of Queenstown in Otago, New Zealand, the things available to see and experience are almost endless. Better yet, some of the best Queenstown attractions won’t cost you a cent to enjoy.
Queenstown is built in one in one of the South Island’s most spectacular locations on an inlet called Queenstown Bay on Lake Wakatipu. The views you see from Queenstown are incredible. The awe inspiring mountain range, The Remarkables, Cecil Peak and Walter Peak all surround the town.
Of course there are seemingly endless Queenstown tourist attractions to satisfy a wide range of visitors to the area. Hiring a car to explore the area is a great move. Once you have transport you will be able to discover some of the free experiences that the Queenstown area has to offer. Rest assured you can also leave your car at your base accommodation, as there are many free things to do in Queenstown within easy walking distance from the town centre.
Take a stroll through the Queenstown Gardens
Do you love botanical gardens? Then the Queenstown Gardens are a must. The gardens are just a five minute stroll from the town centre. They can be found on a peninsula on Lake Wakatipu. You can walk around the peninsula as well as through the gardens on several paths that will lead you past the duck ponds, the band rotunda and rose gardens. There is even an 18 hole Frisbee ‘golf course’ you can enjoy; as long as you have a Frisbee of course.
Visit an Art Gallery
If you are an arts and culture lover then you have a treasure trove of art galleries that feature renowned local and international artists. The Ivan Clarke Gallery, the Central Art Gallery, Artbay Gallery and the contemporary Toi o Tahuna are great places to start your artistic wanderings. All are located within the township and are easy to get to on foot.
Explore the Lakefront
The lakefront of Queenstown is a wonderful free attraction that you are sure to enjoy. There is plenty of seating so you can easily spend an hour or so watching people sailing on the lake, there are often buskers entertaining and on Saturdays there are markets at Earnslaw Park. And of course there are the magnificent views of Cecil and Walter Peaks to admire across the lake.
Embark on a Queenstown hike
Feel like getting into nature? Some of the best free Queenstown activities can be found a short drive away from the town. There are several walk/hikes close to Queenstown to suit a variety of physical abilities. Five kilometres from Queenstown, in Frankton, you will discover the Frankton Arm. A flat walk along Lake Wakatipu will reward you with gorgeous views. For those who want more of a challenge there is the Queenstown Hill. This hike leads you to the summit of the hill where you will be able to savour the stunning views of the surrounding area and the lake. This walk is a three hour return trip.
Drive to the Remarkables
A scenic drive up into The Remarkables is a wonderful excursion in all seasons. The views of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu are magnificent. There are plenty of lookouts along the way up the hills and mountains so you are sure to have your breath taken away from these vantage points.