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Queenstown is an outdoor lover’s paradise! However, sometimes the weather can get in the way of your plans. Whether it’s because of the rain or the fact the winters in New Zealand can get bitterly cold, it’s a smart idea to plan for a few indoor activities in Queenstown.
I often head indoors in spring when it rains a lot in Queenstown. Or, in August when it gets well below zero and not even a hot mulled wine will warm me up. Or even when I’m just looking to escape the sun from all of the hiking I do around Queenstown.
The great thing is that there’s no shortage of indoor activities in Queenstown. In fact, with a short walk around town, you can experience some of the best things to do in Queenstown while enjoying the comfort of the indoors.
Here’s my guide to the 18 indoor things to do in Queenstown!
1. Visit a craft brewery
I hope this doesn’t look bad, but yes, to me the number one thing to do inside is to visit one of Queenstown’s breweries. A cold beer by the fire? Yes, please!
In Queenstown, there are four craft breweries you can visit and drink right from the keg. My favorite of the four is Search Light Brewery. This small local brewery is owned and operated by Lewis and his wife and they pour their passion into every glass. The brewery is located a little out of town in the industrial complex on Gorge Road. However, its location means that it’s a local secret!
Next up is Altitude Brewing. These guys serve tasty beer and their brewery is located on the Queenstown waterfront just on the outskirts of town. Sit back by the water and enjoy great craft beer.
If you don’t mind a little drive you can also visit Cargo Brewery in the Gibbston Valley. This microbrewery is located on a vineyard, so if you have wine lovers in your group this is a great place to go!
Last, is the largest of the four called Canyon Food and Brew Co. Owned by one of Queenstown’s largest companies, the brewery doesn’t have that small craft brewery vibe, however, they have the largest indoor area and a huge kitchen serving great food! It’s also located just above Shotover Canyon near Shotover Jet, so the views are pretty spectacular!
If you want to drink and visit craft breweries, be sure to join a craft beer tour!
2. Eat at one of Queenstown’s best restaurants
When the weather is not playing ball, I can sometimes get a little sad. What’s the best thing to do when you’re feeling sad? Eat of course! In Queenstown the options of amazing places to eat are endless, but as a local, I have a few favorites you will love.
For an amazing breakfast in Queenstown, head to Bespoke Kitchen for amazing smoothie bowls. This place is a local favorite, especially for any health nut.
If you’re looking to fill up for lunch you can’t beat Fergburger. Some might think it’s overrated but in my opinion, it’s not only worth the hype but I eat it more than I should!
For dinner, my favorite place in Queenstown is Blue Kanu. Featuring Polynesian-style food, they serve everything from ribs to whole fish. My favorite though? The duck nachos!
Regardless of why you’re looking for something to do indoors, eating food is always a great way to cheer up the mood! Plus, dining indoors is one of the best things to do when it’s raining in Queenstown!
3. Compete with your friends at Game Over
Game Over Queenstown is the ultimate indoor activity for those who love to get competitive and battle their friends. Game Over has three distinct activities you can do including indoor go-karting, laser tag, and an arcade.
My favorite? Of course, it’s go-karting! The indoor track at Game Over is small, but with tight corners, it’s exhilarating! Only two problems with this though, it’s not the cheapest place to go-karting and they do limit speeds on certain corners. My advice? If you want to go fast, save it for a nice day on the Luge where they don’t control your speed.
If arcades are your thing, then Game Over Queenstown has a large selection. Games start at $1 NZD and there are lots of prizes to win.
The last indoor activity at Game Over is Jurassic Battle Laser Tag. I’ve personally never done this one but it only costs $12 NZD for 15 minutes of fun. Kids love it and even some adults – a great family activity in Queenstown for sure!
4. Test your nerves at Fear Factory
I’m not sure if I love or hate Fear Factory Queenstown. I’ve only been once and I’m not sure if I could go again. I underestimated just how scary this place would be and left with a heart rate well above 200 I’m sure.
