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One Week Queenstown Itinerary: How to Spend 7 Days in Queenstown

One Week Queenstown Itinerary: How to Spend 7 Days in Queenstown

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So, you’re planning on spending one week in Queenstown? Lucky you! I mean, I love this city and think you could keep yourself busy for months exploring all of the amazing things to do in Queenstown. You can spend an afternoon at the Queenstown Gardens, check out one of the many wineries, or explore the outdoors by hiking around Queenstown, just to name a few!

Many visitors only give themselves two or three days in Queenstown – which to me, isn’t enough. 7 days in Queenstown is a good amount of time to explore and really get to know this vibrant town and do some sightseeing in the surrounding area. However, planning your Queenstown itinerary can be a challenge, especially if it’s your first time visiting!

For that reason, I’ve written this detailed 7-day Queenstown itinerary! It includes a balance of the best activities, attractions, hikes, viewpoints, restaurants, and even has time for relaxing! I’m a Queenstown local, so you’re sure to find the best insider tips and places to visit in this itinerary. 

So without further ado, here is how you can best spend one week in Queenstown! 

Day 1 – Get Acquainted with Queenstown

Your first day in Queenstown is all about getting to know Queenstown itself. Get oriented and learn how to get around. It’s the perfect intro to Queenstown and will help you prepare for the remainder of your week. 

Morning – Iconic Queenstown breakfast and wandering town

This morning you should go for a wander in Queenstown town center. Queenstown is a vibrant city with so much to see and do that it’s almost overwhelming! 

Breakfast at Fergbaker

Bailey at Ferg Baker in Queenstown
I’m a Ferg girl that’s for sure!
Muffins and sweets at Ferg Baker in Queenstown
The food is so good!

Start your day at Fergbaker right on Shotover Street in town. As one of the best cafes in Queenstown, Fergbaker is popular with both locals and tourists! 

If you’re wondering if Fergbaker is associated with the famous Fergburger, well the answer is yes! Don’t get ahead of yourself though, I’ve included Fergburger in this itinerary too!  

For now, just grab a delicious coffee and a bite to eat. I love their jalapeno bagel with cream cheese, but there are a ton of breakfast goodies to choose from. It is one of the top breakfast places in Queenstown, after all.  

Walk Queenstown Town 

Path through the Queenstown Gardens NZ
The path through the Queenstown Gardens, NZ

With your coffee in hand, next up on your Queenstown itinerary is just wandering town. As I said, today is about getting your bearings here in Queenstown, and the best way to do that is on foot. 

Walk up and down Shotover Street (where Fergbaker is located) and then make your way to Earnslaw Park. From here, you can walk the Steamer Wharf towards Queenstown Beach. While this area is nice just to stroll through, you can make your experience a little more fun by taking a segway tour! This lets you cover more ground in a short amount of time and it’s an exciting way to explore Queenstown, you can book a 1-hour segway tour here for $91 NZD per person!

As you continue past the beach you find the Queenstown Gardens. You can wander the Queenstown Gardens Trail and take in the views of Lake Wakatipu (Queenstown’s crown jewel!) This walk is one of the easiest hikes in Queenstown and a great way to experience how much this town has to offer.  

If you’re up for some fun, rent a frisbee from the Queenstown Ice Arena in the gardens and then test your skills at the Frisbee (Disc) Golf Course in the gardens. At only $6 NZD for a frisbee rental with the free course, this is one of the best cheap things to do in Queenstown

Otherwise, just take it slow this morning and enjoy the gardens and town. The next few days of this 7-day Queenstown itinerary are pretty jammed-packed – so enjoy it while you can! 

Afternoon – Visit Bob’s Peak

Now that you’ve explored Queenstown on foot, it’s time to check it out from another angle – up above looking down from Bob’s Peak! Bob’s Peak is located 450 meters (1,476 feet) above Queenstown, and from up there, the views are incredible. It’s not just the view you go up for though, in fact, there are lots of fun things to do at Bob’s Peak and you can easily spend a few hours up there! 

Ride the Gondola 

Riding the Queenstown gondola up to the Luge Track in Queenstown
Up I go on the gondola!

The first thing you’ll do this afternoon is ride the Skyline gondola. This gondola will take you up to Bob’s Peak from Queenstown town center (that’s right, no hiking required!). The gondola ride lasts for about 5 minutes and costs $52 NZD per adult and $36 NZD per child. They also have discounted family rates available too.  This not only gives sweeping views of Queenstown below, but its a fun activity in itself!

The gondola is easy to get to and you can walk there from the Queenstown Gardens. Just head to the end of Brecon Street and you’ll see the gondola station where you can purchase tickets.

Ride the Luge 

People ride the luge in Queenstown with views of Lake Wakatipu in the background
You can go really fast and race your mates!

Once at the top of Bob’s Peak, my favorite thing to do is ride the Queenstown Luge. To me, no Queenstown itinerary is complete without riding the luge as it is definitely one of the best things to do in Queenstown, especially with kids

If you aren’t familiar with “luging”, it’s kind of like go-karting except instead of a motor, these little carts are gravity-powered as the track slopes down a hill. They go a lot quicker than you’d expect, I found myself using the brakes at least a couple of times while flying downhill.

