Queenstown is without a doubt New Zealand’s most popular tourist destination. During peak times, this small town becomes one of the most vibrant places on earth. But there’s more to Queenstown than Fergburger, bungy, and hikes. In fact, there are a ton of fun and exciting things to do in Queenstown!
I first visited Queenstown as a tourist, and not long after, packed my bags and moved there. I loved Queenstown that much! Part of my passion for this tiny town comes from the huge variety of things to do and see there. Even as a local, I am still discovering new activities and hidden gems in Queenstown to explore daily!
So if you’re lucky enough to visit Queenstown, I want you to know all of your options when it comes to things to do and how to spend your very precious time. For that reason, I’ve compiled this huge comprehensive list of 65 epic things to do in Queenstown. My hopes are, this blog helps you plan your time in Queenstown in a way that is the absolute best for you!
Here are the 65 best things to do in Queenstown, New Zealand!
- Things to do in Queenstown Center
- 1. Ride the gondola to Bob’s Peak
- 2. Stuff your face at Fergburger
- 3. Watch a sunset over Lake Wakatipu
- 4. Explore the Queenstown Gardens
- 5. Visit Kiwi Birdlife Park
- 6. Attend the Queenstown Arts and Craft Market
- 7. Drink local craft beer
- 8. BBQ at St Omer Park
- 9. Go to Fear Factory
- 10. Party the night away
- 11. Eat Pacific-Islander food at Blue Kanu
- 12. Drink at an Ice Bar
- 13. Go Shopping
- 14. Visit the Remarkable Sweet Shop
- 15. Indulge with ice cream and chocolate at Patagonia
- 16. Eat pizza at Queenstown’s oldest restaurant
- 17. Try a New Zealand meat pie
- 18. Eat vegan at Lord of the Fries food truck
- 19. Enjoy cheap drinks at happy hour
- Adventure Activities in Queenstown
- 20. Ride the Luge
- 21. Bungy Jumping
- 22. Skydiving
- 23. Indoor skydiving
- 24. Parasailing
- 25. Paragliding
- 26. Via Ferrata and rock climbing
- 27. Canyoning
- 28. Whitewater rafting and Funyaks
- 29. Jet boating
- 30. Jet skiing or Hydro Attack
- 31. Mountain biking
- 32. Skiing or snowboarding
- 33. Kayaking or paddleboarding
- 34. Riverboarding
- 34. Heli-ski or heli-bike
- 36. Ziplining
- Must-Do Hikes and Walks in Queenstown
- 37. Tiki Trail
- 38. Ben Lomond
- 39. Bob’s Cove Viewpoint Track
- 40. Queenstown Hill
- 41. Mt Crichton Loop Track
- 42. Glenorchy Walkway
- 43. Routeburn Track
- 44. Moke Lake Loop
- 45. Moke Lake Viewpoint
- 46. Wye Creek Track
- 47. Lake Alta
- 48. Sunshine Bay Track
- 49. Big Hill
- 50. Lake Hayes Walkway
- 51. Roy’s Peak
- Scenic Things to do and Places to Explore in Queenstown
- 52. Soak with a view at Onsen Hot Pools
- 53. Go Stargazing
- 54. Cruise Lake Wakatipu
- 55. Scenic bike ride
- 56. Scenic flight
- 57. Lord of the Rings Tour
- 58. Scenic Farm Tour
- Day Trips from Queenstown and Things to do Nearby
- 59. Wanaka
- 60. Milford Sound
- 61. Glenorchy
- 62. Doubtful Sound
- 63. Mount Cook
- 64. Gibbston Valley
- 65. Arrowtown
- Thanks for Reading!
Things to do in Queenstown Center
There are a lot of attractions and activities right in the heart of downtown Queenstown (or Queenstown town center.) These are things you can likely do right from your hotel without having to arrange transport at all! These are activities that make Queenstown the lively little bustling town that it is!
1. Ride the gondola to Bob’s Peak
The gondola in Queenstown takes visitors up 450 meters to the top of Bob’s Peak in a quick 5-minute ride. It’s from here that you’ll see that famous view of Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, and The Remarkables – it’s stunning!
The gondola leaves from the station at the end of Brecon Street right in Queenstown town center. The ride costs $44 NZD for adults and $26 for children. Package deals are available if you pair the gondola ride with the Luge (more on that below), lunch or dinner buffets, as well as other experiences like stargazing tours.
Other things to do at the top of the gondola at Bob’s Peak include ziplining, paragliding, hiking, and downhill mountain biking. But even if none of that interests you, the gondola ride alone is worthy of your time simply for the view – just be sure to go on a clear day when the clouds won’t block that picture-perfect photo.
The gondola runs every day all year round but times vary depending on the season and day of the week.
2. Stuff your face at Fergburger
Fergburger is arguably the most popular place to eat in Queenstown. Visitors from all over the world come to try what many claim to be the best burger in New Zealand (and even the world!) Seriously, Fergburger is so popular that you’ll find a line-up out the door even at 10 am!
Before I ate there for myself I was unsure if the hype was warranted, but now I’m totally sold. The bun is fresh, the patty is juicy, and the selection of sauces and cheese make this quick burger meal feel gourmet. They have a selection of different burgers available including a vegetarian option, but my personal favorite is the Classic Ferg with blue cheese – don’t judge me until you try it! Eating at Fergburger is one of those “must-do” things to do in Queenstown as a tourist.
Ferg is open daily from 8 am to 4:30 am (you read that right, that’s 18.5 hours!) If you want to skip the line, phone in your order and pick it up for takeout (that’s what us locals always do!)
3. Watch a sunset over Lake Wakatipu
Lake Wakatipu is Queenstown’s crown jewel and every afternoon many visitors gather on her shores to watch the last few hours of light. From Lake Wakatipu’s shoreline right in Queenstown, you have one of the best viewpoints as the sun sets behind the Southern Alps.
Some of the best places to watch the sunset in Queenstown include a couple of different restaurant patios on Steamer Warf. Check out Little Blackwood, Public, or Perky’s Floating Bar. All of these places have lake views and extensive food and beverage menus.
Another option is to head to Queenstown Beach where you can watch the sunset for free! A fun insider fact about Queenstown Beach is that you can actually legally drink alcohol until 10 pm, so BYO cheeky sunset drink and enjoy nature’s colorful show!
4. Explore the Queenstown Gardens
Easily one of the best things to do in Queenstown is to wander the botanical gardens. The Queenstown Gardens are located right in town, are free to visit, and are simply stunning – why not go check them out! There is a 2-kilometer loop you can walk through the gardens that takes you along Lake Wakatipu’s shoreline, through a forest, and of course, among flowers and perfectly manicured garden beds. In the Spring, the Queenstown Gardens are in full bloom making them even more special to visit.
