Queenstown is one of the most romantic places in the world. This small mountain town is the perfect place to spend time with your loved one on a honeymoon or holiday getaway. I mean, who wouldn’t be head over heels in a place as stunning as Queenstown?
I love heading out with my fiancé and enjoying the most romantic activities you can do in Queenstown. From breathtaking scenic flights above the mountains to relaxing in hot springs, there is so much to do! It really should come as no surprise that Queenstown is one of the most popular romantic destinations in NZ as well as a great place for a honeymoon.
For first-time visitors though, it can be hard to know exactly what to do. Let’s face it, most of the information out there is about adventure activities and hikes in Queenstown. There’s no denying Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand, but what about the romantics!?
Luckily, being a romantic myself means I’ve got you covered.
In this blog, I share 18 romantic things to do in Queenstown that every couple should do!
Romantic Things to do in Queenstown
1. Cruise Lake Wakatipu
Few things are as romantic as a slow cruise on a mountain lake. For this reason, a cruise on Lake Wakatipu has to come in number one on this list.
I’ve been lucky enough to do several cruises on Lake Wakatipu, and every time, I love it even more! For one, the views from the water are spectacular. As you head down Lake Wakatipu towards Glenorchy, you’ll get a whole different perspective and view of the surrounding scenery. This is all while having the opportunity to cuddle up with a glass of wine, hot chocolate, and on one cruise, a 3-course dinner.
There are three main cruise options on Lake Wakatipu and choosing the right one for you is very important. So here they are and what they cost!
Spirit of Queenstown Cruise
The Spirit of Queenstown scenic cruise is the most affordable option on the lake. I’ve actually been on this cruise about four times! The Spirit of Queenstown takes you out to Mt Nicholas Station before returning to Queenstown. Along the way, you can sit back and enjoy a commentary from the captain, and drinks and snacks onboard. The cruise starts at $49 NZD and lasts around 2 hours.
Spirit of Queenstown dinner cruise
The Spirit of Queenstown dinner cruise is the ultimate cruise option for couples. Although the same as the above cruise, it departs 2 hours before sunset and includes a 3-course meal in an intimate setting. After dinner, you can explore the boat and enjoy Lake Wakatipu at its most beautiful hour. This cruise starts at $139 NZD and lasts for two hours.
The TSS Earnslaw is an original steam-powered ship from the gold mining days of Queenstown. Built in 1912, the ship still runs on coal today and visitors can peer into the coal room on their cruise. The TSS Earnslaw cruise follows more or less the same route as the above cruises, but the difference is in the design. Instead of a cruise on a modern catamaran, you’ll enjoy the lake on a 1912 steamship with a drink or snack in hand. This cruise starts at $70 NZD and lasts for 1.5 hours.
For an even better experience, be sure to also add on the BBQ lunch or dinner to your TSS Earnslaw Cruise. Trust me on this, this will be one of the best BBQs you’ve ever had – it is full of locally sourced food and so delicious!
2. Take the gondola up to Skyline for dinner
Riding the Gondola up to Bob’s Peak is an iconic activity in Queenstown. I myself have a season pass to ride the gondola as much as I want (surprisingly I still often hike the Tiki Trail to get up there!)
However, simply riding the gondola isn’t that romantic. Instead, pair the gondola with dinner at the Stratosfare Restaurant at the top. This epic buffet dinner does not lack quality like others and includes New Zealand favorites such as seafood, lamb, and lots of desserts. On top of that, they have lots of international dishes including sushi, pho, and more. It’s easily one of the best restaurants in Queenstown. To save yourself some money there is a combo ticket that includes the gondola and the buffet.
To top it all off, you’ll get to enjoy dinner with arguably Queenstown’s best view. To be honest, this is my favorite part. As the sunsets, you’ll enjoy my favorite viewpoint over Lake Wakatipu, and after, you’ll get to see the stars above Queenstown!
So what does this all cost? Well, you may be surprised to learn that with your gondola ticket, lunch costs only $79 NZD and dinner $99. Of course, they have kids discounts too but I’m not sure taking the kids would be that romantic, so leave them at home… just kidding!
Related Read: If you want a bit of excitement, consider riding the Queenstown Luge that is located at the top of the gondola – it’s a lot of fun!
3. Go on a wine tour in the Gibbston Valley
Wine tours are a romantic way to spend the day anywhere in the world. Going on a wine tour is a must-do activity for couples and those enjoying their honeymoon in Queenstown. However, in the beautiful Gibbston Valley near Queenstown, they’re even more so due to the region’s amazing views, small boutique wineries, and friendly Kiwi (nickname for New Zealanders) faces.
From Queenstown, you can reach the Gibbston Valley in around 25 minutes. Once there, you can simply begin visiting cellar doors that include the Gibbston Valley Winery, Kinross Cellar Door, Mt Rosa, and Akurua Wines. Most of the wineries near Queenstown have a small fee for the tasting, but they’re pretty generous with their wine.
If you don’t want the hassle of planning your own itinerary, then you can also join lots of fun wine tours from Queenstown. Some include lunch, others just a snack, and some even visit breweries! Personally, this wine tour is my absolute favorite (I’ve actually done it twice because I just had to take my mom on my second go!) You’ll drink the best wine Otago has to offer and just have a blast, believe me!
With lots of options and plenty of wine to drink, I’d say a wine tour in the Gibbston Valley is a must – especially if you’re planning a couple’s getaway!
4. Go stargazing
Queenstown is a remote town that’s both surrounded by mountains and far from any major city. This has made Queenstown a hugely popular place to view and photograph the stars. If you and your loved one have never seen the stars outside a major city, or you love photography, then this is a great chance.
Within a short drive from Queenstown, you can see the Milky Way with the naked eye. Some of the most popular places to view the stars include Moke Lake, up at Skyline, and my personal favorite, on the road between Queenstown and Glenorchy.
If you’re in Queenstown during the summer, you’ll need to head out rather late. In the winter though, you can see the starts at 7 pm, and if you’re lucky, you may even get to see the Southern Lights.
My recommendation? Take a hot chocolate or bottle of wine with you and enjoy a starry night sky in each other’s arms!
5. Relax at Onsen Hot pools
If true relaxation is what brings you and your partner together, the Onsen Hot Pools is the perfect place to visit. This is one of the famous hot pools in Queenstown and is so iconic that if you don’t book well in advance, your chances of getting a time slot are almost zero! With that said, if you’re reading this blog long before your trip, then booking a spa day is a must!
The hot springs are located just outside of Queenstown in Arthurs Point overlooking the Shotover River. The views from the tubs are amazing, and visiting is easily one of the more relaxing things to do in Queenstown!
Each tub is made of cedar and they come with enough room for up to four people. On top of that, you can also order drinks to enjoy the view. The tubs are private and it’ll feel as though you two are the only people at Onsen once you’re in.
A 1-hour time slot in a private pool starts at $165 NZD for two people. They now also offer outdoor and indoor pools as well as other spa treatments.
6. Enjoy a drink with a view at Attiqa/Sundeck
Queenstown is a backpacker town. Without all of the seasonal workers, Queenstown simply wouldn’t be able to handle the number of people who visit. I actually came to Queenstown as a backpacker and worked at Sunglass Hut in town a few years ago.
What this means, however, is that many of the bars around Queenstown cater to backpackers and young partiers. These bars can often be a little too rowdy for a romantic drink.
Luckily, the small rooftop bar called The Sundeck at Attiqa is the perfect place to go for a romantic drink. I love to head upstairs to enjoy the views, gas fires, and their huge selection of wine and unique cocktails.
Their rooftop bar is open until 10 pm, however downstairs usually has live music on weekends and things go until late. It’s definitely one of the best places to party in Queenstown! With that said, the views are what I love the most! So head upstairs and enjoy the beautiful setting with a drink in hand!
Related Read: Enjoying the rooftop bar at The Sundeck is one of Queenstown’s hidden gems – find out what the other local secret hang-out places are!
7. Soar through the skies on a scenic flight
I did my first scenic flight with my fiancé in New Zealand and loved it!
Soaring high above the mountains, enjoying the valleys, lakes, and even spotting some wildlife was a dream come true. Afterward, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Sharing amazing moments like this is one of the best ways to bond with a loved one.
In Queenstown, there are lots of scenic flight options. They range in price but they are all dependent on whether they land in the mountains and how long you fly for. This specific flight has you flying around Queenstown for 35 minutes and includes a mountain top landing.
On my scenic flight, this is exactly what I did except I did it in Mount Cook National Park. I found 35 minutes to be a really good amount of time. It gives you time to get out of the airport and up into the mountains to enjoy the views properly. Any shorter, and I’d say it’s too short!
8. Explore the Queenstown Gardens
In spring and summer, the Queenstown Gardens are one of the most romantic places you can visit in Queenstown.
Although rather small, they’re located only a short walk from the center of town and feature a huge range of flowers, decorations, and even small ponds. On top of that, the gardens have a forest section where huge pine trees meet the shores of Lake Wakatipu. You can even play frisbee golf if you want!
Taking a stroll through the gardens is something I highly recommend, especially if you get some nice weather. This is a completely free activity in Queenstown too!
If you want to take your exploration of the gardens in a more unique way you can go on a Segway Tour where you won’t even need to lift a foot, just follow your guide’s lead along the shores of Lake Wakatipu before riding through the gardens. You can pick either a 1 or 2-hour tour.
9. Bond on a tandem bungy jump
Fear is a funny thing. On one hand, it can cause huge problems in our lives including stress and anxiety. However, once you overcome a fear, that stress is replaced with adrenaline and feelings of accomplishment, laughter, and excitement.
Now times that by 100 and you have yourself the tandem bungy on Kawarau Bridge just outside of Queenstown! Beforehand, you might even hate your partner for signing you up to jump off a perfectly good bridge, but afterward, you’ll have overcome something so scary the rest of your day will be filled with laughter!
Kawarau Bridge Bungy is run by the most respected, and first-ever commercial bungy company in the world, AJ Hacket. They have an outstanding safety record and their Kawarau Bridge bungy was their first ever!
If however bungy jumping is pushing your limits a bit too far the Shoutover Canyon Swing maybe be a little more of a compromise… While it is a bit higher of a freefall, 60-meter (200-foot) vs the 43 meters (143 feet) of the Bridge Bungy, you will be sitting upright and can opt to go tandem if a bit apprehensive to go alone. And instead of bouncing up and down, you will gracefully swing like a pendulum over the river.
10. Go on a bike ride
In the summer, bike riding is a super popular thing to do in Queenstown. Not only are the mountains around town filled with downhill trails, but there are also lots of easy trails for the regular rider.
There are a wide variety of bike trails in Queenstown that you can enjoy and most are actually part of the larger Queenstown Trail. This trail consists of many other smaller tracks that link up to create a path from Queenstown all the way to the Gibbston Valley.
The most popular part is from the Frankton track around to Kelvin Peninsula Trail. This is a 16.2 kilometer (10 miles) mostly flat track that takes around 2 hours to complete. The trail finishes at Jardine Park, and after you need to ride or catch the bus back. All the buses in Queenstown have bike racks so it’s no problem at all.
Alternatively, you can just head to one of the bike rental shops in town, and while renting your bike just ask them. They have lots of other trails and maps you can follow!
If you’re more interested in a guided tour, this bike tour visits nearby wineries! It’s self-guided, but includes all gear and van transport to the start and at the end of the trail. This way, you can have a romantic time just the two of you sipping wine and riding amongst the vineyards without having to plan a thing!
11. Go on a road trip
Romantic road trip through the mountains? Yes, please!
From Queenstown, there are so many amazing road trips you can enjoy. One of the shortest is out to Arrowtown for a quick look around and maybe even a bite to eat. To do this, take Gorge Road and make a stop at Shotover Canyon on your way. There’s a brewery there called Canyon Brewing and a famous viewpoint of the Shotover River.
If you have more time you can’t beat the road trip to Glenorchy. With epic mountain views, plenty of amazing stops, and even some short hikes, the 46-kilometer (29 miles) journey to Glenorchy is all about adventure. Of course, you can also explore the best things to do in Glenorchy once you get there!
For a full-day romantic trip, head to Milford Sound for the day. The drive from Queenstown to Milford Sound is one of the most breathtaking in New Zealand and there are so many places to check out (including plenty of epic stops on the portion of the road between Queenstown and Te Anau.) This is a huge day that requires an early wake-up call and a late arrival back to Queenstown. If you think it’s too much consider spending a night in Milford Sound or Te Anau!
These are just three of the epic road trips you can enjoy from Queenstown, so rent a car and hit the road with your loved one!
Related Read: If you’re heading to Glenorchy, I’ve got some good news. There are a ton of free things to do in Glenorchy, so you don’t have to spend a dollar!
12. Relax on the beach at Bob’s Cove
Bob’s Cove is a beautiful place only a short 15-minute drive from Queenstown. At Bob’s Cove, there is a short trail to a viewpoint overlooking the bay that’s actually considered one of the best short hikes in Queenstown.
In the summer, Bob’s Cove is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy the lake. Heading there in the middle of the day will have you soaking up the warm New Zealand sun without the crowds of Queenstown Beach.
Even better, take a picnic and a few drinks down to the lake and enjoy some quiet time together.
Hot Tip: You can combine a trip to Bob’s Cove with your road trip to Glenorchy. Bob’s Cove is located on Glenorchy-Queenstown Road.
13. Enjoy the sunrise or sunset from Queenstown Hill
Hiking Queenstown Hill is one of the best hikes in Queenstown. The trail starts in Queenstown following a 2.5 km (1.6 miles) track to a viewpoint over Queenstown. Although short, the elevation gain of 600 meters (1,969 feet) makes this a tiring hike.
I love heading up to the top for sunrise or sunset. From the viewpoint of the Basket of Dreams, you can see Queenstown at its most beautiful hour. If you don’t mind hiking in the dark then this is something you should do.
With that said, you don’t actually have to hike the trail to enjoy the sunset. Instead, walk or drive up to the corner of Wakatipu Heights and Hensman Road to watch the sunset from the Lake Wakatipu Viewpoint. From here, you get those magnificent views without having to hike all the way up Queenstown Hill. It’s the perfect compromise and something I do a lot!
14. Stay at a luxury hotel
Where you stay in Queenstown is almost as important as the romantic things you do. Let’s face it, some hotels just don’t give off that romantic feeling, and without great customer service, you can be left frustrated (not a feeling you want on a romantic holiday!)
To ensure you enjoy the most romantic stay, why not stay at a luxury hotel in Queenstown? I know what you’re thinking, what about the cost? Thankfully you can actually stay in really beautiful hotels in Queenstown on a budget – you just have to know where and when to look.
For one picking a day in the middle of the week is a sure way to get a discounted room. Another is using Booking.com. I personally use booking.com for all my bookings and regularly use their price match guarantee.
And last? Why not book a luxurious holiday home? There are so many luxury Airbnbs in Queenstown that cost a fraction of a hotel.
Some of the best hotels you should consider for a luxury stay in Queenstown include:
- Hilton Queenstown Resort and Spa – A 5 start hotel right on Lake Wakatipu in central Queenstown. It has all the luxurious amenities you could want on a romantic getaway including an indoor pool, fitness center, and spa! The on-site restaurant also has a wine bar featuring an international wine selection. A standard king room starts at $215 NZD but you can score a suite for around $300 NZD which I think is pretty reasonable. It’s definitely one of the best value hotels in Queenstown that I’ve stayed at!
- QT Queenstown – Modern meets cozy! This hotel situated right on the lake is perfect for a romantic weekend away or even ideal after an elopement or wedding. The beds are super comfortable and the style of the spacious rooms feels like a home away from home. The Bazaar Marketplace on the first floor is known for world class cuisine and a gormet weekend brunch buffet! Expect to pay a minimum of $300 NZD a night.
- The Rees Hotel and Luxury Apartments – Rooms are bright and airy and you and your partner will have your own slice of heaven if you book a room with your own private balcony overlooking the lake and mountains. Set the mood with an in-room massage, dine at the restaurant, or explore the area together with the available bike rentals. The price for a king bed with a view starts at $275 NZD.
15. Learn to Ski
If you’re heading to Queenstown in winter, then some of the romantic things to do on this list just won’t make sense. However, learning to ski was something I did with my partner by my side and I loved it.
Together we both went from not even being able to stand up to now being able to ski downhill with confidence. It was challenging but together we did it!
Within a short drive from Queenstown, you can visit two ski fields. They are Coronet Peak and The Remarkables. Personally, I prefer The Remarkables because the snow always seems to be softer (Coronet Peak has the nickname, Concrete Park!)
Both ski fields run lesions that are a few hours long. If you’ve never skied before do them, they will help you improve so much!