Luge tickets come combined with your gondola ride and start at 2 luge rides for $71 NZD for an adult and $49 NZD for kids. The more you buy in a combo ticket the better the value. The Skyline at the top of Bob’s Peak is open from 9:30 am to 9 pm and you can purchase luge and gondola tickets in advance here!

Other things to do at Bob’s Peak

View of Queenstown from the top of the Gondola on Bob's Peak in Queenstown
The view is epic!

At Bob’s Peak, you’ll see the large Skyline building as well as signs for walking trails. Some of the other things you can do up there include: 

  • Visit the Market Kitchen Café- Stop for lunch at the top of Bob’s Peak! The Market Kitchen Cafe is a great break in your adventures, it serves up amazing pizzas and unmatched views.
  • Go ziplining- The world’s steepest zipline) is actually from the top of Bob’s Peak. It has a 21-meter (69-foot) drop at the end, so you pick up a lot of speed. You’ll spend one hour ziplining through the trees, then your final zipline will be to the base of the mountain. You can reserve this zipline experience for $119 NZD per person!

Evening – dinner at Stratosfare Restaurant and Bar

Enjoying a glass of wine at the Stratosfare Restaurant Queenstown with a beautiful view
Not a bad place to enjoy a meal!

I recommend staying up at Bob’s Peak for dinner. If you skipped lunch (thanks to a delicious late Fergbaker breakie) then you’re probably starving. There is no better way to fix that than with a gourmet all-you-can-eat buffet dinner. Stratosfare Restaurant & Bar is perched at the top of Bob’s Peak and they offer a huge buffet and the best views of Queenstown.

Sitting here with a glass of wine, watching the sun set over Queenstown is pure magic! 

Stratosfare also serves really good food. It is a buffet, but it’s a fancy buffet complete with steak, seafood, endless local cheese, and so much more. The dessert wall alone is enough to make me visit again.  

The restaurant is often fully booked, so be sure to reserve a table in advance. You can also buy combo deals that include eating at the restaurant as well as riding the gondola. Book these deals online in advance on the Skyline website.   

Related Read: One of my favorite parts of New Zealand is its expansive outdoor recreation scene! I put together a guide to the top 40 hikes on the South Island, so you shouldn’t have an issue finding somewhere beautiful to explore.

Day 2 – Day Trip to Glenorchy

One of the best parts of Queenstown is its central location to many great day trips. So today we are leaving Queenstown, and visiting its quiet neighbor – Glenorchy! Glenorchy is my favorite small town in all of New Zealand. It’s home to only 200 people, I’m not kidding when I say it’s a small town!

With that said, there is no shortage of things to do in Glenorchy. And since it is only a 40-minute drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy, it can easily be visited on a day trip. No Queenstown itinerary is complete without a day spent in Glenorchy if you ask me. It’s easily one of the best places to visit on the entire South Island!

Morning – The scenic drive to Glenorchy

Windy road with mountain and lake views on the way to Glenorchy from Queenstown
The road to Glenorchy!

For this day trip, you’re going to need some wheels! There are no public buses from Queenstown to Glenorchy, so your only options are to drive yourself or book a guided tour. If you don’t already have a car, then I recommend renting one for the day. Queenstown car rentals can be very cheap and will cost you less than a guided tour would.  

Plus, with your own car, you have the freedom to explore all of the places I mentioned in this itinerary! 

If you don’t drive, then a guided tour to Glenorchy from Queenstown is your only option. This 4-hour tour is one I’ve done before and really loved. It has the epic views Glenorchy is known for, stops at iconic Lord of the Rings filming spots, and there’s even a lakeside picnic! No need to worry about the rest of this itinerary as your guide will have your day all planned out for you – just sit back and relax! I recommend reserving this tour in advance to secure your spot for $179 NZD per person.

Breakfast

Food and coffee from Odelay Cafe in Queenstown
You can’t beat the food at Odelay!

Grab a quick bite to eat at your hotel or one of the many cafes in Queenstown before picking up your rental car. If you’re picking up the car in Frankton, then check out Odelay Café for breakfast (you won’t be disappointed!) 

Now, it’s time to hit the road! 

Head out of Queenstown past Fernhill on Glenorchy-Queenstown Road. There is only one road that goes from Queenstown to Glenorchy, so you can’t miss it! It’s an absolutely breathtaking drive, so enjoy the journey!

Wilson Bay

Bailey at Wilsons Bay on the road between Queenstown and Glenorchy
Take a dip if you dare!

About 9 kilometers (5.6 miles) from Queenstown you will see signs for Wilson Bay. This is your first stop along the scenic drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy.  

This bay is beautiful, and in the summer, makes for the perfect place for a swim. Otherwise, just enjoy the views, watch the ducks, and check out the area. Although just a quick stop on this drive, it’s well worth checking out!

Bob’s Cove

Bailey at Bob's Peak near Queenstown, New Zealand
On a clear day, this is a must-do!
The jetty at Bob;s Cove along the Bob's Peak Track near Queenstown
The jetty at Bob’s Cove along the Bob’s Peak Track near Queenstown

About 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) further from Wilson Bay, you’ll find Bob’s Cove. This is one of the most beautiful beaches and bays around Lake Wakatipu.  