If you love getting scared or want to challenge yourself, then you’ll love Fear Factory. The indoor maze is dark and filled with actors ready to scare the lights out of you. It only takes around 10 to 15 minutes to walk the maze (most of which I spent with my hands over my eyes.)
Fear Factory is $40 NZD for adults and $20 NZD for kids and they also have family discounts. I’m not sure if really young kids could handle it – this is the scariest indoor thing to do in Queenstown (even scarier than bungy or skydiving!)
5. Explore Odyssey Sensory Maze
If you’re traveling with kids and think Fear Factory might be a little much for them, then Odyssey Sensory Maze is another indoor activity you can do in Queenstown.
This indoor maze enters different rooms all of which stimulate your mind and body in different ways. In some rooms, it’s very visual, and in others, it’s all about sounds and touches. Kids love it and find the maze more exciting rather than scary.
The experience lasts around 25 minutes, but you can stay in the maze as long as you want. Some people even spend an hour inside.
It costs around $32 NZD for adults and $25 NZD for children for the standard experience but there are upgrades available.
6. Get the best ice cream and chocolate at Patagonia
There’s only one place you need to go for the best chocolate and ice cream in Queenstown, and that’s Patagonia Chocolates. All their chocolate is freshly handmade and they have tons of choices.
And their ice cream? Well, it’s won plenty of awards and I haven’t had a flavor I don’t like.
If you’re looking for somewhere to hang out inside in Queenstown, you can head to Patagonia Chocolates and enjoy their multi-level indoor seating area. From upstairs, you’ll have a beautiful view of Lake Wakatipu. They also roast their own coffee which pairs perfectly with their chocolate!
7. Test your skills at Escape Quest Queenstown
Escape rooms have exploded in popularity in recent years. In a race against the clock, you need to complete a series of challenges to escape each room until you’re finished.
Queenstown’s Escape Quest follows the theme of Queenstown’s gold rush back in the 1800s. They have four different quests you can do all ranging in difficulty. The experience takes one hour and in that time you need to complete the puzzles to win. Many don’t so try your luck!
Escape Quest also has VR escape rooms and an outdoor escape. I haven’t tried either but they have great reviews online. Personally though, you can’t beat the classic indoor escape room!
8. Go indoor skydiving
In bad weather, you can’t go skydiving… from a plane that is! Instead, go indoor skydiving!
Indoor skydiving is a relatively new sport, and Queenstown’s been lucky enough to get its own indoor skydiving tunnel. iFLY (the company that owns the tunnel) is a leading indoor skydiving company with tunnels all around Australia. There state of the art tunnel in Queenstown is brand new and just waiting for visitors to come and give it a go.
Indoor skydiving gives you the thrill of flying without actually falling from an aircraft (great if you’re afraid of heights.) Skydivers actually use the tunnels for training, but if you’re just looking for a unique indoor experience in Queenstown then this is it!
If you’ve never done it before then it may take a little getting used to, but every session comes with an experienced instructor who will have you flying around in no time.
The only downside to indoor skydiving is the price. Unfortunately, the machines are extremely expensive to build and run. Not to mention, you get a professional instructor all to yourself. For this reason, you’re looking at $129 NZD for two beginner flights. You can check availability and book online here.
Related Read: Want to actually skydive? Check out the best places to skydive in New Zealand to choose your ideal location!
9. Taste wine in the Gibbston Valley
You can try wine any time of the year in Queenstown and the best part? It’s all indoors. Of course, nothing beats getting amongst the vines on a warm summer’s day, but luckily, all of the tasting rooms in the Gibbston Valley are indoors!
The Gibbston Valley is Queenstown’s most famous wine region and is home to some of the best Pinot Noir in the world. There are lots of wineries to visit and you can either join a guided tour, a hop on hop off bus tour, a self-guided bike tour, or simply drive yourself. The Gibbston River Wine Trail is also in this area and it’s one of the best bike trails in the Queenstown area.