16. Relax with a mulled wine
Another romantic winter activity in Queenstown is drinking mulled wine. For those who don’t know, mulled wine is essentially hot wine that’s mixed with spices like cinnamon to create a delicious hot beverage perfect for a winter’s night.
In winter, you can find mulled wine throughout Queenstown, however, some of my favorite places include Perky’s Floating Bar, The Bathhouse (my favorite), Attiqa, or at one of the yearly festivals such as LUMA or the Queenstown Winter Festival.
17. Enjoy a picnic lakeside
Last, is an activity I do throughout the summer, and the best part? It’s completely free! Head to St Omer Park or Queenstown Beach and bring with you a picnic blanket, some snacks, and even a bottle of wine.
That’s right! It’s completely legal to drink at the park and at Queenstown Beach so long as you do it before 10 pm.
There are also free BBQs for you to use, but on a summer’s day, they are almost impossible to get! I usually bring my own table and chairs just so I don’t have to compete for a BBQ and table. However, if you plan ahead you could be the lucky group to snag one!
18. Wine and dine
Of course, when you think of a romantic evening spent with your partner what is more classic than dinner and drinks? However, this idea has a bit of a social flair to it. You’ll be enjoying your dinner during a wine tour through the Queenstown Otago wine region and you both will have the chance to chat with new people as you hop around locations. Even if it’s a bit outside of your comfort zone it’s definitely an exciting way to make date night less “routine”!
What I really love about this wine tour is that it is a 3-course meal spaced out across 3 different locations. Plus, as you are chauffeured around you can gaze out the window of the beautiful Queenstown scenery. The dessert is followed by wine around a lake in central Queenstown will give you more of a chance to be less social with the group and focus more of your attention on each other if that’s what you’re feeling!
Other Must-Do Activities While in Queenstown
While in Queenstown there are plenty of other activities that will keep you busy… Honestly, there are so many it’ll be hard to choose which ones to do! Below are some of my favorites.
- Central Otago Wine Tour and Tasting – This is our personal favorite wine tour in Queenstown! It is one of the best values for money, for $204 NZD your tour bus will stop at 4 different boutique wineries in the Otago region that include a wide range of wine samples and a provided gourmet lunch platter. As you hop between wineries you’ll gaze out the window at spectacular views.
- TSS Earnslaw Steamship Cruise – This scenic and relaxing cruise in Queenstown is an activity great for any afternoon. The ship you will be cruising on is the Historic TSS Earnslaw and you will get to watch crew members add coal to the flames that power the vessel. Take in the mountain ranges and lush green valleys of Otago. You can also upgrade this tour here to include dinner at Walter Peak High Country Farm.
- Queenstown Canyoning Adventure – Climb and jump off waterfalls, rappel, swim, and trek your way down a part of a Queenstown canyon with a qualified guide. This thrilling full-day activity is perfect for those who love adventure and exploration! As long as you aren’t afraid of heights and have a basic swimming ability you won’t need any other skills.
- Day Trip to Milford Sound With Picnic Lunch – This tour will give you the ultimate ability to explore the beauty of Milford Sound in Fjordland National Park. Not only will your guide stop at several impressive viewpoints on the way from Queenstown but there is also a Milford Sound cruise included. This small-group tour goes for $249 NZD a person and I think it’s a really great value for a more personalized experience.
- Extreme Jet Boating – Looking for a thrill? Jet Boating is one of New Zealand’s most unique activities. On the tour out of Queenstown, you’ll be able to zoom up the Shotover River through narrow canyons at high speeds and make 360-degree spins. Trust, me it’s epic!
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 book 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 is what most budget backpackers get 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! You can easily compare campervans, prices, and book on the website Motorhome Republic. We also have a 5% discount code (DTRAVEL5) with Mad Campers, which you can use at checkout.
- 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. Motorhome Republic is my suggested website for booking a motorhome in New Zealand simply because they are a reliable company and the website is super easy to use! We are also partnered with Kiwi Motorhomes, which is well known as the top motorhome rental company in New Zealand. You can get 5% off using the code Queen5. For more detailed info, read my complete guide to renting a motorhome in New Zealand!
Thanks for reading!
Queenstown is a romantic place regardless of what you do and with this awesome list of romantic activities in Queenstown, you’ll be able to turn your trip into a couple’s getaway! For even more ideas, read this blog about tons of different things to do in Queenstown.
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