Here, walk Bob’s Cove Track up to Picnic Point. It is one of the best hikes in Queenstown and offers amazing views from the top. The hike should only take you about 30 minutes to complete.  

After you’re done, you can even cool off with a swim before hitting the road once again.  

Bennett’s Bluff Lookout

View of the mountains and lake from Bennetts Bluff Lookout
View of the mountains and lake from Bennetts Bluff Lookout

Bennett’s Bluff Lookout offers the best views along this entire drive. It is a small parking lot with a short walk to an epic view of Lake Wakatipu. From here, you’ll look down Lake Wakatipu towards Glenorchy.

Again, this one is just a quick stop but it’s so beautiful! You can find Bennett’s Bluff on the left-hand side of the road (heading towards Glenorchy). It is easy to see when you drive past but does come up quickly out of nowhere after turning a corner.  

Afternoon – The town of Glenorchy! 

Now that you’ve made it to Glenorchy you need to check out the town and all of its attractions. Here’s how I recommend you spend your afternoon: 

Eat at Mrs. Woolly General Store and Cafe 

The front of Mrs. Woolly General Store and Cafe
Mrs. Woolly General Store and Cafe!

Hungry? Well, stop for lunch at my favorite little café in Glenorchy, Mrs. Woolly’s. Located right in town, this café is a fun stop for visitors because it serves delicious takeaway treats as well as features a store with locally made souvenirs and goods.  

Get a meat pie here – they’re so good. My personal favorite pie they serve is made with local salmon; it sounds weird but it is so good.  

Glenorchy shed and jetty 

The Glenorchy Railway Shed in Glenorchy at the trailhead of the Glenorchy Walkway
The famous Glenorchy Railway Shed

The most iconic photo of Glenorchy features a red shed by the lake. Head to the Glenorchy Jetty to see this view for yourself. You can easily find the jetty, just turn left once you pass Mrs. Woolley’s until you reach the lake and see the shed (Glenorchy is tiny and easy to navigate).

Be sure to walk the jetty and go inside of the shed. The shed features information about the area and what it was used for back in the day. It’s one of the best free things to do in Glenorchy, that much is for sure. 

Walk the Glenorchy Walkway 

Bailey enjoys the reflections along the Glenorchy Walkway
On a clear day, the reflections are out of this world!

A trip to Glenorchy isn’t complete without going on at least one hike! From the Glenorchy Jetty, you can jump on the trail to the Glenorchy Lagoon via the Glenorchy Walkway.  

Just continue right (when facing the water) past the jetty and you will find a well-maintained walking trail. This trail is the Glenorchy Walkway and it’s one of the best hikes in Glenorchy. It’s flat, relatively easy, and only 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) long in total. Most people complete the entire loop in about an hour.  

The trail is a loop and takes you to the Glenorchy Lagoon, or what some people refer to as Mirror Lakes. Here, the water reflects the surrounding mountains and it is picture perfect! 

Related Read: After your time on the South Island, be sure to check out the North Island of New Zealand! You’ll need at least another week in this beautiful country, as there’s a lot to explore!

Glenorchy Animal Experience 

A lady feeds llamas at the Glenorchy Animal Experience
Feeding the animals is so much fun!

Next up on this itinerary is a classic Kiwi experience on a local farm! Jump in your car and drive 5 minutes out of Glenorchy to the Glenorchy Animal Experience. This is a real New Zealand farm that lets visitors explore and feed their animals.  

It is a self-guided tour that only costs $20 NZD per adult and $10 NZD per child. There is also a sheep shearing demonstration daily at 2:30 pm included in the ticket price. It is actually pretty interesting as you get an up-close look at these adorable creatures! I spent about an hour here before moving on to my next Glenorchy activity.

If you opted to take a tour and still want to experience Glenorchy’s farm life, I’ve got you covered! This tour from Queenstown to Glenorchy includes a stop at the Glenorchy Animal Experience, as well as all the other classic Glenorchy sights. So if diving into Kiwi culture through a farm experience is high on your bucket list, you can reserve this tour for $194 NZD online here!

Drive out to Paradise 

The Paradise sign in Glenorchy
Welcome to Paradise!

Yes, just outside of Glenorchy is an area that is actually called Paradise. Not only is it as beautiful as it sounds, but it was also the film location of many scenes of Lord of the Rings. If you’re a diehard fan, you can take a Glenorchy Lord of the Rings tour. Or you can simply enjoy the picturesque paradise! Some places to check out include: 

  • Misty Mountains – The Misty Mountains in LOTR were filmed in the mountains around Glenorchy. In fact, as you drive from Queenstown towards Glenorchy, look into the distance and you’ll see exactly where the fellowship walks through the snow in the Fellowship of the Ring.
  • IsengardFrom the Isengard lookout you can stare out, and with a lot of imagination, picture Isengard in the valley. It’s a hard one to see because of all the animation used in the movie.
  • Forest of Fangorn – While looking at Isengard, look to your right in the forest. Here sits the Forest of Fangorn!

