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25 BEST Things to do in Queenstown in Summer (2024 Guide!)

25 BEST Things to do in Queenstown in Summer (2024 Guide!)

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Queenstown is such an amazing place in the summer. It’s vibrant, busy, and full of life. So much so that I actually first came for the winter ski season, got a taste for the summer, and then decided to call Queenstown home. I really fell in love that fast!

Although in the summer you’ll have to say goodbye to the snowcapped mountains, you’ll be able to welcome the warm weather that will have you relaxing at the beach and sipping cocktails in the sun. Queenstown is as much of a summer paradise as a winter one. But that’s not all. Many of my favorite activities in Queenstown can only be done in the summer.

So, get your bucket list ready, here are the 25 best things to do in Queenstown in summer!

Summer in Queenstown FAQs

Ducks swim in Lake Wakatipu as seen from Queenstown waterfront, New Zeaand
Oh how I love you summer!

Things to do in Queenstown in Summer

1. Wine tour through the Gibbston Valley

Bailey walks the vines in the Gibbston Valley wine region
Just checking the on the baby wine!
Pinot Noir from Gibbston Valley Winery near Queenstown, New Zealand
Cheers to the Pinot Noir!

You can do wine tours any time of the year in Queenstown, however, there’s no better time than in the summer!

On your own adventure or on a guided wine tour you can explore the beautiful Gibbston Valley wine region and try lots of different wines under the New Zealand sun. The best part is, almost all of the wineries have beautiful outdoor gardens to enjoy the views of the vines with a mountain backdrop. That’s why I love the Gibbston Valley as a summer activity.

There are lots of different ways to explore the Gibbston Valley with the first and easiest on a guided wine tour from Queenstown. These tours usually cost around $200 NZD per person and include lunch, all your tasting fees, and transport. You can choose from a beer and wine tour (great if you have beer loves in your group) or a standard wine tour with snacks.

The next way is on a hop-on-hop-off wine tour. These are really cheap and only include your transport so you can head off and travel at your own pace. The tour includes a map to help you plan your journey and they can recommend a heap of great wineries to visit. This is why I consider it one of the best wine tours in the Gibbston Valley!

If you want to get out and enjoy the fresh air then why not explore the Gibbston Valley on a bike and wine tour. For those wanting to go for a bike ride in Queenstown and do a wine tour, this kills two birds with one stone! And don’t worry about peddling too much, the above-linked tour includes e-bikes!

The last way is on your own. It’s actually really easy to do, and you’ll just need to plan your route out before you go. Some wineries that I personally recommend visiting are Kinross, Gibbston Valley Winery, Akarua Wines, and Waitiri Creek Wines (which is also Cargo Brewery!) In one day you could visit all four and visit some of the best wineries in the region.

Related Read: One of the best summer months to visit Queenstown is in Decemeber – find out why!

2. Ride the gondola to Bob’s Peak

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

Taking the gondola up to Bob’s Peak has to be the most iconic activity to do in Queenstown. In the summertime, the gondola saves you a pretty hard (and hot) hike up the Tiki Trail. Once at the top, you can explore all of the best things to do including riding the Luge Track, having a drink or meal at Stratosfare, and even walking the easy Skyline Loop Track.

Just so you know: The building at the top of Bob’s Peak is called ‘Skyline’, in case you hear that name while in Queenstown, that’s what they’re talking about.

The gondola up to Skyline costs $46 NZD for adults and $32 for children. Each ticket includes a return trip and you can also book one-way tickets but only for the ride down (annoying I know!)

In the summer, dinner at Stratosfare Restaurant is amazing. Not only is the food good, but with the longer days, you can head up for dinner and watch the sunset right from your table.

One of the best ways to save money at Skyline is to book your gondola tickets and any activities you want to do together. The combo gondola and buffet and the gondola and luge are the most popular packages!

3. Jet boating

Bailey from My Queenstown Diary jet boating in Queenstown
As you can tell I was a little scared!

Jet boating is a great winter activity in Queenstown, however, in the summer it’s even more fun because you’re going to get wet! In Queenstown, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to companies to go jetboating with. However, each company has its own pros and cons.

For the most exciting ride, Shotover Jet is the best. If you want convenience, then either K-jet or RealNZ is the way to go as they’re located right in town. But if you want an epic adventure, then go with Dart River Adventures. Their tour takes you from Queenstown to Glenorchy and includes a nature walk in a place called ‘Paradise’. Exploring that area is one of the best things to do in Glenorchy as many scenes from the Lord of the Rings was actually filmed here!

Regardless of which company or tour you choose, you’ll have a great time on a jet boat in the summer in Queenstown!

Related Read: Jet boating is one of the top Queenstown adventure activities – read about what the others are!

4. Eat Fergburger by the lake

A burger from Fergburger

Fergburger is the most famous burger joint in New Zealand. Even as a local I always go to Fergburger because the burgers really are that good. What I love about Fergburger (and what some people hate) is there’s never anywhere to sit at the restaurant. This means I almost always take my burger to the lake to enjoy it. It’s so much better!

So this summer when you’re exploring Queenstown, go grab yourself that famous Fergburger and head down to the edge of Lake Wakatipu to enjoy it. I promise you’ll love the burger even more and if you want you can even get a beer (at the liquor store between Ferg and the lake) on the way. It’s completely legal to drink at the beach and grassed area on the wharf.

5. Drink New Zealand craft beer

Four beer bottles from Altitude Brewing in Queenstown, New Zealand
Altitude Brewery!

Speaking of drinking, did you know that Queenstown is home to three craft breweries that each have their own on-site bar!? Yep, that’s right, in such a small town there’s no shortage of beer!

My personal favorite of the three is Searchlight Brewery. I love their outdoor bar and Lewis (the owner) is a really friendly and humble guy. The brewery is located a little out of town in an industrial area, so if you’re after a more beautiful location, consider Altitude Brewery or Canyon Brewing.

Altitude is also located out of town but along the edge of Lake Wakatipu in Frankton. You can actually ride or walk there along the edge of the lake following the Queenstown Trail. Canyon Brewing is the furthest from Queenstown but it’s actually located above Shotover Canyon right where the Shotover Jet leaves from. The location is beautiful and you can have a beer outside and walk over the edge of the canyon for a look!

To be honest, all of the breweries make amazing craft beer in Queenstown, so it’s almost impossible to pick a favorite in that aspect. Just pick the one you like the sound of or just visit them all on a craft beer tour in Queenstown!

6. Go canyoning

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

My favorite summer activity in Queenstown is canyoning. There are many different canyoning experiences you can choose from in Queenstown including half-day and full-day options. Personally, I think the half-day experience is enough though and the one I did was a ton of fun. The half-day canyon is located in the Gibbston Valley and the full-day one is in Mt Aspiring National Park.

Either way, both are amazing and you’ll have so much fun ziplining, repelling, swimming, jumping, and navigating a canyon to the endpoint.

The water in the canyons is cold, but you are given a wetsuit, helmet, and life jacket for the tour. You’ll also get a harness for repelling down into the canyon. The tour companies do recommend that you have a certain amount of comfort in the water, but seriously it’s so much fun!

7. Relax at the beach

Queenstown beach in summer
Beach day anyone?

It is summer, so why not take a trip down to one of the beaches around Queenstown to soak up some sun and relax!? There are a few different beach areas you can visit on Lake Wakatipu, but I’ll tell you about my three favorite spots.

The first is Queenstown Beach. This small stretch of beach located in the heart of Queenstown is very popular among visitors and locals alike. It’s a fun place to hang out, and in the middle of summer, the beach becomes packed. It’s a cool vibe especially if that’s what you’re after! You can also legally drink alcohol here before 10 pm, so be sure to BYO booze.

With that said, not everyone loves a large crowd when at the beach. If that’s you, head to a local spot called Sunshine Bay. Located around 5 minutes (by car) from Queenstown, this small bay is absolutely stunning. The best part though? The bay gets lots of sun! You can access the bay by walking from town via the Sunshine Bay Track or drive your car to the parking lot.

Last is Bob’s Cove which is around a 15-minute drive from Queenstown along Glenorchy-Queenstown Road. I love Bob’s Cove and often hike the Bob’s Cove Track up to Picnic Point for the epic views – it’s definitely one of the best easy hikes around Queenstown.

8. Ziplining

A person ziplining in Queenstown, NZ upside down with Ziptrek Eco Tours
The views are epic!
A man ziplining in Queenstown through the forest
So much fun!

If you’ve taken the trip up to Bob’s Peak then there’s one activity you can actually do from the top and that’s the Zip Trek ziplining tour. From the top of Bob’s Peak, you can choose from a range of tours when booking which include as few as 2 zip lines and as many as 6.

From the ziplines, you’ll zoom along the mountainside with breathtaking views of Lake Wakatipu.

The Moa Tour has 4 different lines that start low and gradually increase in their height, length, and speed. This is ideal if this is your first time ziplining.

The 1-hour Kereru Tour while shorter than the Moa is a bit more thrilling as it includes 2 lines and a 22-meter drop (72 feet) at the end.

If you choose the Kea Tour you’ll get to do 6 lines along with the world’s steepest zipline which descends 30 stories at 70 kilometers (44 miles) an hour!

The tours are guided and you’ll take your time learning about the area along the way. In fact, the 6 zip line tour is almost 3 hours long!

You can book one of these fun adventures online in advance and you can expect to pay between $112 NZD to $199 NZD depending on the tour.

The Zip Trek tours are definitely some of the top zipline tours in New Zealand – you don’t want to miss out!

9. Go on a hike

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

Going on a hike in Queenstown during summer is a must-do activity. The best part there is a hike for everyone! Seriously, there are trails that take only 30 minutes (like Bob’s Cove Track mentioned above) and others that take 8+ hours! Below are a few of the top hikes with all the different difficulties in Queenstown.

Mt Crichton Loop Track – If you’re visiting Queenstown with kids and are looking for an interesting trail with a history lesson, then Mt Crichton Loop is perfect. Along the way, you’ll be able to explore an old gold mining tunnel and even check out the Sam Summers historical hut.

Lake Hayes Loop – It’s hard to top a trip to Lake Hayes on a beautiful summer’s day. The Lake Hayes Loop is a 5-kilometer-long (3 miles) trail that circles the lake giving you breathtaking views from every angle. Although a nice walk, it is also one of the best bike trails in Queenstown.

Queenstown Hill – No hike is as popular in Queenstown as Queenstown Hill. This 5-kilometer (3 miles) round trip hike takes you high above Queenstown to enjoy magnificent views. Don’t be fooled by the length of the trail though, it’s still quite the challenge.

Ben Lomond Track –Ben Lomond Track is one of the hardest hikes in Queenstown. The trail begins on the Tiki Trail (trail to the top of the gondola) before you make a left turn and head for Ben Lomond Summit. It’s a 7 to 8-hour hike that’s hard but absolutely spectacular!

These are just some of the hikes in Queenstown so if you want to know more you can check out our guide to the best hikes in Queenstown or easy hikes in Queenstown.

10. Explore Arrowtown

Buckingham Street in Arrowtown during summer in New Zealand
Buckingham Street in Arrowtown during summer in New Zealand
Bailey stands in the doorway of one of the Chinese Settlement houses in Arrowtown, NZ
The houses are tiny!

Queenstown has unfortunately lost much of its “small-town feel”. With 100,000+ tourists in Queenstown on any given day in summer, things can get crowded. Luckily you only have to drive 15 minutes out of Queenstown to explore the cute town of Arrowtown.

Head there in the morning for an even quieter experience and wander the main street enjoying the old gold mining architecture. You can even pan for gold, shop at boutique stores, and enjoy a meal and some craft beer at Slow Cuts. Be sure to visit the old post office and take a walk along the river too – there’s plenty to do in Arrowtown!

And if you don’t feel like driving, hop on a tour of Arrowtown from Queenstown! I recommend this Arrowtown and Wanaka Highlights tour. It’s one of the best tours I’ve done! It’s a half-day tour and includes stops at both Arrowtown and Wanaka, as well as the iconic Cardrona Hotel.

11. Enjoy some drinks in town

Bailey enjoys a drink at The Sundeck in Queenstown
Come see me in Queenstown!

If you love having a drink on a warm summer’s day then this is one summer activity in Queenstown you probably already had planned to do. Luckily though, I’m not going to tell you to do something super obvious without some local recommendations.

My first recommendation is The Sundeck for the best rooftop bar in Queenstown. Head here for some cocktails or beers with a view and a slightly fancier setting. The second is for the louder crowd – 1876 is a really cool bar that’s quite the party in summer. They have a large outdoor area and some of the cheapest drinks in town (starting at only $4!)

Another cool spot is Little Black Wood. Although not the cheapest place to drink, their bar is located on the Steamer Wharf so the views are hard to beat and they serve amazing cocktails!

If you just picked up your Fergburger and want to have a drink then head to Perky’s Floating Bar. They only serve drinks and encourage visitors to bring a takeaway meal to enjoy right on the water.

If you want a fun night out on the town to mingle with some locals or other tourists join a pub crawl! They are a good option to save some money as you’ll get a free shot at each bar after paying the $30 NZD for the ticket.

Related Read: For more info, read my blog about the best places to party in Queenstown!

12. Day trip to Milford Sound

A breathtaking waterfall on the edge of Milford Sound
The waterfalls are a highlight!
A lady stands on deck of a Milford Sound cruise and enjoys the view
Such a stunning place!

Milford Sound is another attraction you can visit during any season in Queenstown, and to be honest, winter in New Zealand is my favorite time to go. However, if you’re visiting in the summer then don’t miss a trip to Milford Sound. This giant glacier-carved valley is known (in New Zealand) as the unofficial 8th Natural Wonder of the World, and after visiting you’ll be able to see why.

From Queenstown, there are lots of day trips to Milford Sound that leave every single day of the year. These tours range from coach tours to even scenic flight tours, but one thing they all have in common is a cruise through Milford Sound. A boat cruise is the best way to explore the fiord and a bucket list experience in New Zealand!

Related Read: Planning on driving yourself to Milford? Check out my blog about the best stops on the drive from Queenstown to Milford Sound!

13. Soar in the sky on a scenic flight

Scenic views from a flight in Queenstown
Bailey smiles at the camera while on a Queenstown helicopter flight
So much fun!

Queenstown is beautiful from every angle but one many don’t get to see is from the sky. With a vantage point a few thousand feet above town, you’ll be able to take in more scenery than you can imagine, and do it at a much faster pace.

I’ve personally done a scenic flight in Mount Cook National Park in a helicopter and loved it.

When it comes to scenic flights in Queenstown you can choose between either a helicopter or a small fixed-wing plane. Personally, I love helicopter rides (especially in NZ!), and trust me, from the sky Queenstown is stunning! This helicopter tour is also a great deal for the long amount of airtime you get, it’s worth considering for such a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

If you want to both visit Milford Sound and go on a scenic flight in Queenstown then you should definitely combine the two on this epic tour. It’ll save you money and you’ll get to fly to Milford Sound over a remote part of the Southern Alps!

Related Read: Check out this epic guide to driving from Queenstown to Mount Cook!

14. Play disc (frisbee) golf in the Queenstown Gardens

Disc golf basket in the Queenstown Gardens
Disc golf basket in the Queenstown Gardens

If you’re looking for a cheap activity in Queenstown to do this summer then head to the Queenstown Gardens for a game of frisbee golf. This course is under the huge pine trees in the gardens and is completely free to use. You can rent a frisbee from the Queenstown Ice Arena for only $5 NZD, but if you have your own frisbee, then it is one of the few free things to do in Queenstown.

If you’ve never played frisbee golf before then don’t worry. Although hard to get good scores, it’s an easy game to play for fun. And if you’re wondering how it’s played then just imagine golf but with a frisbee and you’ve pretty much got it!

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

15. Go on a lake cruise

bailey stands at the front of the TSS Earnslaw in Queenstown
It’s an iconic activity in Queenstown!
Bailey enjoys dinner at Walter Peak Farm in Queenstown
Headed to Walter Peak Farm!

For some fresh air and a cool adventure on Lake Wakatipu, head out on a cruise in Queenstown. I’ve lost count of how many cruises I’ve done but seriously, it’s such a bucket list experience in Queenstown that I take everyone who visits me on one.

There are two main cruises you can do and both are great for their own reasons. The TSS Earnslaw is an old coal-powered steamship that’s almost 100 years old. Although the cruise is the most expensive at $70 NZD, it’s a unique experience. You can actually observe workers shoveling coal into the burner as you cruise along the lake. You can combine this scenic cruise with a gourmet BBQ lunch that is super tasty and one of the best meals you can have in Queenstown – trust me on this!

The other cruise is aboard the Spirit of Queenstown. This is the cheapest cruise and starts at only $49 NZD. It’s onboard a modern catamaran with a rooftop viewing deck and inside seating below. I’ve done this cruise the most just because of the price, so for budget travelers, it’s the best option.

Both cruises do the same route on the lake, but there is more to know about them. So if you can’t decide, check out our guide to choosing a cruise in Queenstown or my review on the lunch and dinner cruises offered on the TSS Earnslaw.

16. Road trip to Glenorchy

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

There are lots of road trips you can do from Queenstown but few compare to the road trip from Queenstown to Glenorchy. This short 46-kilometer-long drive (one way, (28.5 miles)) is an epic adventure that can take you an entire day if you plan to enjoy some of the best things to do in Glenorchy.

Along the way, you can stop at viewpoints, hike some amazing trails, and just get lost in the views and windy road. It’s truly one of the best things to do in the summer in Queenstown.

Before you set off be sure to check out my guide, It includes the best places to stop in order from Queenstown to Glenorchy so you don’t miss a thing!

If you don’t want to drive yourself, you can join a guided tour from Queenstown! My personal favorite is this half-day tour to Glenorchy and Paradise. It has all the epic views, stops at Lord of the Rings filming locations, and even has a lakeside picnic. If you are a LOTR fan, the Lord of the Rings tours to Glenorchy are must-dos! This area is full of incredible spots you’ll recognize from the big screen!

17. Visit Moke Lake

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

Queenstown is located in the Lakes District so it should come as no surprise that there are lots of other lakes to discover around Queenstown. One of the closest and most beautiful is Moke Lake. Located around 20 minutes from Queenstown just off Glenorchy-Queenstown Road, Moke Lake is the place I come to escape the hustle and bustle of Queenstown.

Moke Lake is actually a DOC run campground with 50 non-powered sites that you can stay in for $15 NZD per person per night. But even if you’re not spending the night, there’s so much to do at Moke Lake you just have to visit!

One of the most popular activities is hiking the Moke Lake Loop. This easy walking trail takes around 2 hours to complete and follows the edge of the lake. If you’re after more of a challenge, consider hiking to the Moke Lake Viewpoint. This unofficial trail is really steep and only suited to those comfortable with heights and the risks involved. However, once at the top, the views of Moke Lake are breathtaking.

Kayaking is another great activity you can do out on the lake! One of the easiest ways to do this for yourself is to book this Moke Lake Kayak Experience which will pick you up from central Queenstown and drop you off when finished. You’ll get to go off on your own and soak up the views of the surrounding mountains.

18. Via Ferrata rock climbing

Via Ferrata Rock climbing in New Zealand
Me doing Via Ferrata in Queenstown

I’m not an experienced rock climber, in fact, I’ve never done it before. However, during the summer in Queenstown, everyone seems to go rock-climbing so I decided to give it a go. Of course, with no experience, I didn’t want to just hit a rock wall so instead, I joined a Via Ferrata tour.

Via Ferrata is an Italian word that translates to the “iron road”. Basically, it’s like rock climbing but with an iron route of pegs and ladder rungs. The great thing about Via Ferrata is that anyone can do it and it’s really safe! On the tour in Queenstown, I climbed a wall on Gorge Road and must have climbed a thousand feet at least! It was crazy, but super fun too.

I’d recommend this experience to anyone wanting to challenge themselves and experience the feeling of rock climbing!

UPDATE: Via Ferrata is currently not available in Queenstown.

19. Eat an ice cream from Patagonia Chocolates

A huge ice cream from Patagonia Chocolates in Queenstown
Look at that ice cream!

Did you know more ice cream is consumed in winter in Canada than in summer!? It’s safe to say my fellow countrymen have it backward because nothing beats ice cream on a hot summer’s day!

Without a doubt, my favorite place to get ice cream in Queenstown is Patagonia Chocolates. As one of the best cafes in Queenstown, this place not only serves delicious coffee but ice cream too! Their ice cream is delicious and they drizzle your cone in their freshly-made chocolate!

The best part is that they’re located along the foreshore, so I often grab my ice cream and take a stroll enjoying the sunshine!  

20. Go bungy Jumping

A person hangs from a bungy cord at Kawarau Bridge Bungy in Queenstown, NZ
The river at Kawarau Bridge bungy really is that blue!

Commercial bungy jumping was born in Queenstown. Seriously, AJ Hackett was the first commercial bungy jumping company and it all started at the Kawarau Bridge just outside of Queenstown. They even spell ‘bungy’ differently (typically ‘bungee’), but considering they were the first, I’d say everyone else has it wrong!

AJ Hackett has three bungy jump locations in Queenstown to choose from. The first is the Kawarau Bridge Bungy. On this bungy, you’ll jump over the beautiful Kawarau River from 43 meters above. It’s also the only bungy jump in Queenstown that you can go tandem!  

The second is the Ledge Bungy right in Queenstown on Bob’s Peak. This bungy has you jumping over Queenstown and the views are spectacular. Of course, you’ll need to take the gondola up to do this one!

The last is Nevis Bungy – the highest bungy in New Zealand at 134 meters! Seriously, it’s huge! On this bungy, you’ll take a cart to a platform in the middle of a canyon before taking the huge leap of faith…if you’ve got what it takes give it a go!

Alternatively, there is also this thing called the Shotover Canyon Swing, imagine a freefall jump that turns into a graceful swing as the tension in the cord becomes tight. It’s cool too because you will have the option to jump in tandem with a friend, partner, or family member.

21. Paragliding

A person paraglides over Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown
The views you get are out of this world!

Paragliding is another activity that has you soaring through the air taking in amazing views. The best part is it’s super relaxing and almost dead calm once you’re in the air. In Queenstown, paragliding tours leave from the top of Bob’s Peak so this is one activity you should consider doing on a visit up there.

Strapped into a harness and connected to your guide, you’ll literally run off the edge of the mountain before gliding high above Queenstown. Although a little scary at first, once in the air, the experience is actually relaxing.

All up, you’ll spend around 15 minutes in the air before you come down to land on an oval below. To be honest, the landing is the scariest part!

22. White water rafting

White water rafting is easily one of the best summer activities in Queenstown. In fact, if you’ve got some bad weather coming up, book a rafting trip because it’s a great activity while it’s raining as you’re going to get wet anyway!

There are actually lots of different tours to choose from depending on the experience you want to have. Basically, there are 3 different levels of rapids ranging from 1-3 all the way up to class 5 beasts that’ll have you holding on for dear life.

I’m not going to lie, I have lots of rafting experience and actually tackled one of the top three rafting rivers in Patagonia one year. For that reason, I love the Shotover River rafting tour. It goes on class 4-5 rapids with names such as Aftershock, Squeeze, Toilet, and Pinball. It’s a fun tour for those wanting to challenge themselves.

For those a little less experienced, there is this rafting/jet boating tour that includes a jet boat ride and a paddle down class 2-3 rapids.

Last is the family rafting experience and on that, you’ll only tackle class 1-2 rapids. It’s basically a sightseeing tour in Queenstown and water confidence is not required.

23. Kayak or paddleboard on the lake

Two kayaks sit on the beach at Kinloch Campsite in Glenorchy
Paddle to a remote beach and relax!

If you’re hanging down at Queenstown Beach why not head out and explore the lake on a SUP or kayak? You can rent them from the waterfront and a paddleboard for 45 minutes only costs $25! It’s a great way to get some sun, exercise, and have fun.

If you want to explore further then you’ll need to rent a kayak instead. On a kayak, you’ll be able to paddle faster and a two-person rental is only $50. No experience is required and they will let anyone with none practice on the lake before heading off.

If you just want to have a little fun on the lake you can also rent an Aqua Bike. To be honest, I’ve never been on one but I see them all the time down at Queenstown Beach. Kids love them but don’t plan on going far, they never seem to move very fast!

24. Go for a bike ride

A lady takes a drink of water while out bike riding near Queenstown
Out enjoying the summer!

In the winter, Queenstown is a ski destination, but in the summer, it’s all about downhill riding. In fact, like the ski season, people buy yearly lift passes that take their mountain bikes to the top of Bob’s Peak and other mountain bike parks nearby like Cardrona.

If you just want to give it a go, you can get a day or weekly passes and can rent a standard mountain bike or a mountain ebike in town at any one of the rental shops. No experience is required as there are easy and hard downhill runs.

If you don’t want to try downhill riding, then just rent a bike and go for a ride. There are so many amazing trails around Queenstown to choose from and the views along the way are breathtaking. One of my favorite trails is the Frankton Track around to Kelvin Peninsula. The 16.2-kilometer track (10 miles) will take around 2 to 3 hours to complete. You’ll finish in Jardine Park on Kelvin Peninsula, and after, you can ride back to Queenstown or catch the bus using the bike racks available on every bus.

There are so many more trails to ride in Queenstown and explaining them would take a while, so if you plan on going for a ride, check out our guide to the best bike riding trails in Queenstown!

25. Road trip to Wanaka

a couple at the top of Roys Peak in Wanaka
Yes, hiking can be the perfect activity on a romantic getaway in NZ!

Last, but certainly not least, is actually one of my favorite road trips in New Zealand. The scenic drive from Queenstown to Wanaka is truly breathtaking and one every visitor should do even just for the amazing things to do in Wanaka like hiking Roy’s Peak!

There are actually two routes you can take to get to Wanaka and both are beautiful. In my road trip guide from Queenstown to Wanaka, I explain both and list the highlights on each route so you can easily decide. With that said, the most popular route is via Crown Range Road.

Crown Range Road is New Zealand’s highest main highway and along the way, you’ll get to enjoy magnificent viewpoints, unique attractions, and even stop past the historical Cardrona Hotel. The entire journey can take less than an hour but with stops, I’d allow 2 or 3.

Once in Wanaka, don’t let the adventure end. I love Wanaka and actually have lots of guides to the area including a blog on the best free and cheap things to do in Wanaka!

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 or

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 at The Bathhouse in Queenstown, New Zealand
Thanks for reading!

Queenstown is without a doubt an awesome summer destination. Warm temperatures, cool lakes, and views that will take your breath away are just some of the highlights. For those who have yet to arrive, I hope you’re excited – you’re in for one hell of an adventure!

Thanks so much for reading! I really hope you loved this blog post, stay a while and browse around My Queenstown Diary. Seriously, all I do is write so there are lots more blogs about Queenstown, New Zealand, and other surrounding cities to help you plan your upcoming trip! Maybe a little too much!? I really need to get out more… Here are a few insightful guides to get you started:

Best things to do in Te Anau

Romantic things to do in Queenstown

Most beautiful places in New Zealand