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5 Things to KNOW Before Riding the Luge in Queenstown + Important Tips

5 Things to KNOW Before Riding the Luge in Queenstown + Important Tips

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So, you’re looking to give the adrenalin-pumping Queenstown Luge a go, but don’t know where to start? Well, fasten your seatbelts, I’ve got you covered!

I made a promise to try every single activity I came across when I moved here, even if some were a little scarier than others. The luge is definitely towards the top of that list, but for the adrenalin junkies out there, this is sure to give you your fix.

Before you try the Luge in Queenstown, there are a few essential things to know. I’ve now ridden the Queenstown Luge a handful of times, and been to the top of Bob’s Peak even more, so I have the most up-to-date information on this thrilling activity. Let’s get started!

Things to Know About Riding the Queenstown Luge

1. You’ll need to get yourself up to Bob’s Peak 

Views from Skyline in Queenstown on a winter day with views of the Remarkables Mountain Range and Lake Wakatipu
I never get sick of this iconic view!

First thing first, you need to get up to the Luge. That’s right, the Luge ride is not located right in Queenstown and is at the top of Bob’s Peak overlooking Queenstown.  

From 450 meters (1,476 feet) above Queenstown at Bob’s Peak, the Luge is located in one of the most beautiful places in Queenstown. The views are incredible as you overlook Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown, and the Remarkables in the distance.

But if you want to ride the Luge, you’re going to need to get up there first. You have two options, either hike or ride the gondola.  

Hiking the Tiki Trail:

The stairs on the Tiki Trail, Queenstown
Oh no, more stairs!

The Tiki Trail hike starts right in Queenstown at the end of Brecon Street. It takes you all the way up the mountain to the top of Bob’s Peak, where the Luge is located. The Tiki Trail isn’t one of Queenstown’s easiest hikes, but it is one of the best! 

This 2.1-kilometer-long trail (1.3 miles) winds its way through the forest offering glimpses of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu along the way. It gains 450 meters (1,476 feet) in elevation, so although a short hike, it is somewhat steep. It is considered a moderately difficult route and takes about 1 hour to 90 minutes to reach the top. Luckily, it’s a quick downhill (only about 30 minutes), so your return is much quicker!

Hiking the Tiki Trail is completely free, and with the money you’ll save doing this instead of riding the gondola, you can buy more Luge rides! So even if you’re sticking to a budget while in Queenstown, you can enjoy the Tiki Trail and the Luge.

Ride the Gondola: 

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

Most people ride the Luge in Queenstown after riding the gondola. In fact, the same company operates both activities, and therefore you can buy a combined pass for both the gondola and Luge rides at a discounted rate. You can also buy a multi-day gondola pass if you plan on visiting multiple times.

The gondola leaves from a large station at the end of Brecon Street and operates every day (although opening and closing times do change depending on the day and season). It costs $52 NZD for an adult and $36 for a child for a return ride. Although it’s a little pricey for a 5-minute ride, it saves you the effort of hiking the Tiki Trail.  

I’ve done both and you really can’t make a wrong decision when it comes to getting to the Luge. It’s just personal preference! 

Related Read: Queenstown is a hub of activity and is centrally located in many other beautiful parts of the South Island. The best way to explore is by taking a day trip from Queenstown. Then you’ll see why I love this area so much!

2. A chairlift takes you to the start of the Luge 

The Luge chairlift in Queenstown, New Zealand
At least you don’t have to walk!

Once you’re up to the Skyline building at Bob’s Peak, you’re still not quite at the Luge. You see, you still need to go up a little further to the start of the Luge track. Once you present your luge passes, you’ll be directed to a small chairlift that takes you directly to the start of the track.  

The chairlift operates the same as a chairlift at a ski field. The lift operator can help you and will give you instructions or assistance as needed. 

To me, this chairlift is a bonus because you get to enjoy the views and no walking is involved no matter how many times you want to ride.  

But for those who are afraid of heights, this chairlift might be a deal-breaker. So, I just thought I should warn you beforehand so you know what to expect. Before I rode the Luge in Queenstown for myself, I had no idea that a chairlift was involved! 

It’s important to know that the Luge does not take you to the base of Bob’s Peak, so you can ride it multiple times and you’ll still be in the Skyline area. Many people are confused by this, but the chairlift takes you up slightly higher, and you Luge down near the Skyline building.

banner asking people to click to join the Queenstown Diary Facebook Group

3. Whatever you do, DO NOT only buy one ride on the Luge 

Two people ride down the Luge track in Queenstown
You’ll want to go at least one more time!

Repeat after me, “I will buy more than one ride for the Luge in Queenstown.” There are a few reasons why I say this.  

First of all, on your first time down the Luge track, you’re required to ride on the Blue Track. That’s right, there is more than one track! There are two different Luge tracks, the Red (the Dart) and the Blue (the Arrow).  

The Blue is the slower, beginner track. If it’s your first time riding the Luge in Queenstown, you’ll be required to ride the Blue Track first as practice. You’ll learn the Luge cart this way, including how to brake and steer properly.  

After your first run down the track, you’ll be allowed to go on the Red Track. This is when the real fun begins! 

But even if you’re not a thrill-seeker and want to stay on the Blue (which is totally fine), you will want to go more than once. On your first ride down you’ll be so concerned with how to drive the thing, you won’t be able to relax and have a little fun.  

I personally recommend buying at least two Luge rides right off the get-go, and you can buy additional Luge rides at the top if you decide want more!

Also, the more you buy at once, the cheaper it is. So, you’re better off just accepting the fact that you’ll want to go a few times and buy a pack of 3 or 5 rides right from the beginning. You’ll save a few dollars this way.

4. It’s actually really fast (and kind of scary) 

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

Now I’m going to be honest, before I rode on the Queenstown Luge for myself, I thought it looked kind of lame. I saw photos of the Luge around town and thought it was a kid’s activity.  

But then I rode the Luge and realized I was totally wrong.  

Although it looks like a small go-cart, the Luge carts go super fast.

The Luge track is fairly steep and designed to get real speed! On the Red Track, if you don’t break much and hit some of the jumps, you’ll get some serious air (although I’m not sure you’re supposed to do this, I do every time). 

It’s really exciting, and you’ll get quite the thrill if you don’t use the break!

If you’re not a thrill-seeker, the great thing about riding the Luge in Queenstown is that you control what kind of ride you want to have. Not into going super fast? No worries. Just use your brake, and you can enjoy a leisurely ride on the track without a worry!

Related Read: Riding the luge is one of the best adventure activities you can do in Queenstown!

5. Children can ride too! 

Three people riding the luge in Queenstown
The luge isn’t just for adults!

The Luge is a great family activity in Queenstown because kids can ride too! Kids 6 years old and up that are at least 110 centimeters (3’6″ feet) tall can ride the Blue Track by themselves. If they are at least 135 centimeters (4’4″) tall, they can ride the Red Track too.  

Kids under the age or height requirements can still ride the Luge in Queenstown, however, they just must be accompanied by an adult (or a person over the age of 15.) 

So, no matter if you’re on a romantic couple’s trip, a trip with friends, or with your family, the Luge in Queenstown is a great activity! 

Hot Tip: Be sure to buy your Luge tickets in advance online. They can sell out during peak times!

Other Things to do at Bob’s Peak Other than the Luge 

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

The Luge isn’t the only activity up at Bob’s Peak. The Skyline building is huge and complete with a large restaurant and bar called the Stratosfare. You can stop in here for a drink with a view, which at sunset, is the absolute best!  

But if you want a delicious meal, the Stratosfare restaurant is amazing. It is a gourmet buffet offering New Zealand and international specialties. You need to book the restaurant in advance to secure your table as they are often fully booked.  If you’ve read through this and still feel like riding the Luge isn’t for you you can still book a gondola and meal combo ticket to enjoy the views from Skyline Queenstown!