If you have more time this afternoon, drive out to the Routeburn Track! You can do a short nature walk as a day hike on the Routeburn Track that takes you through some beautiful forests and along the edge of the Dart River.  

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Evening – Sunsets and stars 

No need to rush back to Queenstown. Tonight, we are enjoying the scenic drive back at dusk with a stop at one of my favorite places in all of Queenstown – Moke Lake! 

Eat at Queenies Dumplings 

dumplings from Queenies Dumplings in Glenorchy
Yummmm! Photo courtesy of Queenies Dumplings

Before setting off, I recommend grabbing a quick bite in Glenorchy. Queenies Dumplings is a local favorite in this area with locations in Glenorchy, Queenstown, and Arrowtown! You can either dine in here or grab your food to go (to enjoy later at Moke Lake!) 

Moke Lake 

Bailey stops for a break on the Moke Lake Walkway
It’s an easy walk!

Now you can start the drive back to Queenstown. About 38 kilometers (23.6 miles) in, keep an eye out for signs for Moke Lake. You’ll turn left onto a gravel road and follow this road for about 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) until you reach the lake.  

Moke Lake is an iconic destination in Queenstown. There are lots of different things to do at Moke Lake including walking the Moke Lake Loop track, climbing up to the “secret” viewpoint, or even just camping under the stars.  

I recommend walking some of Moke Lake Loop to find a quiet spot to watch the sunset.  

If you have the time and energy, be sure to hang around until it gets dark to see the stars. On a clear day, the stars here are incredible because there is next to no light pollution in the area! 

Day 3 – Lake day 

You’ve had a busy two days so far on this 7-day Queenstown itinerary. So now, it’s time to relax a little and enjoy the stunning Lake Wakatipu.  

Morning – Prep for the day 

BBQ at St Omer Park
It’s one of the best free things to do in Queenstown!

This morning you’re going to head to one of the local supermarkets in Queenstown to get ready for your day by the lake. If you’re staying in town, you can easily walk to Four Square Supermarket on Shotover Street. Alternatively, drive 5 minutes to the FreshChoice on Gorge Road. 

Here, you can grab some breakfast to go as well as get some groceries for your day at the lake. There are free BBQs to use, so buying some meat to grill up is a great idea! Get everything you’re going to need for a picnic BBQ. 

Also, consider hitting up a bottle shop (liquor store). If you’re like me and love a cider in the sun, then stock up because you can have a few drinks at the beach today. In Queenstown, you can legally drink at particular beach areas until 10 pm (this is rare in New Zealand). 

Next, head to St Omer Park straight away to grab your picnic area and BBQ. Be sure to get there before lunchtime to snag a BBQ. This is a popular spot in the summer months and especially on weekends.  

Note: If all BBQs are taken, just ask a group to borrow theirs when they are done. People are friendly in Queenstown and will share no worries! 

Afternoon – BBQ by the lake

Sunshine Bay, Queenstown
If you want to get a beach to yourself, Sunshine Bay is a local secret!

This afternoon is all about soaking in the sun and appreciating Lake Wakatipu. After taking advantage of the free BBQs in St Omer Park, you can just relax, go for a swim, or enjoy one of the other lake activities: 

  • Parasailing – Head to Steamer Warf to try out parasailing. Tours run every day all year round departing on the hour. Prices start at $139 NZD per adult.
  • Kayaking – From Queenstown Beach, you can rent a kayak for two people for $70 NZD per 55 minutes.  
  • Paddleboarding – Try out SUP! From Queenstown, you can rent a paddleboard for $35 NZD per 55 minutes.  
  • Queenstown Beach – After your BBQ, consider changing locations to Queenstown Beach. It’s a vibrant spot in Queenstown popular among locals. On a hot summer day, there will likely be live music in the form of buskers hanging around, and tons of people watching to do. 
  • Sunshine Bay – A great alternative to Queenstown Beach is Sunshine Bay. The beach here is gorgeous and generally less busy than Queenstown Beach. It is about a 5-minute drive from St Omer Park. You can also hike there via the Sunshine Bay Track.

Alternative winter activity – Spending a day at Lake Wakatipu is definitely only a summer activity in Queenstown. If you’re visiting Queenstown in the winter, spend today up on the slopes instead! You’ll love skiing in Queenstown. Both summer and winter are the best times to visit Queenstown.

Evening – Dinner at Blue Kanu 

Bailey with a cocktail at Blue Kanu in Queenstown
Blue Kanu has always been my favorite restaurant in Queenstown!
A meal at Blue Kanu in Queenstown, New Zealand
The food is full of flavor!

After spending a few hours in the sun, head back to your hotel to freshen up for a lovely dinner in Queenstown. 

There are a ton of amazing restaurants in Queenstown, so you can choose whichever one you prefer. Just be sure to reserve your table in advance no matter where you choose because the best restaurants book up fast! 

I personally recommend hitting up Blue Kanu. It is my favorite restaurant in Queenstown for its unique and delicious menu, as well as a relaxing and fun dining environment. Blue Kanu serves a fusion of Asian and Pacific Islander food. The menu is different, but believe me, every single dish is amazing (yes, I’ve tried them all!)  

Budget-saving tip: If you plan your Queenstown itinerary far enough in advance, you might even be able to snag a table on the website First Table. This way, you’ll get 50% off all of your food at Blue Kanu! 

Related Read: Once you’re done adventuring around Queenstown, continue your New Zealand adventures by taking a South Island road trip!

Day 4 – Adventure Day

Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand, so naturally, one day of your week in Queenstown just has to be spent getting an adrenaline rush!  

Morning and Afternoon – Adventure tours 

Bailey looks on as someone repels down while canyoning in Queenstown
I loved it!
A person slides down a waterfall while canyoning in Queenstown
It’s scary and fun!

Depending on which adventure activities you want to do in Queenstown, you might be able to get in two today – one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  

Personally, I recommend hitting up the jet boat in the morning, then having lunch in town at the outdoor Queenstown Mall (check out Caribe Latin Kitchen, Captains Restaurant, or Winnies) before doing a half-day canyoning tour in the afternoon (it’s a blast!). However, this is my personal preference and you should choose the adventure tours that most interest you! 

Here are the best adventure activities in Queenstown that you can choose to fill your day with:  

  • Jet boating – Jet boating is one of the cheapest activities you can do in Queenstown when it comes to adventure. You can choose between a variety of jet boating experiences, but I recommend Kjet right in town. You can join a 60-minute tour for as little as $135 NZD, and the boat takes you on Lake Wakatipu, Kawarau River, and the Shotover River! 
  • Bungy jumping – The first-ever commercial bungy jump was in Queenstown at the Kawarau Bungy. Therefore, bungy jumping is one of the most iconic Queenstown adventure tours. Besides Kawarau Bungy, you can also do the Ledge Bungy up at Bob’s Peak or the Nevis (which is the highest bungy jump in New Zealand!) 
  • Canyoning – Canyoning is my personal favorite adventure tour in Queenstown. On this half-day canyoning tour, you’ll explore a scenic canyon from within the canyon as you make your way through it with ziplining, repelling, cliff jumps, river floats, and so much more. This is a summer-only activity and only suitable for those who are comfortable in the water.  
  • Mountain CartingCardrona Mountain Carting is such a fun experience that I tried for the first time last year. Head up to Cardrona for some of the most amazing views and then ride in a gravity-fed go-cart down the mountain! You’ll get going super fast (if you want), or take it easy riding the brakes. Regardless, you’ll love this mountain carting experience.

Evening – Fergburger and night on the town

After a day of adrenaline-pumping activities, what better way to keep the buzz going than a night out on the town with a few drinks!  

Fergburger 

A burger from Fergburger
Yum!

Swing by the iconic Fergburger to fuel up. Fergburger is the most iconic burger joint and restaurant in Queenstown but also in all of New Zealand. With many famous endorsements, Fergburger is a must on any Queenstown itinerary.  

The only downside to Fergburger is how busy it can get. Either be prepared to wait in line to get your burger or phone in your order in advance (a local secret!) Burgers start from only $13 NZD each and they have everything from classic beef burgers to vegetarian options to bison and more.  

Personally, I also opt for the Classic Ferg and add blue cheese. It’s honestly so good!  

Big night on the town  

Drinks at the Sundeck in Queenstown
Drinks at the Sundeck in Queenstown

Queenstown is well-known for its amazing nightlife. Although just a small town, there are lots of places to party in Queenstown 

Start your night off with delicious cocktails at The World Bar or Ferg Bar before heading to The Sundeck, The Bunker or 1876 for DJs and dancing. Finish your night off riding the mechanical bull at Cowboys.  

For a unique place to drink, you can’t pass up the ice bar! Here, you’ll get all suited up in winter clothing before heading inside a bar made entirely of ice! You’ll then get a cocktail served in a cup made of ice – it’s actually super cool (no pun intended!) You need to book this ice bar experience advance online here.

If you want to meet people, consider joining an organized pub crawl. They only cost $30 NZD and make for a social night on the town! 

Day 5 – Relax and Enjoy the Scenery 

I know you might be a little hungover today, so I’ve planned your Queenstown itinerary accordingly. Don’t just spend today in bed, get up and enjoy some of the more relaxing things to do in Queenstown

Morning – Brunch 

Takeaway Vudu coffees in Queenstown
Vudu is a great café in Queenstown!

This morning, sleep in and take it slow. Once you’re out of bed, head to Vudu for one of the best brunches you can imagine! Grab a strong coffee and try their halloumi with poached eggs to start your day. Go for a stroll along the lake and take it slow.

Afternoon – Lake Cruise and Gourmet BBQ Lunch 

standing at the front of the TSS Earnslaw boat on a cruise from Queenstown, New Zealand
Enjoying the view from the very front of the Earnslaw!

This afternoon I recommend jumping on board the TSS Earnslaw lake cruise in Queenstown. This cruise is about sitting back and enjoying the views from out on the water of Lake Wakatipu. Plus, the TSS Earnslaw is one of the best lakes cruises in Queenstown since it is on a 100-year-old steamship (it’s like a floating museum).