If you want to do an organized tour then there’s not much planning required. Your guide will take you to 4 to 5 wineries in the area and you’ll enjoy tastings at each. If you want to drive yourself then you’ll need to pick some wineries. My personal favorite wineries near Queenstown include The Gibbston Valley Winery, Mt Rosa, Kinross, and Akarua. All these vineyards have caller doors and offer tastings.
Visiting wineries in the Gibbston Valley is one of the most romantic things to do in Queenstown too! So if you’re traveling with your loved one, this is a must!
Related Read: Find out all the details on the best wine tours available in Queenstown on my blog!
10. Take a wellness day
If the weather is not in your favor you can take a few hours (or a whole day!) to focus on your body. In Queenstown, there are lots of choices to pick from.
A massage is always a staple idea when you want to fully relax or improve areas of soreness (maybe from all that hiking, am I right?). At Body Sanctum Day Spa, right in the town center, you can choose from deep tissue, maternity, hot stone, and reflexology massages that last 1 or 1.5 hours long.
Willing to brave an intense blast of cold with a Cryotherapy session? While sitting in an extra cold room for a few minutes isn’t a relaxing experience the after-effects will prove otherwise.
There are tons of benefits of cryotherapy because during this time the blood near the skin reroutes to your main arteries to keep you warm. That blood fills with oxygen and takes all of the nutrients back to your skin and muscle tissues. It helps with inflation, helps relieve pain, soothes swollen joints, and accelerates healing. Not to mention you’ll also feel rejuvenated from the release of endorphins!
Related read: For even more relaxation, check out the top hot pools in Queenstown!
11. Swim at Alpine Aqua Land
Alpine Aqua Land is just the fancy name for Queenstown’s public indoor pool. Despite being just your typical New Zealand recreation center, it’s a great place to go if you want to swim indoors.
Entrance to the pools is only $8.50 NZD for adults and $4 NZD for children. Inside they have some slides and swings for kids, and for adults, the jacuzzi and steam room are perfect! An added bonus is the view from the hot tub of the mountains!
Overall, Alpine Aqua Land is a cheap activity in Queenstown that will keep the kids or yourself entertained for a while!
12. Get tipsy at an ice bar
If you’re indoors because you’re hiding from the cold you may want to give this one a miss. However, if you just want to get indoors, why not head to one of Queenstown’s ice bars. Yep, I said bars (with an “s”) because there are actually two in Queenstown.
The first is Minus 5 Ice Bar and as you can tell by the name the room is kept at -5 (Celsius that is.) The bar is located in Queenstown town center and is home to 19 tons of ice. They charge $35 NZD for an adult entry with one cocktail or $40 NZD with two cocktails.
The second is Below Zero Ice Bar and they’re pretty much the same but their bar is bigger with 35 tons of ice. They offer entry only at $10 NZD and entry plus one cocktail for $19 NZD. Their two cocktail deal is $25 NZD.
There’s also a bar crawl that stops at one of the ice bars if you’re looking to get social with other locals or tourists.
I’ll be honest with you, ice bars aren’t my thing as I came to New Zealand to escape the extreme cold in Canada!
Related Read: If you and you’re looking for a fun night out in Queenstown, read our blog all about partying in Queenstown! It includes the best places to go and important tips!
13. Jump around at SITE Trampoline
If you’re like me and love to get outside and get moving, then having to retreat to the indoors might be a little bit annoying. However, a great way to get moving indoors in Queenstown is at SITE Trampoline.
SITE Trampoline has a huge room filled with trampolines that you can bounce around on. They even have trampolines on the walls! In a session, you can jump around with friends and practice tricks or just have fun. They also have a foam pit for practicing flips!
This is easily the best thing to do indoors to burn off some energy!
14. Watch a movie at the cinema
Regardless of the reason you’re heading indoors, watching a movie can be a relaxing break on a busy Queenstown holiday. Queenstown is home to its very home movie theater called Reading Cinemas Queenstown.
This small boutique cinema only has three screens, but the intimate experience is unique in comparison to the typical cinema most are used to. They have lots of movies on that regularly change including new releases and kids’ movies.
If you’re looking for an even more unique experience then you need to head to Arrowtown to Dorothy Browns Cinema. This boutique cinema is actually very luxurious. For one, the seats are huge and each seat comes with armrests for cheese boards and wine glasses. They have a fully stocked bar, still do intermissions, and have made it their mission to bring back the event of going to the movies.
Reading Cinemas is great for families, and Dorothy Browns is perfect for romantic couples or friends looking for a luxurious experience with lots of wine!
15. Go ice-skating
Queenstown might not get cold enough to have an outdoor ice skating rink, but that’s one reason why they have an awesome indoor one! Queenstown Ice Arena is the perfect place to visit when you need to head indoors but still want to get moving.
Public ice skating sessions are only $15 NZD per person and include a helmet and skates all day. They also have a new activity I’ve yet to try called Ice Bumper Cars! Imagine your typical bumper car at the fair but on ice. A bumper car ride is also only $15 NZD for 10 minutes.
Queenstown Ice Arena also has a fully stocked bar which might make the bruises from falling down a little less painful.
16. Visit Skyline Queenstown
Skyline is the large building above Queenstown where the gondola leads to. On a cold winter day in Queenstown, you may want to stay inside, and what better place to go than Skyline to enjoy the magnificent view of Queenstown.
In the winter, the snow cover peaks look breathtaking. The best part is that you can warm up inside at the Stratosfare Restaurant and Bar. Just be sure to plan this for a clear day when cloud cover won’t obstruct your view!
Taking the gondola up to Skyline costs $46 NZD for adults and $32 NZD for children. The ride up is only 5 minutes but the gondola karts fully enclosed you so can stay indoors! There are combo tickets available that include both the gondola ride and the buffet inside the restaurant in case you get hungry.
17. Go crazy at SMASHIT
Need to let out some anger? Well, luckily for you Queenstown’s newest attraction SMASHIT will help you do just that.
For only $35 NZD you’ll get geared up with your friends before entering a room full of breakable items. Then, with your weapon of choice in hand, you’re free to break as much as you possibly can! You literally will become a ‘bull in a China shop.’ This is even a great activity in Queenstown for those traveling with teenagers since those as young as 12 can give it a go.
SMAHIT Queenstown is located right in central Queenstown on Shotover Street.
18. Choose a thrill at a 12-D Motion Theatre
A 12-D Motion Theatre experience is a great modern take on going to the movies. This is an immersive experience where you will get to choose between 80 different simulations where you can do an escape mission, ride a rollercoaster, take out a pack of zombies, and more! It’s a perfect thrill for both adults and kids to try out. For $35 NZD per adult and you will get a 15-minute time slot that allows you time for 3 different VR experiences.
Where to Stay in Queenstown
Finding the right place to stay in Queenstown can be hard. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of awesome choices, but things book up fast! For that reason, I highly suggest booking your accommodation well in advance.
Honestly, during peak times, any of the best hotels in Queenstown will be fully booked several weeks in advance…you have been warned! To help you plan ahead, here are a few places I personally love and that would make an awesome place to stay in Queenstown.
Kamana Lakehouse – $$$
For a luxurious stay, I highly recommend Kamana Lakehouse. This hotel is located just on the outskirts of town. Although it’s super peaceful, it’s just a 5-minute drive into the center of town. The place overlooks both the lake and the mountains, and the onsite restaurant uses local, seasonal ingredients to create the freshest meals. To top it off, many of the rooms boast lake views, and some even have outdoor baths!
The trick will be snagging this for your dates (it’s a popular place!). Rooms start around the $400 NZD mark, and you can check availability and book online here.
La Quinta Queenstown – $$
If you’re looking for a mid-range hotel, then you should seriously consider La Quinta Queenstown. This beautiful hotel is right by the airport but still very quiet. Plus, the views are amazing (although you won’t find me recommending a place without great views!). The rooms are all studio or one-bedroom apartments, which is really handy if you want to cook or even just have breakfast in your room.
Prices start at $200 NZD and you can book online here.
Absoloot Hostel Queenstown – $
My top choice for budget travelers is the Absoloot Hostel Queenstown. This small hostel has dorm rooms and budget private rooms, and it’s really clean and comfortable. The location is in the heart of Queenstown – the window from the kitchen looks out over Lake Wakatipu!
Renting a Car, Campervan, or Motorhome in New Zealand
Let’s face it, you’re going to need wheels to get around New Zealand. Although a small country, buses between destinations are infrequent and expensive. Plus, some of the best experiences you can have in NZ are on road trips!
You have three options when it comes to getting wheels in New Zealand; a car, a campervan, or a motorhome. Here’s what you need to know about each and where to get them:
- Car – A normal car is the cheapest rental vehicle you can get in New Zealand. It’ll get you around to all of the best destinations with ease. The only downside to a car is that you will need to stay in hotels or Airbnbs during your travels (no camping.) The easiest place to rent a car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare cars, companies, prices, features, and more very easily.
- Campervan – A Campervan is a large van that has a bed and a small kitchen in the back. It’s what most budget travelers use for traveling around New Zealand since it allows you to camp comfortably and for free (most) nights. Campervans are best for couples or solo travelers who are happy to live in a small space. You should also love the outdoors and camping…and be prepared for an adventure of a lifetime! My favorite campervan rental company is JUCY because they have a huge selection of campervans to choose from, plus multiple pick-up/drop-off locations. You can browse JUCY’s campervan selection online here. Alternatively, you can easily compare all campervans available in NZ on Motorhome Republic here.
- Motorhome – A motorhome is larger and more comfortable than a campervan. Many motorhomes will comfortably sleep 6 or more people – perfect for a family visiting New Zealand. Motorhomes are the most expensive option, but with one you won’t ever need to stay in a hotel and you’ll save money that way. My top choice for a motorhome company is Star RV because they have beautiful motorhomes at affordable prices. You can check prices and availability for Star RV motorhomes online here. Alternatively, you can use Motorhome Republic to search all motorhomes in NZ. For more detailed info, read my complete guide to renting a motorhome in New Zealand!
EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT CODE: I’ve managed to snag a discount code for 5% off for my readers if you book your JUCY or Star RV campervan or motorhome before the end of June 2024! Simply click here to select your JUCY campervan, or click here to select your Star RV motorhome, and then use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off – it’s that easy! One thing to note is that this code is only valid for travel before Dec 21, 2024.
Travel Insurance Has Your Back!
Life can be unpredictable and when you’re traveling abroad, the last thing you want to worry about is getting sick or injured and having to pay out of pocket for treatment.
If this concerns you, SafetyWing can help! SafetyWing specializes in very affordable and comprehensive medical and travel insurance that is aimed at digital nomads, remote workers, and long-term travelers. It costs just $45 USD per 4 weeks!
To start coverage, you must purchase it after leaving your home country, so we usually buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
Since using SafetyWing we’ve been reimbursed thousands of dollars when we’ve gotten sick. During the pandemic, they’ve even gone as far as to pay for our last-minute flights back to Canada before the border closed!
Thanks for reading!
When heading indoors in Queenstown there’s really no shortage of awesome things to do. These 18 are some of the best and are sure to keep any visitor busy while staying inside!
Thanks so much for reading my guide to the best things to do in Queenstown indoors! I hope you found this travel guide helpful and now have a huge list of activities to do in case you need to hide inside. If you did love this guide, then browse around My Queenstown Diary, my personal diary into everything Queenstown and other surrounding cities! I’ve left some more blogs that I think you might enjoy below: