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24 Best Things to do in Queenstown When it’s Raining

24 Best Things to do in Queenstown When it’s Raining

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I fell in love with Queenstown because of its incredible outdoor beauty, from the stark mountains to the green rolling hills. However, Queenstown doesn’t always enjoy bluebird days. Any time of the year you can be forced to head indoors because of the rain, even in the middle of summer!

In fact, it rains a lot in Queenstown during the spring and early summer months. There have been a few times when I’m out enjoying a hike in Queenstown and end up getting poured on!

Luckily though, there are a ton of awesome things to do in Queenstown when it’s raining. That’s right, despite being an outdoor lover’s paradise, Queenstown is home to lots of activities that are either indoors or just as good when it’s raining.

So if you’re spending a few days in Queenstown or even a full week, and the forecast predicts rain, I’ve got you covered! From visiting Fiordland National Park to getting tipsy on a wine tour, here are the 24 best things to do in Queenstown when it’s raining!

Don’t have time to read the full article? Don’t let a little rain get you down! There is still so much to do in Queenstown when it rains, here are my favorite activities: 

  1. Soak in Onsen Hot Pools for a truly relaxing day. 
  2. Visit Milford Sound, it’s even more magical when it’s raining!
  3. Go on a wine tour! No outdoors necessary to sit and sip on some tasty wine. 
  4. Embrace the rain and take a white water rafting or a jet boat tour.
  5. Cozy up in Vudu Cafe and drink coffee, my favorite spot!

Things to do in Queenstown when it’s raining

1. iFLY Queenstown Indoor Skydiving

A customer and coach fly in the iFly wind tunnel
Is this cool or what!?

Skydiving isn’t ideal when it’s raining in Queenstown and most of the time it simply can’t be done. Instead, head over to iFLY Queenstown to check out their state-of-the-art indoor skydiving tunnel.

Indoor skydiving is new to Queenstown and in 2018, construction on the state-of-the-art indoor wind tunnel was completed. iFLY Queenstown which owns and operates the tunnel is a leading indoor skydiving company with wind tunnels all over the world.

Indoor skydiving in Queenstown gives visitors the thrill of skydiving without actually jumping out of a plane (great if you’re afraid of heights.) Professional skydivers actually use the tunnels to train, but for the average person, it’s all about the fun!

If you’ve never been indoor skydiving before then it may take a little getting used to, however, every session includes a personal instructor to help you out and show you the basics.

Indoor skydiving is a great activity to do when it’s raining in Queenstown because it’s completely indoors. The price for two beginner flights (1 hour in total) starts at $129 NZD and although expensive, it’s a unique experience! You can check availability and book online here.

2. Onsen Hot Pools

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

There isn’t another hot pool in New Zealand as famous as Onsen Hot Pools. Located just outside of Queenstown in Arthurs Point overlooking the Shotover River, Onsen Hot Pools are easily one of the best things to do in Queenstown.

One thing that I love about these hot pools near Queenstown is that every pool at Onsen Hot Pools is private! You can sit back and enjoy one of the most romantic activities in Queenstown (perfect for anybody visiting Queenstown on a honeymoon) or share your pool with up to 3 friends. The best part is that they have both semi-indoor pools and outdoor pools so it doesn’t matter if it’s raining in Queenstown. Unfortunately, you do have to book Onsen Hot Pools in advance which makes it hard to time with the rain.

A 1-hour time slot in a private pool starts at $155 NZD for two people and they also offer spa treatments and other packages. Included is a glass of locally sourced wine, so they take relaxation and luxury seriously here!

Related Read: Other beautiful hot pools nearby are the Omarama Hot Tubs – one of the best stops on the drive between Queenstown and Mount Cook.

3. Swim at Alpine Aqualand

Alpine Aqualand is the name of Queenstown’s indoor pool. Located out in Frankton, the pool is open to the public and is a great activity to do when it’s raining, especially if you’re visiting Queenstown with kids.

Entrance to the pools is only $8 NZD for adults and $4 for children so it’s a really cheap thing to do in Queenstown. Within Alpine Aqua Land you’ll find a lap pool, a large kid’s pool with slides and games, and for the adults, there’s a hot tub and sauna. The hot tub even has views of the mountains! While other hot pools around New Zealand are quite expensive, this is still a great place to relax and unwind, while on a budget!

Alpine Aqua Land is completely indoors so it’s perfect on a rainy day and will keep the kids and yourself entertained for a while!

4. Milford Sound

A boat travels right up to Stirling Falls in Milford Sound
Oh, the waterfalls!
Bailey smiles at the Camera on a Milford Sound cruise with a waterfall in the background
Obviously yes!

Visiting Milford Sound is one of the best things to do in New Zealand. This stunning fiord is Fiordland National Park’s most famous attraction, and it’s just as beautiful to visit when it’s raining. This may come as a surprise, but it’s true! I’ve personally visited Milford Sound in all conditions and love it when it’s raining.

Milford is famous for its hundreds of beautiful waterfalls that form when it’s raining and quickly disappear when it’s not. When it does rain in Milford Sound, the fiord feels so alive and the mood is airy, taking you back to the time when only the Maori people inhabited this remote and rugged region.

There are a handful of Milford Sound tours from Queenstown, so you can visit no matter how much time you have!

Taking a day tour from Queenstown is the most common way to explore Milford. While it makes for a long day, it is the best option if you don’t have your own set of wheels. This tour provides transportation to and from Milford in a large comfortable couch, a 2-hour cruise to explore the fiord, and lunch. The highlight is of course, the cruise to see the massive fiord, but the drive is also very scenic- you can check details and book this tour in advance here!

However, if you have a bigger budget and want to make the day a bit more memorable (and shorter) you can take a scenic flight with a cruise of Milford Sound! Departing from Queenstown, you’ll take a 45-minute flight over the stunning Fiordland National Park, then touch down and embark on a 2-hour sightseeing cruise to see it up close. Your return flight will take a different path, giving even more epic views! This 4.5-hour tour is a great day trip from Queenstown and gives an entirely different perspective of the area, it’s especially beautiful in the rain!

If you can, though, I recommend doing your own road trip to Milford Sound from Queenstown and staying the night in either Te Anau or Milford Sound itself. That way, you can enjoy all the beautiful places to stop along the way and maybe even do one of the best hikes on the South Island such as the Key Summit or Lake Marian Track. You can still book a 2-hour small boat sightseeing cruise so you can explore the beauty of Milford while sticking to your own itinerary.

It rains over 250 days a year in Milford Sound (it’s also the wettest inhabited place in New Zealand), so don’t let a little water stop you from enjoying this breathtaking place!

Related Read: Before heading to Te Anau and Milford, be sure to read my blogs about the must-see stops on the drive from Queenstown to Te Anau as well as Te Anau to Milford Sound! It’s incredibly scenic!

5. Go on a pub crawl

Bailey at a bar in Queenstown drinking beer
Cheers!
Drinks at a bar in Queenstown, New Zealand
You’ll find great cocktails in Queenstown!

You can party in Queenstown in the rain, hail, or shine. However, it can be hard to know exactly where to go and to meet other people. Luckily, you can actually join a pub crawl in Queenstown so you don’t have to worry about any of that.

There are two companies that do pub crawls in Queenstown, Big Night Out and Kiwi Crawl. Big Night Out has pub crawls on Fridays and Saturdays all year. Each night there is a different theme and you’ll visit 5 bars, get discounted drinks, free pizza, and photos of the night (although, do you really want to see them?!). They also do special event pub crawls for New Year’s, Australia Day, and St Patrick’s Day. For their standard pub crawl, it costs $30 NZD per person.

Kiwi Crawl offers much the same and operates on Friday and Saturday nights. Their standard pub crawl is also only $30 and includes 5 free shots and pizza, plus the party group is so much fun. It is a great way to make friends and explore Queenstown’s epic party scene! For a totally unique experience, Kiwi Crawl also does ice bar crawls every Friday night that visit one of the ice bars in town (for an extra $10). This is actually a great deal, as you usually have to pay nearly that much for entrance to the ice bars anyway, and this still includes drinks and pizza at other bars as well.

A pub crawl is a great way to avoid the rain in Queenstown, just bop from bar to bar and you’ll stay dry and warm!

6. Visit Game Over Queenstown

People ride go karts at Game Over Queenstown
Photo credit: Game Over Queenstown

Game Over Queenstown is the perfect activity to do when it’s raining especially for those who love to challenge their friends. Game Over has three activities you can do including indoor go-karting, laser tag, and an arcade.

My personal favorite is go-karting. Game Over Queenstown has an indoor track that, although small, has really tight corners which makes racing fun and challenging! The go-karts are electric and they do limit the speeds on the karts for safety reasons. I find it lots of fun, but people who are used to racing fast go-karts might not.

Game Over Queenstown also has the largest selection of arcade games in Queenstown. You can play most games for only $1 each so it’s pretty cheap and there are lots of prizes to win. Personally, this isn’t my thing but some people love it.

The last thing to do at Game Over is Jurassic Battle Laser Tag. I’ve never played laser tag in Queenstown, but I have done it elsewhere. I’m not sure if I love it or not, as my partner is a little too competitive!

7. Lake Wakatipu Cruise

Bailey on the TSS Earnslaw
Jugging along on the TSS Earnslaw!
Bailey enjoys dinner at Walter Peak Farm in Queenstown
On the way to Walter Peak Farm!

A cruise on Lake Wakatipu can be done in any weather, even in the rain or during the winter in Queenstown! Cruises depart multiple times a day pretty much every day of the year from the Steamer Wharf in Queenstown. Although more beautiful on a nice day, you can still get great views during light rain.

There are two main cruises in Queenstown with one called the TSS Earnslaw and the other the Million Dollar Cruise. Both cruises do the same route on the lake with the Million Dollar Cruise being the cheaper option starting at $59 NZD per person (not actually one million dollars). However, the TSS Earnslaw is an old 1900s coal-powered steamship and you can actually see the workers shoveling coal in the boiler rooms! But that’ll set you back $99 NZD.

For a really special experience, be sure to book the TSS Earnslaw with BBQ lunch buffet. Seriously, this lunch is amazing and you’ll enjoy it with views from the spectacular Walk Peak High Country Farm. I wrote a full review on the TSS Earnslaw lunch and dinner cruises after going on both and honestly, they were so good, that I’m already planning when I can go again!

8. Shop ’til you drop

Louis Vutton shop Queenstown 1.jpg
Fancy some shopping?

If it’s raining in Queenstown then why not lighten the mood with a little bit of retail therapy? Although Queenstown isn’t home to lots of huge name-brand stores, there are still a few including Just Jeans, Louis Vuitton, Sunglass Hut, UGG, Ice Breaker, and Katmandu.

What I love most though are the cute boutique stores such as SLOW, STORM Women’s Clothing, and Wild South Adventure Clothing. All of these stores can be found around Queenstown town center but there’s lots more to see. My recommendation is to take a wander around. Most of the sidewalks have some shelter from the rain so with an umbrella, this is a great activity when it’s raining in Queenstown.

9. Hydro Attack Queenstown

Hydro Attack speeds through the water in Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown
Even when it’s raining you can enjoy Hydro Attack. Photo credit: Hydro Attack Queenstown

Have you heard of the Hydro Attack Shark in Queenstown? Not likely, but it’s actually one outdoor activity in Queenstown that is unaffected by the rain! The Hydro Shark is like a jet ski but it also goes underwater like a shark.

Basically, you sit in a seat behind the driver, and then like a fighter jet, they close the windscreen over you. Then, you’ll fly across the water before the shark makes fast dives below the water and then pops up out of the water. I’ve never done it before but it’s always zooming around on Lake Wakatipu and I’ve often wondered what it’s like.

The Hydro Shark isn’t a cheap activity and for a 15-minute ride, it’ll cost you upwards of $159 NZD. With that said, it’s unique to Queenstown, especially when it’s raining!

The Hydro Shark is often fully booked during weekends or peak seasons, be sure to book your experience in advance to avoid missing out!

10. Go on a quad tour

Nomad Safaris Quad bike tour
Photo credit: Nomad Safaris

Quad bikes, also known as ATVs, are a fun way to drive yourself around rough terrain. Climb up mountains, cross rivers, and speed through the mud! You name it, the quad will (try) to tackle it!

One of the most popular adventure tours in Queenstown involves driving your own quad around and on Queenstown Hill on a guided quad biking tour. Your guide will teach you everything you need to know before setting off to enjoy some of the most incredible views from up above Queenstown. With weather-proof gear provided, quad biking is one of the adventure tours you can do in Queenstown even when it’s raining.

This quad biking tour is suitable for anyone 16 years or older and for people who’ve never driven a quad before. The tour departs from central Queenstown and lasts for 3.5 hours, which is plenty of time to adventure and see the amazing views. To be honest, this activity is even more fun in the rain, don’t let a little mud stop you! You can reserve this tour for $325 NZD per person.

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11. Doubtful Sound

Doubtful Sound, New Zealand on a cruise
The day I went it was sunny, but Doubtful Sound is still amazing in the rain!

Doubtful Sound is New Zealand’s second most popular fiord (after Milford of course), but first, let me clear something up. You might be wondering why they’re called “sounds” but are actually fiords. It was a mistake! But, by the time they realized the error, the names were already too well-known so they left them- true story!

Anyway, back to Doubtful Sound. This beautiful fiord is like Milford’s Sound little brother (although it’s actually larger) and can be visited on this day trip from Queenstown. Just like Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound is just as impressive in the rain.

Although closer to Queenstown, a tour to Doubtful Sound requires you to take a coach trip to Manapouri, then take a cruise across Lake Manapouri, and finally a bus ride to Doubtful Sound. It’s quite the journey and the reason Doubtful Sound tours are usually more expensive than a Milford Sound tour. With that said, you get to cruise Lake Manapouri which usually costs $75 NZD on its own! Plus, if you book this tour you don’t have to worry about organizing all the steps to get here on your own.

If you’re looking for an even more unique experience with epic views, you can take a 1-hour scenic flight to see the fiord from a bird’s eye view! Departing from Te Anau, you’ll soar over Doubtful Sound and Fiordland National Park, which lets you see just how big it is. I’ve taken a few scenic flights throughout my travels, and they always leave me blown away and so glad I had that experience. While it’s a bit pricey, it’s truly worth it- you can book this tour in advance here!

Although I prefer Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound is perfect for anyone who wants to get off the beaten path. It’s much less busy and very few people actually get to see Doubtful Sound, so it’s a more unique thing to do in Queenstown!

Fun Fact: “Fiords” are carved by glaciers whereas “sounds” are carved by rivers!

Related Read: If a scenic flight strikes your fancy, check out the 11 Best Scenic Flights in Queenstown. The views are epic no matter which one you go with!

12. Visit Arrowtown

Live music at The Blue Door Arrowtown
The Blue Door in Arrowtown!
Bailey stands in the doorway of one of the Chinese Settlement houses in Arrowtown, NZ
The houses are tiny!

Arrowtown is a small town only 15 minutes from Queenstown. Famous for its old gold mining architecture and cute streets it’s a must-visit on any trip to Queenstown.

On a rainy day, you can head to Arrowtown to explore the Lake District Museum and Gallery, the historic Arrowtown Chinese Settlement, enjoy amazing food and craft beer at Slow Cuts, or just shop for souvenirs at a few of the boutique shops. There are also plenty of quaint cafes to enjoy in Arrowtown if you need to escape the rain. These are just a few of the many things you can do and see in Arrowtown!

Taking a trip to Arrowtown is relaxing, and on a rainy day, you’ll still get to enjoy many of the best things to do! There are lots of tours to Arrowtown from Queenstown as well, which will save you from aimlessly wandering around in the rain.

I love this half-day tour because it dives into the rich history of Arrowtown, and also gives you free time to experience it on your own. You’ll stop at a Lord of the Rings Film location, a local bee farm to try Manuka Honey, and then have an hour-long driving tour of Arrowtown, so you won’t get wet! Finally, you’ll have an hour to explore on your own and stop at some of the places I mentioned above. This half-day tour is a great way to get out and explore, even if it’s raining in Queenstown- you can book it in advance here!

13. Go on a wine tour

Bailey enjoys wine at Gibbston Valley Winery near Queenstown
The wine is so good!
Pinot Noir from Gibbston Valley Winery near Queenstown, New Zealand
Cheers to the Pinot Noir!

Nothing lightens the mood on a rainy day like wine! So, why not go on a wine tour of the Gibbston Valley near Queenstown?! Sipping on wine at a boutique winery is honestly one of my favorite pastimes and there is a huge range of wine tours in Queenstown so you don’t have to worry about driving and can find some hidden gems- there’s a lot out there!

My favorite wine tour is this 5-hour tour which stops at 4 wineries, and includes tasting fees, and lunch! It explores the best wineries in the Gibbston Valley, which is rather expansive so the wineries they hit change frequently. This way you can visit a range of wineries, from large-scale vineyards to small, up-and-coming places. Best of all, you can cozy up inside and escape the rain in Queenstown with this tour! You can book this tour for $239 NZD per person.

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option that still includes transportation, you can check out the hop-on hop-off bus. I love that this tour provides the convenience of a guided tour, but the independence of visiting on your own!

I consider this option one of the best wine tours in the Gibbston Valley because you can choose how long to stay at wineries, and the bus comes around every hour. So whether you want to visit as many as possible or relax at just two or three, it’s up to you- you can book this bus for $65 NZD per person.

If you don’t want to join a guided tour, then check out the best wineries in Queenstown, add them to Google Maps, and go on your own! Just be sure to have a designated driver!

14. Test your skills at Escape Quest

Escape rooms have become really popular in recent years. If you haven’t done one yet, then this is one activity you need to try. In a race against time, your team will need to finish a range of challenges to escape each room until you finally get out!

Queenstown’s Escape Quest follows the theme of the Otago region’s (where Queenstown is located) gold rush in the 1800s. They have four different challenges or quests you can try that all range in difficulty. The challenges last for 1 to 2 hours and in that time, you need to complete all of the puzzles to succeed. Many don’t finish it in time, but could you?

Escape Quest Queenstown also has virtual reality escape rooms which are rather new and something I haven’t tried (yet!) On top of that, you can join their outdoor escape (if it’s not raining of course!). The VR escape and outdoor escape sound fun, but personally, you can’t beat the classic indoor escape room! You can see all the options and book your ticket here.

15. Test your nerves at Fear Factory

An actor at fear Factory, Queenstown
One of the actors at Fear Factory! Photo credit: Fear Factory Queenstown

Do you scare easily like me? Well, if you do then Fear Factory Queenstown will get your heart racing! I’ve only been to Fear Factory Queenstown once and that’s enough for me! The experience was so scary that at one point I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to finish the maze!

Some people love getting scared or they just want to challenge themselves, and if that sounds like you, then you’ll love Fear Factory. The indoor maze (perfect for when it’s raining) is almost pitch black and along the way, actors will scare the lights out of you! It only takes 10 to 15 minutes to walk the maze, that is, if you can finish it!

Fear Factory costs $40 NZD for adults and $20 for children. Although there is no age limit on this activity, young kids do struggle and often don’t finish the maze.

16. Bounce around at SITE Trampoline

A person fly's through the air at Site Trampoline
Into the landing pit!

SITE Trampoline is the best place to go when it’s raining in Queenstown if you love to keep active like me! Honestly, why sit around while it’s raining, get moving and have some fun!

SITE Trampoline is basically just a huge room filled with trampolines and foam pits. It’s seriously so much fun and the best part is, it gets the heart rate up! During a typical session, you can jump around with friends, practice tricks, or just have fun by yourself.

A one-hour freestyle jump costs $26.50 NZD for adults and $16.50 for kids under 6. This is easily the best thing to do indoors to burn off some energy while it’s raining in Queenstown!

17. Visit a brewery

A group of people learn how to make beer at Altitude Brewing
Learning how to brew beer at Altitude Brewing!

There always seem to be new breweries or taphouses popping up all over Queenstown. With so many to choose from, it can be hard to know exactly where to go but my personal favorites are Altitude Brewing and Searchlight Brewery!

Both breweries are located a little out of town with Searchlight just off Gorge Road towards Arthurs Point and Altitude down in Frankton along the edge of Lake Wakatipu. Both breweries serve a large selection of craft beers at affordable prices. They’re small, locally owned, and they brew delicious beer.

If you want to visit them all, then you can always join the craft beer tour. I’ve done one before and loved it- I actually got quite drunk! You’ll visit several breweries and taprooms and get 13 beer tastings included, and of course you’ll want to buy a pint once you find your favorite! This tour includes transportation, lunch, all your beer tastings, and an expert beer guide so you learn about the brewing process.

This is one of my favorite rainy-day activities in Queenstown because there is nothing better than a cold beer in a cozy brewery. You can book this tour for $185 NZD!

Cold craft beer in Queenstown while the weather passes? Yes, please!

18. White water rafting

Let’s face it, if you go white water rafting in Queenstown you’re going to get wet regardless if it’s raining or not. In fact, the water in the rivers around Queenstown is much colder than the rain. This makes white water rafting the perfect activity to do in Queenstown when it’s raining.

There are a few different rivers to go white water rafting down near Queenstown and choosing which one depends on the experience you’re after. For the most extreme tour tackling class 4 to 5 rapids, this Shotover River rafting trip from Queenstown is the best choice. This 5-hour rafting tour is not only thrilling but also lets you see the unique beauty of the Shotover River as you float downstream. You must be over the age of 13 and it’s sure to get your heart racing!

If you’re traveling with family then the Family Adventures Rafting Tour is the best option. Although also on the Shotover River, the tour only tackles class 1 and 2 rapids. It’s more of a sightseeing tour in Queenstown and water confidence is not required. Children 3 years and up are able to join this tour, in fact, kids love white water rafting. You can read all the details and book this tour in advance here!

If you’re looking for a rafting experience that is in between the two listed above, you’ll love this rafting/jet boating tour! Kawarau River Jet-Raft is both a jet boating tour and white water rafting tour and on the tour, you’ll tackle class 2 to 3 rapids and also enjoy a thrilling ride down the Kawarau River on a jet boat. It is a good mix of adventure and relaxation, and the jet boat ride adds a whole different experience!

All of the tours run for 5 hours so my personal recommendation is to choose based on the rapids you want to raft. Regardless of what you choose, you’ll end up a little wet but full of fun memories. Don’t avoid the rain in Queenstown, embrace it!

Related Read: If you love exploring and adventuring, you’ll love the areas surrounding Queenstown. With so much to see, taking a day tour out of Queenstown is the best way to maximize your time and see the best of the best!

19. Jet boating

Bailey from My Queenstown Diary jet boating in Queenstown
As you can tell, I was having a ton of fun!

Like white water rafting, you’re going to get wet while jet boating in Queenstown. In fact, jet boating tours in Queenstown come with wet weather gear to not only keep you warm but also dry underneath. I went jet boating in early spring and it was still really cold outside. But with the gear they provided and the adrenaline rush from the ride, I was warm and dry (underneath) the entire time!

There are 5 different jet boat operators in Queenstown so there are plenty to choose from. They are:

K-Jet – This is who I did my jet boating ride with. They leave from the wharf in Queenstown and the tour lasts for 1 hour. It was really fun and I can personally recommend this tour.

Shotover Jet – These guys operate in the Shotover Canyon on the Shotover River and they are the most famous company in Queenstown. They offer 25-minute rides, which is just enough time to get a thrill and then get back inside to warm up!

Real NZ Jet – This is the other company that operates from the Queenstown Wharf. RealNZ is a well-known company that’s the cheapest in Queenstown and offers a 25-minute and 1-hour ride.

Skippers Canyon Jet – This is another company operating in the Shotover River, however, their tour is in Skipper Canyon. This canyon is said to be narrower so the ride is supposed to be really scary!

Dart River Adventures – This is easily the most unique jet boating tour. It’s actually in Glenorchy and goes down the Dart River to an area called Paradise. The tour is the most expensive but it includes the scenic drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy, jet boating, a nature walk, and then a bus tour back. It’s definitely one of the best things to do in Glenorchy!

With so many options it can be hard to choose a tour operator. With that said, each company has its own advantages. For the most thrilling experience go with Skippers Canyon Jet or Shotover Jet, for the most convenience, go with K-Jet or Real NZ, and for the most adventurous go with Dart River Adventures!

20. Visit one of Queenstown’s many cafés 

Coffee with a view at The Boatshed in Queenstown
I love the location!
A coffee at Bespoke Kitchen in Queenstown
Bespoke Kitchen!

Few things are as relaxing on a rainy day as enjoying a coffee in one of Queenstown’s many cute cafés. In Queenstown, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to cafes, but there are a few that I personally visit on a regular basis and love.

My top choice is VuDu Café. This small, but bustling café, is located in the heart of Queenstown and they serve not only an amazing hot brew but also great food. They have two small tables out the front, and you’ll often find me here with my partner working on the blog or planning adventures.

Another great option if you want to enjoy your coffee with a breathtaking view is Patagonia Chocolates. They sell amazing chocolate (duh it’s in the name) and ice cream! From the second floor of the café, you can sip your coffee and snack on some tasty treats.

21. Wine and dine in Queenstown

Bailey with a cocktail at Blue Kanu in Queenstown
Blue Kanu has always been my favorite restaurant in Queenstown!
Two curries from White and Wong’s in Queenstown, New Zealand
White and Wong’s!

A little rain won’t stop you from dressing up and having a fun night out! With tons of restaurants in bars in Queenstown you can’t go wrong. You’re spoilt for choice, but don’t stress, there are a few stand-out restaurants in Queenstown to wine and dine at.

Where do I start? Oh, that’s right, Italian! Farelli’s Totaria is my favorite place to go for fresh, homemade pasta. Seriously it’s so good!

For something different, try Blue Kanu. They serve Polynesian food with an Asian twist and every dish is amazing (especially the duck nachos and golden shrimp!).

If you’re a steak lover and don’t mind spending a bit more then Jervois Steak House is the best place to go in Queenstown. Every steak is cooked to perfection and they only use the best quality meat! Be sure to reserve a table here in advance as they are often full.

However, the best way to try a handful of Queenstown’s bragging-worthy restaurants is by going on a progressive dinner. Essentially, you’ll change locations for each course giving you a wider look at Queenstown’s culinary scene! Sample gin and starters at Gin Garden in Arthurs Point, then move to Arrowtown for mains at Ayrburn and finish off with desserts and digestif at historic Eichardt’s Hotel. All of your food and alcoholic drinks are included for $339 per person- be sure to book your spot in advance!

If it’s raining in Queenstown, go out for a delicious meal, you’ll feel better!

22. Let out your frustrations at SMASHIT

Need to let out some anger? Well, luckily for you Queenstown’s newest attraction SMASHIT will help you do just that.

For only $35 NZD you’ll get geared up with your friends before entering a room full of breakable items. Then, with your weapon of choice in hand, you’re free to break as much as you possibly can! You literally will become a ‘bull in a China shop.’ This is even a great activity in Queenstown for those traveling with teenagers since those as young as 12 can give it a go.

SMAHIT Queenstown is located right in central Queenstown on Shotover Street.

23. Choose a thrill at a 12-D Motion Theatre

I always going to the movies on a rainy day in Queenstown- it’s just so cozy! But Queenstown also has a 12-D Motion Theater that will take your viewing experience to the next level.

A 12-D Motion Theatre experience is an immersive version of traditional movie theatres. You will get to choose between 80 different simulations where you can do an escape mission, ride a rollercoaster, take out a pack of zombies, and more! It’s a thrill that is fun for both adults and kids. For $35 NZD per adult, you will get a 15-minute time slot that allows you time for 3 different VR experiences.

For a unique experience when it’s raining in Queenstown, book this experience here!

24. Take a wellness day

If the weather is not in your favor you can take a few hours (or a whole day!) to focus on your body. In Queenstown, there are lots of choices to pick from.

A massage is always a staple idea when you want to fully relax or improve areas of soreness (maybe from all that hiking, am I right?). At Body Sanctum Day Spa, you can have a relaxing massage by yourself, or as a couples massage. They are located right in Central Queenstown and offer 1 to 1.5-hour massages, so you can easily fit it into your Queenstown itinerary.

They offer 90-minute hot stone massages, which if you’ve never tried this you will absolutely love it! Hot stones are so relaxing that I almost fell asleep. They also offer a variety of massages, such as deep tissue, relaxation, maternity, reflexology, and couples massages. Prices for massages start at $192 NZD per person.

I can’t think of a better way to chill out and be lulled into relaxation on a rainy day in Queenstown. You can check all massage options and book yours in advance here!

Where to Stay in Queenstown

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

Finding the right place to stay in Queenstown can be hard. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of awesome choices, but things book up fast! For that reason, I highly suggest booking your accommodation well in advance.

Honestly, during peak times, any of the best hotels in Queenstown will be fully booked several weeks in advance…you have been warned! To help you plan ahead, here are a few places I personally love and that would make an awesome place to stay in Queenstown.

Kamana Lakehouse – $$$

For a luxurious stay, I highly recommend Kamana Lakehouse. This hotel is located just on the outskirts of town. Although it’s super peaceful, it’s just a 5-minute drive into the center of town. The place overlooks both the lake and the mountains, and the onsite restaurant uses local, seasonal ingredients to create the freshest meals. To top it off, many of the rooms boast lake views, and some even have outdoor baths!

The trick will be snagging this for your dates (it’s a popular place!). Rooms start around the $400 NZD mark, and you can check availability and book online here.

La Quinta Queenstown – $$

If you’re looking for a mid-range hotel, then you should seriously consider La Quinta Queenstown. This beautiful hotel is right by the airport but still very quiet. Plus, the views are amazing (although you won’t find me recommending a place without great views!). The rooms are all studio or one-bedroom apartments, which is really handy if you want to cook or even just have breakfast in your room.

Prices start at $200 NZD and you can book online here.

Absoloot Hostel Queenstown – $

My top choice for budget travelers is the Absoloot Hostel Queenstown. This small hostel has dorm rooms and budget private rooms, and it’s really clean and comfortable. The location is in the heart of Queenstown – the window from the kitchen looks out over Lake Wakatipu!

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

Renting a Car, Campervan, or Motorhome in New Zealand

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

Let’s face it, you’re going to need wheels to get around New Zealand. Although a small country, buses between destinations are infrequent and expensive. Plus, some of the best experiences you can have in NZ are on road trips!

You have three options when it comes to getting wheels in New Zealand; a car, a campervan, or a motorhome. Here’s what you need to know about each and where to get them:

  • Car – A normal car is the cheapest rental vehicle you can get in New Zealand. It’ll get you around to all of the best destinations with ease. The only downside to a car is that you will need to stay in hotels or Airbnbs during your travels (no camping.) The easiest place to rent a car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare cars, companies, prices, features, and more very easily.
  • Campervan – A Campervan is a large van that has a bed and a small kitchen in the back. It’s what most budget travelers use for traveling around New Zealand since it allows you to camp comfortably and for free (most) nights. Campervans are best for couples or solo travelers who are happy to live in a small space. You should also love the outdoors and camping…and be prepared for an adventure of a lifetime! My favorite campervan rental company is JUCY because they have a huge selection of campervans to choose from, plus multiple pick-up/drop-off locations. You can browse JUCY’s campervan selection online here. Alternatively, you can easily compare all campervans available in NZ on Motorhome Republic here.

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT CODE: I’ve managed to snag a discount code for 5% off for my readers if you book your JUCY or Star RV campervan or motorhome before the end of June 2024! Simply click here to select your JUCY campervan, or click here to select your Star RV motorhome, and then use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off – it’s that easy! One thing to note is that this code is only valid for travel before Dec 21, 2024.

Thanks for reading!

Bailey stands overlooking Mount Cook National Park from one side of Lake Pukaki, New Zealand
Thanks for reading!

Although many of the best things to do in Queenstown are better on days when it’s not raining, this list gives visitors some other options. Because let’s face it, not every day during your visit to Queenstown will the weather be amazing (unless you’re extremely lucky!). So it’s best to plan a few other activities just in case!

I hope this list has helped you plan your upcoming trip. If it did, then be sure to browse around. I have so many blogs about Queenstown and New Zealand that will make your holiday much easier to plan and also show you lots of hidden gems! I’ve also laid out a few of my favorite blogs below that I really think you might like.

5 BEST Queenstown to Milford Sound Flights + My Personal Review

The BEST time to visit Queenstown – Comparing the Four Seasons

8 BEST Glenorchy Tours from Queenstown

Brian

Thursday 18th of January 2024

Wow Bailey, I am so lucky enough to come accross your site by chance. My family will visit to Queenstown next week and we found the weather on 27th Jan (Sat) looks a bit wet. I'm so impressived by well detailed blog of yours, have some hope after reading. We are living in Christchurch and wish you have some day to visit (wish us to be your free-guide :)

Have your best every single day in Queenstown!!!

Bailey

Friday 19th of January 2024

Hey Brian!

Thanks so much!

Enjoy Queenstown Bailey