You can book this lake cruise with a gourmet lunch BBQ included. This experience is what I recommend since the BBQ is delicious and makes for a great lunch, plus it takes place at the scenic Walter Peak High Country Farm – a must-visit destination on its own.  

The TSS Earnslaw cruise with BBQ lunch departs at 12 pm daily from the Steamer Warf right in town. Be sure to book your cruise in advance here to avoid missing out.  

Evening – Soak and sunset

Tonight is a continuation of your day meant for relaxing and enjoying scenic views. Start off at the Onsen Hot Pools before having a late takeaway meal (you’ll be full for hours after your huge BBQ lunch!) 

Onsen Hot Pools 

View from the Onsen Hot Pools hot tubs
Can you imagine anything more relaxing?

After your lake cruise head out for an evening of relaxing at the best hot pools in Queenstown. The Onsen Hot Pools are located only a 10-minute drive from Queenstown and offer amazing mountain views. Unlike many hot pools around New Zealand, Onsen offers many private hot pools that you book to have completely to yourself – ideal for a couple enjoying a honeymoon. Enjoy alone, or bring along your partner, friends, or family since each pool comfortably fits up to 4 adults.  

The one thing you need to know about Onsen is that it is almost fully booked every day. You must book this experience in advance or you won’t be able to visit.  

For the purpose of this Queenstown itinerary, I recommend booking in the late afternoon or early evening to enjoy the hot pools as the weather starts to cool off. Try and book your pool during sunset for an extra special experience!  

Takeaway Pizza 

Bailey and her friends at Fat Badhers Pizza in Queenstown, NZ
The pizza here is delicious and HUGE!

After finishing up at Onsen, grab some takeaway for dinner to enjoy in the comfort of your hotel. Tonight, I recommend getting pizza! 

Although there are a few awesome pizza places in Queenstown, Fat Badger has to be the best! Fat Badger not only has great pizza but it is known for having huge pizzas. No seriously, their large pizza is more than enough to feed a group of 4 or more (20″ New York Style!) 

Fat Badger offers large whole pizzas for takeaway or even individual slices. It is located right in town and is a “pizza bar” style perfect for a quick takeaway. 

Day 6 – Hiking 

No Queenstown itinerary is complete without a day spent hiking! Hiking is easily one of the best free things to do in Queenstown. Not only are there some amazing hiking trails around Queenstown, but many of the hikes can be done all year round.  

Morning – Prep for your hike 

This morning grab a quick bite to eat at your hotel for breakfast. After that, it’s time to pack your bag for hiking today. Be sure to pack a full water bottle (at least one liter (35 oz) per person), some snacks, a picnic lunch, sunscreen, bug repellent, and a hat (the sun will burn you fast in Queenstown during any season.)  

After you’re all packed, get ready to hit the trail! The earlier you get moving, the better. Trails start to get busy around noon, so to beat the rush get an early start to the day. 

Afternoon – Hiking 

There are lots of different hikes to choose from in Queenstown, but for the purpose of this itinerary, I’ve narrowed it down to my two favorites. Choose one based on your fitness and skill level and you’re good to go! 

Queenstown Hill 

Looking out from the summit of Queenstown Hill
Just enjoying the view on Queenstown Hill.

Queenstown Hill is one of the easier hikes in Queenstown that still offers amazing views. Although I call it “easy”, it isn’t without its challenges. This trail climbs over 400 meters (1,312 feet) in elevation over about 2.5 kilometers (1.6 miles). It is a steady uphill climb most of the way. 

Most people take around 3 hours to complete the entire trail. 

The views from the top are amazing though and totally worth the effort. From the Basket of Dreams (a sculpture on the hill), you can enjoy the view of Lake Wakatipu, The Remarkables, and Queenstown itself.  

Queenstown Hill Track is an out-and-back trail that starts not far from the town center on Belfast Terrace. If you walk to the trailhead from downtown Queenstown, you’ll add a whopping 200 meters (656 feet) extra elevation gain to your total hike.

Ben Lomond 

Bailey poses for a photo at the summit of Ben Lomond in Queenstown, New Zealand
The summit of Ben Lomond!

Ben Lomond Track is one of the more challenging hikes around Queenstown, but it also offers the best views. The trail officially starts up at Bob’s Peak (where the gondola goes.) So, you can take the gondola up and start the hike from there (this is an awesome shortcut) or you can hike from town on the Tiki Trail.

The Tiki Trail starts at the end of Brecon Street near the gondola station and takes you up to Bob’s Peak where you connect with Ben Lomond Track. 

To hike to Ben Lomond Summit from Queenstown and back you need to allow 6-8 hours. Also, in the winter or bad weather conditions, it may be unsafe to hike to the summit. You can also check with the DOC office in Queenstown about trail conditions before you leave.  

Even if the weather isn’t ideal, you can always just hike to the saddle. This makes the hike much shorter and to be honest, the views are just as good! 

Evening – Dinner at Public Kitchen & Bar 

the patio at Public Kitchen and Bar near Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown
They have the best patio ever! Photo Credit: Public Kitchen & Bar

After your day of hiking, head back to your hotel to freshen up. Tonight you’re spoiling yourself at one of Queenstown’s tastiest and best-located restaurants! 

Public Kitchen and Bar is one of the best restaurants in Queenstown. Located on Steamer Warf, they have the best seat in the house for watching the sunset over Lake Wakatipu. Either book a table inside by the window or opt for one of their patio seats right by the water. 

One of the reasons I like Public is that they use local produce and ingredients. Their menu is seriously huge and offers a selection of New Zealand and international dishes. Really, there is something for everybody on their menu including vegetarians or those with dietary restrictions.  

Related Read: While there are many national Parks in New Zealand, Mount Cook National Park is my favorite! It’s about a 3-hour drive north, so it can be your next stop as you tour the country.

Day 7 – Get Toured Around

There are some amazing guided tours in Queenstown. As a local, I’ve had the privilege of joining many of them. To be honest, showing yourself around can be fun and exciting, but there are certain experiences that I truly believe to be better on a guided tour.  

So for the last day of your 7-day Queenstown itinerary, pick one of the below tours and sit back and enjoy. Tours are all about getting taken care of, learning, and enjoying the ride! 

Morning and Afternoon – Choose a full-day tour

Bailey looks out from the deck of a cruise in Milford Sound and enjoys the view
I mean it’s pretty dam beautiful!
  • Bike riding tour – Looking for another active day in Queenstown? Why not go bike riding!? There are tons of bike trails around Queenstown, but some of the best are done on a guided or self-guided tour. This self-guided tour includes transport at the beginning and end of your ride as well as gear rentals. It is a great budget tour if that’s what you’re after. 
  • Beer and wine tour – Another drinking tour! This tour is perfect for those who love wine and also beer. There are some great places to drink craft beer in Queenstown, and this tour will take you to some of them. You’ll also visit a couple of wineries and enjoy drinks with scenic views all day long.  
  • Lord of the Rings tour – Lord of the Rings fans cannot visit Queenstown without joining a Lord of the Rings tour. This guided tour takes you to various film locations around Queenstown and Glenorchy as the guide explains how they filmed this iconic trilogy. It is important to note that most LOTR tours in Queenstown spend a lot of time touring Glenorchy, so if you’ve already been, it may be a little repetitive.  
A lady stands at the front of a cruise ship in Milford Sound on a rainy day trip from Queenstown
On a boat cruise in Milford Sound!

Evening – Dinner at a local hotspot

takeaway lamb and scalloped potatoes at PEdros House of Lamb
A takeaway dish to die for! Photo Credit: Pedro’s House of Lamb

After a day of touring around Queenstown, it’s time for the final meal of your week spent in Queenstown – so we better make it a good one! Tonight, it’s about eating at a hidden gem in Queenstown that’s a favorite with the locals.  

Pedro’s House of Lamb is a primarily takeout joint located a few minutes from Queenstown town center on Gorge Road. They’re famed for their slow-cooked lamb dishes served with a large portion of scalloped potatoes.

As a tourist, eating at Pedro’s is a must! Lamb is one of the most popular things to eat in New Zealand so you should try it at least once.  

Place your order at Pedro’s in advance online so that you can ensure not to miss out. You can also organize delivery if you’re too tired to drive and just want to chill at your hotel.  

If you want to dine in or don’t want to travel out of Queenstown town center, check out Pedro’s By the Lake. This restaurant is new and offers lake views with the same famous lamb dishes! Book your table on their website in advance.  

Are you continuing to travel after Queenstown? Check out my road trip guides for driving from Queenstown to Mount Cook or Queenstown to Franz Josef. These routes are super scenic and I’ve pinned the best places to stop along the way!

Where to Stay in Queenstown

Hot Tub over looking the river and mountains at Kamana Soak in Queenstown, New Zealand
Photo credit: Kamana Lakehouse

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!

Dorms are around $55 NZD, and private rooms begin around $210 NZD. The Absoloot Hostel is easily one of the top cheap hostels in Queenstown and can be booked on Hostelworld.com or Booking.com.

Renting a Car, Campervan, or Motorhome in New Zealand

Bailey stands in front of a right green JUCY campervan
JUCY is one of my favorite campervan rental companies (read below for a discount code!)
Bailey stands behind her Mad Campers campervan cooking in the kitchen at Piha Beach
I also really like Mad Campers!

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.

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.

Where to Stay in Queenstown

Hot Tub over looking the river and mountains at Kamana Soak in Queenstown, New Zealand
Photo credit: Kamana Lakehouse

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!

Dorms are around $55 NZD, and private rooms begin around $210 NZD. The Absoloot Hostel is easily one of the top cheap hostels in Queenstown and can be booked on Hostelworld.com or Booking.com.

Renting a Car, Campervan, or Motorhome in New Zealand

Bailey stands in front of a right green JUCY campervan
JUCY is one of my favorite campervan rental companies (read below for a discount code!)
Bailey stands behind her Mad Campers campervan cooking in the kitchen at Piha Beach
I also really like Mad Campers!

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.

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.

Thanks for reading!

Bailey from My Queenstown Diary at Coronet Peak, New Zealand
Thanks for reading!

And there you have it, the most detailed one-week Queenstown itinerary out there! I hope you can use this itinerary to easily plan your 7 days in Queenstown. From adventure to hiking to eating, Queenstown really is a special place that I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

Before you visit Queenstown, be sure to look around on this website more. I have written tons of detailed articles about Queenstown and other amazing places to visit in the South Island that I’m sure you’ll want to check out! Here are some of my most popular guides:

Things to do on the Coromandel Peninsula

Best beaches in New Zealand

Cheap things to do in Queenstown

Michael

Monday 4th of December 2023

Hi Bailey,

Thanks for writing these blogs, they're very helpful! But I'm also struggling to decide how to plan my trip because there's so much to do!

Curious on your thoughts. We're planning on spending 9 nights in the south island. Mainly Queenstown for the views, adrenaline activities, hikes, etc. But we are also planning to do the Dark Sky Project at Lake Tekapo. Considering that's a night experience, it makes sense to book a place there (we won't be camping). Is 1 night sufficient for Lake Tekapo? Should we plan for 2 nights there at the start of the trip maybe, then book a hotel for the rest of our time in Queenstown?

We're planning to do Nevis bungy jump, jet boating, electric bike tour through wineries, scenic flight, day trips to Milford Sound and Glenorchy, and where ever else we can fit in. Maybe even skydiving.

Is this too ambitious? We just want to squeeze in as much as we can haha

Bailey

Monday 4th of December 2023

Hey Michael,

Glad you find the blog helpful! Sorry that there are so many good suggestions - I know it does make it hard to decide!

It's a little hard to answer your question unless I know where you fly in and out of?

However, I will do my best with what you have said.

Personally, I would spend two nights in Lake Tekapo and on your free day/s I would take a day trip to Mount Cook National Park. Magnificent place to visit. They actually offer skydiving there too but I'd say Queenstown is better. I did a scenic flight in Mount Cook though and loved it! You can actually see the Franz Josef and fox Glaciers.

That all sounds awesome and not too much. I love to stay busy and get as much in when i visit places too so I complexly understand. You might as well go hard and experience everything you want!

A hot tip from me would be combine your scenic flight with your trip to Milford Sound and do the coach, cruise fly tour. Basically you take a coach to Milford Sound stopping along the way, do the cruise and then fly back over the mountains.

I hope this helps but if you need more info, just let me know!

Thanks Bailey

Fransisca

Thursday 2nd of November 2023

Thank you so much for writing this up :) I will be travelling to Queenstown in Summer and this blog helps me in planning my itinerary.

Because we are a bit tight on time, between Milford, Glenorchy and Wakana/Arrowtown, which one (or two) would you highly recommend? Will be doing a day tour instead of driving since we won't be renting a car.

Thank you.

Bailey

Saturday 11th of November 2023

Hey Fransisca,

Glad you like the blog!

That's a hard one! For sure Milford Sound and then I'd say Glenorchy.

Thanks Bailey

STEVE CRUICKSHANK

Wednesday 14th of June 2023

Dear Bailey, many thanks for the great tips on Queenstown as im going to hit the slopes over there for the very first time this coming 2023 season as an ex ski instructor from Perisher Valley here in Australia and ex international flight attendant with Qantas Airways and well travelled i have to say Queenstown looks just sensational of all the cities in the world i have visited again many thanks for your great input into where to go in Queenstown again many thanks, Happy sking!!!!

Kind Regards STEVE CRUICKSHANK/SYDNEY AUSTRALIA

Lizette

Tuesday 18th of October 2022

Hello. Can we do the 7 day itinerary that you mentioned during the winter? Our intended arrival in Queenstown is around second week of August 2023.

Your 7 day itinerary is exciting!

Bailey

Tuesday 25th of October 2022

Hey!

You can almost do everything except some of the adventure activities, such as canyoning which is summer only. You can still skydive and bungy though. Also, I would avoid hiking Ben Lomond in winter unless you have alpine experience and the required equipment to do is safe.

I hope this helps! Bailey

Michelle Miller

Monday 15th of August 2022

Hi. Thanks for all the info. Thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. Hey Hubby n I are celebrating our 25th anniversary in April nx year n heading there for 2 weeks. 1st week is all about golf but the following week is our own itinerary. We will be heading to Christchurch on our way home n spend 2 nights there. Apart from Milford Sound not sure how to plan our itinerary n where to go. We only have 5 days up our sleeve and any recommendation would be greatly appreciated. Also is Dunedin worth a visit within the 5 days. We’re both relatively fit and are seeking exciting things to do as well as hiking within those days. When should we hire a car also? Thanks in advance 😊

Bailey

Monday 22nd of August 2022

Hey Michelle,

Thanks for reaching out!

Sorry, I am a little confused as to where you have the 5 days? Where will you finish with your golf? This is the most important detail to plan the following 5 days.

To me, I would skip Dunedin but without knowing where you will finish the golf part of your trip, I cannot suggest my recommendations. With only 5 days, you don;t want to spend all your time driving.

Renting a car depends on your itinerary.

Thanks Bailey