One of the other interesting features of the gardens is the disk golf course (frisbee golf.) You can bring your own frisbee and test your skills on the free course. This is a favorite pastime of many Queenstown locals, but there’s no reason tourists can’t join in on the fun. You do need to bring your own frisbee, which you can rent from the Ice Arena in Queenstown for only a few dollars.
5. Visit Kiwi Birdlife Park
New Zealand is world-famous for having incredible birdlife. In fact, this island nation was once a sanctuary for many birds and free of predators. Thanks to us humans though, introduced species like stouts, possums, and cats now pose a threat to many unique birds and populations are dwindling as we speak.
Luckily in Queenstown, we have the Kiwi Birdlife Park which is a wildlife refuge for native bird and animal species!
Visitors can explore the park to see some of these birds for themselves including the New Zealand Kiwi bird. There are daily shows where you can watch birds get fed and learn about the park’s conservation efforts. It costs $60 NZD for an adult to visit including watching any shows, and child and family rates are also available.
Keep in mind that while there are captive animals, it is a conservation program. The park helps heal injured birds from the area as well as manages breeding programs for endangered species working closely with the DOC. So, your entrance fee helps support the program!
You can find the Kiwi Birdlife Park in Queenstown near the gondola station on Brecon Street. The park is open all year round (except for Christmas Day) from 9 am to 5 pm.
6. Attend the Queenstown Arts and Craft Market
Every Saturday many local artists set up small stalls on the waterfront in town (Earnslaw Park) to sell their handmade goods. Here is where you’ll find that special gift for a loved one back home or a souvenir to remember your trip. Not only will you find unique gifts and items here, but you’ll support local vendors and have fun at the same time interacting with everyone, sampling tasty treats, and listening to talented buskers.
This Arts and Craft market opens at 9 am in summer and 9:30 am in winter and closes at 4:30 pm and 3:30 pm respectively. It’s free to visit, but do bring some cash as I highly doubt you’ll be able to leave empty-handed!
7. Drink local craft beer
New Zealand’s craft beer scene is exploding and many bars in Queenstown have taken advantage of that by stocking a huge variety of local brews. Some of the best bars to visit if you want to try a selection of Queenstown’s local craft beer include Atlas on the waterfront and Smiths on Shotover Street. Here, the taps are constantly changing and the beers are flowing.
You can also skip the bars and just go straight to the source by going to one of Queenstown’s breweries. Located on the outskirts of Queenstown are a few local breweries you can visit yourself. The two main ones are Altitude and Searchlight. At both places, you can taste some great local beers and meet the two pioneers behind Queenstown’s craft beer scene!
If you’re after a more in-depth insight into Queenstown’s craft breweries then simply touring around yourself just won’t do it. With a craft brewery tour, you’ll get a local guide with local knowledge and hit all of the best breweries while trying the best beers. Most tours visit around 4 breweries and include lunch.
8. BBQ at St Omer Park
St Omer Park right in downtown Queenstown has a ton of free public BBQs available for use. As such, it’s a popular place for people to gather while BBQing right on the lake’s edges. Stop at the grocery store and grab a few items before beading down and having a cook up. It’s a great place to go especially if your accommodation in Queenstown doesn’t have a BBQ for you to use!
I do need to warn you though, in the summer months this is a popular spot, and grabbing a BBQ can be a little tricky. Get to St Omer Park early to get a BBQ, or, visit during the week when it’s less busy.
9. Go to Fear Factory
Fear Factory in Queenstown claims to be New Zealand’s scariest haunted house. And while I haven’t been to any other haunted house in NZ, I have to admit, it is pretty scary!
As you walk through the haunted house you’ll encounter various actors and characters that make the haunted house come to life. Don’t worry though, if at any point the house becomes too scary you can yell “I chicken out” to be brought directly to the exit. You’ll join over 23,000 other people who also were not able to complete the experience – a testament to how scary Fear Factory in Queenstown really is!
Prices change seasonally, but you can often snag a deal for about $40 NZD per adult. Fear Factory is centrally located on Shotover Street and you can book your visit online in advance.
10. Party the night away
For such a little town, there is a lot of nightlife in Queenstown. Any night of the week you can find a party in central Queenstown by choosing from one of the many bars. Some of the most popular places to visit in Queenstown if you’re looking for a fun night out include 1876, Bunker, Surreal, The Sundeck, Cowboys, and World Bar. All of these bars are located within walking distance of each other so you can easily check a few out in one night.
If you want to head out in a group, you can join one of the organized pub crawls in Queenstown. Every Friday and Saturday night large groups of partiers head out on the town and visit 5 bars and clubs.
Whatever you do, promise me you’ll ride the mechanical bull at Cowboys – no proper night-out in Queenstown is complete until you jump on that bull!
11. Eat Pacific-Islander food at Blue Kanu
My absolute favorite restaurant in Queenstown is Blue Kanu. Just ask my fiance, for every birthday, anniversary, or whenever somebody comes to visit us in Queenstown we go to Blue Kanu – it’s just that good!
Blue Kanu offers a unique menu that is a fusion of Pacific Island and Asian cuisine. The restaurant is beautifully decorated, yet casual, and they often have live music. Every time I visit I get the Duck nachos (don’t knock it until you try it!), the Golden shrimp, and Pork ribs. They also make the best Pina Colada I’ve ever had. Yeah, I really like this place.
Blue Kanu is located on Church Street and is open daily from 5 pm. It isn’t necessarily a cheap place to eat, but if you’re on the ball enough you can score 50% off if you book using First Table (another local secret…you’re welcome!)
12. Drink at an Ice Bar
One of the most popular things to do for tourists in Queenstown is to have a drink at one of the ice bars in town. At an ice bar, you can have a drink or a shot out of a cup made completely of ice from a bar made of ice. You’ll get all geared up in warm clothing before entering a freezing room where almost everything is made from ice!
There are actually two different ice bars located in central Queenstown, Minus 5° ICE BAR and Below Zero Ice Bar. Both offer more or less the same experience so you really only need to visit one or the other. It usually costs around $32 NZD to visit an ice bar with an included drink. They have different shots, cocktails, or even non-alcoholic drinks available. This is also just a quick activity that can be done in under half an hour.
13. Go Shopping
You don’t need to visit a big city to do some shopping as Queenstown has some really great stores to check out. Between Rees Street and Camp Street, there are a couple of pedestrian-only streets that are lined with stores. From souvenir shops to high-end international stores like Louis Vuitton, there are lots of options when it comes to shopping in Queenstown.
14. Visit the Remarkable Sweet Shop
Fudge and candy are what the Remarkable Sweet Shop is known for- oh, and free samples! If you’ve got a sweet tooth then this is one place you’ll want to check out in Queenstown! Try some locally made chocolate or fudge, or even get some to go. The selection is huge and it’s a really fun place to visit.
The Remarkable Sweet Shop is so popular that there are actually a couple of locations around Queenstown. There is one on Beach Street right in town, one in the airport, and one in Arrotwton only 20-minutes away. Hours differ based on location, but they are almost always open between 10 am and 7 pm.
Tasting fudge at the Remarkable Sweet Shop is one of the best free things to do in Queenstown!
15. Indulge with ice cream and chocolate at Patagonia
This is another one for those of you with a sweet tooth!
The truth is I probably didn’t need to include Patagonia Chocolates on this list because once you’re in Queenstown, you’ll find the place for yourself. Located right next to Earnslaw Park on the corner of Rees Street, Patagonia Chocolates is a huge two-story shop complete with a chocolate factory on-site (that you can watch) and a cafe. Here, you can order baked goods, chocolate, or ice cream to go. Or, you can choose to sit down and have a famous Patagonia hot chocolate.
I personally recommend grabbing a seat upstairs where you can enjoy your chocolate with an epic view of Lake Wakatipu!
Patagonia Chocolates is open daily from 8:30 am to 9 pm on weekdays and 10 pm on the weekends. If the line-up is too long for you, don’t worry, there are other locations you can visit instead at the Queenstown Airport, in Wanaka, or in Arrowtown.
16. Eat pizza at Queenstown’s oldest restaurant
The Cow is Queenstown’s oldest restaurant that has been around for more than 40 years. Walking into The Cow will make you feel like you stepped back in time. The exposed wooden beams, chandeliers, and fireplace make the place feel historic and cozy. On a cold winter’s night, it’s a really beautiful place to relax in Queenstown with a glass of red wine.
This small rustic Italian restaurant isn’t just old though, they also serve up arguably the best pizza in town!
These guys don’t take reservations (they are that good they don’t need to) so if you want a table get there early or be prepared to wait! I normally show up before 6 pm and have no problem getting a table. If you wait until 6:30 or 7 pm, expect to have to wait for at least an hour.
The Cow restaurant is located on Cow Lane in central Queenstown and is open daily from 12 pm to 12 am.
17. Try a New Zealand meat pie
If you’ve never had a meat pie before then now’s your chance! Similar to Britain and Australia, meat pies are a common food eaten in New Zealand. Being a Canadian myself means the concept of a meat pie was once foreign to me, but it sure isn’t now! I love meat pies – especially the ones I get in Queenstown!
A meat pie is a handheld pastry just like a normal pie filled with a combination of meat and gravy. Common flavors include steak and cheese, butter chicken, lamb, and a whole bunch more! You’ll find meat pies offered at most bakeries and corner stores across New Zealand.
If you want a really tasty meat pie, try one from the Ferg Bakery in Queenstown (yes, the same owners as Fergburger.) They always have fresh meat pies and the steak and mushroom flavor is to die for! Expect to pay around $5 NZD for one which will feed one person as a snack or small lunch.
There are two Ferg Bakeries in Queenstown, but the one with the most selection of meat pies is called Fergbaker which is located on Shotover Street right next door to Fergburger.
18. Eat vegan at Lord of the Fries food truck
Okay, enough talk about meat pies, I didn’t forget about the vegetarians and vegans!
Lord of the Fries is an all-vegan food truck located in Queenstown. The food there is so good that I actually recommend it to anybody looking for a quick takeaway lunch! I’m personally not a vegetarian, but I do like to be conscious of my meat intake and limit it when possible. When I’m out and about in downtown Queenstown, Lord of the Fries is my go-to lunch spot for 100% vegan nuggets with a side of fries.
19. Enjoy cheap drinks at happy hour
Hitting up happy hour deals in Queenstown is the only way to drink for cheap in this moderately overpriced tourist town. Daily happy hour deals often include cheap drinks and snacks. Some places to check out for happy hour in Queenstown include:
- 1876 – 4-6 pm daily with $4 drinks and a discounted food menu
- Morrisons Irish Pub – 5-7 pm on Fridays and 4-6:30 pm on Sundays. $1-2 off pints.
- World Bar – 4-5 pm daily with $7 tap beers.
- Miss Lucy’s – 4-7 pm daily with differing specials on both food and drinks.
You’d be surprised how cheap you can drink in Queenstown – you just need to know where to look!
Adventure Activities in Queenstown
As the adventure capital of New Zealand, it’s no wonder that some of the best things to do in Queenstown are activities that’ll get your heart racing. The next 16 things to do listed in this blog are all adventure-based activities, you know, the crazy ones that get that adrenaline pumping!
20. Ride the Luge
The most family-friendly adventure activity in Queenstown is riding the Luge! This gravity-pulled go-kart will have you racing down a track on the side of a mountain! The best part is that you control the speed, so if you’re nervous about it, just use the break and have a more controlled ride. But if you’re looking for a thrill, then let go of that break and you’ll fly (seriously, over the jumps you’ll get real air!)
Many people think the Luge is a lame adventure activity because, in all honesty, it doesn’t look like much. I once thought this too, and then I rode the thing and had a blast. It really is a thrilling ride if you want it to be!
The Luge is located at the Skyline building up at the top of Bob’s Peak. This means you must either hike the Tiki Trail or ride the gondola to get there. If you choose to ride the gondola, consider buying a package deal with the gondola and luge included as you’ll get a discount this way. Also, you need to buy at least two Luge rides, one is never enough and they make you go down the slow track on your first time. Round two is when you get to have all the fun!
21. Bungy Jumping
Queenstown is the home of bungy jumping! AJ Hackett ran the first-ever commercial bungy jump in the world here in Queenstown in 1987. Since then, bungy jumping has become one of those bucket-list things to do in Queenstown and around the world!
In Queenstown, you have your choice of not one, but three different bungy jumps! Below I’ve compared them all for you:
|Height||Location||Tandem allowed?||Price||The best part?|
|Ledge Bungy||47 meters (154 feet)||Bob’s Peak near Skyline Queenstown||No.||$205 NZD||Although only a 47-meter jump, the location on the side of a mountain makes it seem higher. Plus, the views are awesome!|
|Kawarau Bungy||43 meters (141 feet)||Kawarau Bridge (about a 20-minute drive from town center)||Yes!||$205 NZD||From Queenstown, you can bungy and be back in under 2 hours at this location. You are also allowed to tandem jump here or even go naked (if you’re into that…)|
|Nevis Bungy||134 meters (440 feet)||Nevis River 1.5 hours from Queenstown (must take their 4wd bus to get there)||No.||$275 NZD||It’s New Zealand’s highest bungy (3rd biggest in the world with over 8 seconds of free fall!) Once you’re out there, you can pair the bungy with the Nevis Swing and Catapult which are other popular Queenstown adventure experiences.|
The only adventure activity that compares in terms of thrill to bungy is, of course, skydiving! I’ve personally skydived twice in my life, once in Canada and once in Australia. Although I haven’t had the chance to skydive in Queenstown (yet) it’s definitely something I’ve heard awesome things about!
In Queenstown, you have the choice between a few different skydiving experiences. You can book with Nzone Skydive in town and choose between 9000 feet, 12000 feet, and 15000 feet jumps. The difference between these jumps is the amount of freefall time and the price. The 15000-foot jump is the most expensive offering the longest free fall time.
Alternatively, skydiving is one of the best activities in Glenorchy too! At only a 40-minute drive from Queenstown, Skydive Southern Alps offers different views and is slightly cheaper (and less busy.) They offer all of the same height of jumps as Nzone and their price includes the transport from Queenstown to Glenorchy.
23. Indoor skydiving
If real skydiving is too much of a thrill for you, maybe indoor skydiving would be a better option. Queenstown is the only place in New Zealand where you can actually go indoor skydiving. At iFLY Queenstown, you enter a wind tunnel where you fly weightlessly without actually jumping out of a plane. It’s perfect for those who are afraid of heights!
The indoor skydiving center is located right in Queenstown town center on Brecon Street. It is open most days but expect to pay a heft price of about $79 NZD for their beginner package (two flights of 60 seconds each.) This is easily one of the best indoor activities in Queenstown!
Parasailing is another one of those iconic things to do in Queenstown. From out on Lake Wakatipu, you fly high into the air taking in views like no other!
Parasailing in Queenstown departs from the water’s edge near Earnslaw Park at Queenstown Paraflights. You can fly solo, tandem, or in a triple making it a fun family activity. That’s right, kids are allowed to go parasailing too! Parasailing is available all year round and they can guarantee you won’t get wet!
Price per person depends on the number of people flying at once, but expect pay between $100-$200 NZD per adult with discounted child prices available too.
Similar but different to parasailing is paragliding! Instead of being pulled behind a boat, you’ll fly off the edge of a mountain! To me, paragliding is much more thrilling than parasailing and well worth doing in Queenstown.
It’s an adrenaline rush as you go running off the edge of a mountain (attached to a professional of course.) However, once you’ve been in the air for a few minutes it becomes a lot more relaxing and you can really just enjoy the view.
26. Via Ferrata and rock climbing
Rock climbers love Queenstown. With tons of cliff-faces to explore, experienced rock climbers from all over the world come to Queenstown to test their skills.
But even if you’ve never rock climbed before you can learn in Queenstown. There are rock climbing tours available for beginners as well as my personal favorite, Via Ferrata. Via Ferrata is a style of rock climbing where you are assisted with iron steps and ladders. I’ve done the Via Ferrata tour in Queenstown and absolutely loved it! Not only was I able to climb very high (higher than even experience rock climbers could), I felt safe and required no skills or previous experience.
I must caution you though, both rock climbing and Via Ferrata are not activities for those who are afraid of heights. I don’t consider myself to be scared of heights, but when I was climbing the side of a mountain my knees were getting weak and I avoided looking down – you get up really high!
Rock climbing and Via Ferrata are generally summer-only activities in Queenstown and prices depend on the type of tour you choose.
Canyoning in Queenstown is awesome! Seriously though, I’ve been on a couple of different canyoning tours before and the one I did in Queenstown was my favorite. It was thrilling, a little bit scary at times, but also super fun. I jumped off cliffs, repelled down waterfalls, floated in the river, and so much more as I made my way through a canyon.
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.
There are a few things to know about canyoning though. First of all, it is primarily a water activity and you should be comfortable swimming and jumping into the water. You should also have a certain level of comfort with heights and be fit enough for a short hike uphill at the beginning. All gear is provided and all you need to bring is a swimsuit and a change of clothes at the end. The wetsuits are thick enough to keep you warm even in freezing water (trust me, I went at the beginning of spring when they first opened.)
Canyoning in Queenstown costs around $200 NZD per person for a half-day tour. You can only go canyoning during the summer months but they normally open in Spring after any floods from snow melting and close in the fall.
28. Whitewater rafting and Funyaks
For something a little less extreme than canyoning, try whitewater rafting or Funyaks in Queenstown! Whitewater rafting experiences from Queenstown are all family-friendly and not too crazy. Expect a scenic float with a few rapids and laughs along the way. But if you do want something a little crazier, this particular tour is the one to go with!
Funyaks are blow-up kayaks great for exploring the rivers around Queenstown. In Queenstown, Funyak tours run on the Dart River through the beautiful canyon areas. These tours are great for the whole family, similar to whitewater rafting.
Plan for half to full-day trips on both of these tours. Prices change seasonally and discounts are available for families and children, but expect to pay around $150 NZD per person.
29. Jet boating
Jet boating is easily the most popular adventure tour in Queenstown. Fun for the whole family, jet boating is a quick tour that is also affordable. Jet boat tours will have you racing down rivers and around lakes doing 360-degree spins and sudden stops. You will get wet, but don’t worry, splash-proof gear is provided.
One of the best things about jet boating is that for an adventure tour, it’s the most affordable option in Queenstown. In fact, you can often find 30-minute jet boating experiences for as little as $59 NZD. I did the 60-minute KJet ride that departs from the main pier in Queenstown and it cost me $89 NZD. It was a lot of fun and I laughed the entire ride!
Jet boating tours are available all year round and there are several different operators to choose from.
30. Jet skiing or Hydro Attack
The calm waters of Lake Wakatipu make for the perfect opportunity to go jet skiing! You can choose between going on a guided jet ski tour with a professional driver, or rent a jet ski and drive yourself. From the main pier in Queenstown, you’ll find Water Sport World, who hires our jet skis starting from $120 NZD for 30 minutes, as well as guided tours for $299 NZD for an hour.
An alternative to jet skiing is a unique Queenstown experience called Hydro Attack. Hydro Attack is a cross between a jet ski and a submarine meaning it can both jet across the water and dive down below. They look like sharks and are always out in the water, so even if you don’t want to give it a go, you can see them in action from Steamer Warf.
You cannot rent the Hydro Attack sharks and must ride with a designated driver. This is a super popular activity and should be booked online in advance to secure a time.
31. Mountain biking
Mountain biking is Queenstown’s extreme summer sport. People come from all over to mountain bike Queentown’s trails. The most popular mountain biking trails in Queenstown are the downhill ones from the top of Bob’s Peak. You can purchase daily lift passes that’ll take you and your bike up the mountain as many times as you want. This is perfect for those who don’t want to have to ride uphill to get the thrill of the downhill.
Another option is to visit Cardrona. In the winter, Cardrona is a ski resort, but in the summer it is all about mountain biking. They have full-day lift passes that you can purchase online, as well as beginner packages that include all the gear you’re going to need.
Alternatively, if you have your own wheels and bike you can drive up to trails around town like Coronet Peak. Or, this guided tour will take you and three friends to the best drive-to mountain biking spots around town.
32. Skiing or snowboarding
Hitting the slopes is the best activity to do in Queenstown in the winter. With three different ski fields all within an hour’s drive, Queenstown is the perfect place to base yourself for a ski or snowboard holiday.
My personal favorite ski field near Queenstown is The Remarkables. Not only is the drive up there stunning, but the variety of runs for all levels is great! The Remarkables is only a 45-minute drive from Queenstown and you can either drive yourself or take a shuttle bus from town.
Coronet Peak is the closest ski field to Queenstown at under a 30-minute drive. Because of its lower elevation, it often has less snow than the other two ski fields and can be a little icy. Coronet Peak offers night skiing a couple of times a week though which is a lot of fun! They have a DJ and big floodlights to allow you to ski or snowboard after the sun goes down – and party too!
The last ski field near Queenstown is Cardrona. Cardrona is actually closest to Wanaka and one of the best things to do there, but it’s still easily accessible from Queenstown with about an hour-long drive. Cardrona is by far the largest ski resort in the area and offers a ton of different lifts, runs, and parks for all abilities. This is where the professionals come to train too.
Ski passes can be bought in Queenstown in the form of day passes, multi-day passes, or season passes. Ski and snowboard rental gear is also available in town or up at the ski hills (with rentals in town being the cheapest.) Shuttles are available to all three ski fields for about $20 NZD for a return ride from downtown Queenstown. Otherwise, you can drive yourself as long as you have snow chains and park for free.
33. Kayaking or paddleboarding
Kayaking or paddleboarding is one of those adventure activities in Queenstown that you can actually do without a tour. Just head to Lake Wakatipu either at Queenstown Beach or One Mile Parking Lot where there are rental shops. Rentals start at around $30 NZD for an hour with discounted daily rates available.
On a beautiful day, paddle-boarding is a great way to get some sun and exercise at the same time. The calm waters of Lake Wakatipu are perfect for it and there is a large area that is off-limits to boats. But if you want to explore more of Lake Wakatipu then hiring a kayak is a perfect way. In a kayak, you can head out even further and paddle around with ease. Either way, both are a fun activity to do for a couple of hours for cheap!
Have you ever heard of riverboarding before? Well, before coming to Queenstown I hadn’t either!
Riverboarding is essentially whitewater rafting but instead of an inflatable boat, you hold onto a small floating board, kind of like a bodyboard! Although the rapids are smaller than what you typically see whitewater rafting, how close you are to the water makes it all that more extreme.
Riverboarding is offered by only one company in Queenstown, Riverboarding.co.nz, and they offer a few different experiences starting at $235 NZD per person.
34. Heli-ski or heli-bike
If plain old skiing or downhill mountain biking doesn’t sound extreme enough for you, then upgrade to heli-skiing or heli-biking! Although a lot more expensive, this once in a lifetime activity is a combination of backcountry adventure sports and a scenic helicopter flight. The helicopter will take you high over the Southern Alps before dropping you off at a couple of different places where you will ski or snowboard in the winter, and downhill mountain bike in the summer – it sounds incredible!
In all honesty, I haven’t done either simply because you must be at an intermediate to advanced skill level (neither of which I am.) But I have ridden in a helicopter before, and that experience alone is well worth the extra cash! Expect to pay upwards of $800 NZD for a heli-ski or heli-bike experience. If you’re savvy though, sometimes you can find special deals on the website Book Me, where discounts are available from time to time.
Of course, this blog of things to do in Queenstown couldn’t be complete without ziplining! Less scary than bungy jumping, ziplining offers panoramic views from high in the air as you speed through the treetops. It’s fun and the views are stunning!
There are a few different zipline experiences available in Queenstown, but there is one that I personally recommend. This ziplining experience starts high above the ground at Bob’s Peak so they have the best views. It includes 2-6 ziplines (your choice) as well as the world-famous 21-meter drop line at the end! It’s a little bit crazier than any other zipline experience you’ve probably had and well worth the $100 NZD!
Please Note: My recommended ziplining tour starts at Bob’s Peak, so you’re either going to have to hike the Tiki Trail to get there (next on this blog) or take the Skyline gondola. If you choose the gondola, this price is additional ($44 NZD) and you need to coordinate your zipline tour start time with the gondola operating times.
Must-Do Hikes and Walks in Queenstown
There are some seriously epic hikes to do in Queenstown! In fact, many of the best things to do in and around Queenstown are hikes – which is why this entire section is dedicated to my personal favorite trails! Some of the hikes are more challenging, while some are really easy that anybody can do from Queenstown!
Related read: The below hikes are all some of the best hiking trails on the South Island of New Zealand – find out what the others are!
37. Tiki Trail
I’ve mentioned the Tiki Trail a few times already in this blog, it is the trail that leads from Queenstown center up to Bob’s Peak (the same place as the gondola!) Seeing the view from Bob’s Peak is a must while visiting Queenstown. So if you’re not riding the gondola, the Tiki Trail is your only option.
Although short, hiking the Tiki Trail isn’t the easiest trail around. It gains about 450 meters in elevation over the 2.1 kilometer-long trail (1.3 miles) – so it’s steep! The trail isn’t technical or difficult in that aspect, but it will challenge your fitness and have you huffing and puffing before you know it. It’s a workout, to say the least!
The Tiki Trail starts from the gondola station in Queenstown at the end of Brecon Street. It ends up at the Skyline building at Bob’s Peak and is an out and back trail. From the end of the Tiki Trail, you can choose to continue onto Ben Lomond Track…
38. Ben Lomond
Ben Lomond Track is one of my personal favorite trails in Queenstown! It is a challenging hike, but the views are so worth it!
Ben Lomond Track officially starts at the end of the Tiki Trail at the Skyline building at the top of Bob’s Peak. You can choose to hike the Tiki Trail from Queenstown and then transfer onto Ben Lomond Track, or take skip the Tiki Trail and take the gondola. Riding the gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak takes you directly to the start of Ben Lomond Track and makes the track a lot easier and shorter.
If you hike the entire Ben Lomond Track you will end at the summit of Ben Lomond. The views from here are unrivaled by any hike in the area! However, getting to the summit can be a challenge, and in some cases, dangerous when it’s slippery or icy. For this reason, I only recommend hiking to the saddle when trail conditions aren’t ideal.
From Queenstown, getting to Ben Lomond Summit and back down will have you covering 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) return, and gaining 1483 meters (4846 feet) in elevation. It’s a full-day hike that takes most people around 8 hours.
39. Bob’s Cove Viewpoint Track
Enough with those tough uphill hikes, Bob’s Cove Viewpoint Track is a super quick and easy hike located only 10-minutes from Queenstown! The trail is only 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) return and gains about 50 meters (165 feet) in elevation at the halfway point of the loop up to a viewpoint at Picnic Point. The views from the top are of the beautiful Bob’s Cove, Lake Wakatipu, and of course, the surrounding mountains. It’s a unique vantage point unlike anywhere else around Queenstown.
I reccommend giving yourself a couple of hours to spend here on a hot summer’s day. There is a beautiful beach area perfect for relaxing and swimming. After you’ve done the hike, cooling off at the beach is exactly what you’ll want to do.
Getting to the Bob’s Cove trailhead is easy with the right directions. The parking lot is located along Queenstown-Glenorchy Road and is marked on Google Maps. You’ll need a car to get there though as there aren’t any buses from Queenstown.
40. Queenstown Hill
Hands down one of the most popular things to do in Queenstown is to hike to the top of Queenstown Hill! Not only are the views from the top fantastic, but this trail also starts from right in Queenstown making it easily accessible. On Belfast Terrace, you’ll find a small parking lot and signs marking the Queenstown Hill trailhead. You can drive here (but might struggle to get parking during summer months) or walk from downtown Queenstown.
Queenstown Hill Track is an out and back trail that takes you high above Queenstown. At the top, you’ll find the Basket of Dreams which is a sculpture meant to inspire dreaming, as well as some seriously impressive viewpoints. The trail is 2.5 kilometers (1.55 miles) one way and gains about 600 meters in elevation from downtown Queenstown.
It is a really well-maintained trail that is easy to follow, and although somewhat steep in areas, not overly challenging. Most people complete the whole thing in under 3 hours.
Quick tip: If you do drive up to the trailhead at Belfast Terrace, you’ll knock a whopping 200 meter elevation gain off this hike!
41. Mt Crichton Loop Track
I’m going to be honest, Mt Crichton Loop Track isn’t my favorite hike in Queenstown, but it’s one of the easiest trails that families typically love. This scenic trail takes you along a creek, to the historic Sam Summers Hut, through an old gold mining tunnel, past a waterfall, and up to a viewpoint. It really does offer a lot considering the entire loop is only 8 kilometers (5 miles) long.
You’ll find Mt Crichton Loop Track trailhead along Queenstown-Glenorchy Road. Along this road, there is a parking lot on your left. If it’s full, you can park at the Twelve Mile Delta parking lot and follow signs from there (you do have to cross the road to get to the beginning of the trail.) Although not the most epic hike, it’s one of the easiest trails near Queenstown and worth doing if you want a quick and diverse trail.
Oh and I almost forgot, the Mt Crichton Loop Track is accessible all year round too!
42. Glenorchy Walkway
Visiting Glenorchy is a must-do day trip from Queenstown (I’ve written about it more further on in this blog.) From this small town, you can access a really quick and interesting hike called the Glenorchy Walkway. This trail starts from the iconic red shed at the lakefront and takes you to the Glenorchy Lagoon. Here, you can explore the lagoon on various boardwalks enjoying the birdlife and mountain reflections.
The Glenorchy Walkway is a 5-kilometer return hike that is completely flat. It’s a great family-friendly activity in Queenstown that only takes a couple of hours. Although short, it’s one of the top hikes in Glenorchy.
43. Routeburn Track
The Routeburn Track is one of New Zealand’s 10 Great Walks and it’s easily accessible from Queenstown. From Queenstown, it’s about an hour’s drive to the Routeburn Track trailhead at Routeburn Shelter. The Routeburn Track is 32 kilometers (20 miles) long and ends at The Divide on the other side of the mountains in Fiordland National Park. Most commonly, this hike is done over two or three days where shuttle transport needs to be arranged at one end to bring you back to your vehicle at the start.
However, what many people don’t know is that you can hike parts of the Routeburn Track in one day. The Routeburn Nature Walk is the first portion of the trail that starts at Routeburn Shelter and goes until Routeburn Flats Hut. Hiking this section of the trail is a beautiful walk through the forest with views of the bluest river you’ll ever see!
44. Moke Lake Loop
Moke Lake is a beautiful lake located only 20-minutes from Queenstown. Although close to Queenstown, Moke Lake is remote and feels like a truly peaceful escape. While there are a few different things to do at Moke Lake, the most popular is to hike Moke Lake Loop.
This 6.5 kilometer-long (4 miles) loop track takes you around the perimeter of Moke Lake with beautiful mountain views. Moke Lake Loop is a fairly easy track that takes most people around 2 hours to complete. It does have slight inclines and declines, but nothing too difficult. While the trail is open all year round, in the winter months it can be slippery and icy, so do be careful!
Quick tip: You can camp at Moke Lake. It is a DOC operated campground with very few facilities but makes for one of the cheapest places to stay around Queenstown.
45. Moke Lake Viewpoint
If you are up for a little bit more of a challenge, consider skipping Moke Lake Loop Track and hiking to the Moke Lake Viewpoint instead. Moke Lake Viewpoint Trail isn’t an official trail, and as such, is a little challenging to find. With that said, when you do find the trail it is a steep, but short, scramble up to the top of a hill overlooking Moke Lake.
The hike only takes about 30 minutes in total, but it is steep and you really do need to watch your footing. I only recommend hiking this trail in ideal conditions and with sturdy boots.
Hiking to the Moke Lake Viewpoint is one of the more unique things to do in Queenstown, and as such, there’s rarely ever anybody else on the trail and you’ll likely have the view entirely to yourself!
46. Wye Creek Track
Wye Creek Track is a less-known trail only 20 minutes from Queenstown. The trailhead is located along State Highway 6 where you must first walk on a gravel road for a short while before actually jumping on a trail and heading upwards. The trail can be difficult to follow, but if you follow the water pipe then you’re on the right track!
Wye Creek Track is an out and back style of trail that is 3.5 kilometers long (2.2 miles) one-way. It’s moderately difficult because it is steep in some places. From the top of Wye Creek Track, you’ll have incredible views over Lake Wakatipu from a viewing deck and it all becomes worth the climb.
47. Lake Alta
Lord of the Rings fans, this one is for you! Lake Alta is actually Dimrill Dale in the Lord of the Rings films and you might recognize it from the scene where the fellowship escapes the Mines of Moria.
But even if you’re not a huge LOTR fan (admittedly I am not), Lake Alta is still worth hiking to. The trailhead is actually located up at The Remarkables Ski Field and takes you up to the beautiful alpine lake. It’s an out and back trail that is 3.5 kilometers (2.17 miles) long in total with an elevation gain of about 200 meters (656 feet.) Most people complete the entire trail in an hour or two. If you want more of a challenge, hike up to the saddle on the north side of the lake for a view from above!
48. Sunshine Bay Track
Sunshine Bay is a small little suburb on the outskirts of Queenstown. It’s home to many Queenstown locals and here you can find a nice beach area and the start of Sunshine Bay Track. This trail takes you up through a forest and then to a viewpoint before heading back down to Sunshine Bay.
49. Big Hill
Big Hill is a hike that starts in Arrowtown, a small town only a 15-minute minute drive from Queenstown. Big Hill is my favorite hike in Arrowtown and one of my favorites around Queenstown.
Big Hill Trail starts at the end of Bush Creek Road and follows the famous Te Araroa Trail until Eichardt’s Flats. Here, you continue on to the Big Hill Saddle. It’s 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) return and takes most people around 5 hours to complete the trail. Big Hill is a moderate difficulty trail.
50. Lake Hayes Walkway
Lake Hayes Walkway is another loop-style track that circles Lake Hayes. It’s an 8 kilometer (5 miles) hike that is fairly flat and easy. When I visit Lake Hayes, I often only walk the track until I find a nice area to relax. To me, there is no need to walk the entire loop and the lake itself as a place to unwind. At sunset, the reflections on the lake are stunning!
Lake Hayes is located about a 15-minute drive from Queenstown and there is public transport options to get there too. Most people visit Lake Hayes in the summer months, however, it is accessible all year round.
51. Roy’s Peak
Roy’s Peak is an iconic hike in New Zealand. Although it’s technically located in Wanaka, I had to include it in this blog because it’s just that amazing of a hike, and let’s face it, Wanaka is only an hour’s drive from Queenstown anyway. I frequently hike Roy’s Peak on a day trip from Queenstown.
Roy’s Peak is not for the faint-hearted though. It’s an 8-kilometer climb to the top, and then you come back down the same trail. You’ll gain over 1,300 meters in elevation which makes Roy’s Peak the hardest on this list! With that said, Roys Peak is likely the best free activity you can do in Wanaka!
Scenic Things to do and Places to Explore in Queenstown
I rate Queenstown as one of the most beautiful places in the world, and for that reason, enjoying the scenery is one of the best ways to spend your time!
52. Soak with a view at Onsen Hot Pools
The Onsen Hot Pools are the only place almost as famous as Fergburger in Queenstown and well, it’s for good reason. The Onsen Hot Pools are the only hot pools in Queenstown and they come with one magnificent view!
Located in Arthur’s Point only a 10-minute drive from Queenstown (they also provide transfers or those who need it from Queenstown), Onsen offers private hot pools with their own private view (which is perfect for those looking for a romantic activity in Queenstown!) This luxurious experience does come at a cost though and you can expect to pay $126 NZD for two people in a private pool for one hour – a little pricey for a soak if you ask me!
Nonetheless, people still love Onsen and due to their popularity, you must book this activity well in advance (especially in the winter!) Onsen is often fully booked weeks, if not months in advance.
53. Go Stargazing
Without any equipment, you can enjoy some pretty amazing stars in and around Queenstown. The trick is to get away from the town where you don’t have any lights anywhere near you. My favorite spot is about halfway between Queenstown and Glenorchy on the side of the road. Here, there is next to no light pollution and the stars are insane. Moke Lake is another really great spot for stargazing and you can actually camp there for a small fee.
If you do want to get a closer look then you can join a stargazing tour at the top of the Skyline gondola. With the use of a telescope, you’re able to see the planets and stars much closer! Even if it’s cloudy, Skyline offers an indoor stargazing experience with knowledgeable guides, wine, and snacks!
54. Cruise Lake Wakatipu
A scenic cruise on Lake Wakatipu is another great way to take in Queenstown’s beautiful scenery. Cruises depart from right in town and head along Lake Wakatipu towards Glenorchy and back.
There are two different scenic cruises you can choose between in Queenstown. The first cruise is on the Spirit of Queenstown vessel operated by Southern Discoveries and involves riding on a catamaran. This cruise goes the furthest along the lake, and it’s also one of the cheapest things to do in Queenstown at about $40 NZD per person. For an extra special experience, you can book their sunset dining cruise and wine and dine with some of the best views around!
The other scenic cruise is onboard the TSS Earnslaw operated by Real Journeys. It’s the last remaining vessel from the gold rush and somewhat of a historic experience. The TSS Earnslaw is a traditional coal-powered ship where 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 always really tasty!
I’ve done both cruises and honestly can say they are both great! The TSS Earnslaw is unique in the fact it is coal-powered, but it is also always a lot busier onboard and almost double the price. The Spirit of Queenstown is a more relaxing journey with a smaller group on board and plenty of space. Ultimately the choice is yours, but just do one or the other, there is no need to do both.
55. Scenic bike ride
In Queenstown, you can rent a bike from one of the rental shops in town and just simply explore its many paths and trails. One of the best in Queenstown is the Frankton Track around to Kelvin Peninsula. It’s a 16.2-kilometer long track that only takes around 2 hours to complete. The trail finishes at Jardine Park, and after, you need to ride or catch the bus back. All the busses in Queenstown have bike racks so it’s no problem at all.
However, if you want a really amazing experience I highly suggest joining this scenic self-guided bicycle tour. It goes through the Gibbston Valley and Arrowtown. It’s 14 kilometers long and even includes a stop at a local winery!
56. Scenic flight
Without a doubt the best way to enjoy the views of Queenstown and the surrounding area is from the sky! Sure, this may not be the cheapest experience, but if you have a couple of hundred dollars to spare, let me tell you, it’s totally worth it!
When it comes to scenic flights in Queenstown you can choose between either a helicopter or a small fixed-wing plane. You can also choose to just fly around Queenstown and land back in Queenstown, or use the scenic flight as a method of transport to get to a destination such as Milford Sound.
If you are flying in or out of Queenstown via a large jetplane from the Queenstown International Airport, you’ll also be treated with some pretty special views. Just be sure to book a window seat and cross your fingers that your flight is on a clear day with little to no cloud cover!
57. Lord of the Rings Tour
It’s safe to say that the Lord of the Rings films helped put New Zealand on the tourist map. These movies are so well known that for some, it’s the reason they come here to visit.
Around Queenstown, many of the scenes of the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed. If you don’t know where they are for yourself then joining a Lord of the Rings tour is the best way to visit them. This particular tour is the one I did and loved! The guide was super knowledgeable and besides telling us about LOTR, he also explained about Queenstown in general.
LOTR tours are also scenic experiences because all of the movie film locations around Queenstown are absolutely breathtaking – Lord of the Rings fan or not, you won’t be able to deny this after visiting!
58. Scenic Farm Tour
Farming has always been New Zealand’s largest industry and around Queenstown, you can visit a few of these working farms and meet the animals while taking in some of the most epic scenery. There are two different farm experiences you can do around Queenstown including the Walter Peak Farm Tour and the Glenorchy Farm Experience, and I’ve done them both!
My personal favorite would be the farm tour to Walter Peak. This tour includes a scenic boat cruise on the TSS Earnslaw as well as a scenic tour once at the farm. The views from this side of the lake are amazing! Plus, tea and snacks are included, the animals are super cute and friendly, and the tour is reasonable priced at about $100 NZD per adult.
But if you’re looking for something cheaper, consider visiting the Glenorchy Animal Farm for only $20. It’s a self-guided farm experience but still super fun and one of the best things to do in Glenorchy!
Day Trips from Queenstown and Things to do Nearby
Sure, there are a ton of amazing things to do right in Queenstown, but there are a lot of really incredible places nearby that you can easily visit on a day trip. Base yourself in Queenstown and then visit a few of the nearby attractions! Below are some of the best things to do just outside of Queenstown.
Wanaka is a small town located about an hour away from Queenstown. It’s another lakeside town that offers its own range of activities and attractions. While you can choose to spend a night or two in Wanaka, you can also easily visit for the day from Queenstown. Some of the best activities you can check out in Wanaka include:
- Visit the famous Wanaka tree
- Test your skills at Puzzle World
- Visit the Wanaka Lavender Farm
- Go jet boating
- Hike Roy’s Peak
- Hike Isthmus Peak
- Ski or mountain bike at Cardrona
- Ruby Island Cruise
60. Milford Sound
Visiting Milford Sound while you’re in New Zealand is a must! While I personally recommend staying a couple of nights in Te Anau or Fiordland National Park to give yourself time to explore the area, it’s very possible to visit Milford in one day from Queenstown.
You can either drive yourself or jump on a tour. There are bus tours that include a cruise once at Milford Sound, and then there are some tours that also include a scenic flight. Tours are typically 12 hours total with the drive time to and from Milford. They start at around $175 NZD per person with regular deals depending on the company you book with.
You can also drive yourself to Milford Sound from Queenstown. It is a long drive at around 3 hours each way. The roads can also be icy in the winter and you must carry snow chains. I also recommend leaving Queenstown at around 6 am to avoid getting stuck behind a bunch of slow tour buses that depart around 7 am.
Glenorchy is a super tiny town located 40 minutes from Queenstown. The drive there is beautiful and you can either drive yourself or jump on a tour! Glenorchy is peaceful and stunning offering visitors a nice escape from vibrant Queenstown. There are lots of cheap and free things to do in Glenorchy, with my personal favorite being:
- Visit the historic red shed
- Walk the Glenorchy Walkway to the Glenorchy Lagoon
- Go to the Glenorchy Animal Farm
- Visit Mrs. Woolley’s store and café
- Walk the jetty
62. Doubtful Sound
Like Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound is a fiord located in Fiordland National Park. However, unlike Milford, Doubtful Sound is much more difficult to access and you must actually take a boat to get there. For this reason, visiting Doubtful Sound can only be done on a guided tour. This tour involves transport on a luxury bus and boat before actually cruising in Doubtful Sound, and this tour involves flying to and from Doubtful Sound with a cruise once you’re there (it’s obviously significantly more expensive.)
Because of its remote location, Doubtful Sound is much quieter than Milford Sound. Many people actually prefer Doubtful for this reason, however, I’m not sure I agree – Milford is just too amazing!
63. Mount Cook
After Queenstown, Mount Cook National Park is my favorite place in New Zealand! The truth is, I personally recommend taking at least two days and staying in Mount Cook in order to properly explore that area. With that said, I know not everybody has time for that, which is where a day trip from Queenstown comes in handy!
I wouldn’t recommend driving yourself to Mount Cook for the day, it’s just too much driving and you’ll be too tired to do anything once there. Instead, book this tour and catch some sleep on the ride there and back. This way, once you arrive at Mount Cook you can hike and explore! Alternatively, save on the driving time and fly to Mount Cook instead – that would be quite the adventure!
64. Gibbston Valley
Wine lovers, this one is for you! The Gibbston Valley is exactly where you should go to check out local wineries and drink as much wine as your heart desires! Located only a short 20-30 minute drive from Queenstown, there are a ton of different wineries to visit in the Gibbston Valley. If you want to sample lots of wine and not drive, then you can do a hop-on-hop-off self-guided wine tour, a bike and wine tour, or a luxury guided van tour.
Alternatively, if you want to just drive yourself, lots of the wineries have tasting rooms that are open to the public where you can purchase wine to take home. Personally, I recommend visiting the Gibbston Valley Winery if you can. They are the oldest winery in the area and you can actually sample wine in the largest wine cave in New Zealand!
One of the best places to visit from Queenstown is definitely Arrowtown. Arrowtown is a historic little town where the buildings make you feel as if you stepped back in time to the gold mining days. The main street (Buckingham Street) is lined with boutique stores, cafes, and pubs making for a fun place to explore for a couple of hours. Be sure to have lunch at The Fork and Tap, they serve incredible burgers and beer!
On a rainy day in Queenstown, you can head to Arrowtown to visit The Dorothy Brown Cinema. It’s a small boutique luxury cinema that showcases many great new and old films and you can enjoy them while sipping a glass of wine accompanied by a few other finer treats.
You don’t need a tour to visit Arrowtown and can simply explore it on your own. Drive there, or if you don’t have wheels, take the public bus from Queenstown! There is plenty to see and do in Arrowtown to keep you busy for a few hours.
Thanks for Reading!
Wow, that ended up being one comprehensive list of different things to do in Queenstown! I bet that now you can see why Queenstown is one of the best places to visit on the South Island. I sure hope it has helped you plan your visit to Queenstown. If you have any questions for me, please leave a comment below so I can get back to you!
In the meantime, be sure to browse my website for all the most updated and detailed information about visiting Queenstown and nearby areas!