One of the best hikes in Queenstown also starts from Bob’s Peak, Ben Lomond. Hiking Ben Lomond Track isn’t easy, but it sure is beautiful! You can choose to make the hike longer by starting with the Tiki Trail, and then connecting to the Ben Lomond track. Or you can ride the gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak and pick up the Ben Lomond Track.

If you’re looking for more thrilling activities you can zipline! This zipline tour offers 2, 4, or 6 zip lines and a 21-meter (69-foot) drop- making this the steepest tree-to-tree zipline in the world. There are options for all levels, and kids love a thrilling zipline, plus the views are incredible as you soar above the treetops! The zipline tour starts at $119 NZD and goes up depending on which course you choose, you can see all options and book in advance here.

For an even more unique experience, you can paraglide from the top of Bob’s Peak. Jumping off the side of the mountain is certainly a thrilling experience, and I can’t imagine a more beautiful place to do so. This is suitable for beginners, as you’ll be strapped into the expert guide, then soar back down to Queenstown as you take in the remarkable views. This 1.5-hour paraglide tour is $320 NZD and should be reserved in advance, as it’s a popular activity!

There’s actually so much to do here, be sure to add Bob’s Peak to your Queenstown itinerary!

Why I Book Tours on Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! I almost always book all of my tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here

Must-Do Activities While in Queenstown

Bailey with two of her friends at Perky's - Floating Bar Queenstown at sunset
Fall in love with Queenstown at sunset!
bailey stands at the front of the TSS Earnslaw in Queenstown
A cruise on the TSS Earnslaw is a unique way to explore!

There are plenty of activities that will keep you busy while you’re in Queenstown. Honestly, there are so many things to do in Queenstown, that it’ll be hard to choose which ones to do! Below are some of my favorites:

  • Take a cruise – Aboard the TSS Earnslaw Steamship Cruise you’re in for a scenic and relaxing cruise in Queenstown that’s great for any afternoon. This is one of the last coal-fired steamships in the world and you get to watch the crew add coal to the flames to power the vessel as you take in mountain ranges and lush green valleys. You can also upgrade this tour here to include dinner at Walter Peak High Country Farm.
  • Watch a sunset – As the day draws to a close in Queenstown, make sure to head to the shores of Lake Wakatipu to watch a sunset. It’s one of the best viewpoints to watch the sun sink behind the Southern Alps. I like watching from Queenstown Beach or Perky’s Floating Bar where you get a view of the lake and delicious food and drinks too!
  • Go canyoning – Climb and jump off waterfalls, rappel, swim, and trek as part of this Queenstown Canyoning Adventure 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.
  • See Milford Sound – This day trip to Milford South with a picnic lunch will give you the ultimate ability to explore the beauty of Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park. Not only will your guide stop at several impressive viewpoints on the way from Queenstown but there is also a cruise in Milford Sound included.
  • Wine tasting – This Central Otago Wine Tour and Tasting is my personal favorite wine tour in Queenstown! It is one of the best values for money as for $239 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.

Related Read: After all that adventuring, you’ll work up an appetite! Luckily, Queenstown has a ton of amazing restaurants, almost too many to choose from! Check out my top 15 restaurants in Queenstown guide so you can enjoy them too.

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 campervan or motorhome through JUCY or Star RV! 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!

Thanks for reading! 

Bailey from My Queenstown Diary at the Stratosfare Bar Queenstown
Thanks for reading!

If you’re looking for some fun while in Queenstown, you’ll love riding the Luge! I know I did. I hope this blog has helped you prepare for riding the Queenstown Luge and answered all of your questions. Whether you hike up the Tiki Trail, ride the gondola, or explore all the other fun activities at the Skyline, it will be a fantastic experience.

Of course, be sure to check out my other blogs on the different things you can do in Queenstown. This blog is a one-stop blog for all things Queenstown! Here is a look at a few specific blogs below:

8 BEST Glenorchy Tours from Queenstown + My Top Choice

10 BEST Tours in Wanaka that You Don’t Want to Miss

How to Get to Milford Sound – Complete Guide on the 4 Ways!