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Racing around Bob’s Peak in a Luge cart is one of those must-do activities in Queenstown. Seriously, these little gravity-fueled carts may not look like much, but riding in one is a blast!
But if you want to try the Luge in Queenstown, there are a few very important things I think you should know before you go.
Let’s face it, if you’re like I once was, and have never ridden a “luge” before, then it’s hard to know what to expect. So, let me help you. In this blog, I’ll tell you all about Queenstown’s Luge including 5 must-know tips before you go!
Things to Know About Riding the Queenstown Luge
1. You’ll need to get yourself up to Bob’s Peak
First thing’s first, you need to get up to the Luge. That’s right, the Luge ride is not located right in Queenstown, and is actually located 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.
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 Tiki Trail is a hike starting in Queenstown at the end of Brecon Street that takes you all the way 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.
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!
Ride 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.
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 $46 NZD for an adult and $32 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!
2. A chairlift takes you to the start of the Luge
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 exactly 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 an added 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!
3. Whatever you do, DO NOT only buy one ride on the Luge
Repeat after me, I will buy more than one ride for the Luge in Queenstown. There’re 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 actually two different Luge tracks, the Red and the Blue.
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.
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)
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 really fast. In fact, riding the luge is one of the best adventure activities you can do in Queenstown.
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 totally 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 break and you can enjoy a leisurely ride on the track without a worry!
5. Children can ride too!
The Luge is a great family activity in Queenstown because kids can ride too! Kids 6 years old and up that are at least 100 centimeters (3′ 3″ 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 person over the age of 15.)
So, no matter if you’re on a romantic couple’s trip in Queenstown, a trip with friends, or with your family, the Luge in Queenstown is a great activity!
Hot Tip: You can save by buying your Luge tickets combined with the gondola in advance! This way, not only will you skip the line to buy tickets, but you’ll save a few dollars too – it’s a win-win!
Other Things to do at Bob’s Peak Other than the Luge
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’re 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!
Otherwise, you can go bungy jumping, ziplining, paragliding, stargazing, or just enjoy the views from the many viewing platforms. There’s actually so much to do, be sure to add Bob’s Peak to your Queenstown itinerary!
Must-Do Activities While in Queenstown
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.
Where to Stay in Queenstown
Finding the right place to stay in Queenstown can be hard. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of awesome choices but things book up fast! For that reason, I highly suggest booking your accommodation well in advance.
Honestly, during peak times, any of the best hotels in Queenstown will be fully booked several weeks in advance…you have been warned!
To get you started, here are a few places I personally love and that would make an awesome place to stay in Queenstown.
Absoloot Hostel Queenstown – $
The first is for budget travelers and that’s 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 $65 NZD, and private rooms begin around $230 NZD. It is easily one of the top cheap hostels in Queenstown and can be booked on Hostelworld.com or Booking.com.
La Quinta Queenstown – $$
If you have a little more money to spend, then you should seriously consider La Quinta Queenstown. It’s a beautiful hotel in a quiet but close location and the views are amazing (although you won’t find me recommending a place without great views!). The rooms are all studio or one-bedroom apartments, which is really handy if you want to cook or even just have breakfast in your room. Prices start at $200 NZD and you can book online here.
Kamana Lakehouse – $$$
For a luxurious stay, you can’t pass on Kamana Lakehouse. This hotel is located just on the outskirts of town, far enough that it’s peaceful but close enough to walk to take a short drive into the center of town. 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.
Renting a Car, Campervan, or Motorhome in New Zealand
Let’s face it, you’re going to need wheels to get around New Zealand. Although a small country, buses between destinations are infrequent and expensive. Plus, some of the best experiences you can have in NZ are on road trips!
You have three options when it comes to getting wheels in New Zealand; a car, a campervan, or a motorhome. Here’s what you need to know about each and where to get them:
- Car – A normal car is the cheapest rental vehicle you can get in New Zealand. It’ll get you around to all of the best destinations with ease. The only downside to a car is that you will need to stay in hotels or Airbnbs during your travels (no camping.) The easiest place to rent a car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare cars, companies, prices, features, and more very easily.
- Campervan – A Campervan is a large van that has a bed and a small kitchen in the back. It 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!
- JUCY – JUCY is one of our favorite rental companies in New Zealand! They have a huge inventory and offer regular cars, small campervans, larger campervans, and even motorhomes! The prices are also super competitive and their multiple offices around NZ make pick-up and drop-off a breeze. You can check availability, prices, and book with JUCY online here.
Travel Insurance Has Your Back!
Life can be unpredictable and when you’re traveling abroad, the last thing you want to worry about is getting sick or injured and having to pay out of pocket for treatment.
If this concerns you, SafetyWing can help! SafetyWing specializes in very affordable and comprehensive medical and travel insurance that is aimed at digital nomads, remote workers, and long-term travelers. It costs just $45 USD per 4 weeks!
To start coverage, you must purchase it after leaving your home country, so we usually buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
Since using SafetyWing we’ve been reimbursed thousands of dollars when we’ve gotten sick. During the pandemic, they’ve even gone as far as to pay for our last-minute flights back to Canada before the border closed!
Thanks for reading!
I hope this blog has helped you prepare for riding the Queenstown Luge. Honestly, I think you’ll have a great time – it’s actually so much fun!
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: