Queenstown, nestled amidst the mighty peaks and serene lakes of New Zealand’s South Island, presents a playground for both thrill-seekers and those in pursuit of tranquillity.

Your senses will be ignited by the town’s stunning landscapes and the array of activities that the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’ has to offer. From bungy jumping to sampling fine wines, every moment in Queenstown is an opportunity to create memories that last a lifetime.

As you stroll through this vibrant resort town, you’ll find that although adventure may be its claim to fame, there is an equally impressive range of leisure and relaxation pursuits at your fingertips.

You can rejuvenate your spirit with a leisurely cruise across Lake Wakatipu or indulge in local culinary delights at a lakeside restaurant. Whether you seek the adrenaline rush of outdoor sports or the peaceful relaxation of a spa day, Queenstown caters to all paces of life.

  • Queenstown offers a blend of action-packed activities and serene experiences.
  • There’s a diverse selection of dining options to satisfy culinary enthusiasts.
  • The town is a year-round destination with seasonal attractions for every preference.

Adventure and Activities

Queenstown is heralded as the adventure capital of New Zealand, offering a plethora of thrills from the snow-clad peaks to the glistening waters of Lake Wakatipu. Whether you’re looking to defy gravity with some extreme sports, or seeking outdoor pursuits that connect you with the pristine landscapes – your adventure starts here.

Skiing and Snowboarding

skiing activities in queenstown

Queenstown is a winter paradise for skiing and snowboarding. With multiple ski fields like Coronet Peak and The Remarkables, you can carve through the snow against a backdrop of some of New Zealand’s most breathtaking scenery. From beginner slopes to advanced runs, there’s something for every level of experience. Enjoy more time exploring and less time queuing for ski rental in Queenstown with Snopro’s unique delivery and custom fitting service.

Extreme Sports

hydro attack

For those with a taste for heart-stopping action, Queenstown offers an array of extreme sports. Bungy jumping from the iconic Kawarau Bridge, the birthplace of bungy, or the adrenaline-filled Nevis Swing will satisfy your thrill-seeking desires. Skydiving offers you a bird’s eye view of the region’s majestic landscape, and if you’re after something unique, try the Hydro Attack – a unique mix between a shark and a machine which literally lets you dive under the crystal clear waters.

Family-Friendly Fun

Your family can enjoy Queenstown’s adventures too. Take a scenic flight for unparalleled views of the rugged terrain or hop on a jet boat for a spine-tingling ride through canyons. For a more leisurely pace, the Skyline Gondola provides a smooth ride to awe-inspiring viewpoints.

Outdoor Pursuits

Mountain Biking in Queenstown and Wanaka

Connect with nature through a myriad of outdoor pursuits. Embark on hiking adventures along one of many trails like the Queenstown Hill Walk, or challenge yourself with mountain biking across varied terrains. Rafting excursions on the Shotover River promise a wet and wild adventure, while paragliding from the heights offers a peaceful descent with panoramic views. Or try your hand at frisbee golf, a scenic 9-hole course set within the Queenstown Gardens, providing locals and visitors an enjoyable outdoor activity with mountain views

Leisure and Relaxation

In Queenstown, you’re treated to a world where relaxation and wellness are central, from tranquil spa facilities to serene walks amidst nature.

Wellness and Spa

When you’re looking to unwind, Queenstown’s Onsen Hot Pools offer a unique retreat. Imagine yourself soaking in a cedar-lined hot tub, taking in views of the Shotover River Canyon — it’s the perfect setting for some peace and relaxation. These pools combine the natural beauty of the area with the comfort of luxury spa services, ensuring your time here is as rejuvenating as it is memorable.

Remember to book in advance as these popular spots fill up quickly, especially during peak tourist seasons.

Gardens and Walks

Queenstown walks

For a gentle adventure, take a stroll through the Queenstown Gardens. This peaceful oasis offers an escape from the bustle of the town, with beautifully manicured lawns and a variety of plant life.

For a more active getaway, the Tiki Trail or Moke Lake Loop present charming routes with the bonus of picturesque scenery. These trails are ideal for clearing your head while getting a bit of exercise. And if the night sky fascinates you, don’t miss the chance for stargazing, which is particularly spectacular from remote areas around Queenstown.

Don’t forget your camera as the views you’ll encounter are truly breathtaking.

Culinary Experiences

Queenstown caters to your taste buds with a vibrant mix of high-end dining, local flavours, and rich winery tours. Whether you fancy a sophisticated meal, a taste of Kiwi cuisine, or a sip of the region’s finest wines, Queenstown’s food scene is sure to delight.

Fine Dining

In Queenstown, the opportunity for fine dining abounds. You can indulge in a luxurious meal at Rātā, known for its modern New Zealand cuisine and elegant ambience. Each dish is a celebration of local produce, crafted with care and designed to showcase the region’s unique flavours. For a truly exquisite experience, plan ahead and secure a reservation at one of these sought-after spots.

Local Delicacies

patagonia qt

To savour the heart of Queenstown’s culinary culture, you must try the iconic Fergburger, a gourmet burger that has become almost synonymous with a visit to the town. Don’t miss out on the local ice cream from Patagonia, perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth after a scrumptious meal. If you’re into casual dining or street food, these local delights will certainly make a memorable addition to your culinary adventure.

Wine Tasting

The wineries of the Central Otago region, especially those within the Gibbston Valley, are a must-visit for wine enthusiasts. Venture along the vineyards that line the Kawarau River and engage in tastings where you can enjoy the subtleties of the area’s renowned Pinot Noir alongside other varietals. Do check out the wine bars in town as well, in case you prefer to enjoy a glass in a more urban setting. For a more hands-on experience, join a wine tasting tour to learn directly from the vintners and see the winemaking process up close.

Exploring Nature

Queenstown’s natural scenery is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. You’re spoilt for choice with the vast array of lakes and rivers set against a backdrop of striking mountains, perfect for an adventure or a relaxing day out in the wild.

Lakes and Rivers

lake queenstown

  • Lake Wakatipu: The longest lake in New Zealand, stretching over 80 kilometres, invites you to cruise its crystal waters or simply enjoy the lakeside views.
  • Shotover River: Known for its thrilling jet boat rides, the Shotover River carves through dramatic canyons.
  • Moke Lake: A smaller, more secluded spot ideal for kayaking or a tranquil picnic.

Each of these water bodies boasts breathtaking scenery and plenty of activities.

Parks and Trails

  • Queenstown Hill: Embark on a hike to the summit for panoramic views of the town and its surroundings.
  • Ben Lomond: Challenge yourself with a hike up Ben Lomond, a track taking you through alpine meadows.
  • Gibbston Valley: Cycle or walk through the vineyard-filled valley, a feast for both the eyes and the palate.

Nearby Glenorchy offers gateway trails to Fiordland National Park, which is a paradise for hikers looking for untouched scenery.

Seasonal Outdoor Activities in Queenstown 

Queenstown’s varying climates offer an abundance of seasonal activities, allowing you to immerse yourself in the thrills of winter sports or the excitement of summer adventures.

Winter Sports

Immerse yourself in a winter wonderland by hitting the slopes at some of Queenstown’s premier ski areas. You have the choice of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, and Cardrona, each offering a unique experience with a mixture of terrain for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts.

Cardrona Terrain park

  • Coronet Peak: It’s renowned for its diverse runs and night skiing options, perfect for those who wish to extend their adventure after sunset.
  • The Remarkables: With its natural bowls and parks, it’s an excellent choice for snowboarders and freestyle skiers.
  • Cardrona: Known for its wide trails and family-friendly atmosphere, Cardrona is a superb destination for all levels of ability.

Summer Adventures

skippers canyon jet boat

As the snow melts, the landscape transforms into a playground for summer activities.

  • Mountain Biking: Hit the Skyline Queenstown trails for an adrenaline rush with panoramic views.
  • Hiking: Trails come alive with vibrant flora. Explore well-known routes such as the Ben Lomond Track for breathtaking vistas.
  • Water Activities: From jet boating to tranquil cruises, the lakes offer exhilaration and relaxation alike.

Each season in Queenstown brings its own array of activities, ensuring that your visit is packed with unforgettable experiences no matter the time of year.

Nightlife and Entertainment

In Queenstown, your evenings can be as lively and diverse as the breathtaking landscapes. You’ve got a myriad of bars and clubs to quench your thirst, and an array of evening attractions that promise memorable experiences.

Bars and Clubs

Queenstown’s bars are where you find the right mix of local fine wine and signature cocktails. You could start your night at an ice bar where the frosty interior will contrast with the warmth of good company.

  • Popular Bars:
    • 1876 – Typically offering great value drinks and a vibrant atmosphere with live music and DJs from Wednesday to Sunday.
    • Perky’s Floating Bar – Unique for being on a boat, you can bring your own food and enjoy drinks with stunning lakeside views.

Evening Attractions

If you’re after something out of the ordinary, Queenstown won’t disappoint. For those who relish a good scare, the Fear Factory offers a spine-tingling experience you won’t forget in a hurry. Or visit the local cinema for the latest releases in comfortable surroundings.

Transport and Tours

Exploring Queenstown is an exhilarating experience, with various transport and tour options to immerse you in the captivating landscapes. Whether by water or air, you’re in for unparalleled views and adventures.

Cruise and Boating

TSS Earnslaw

  • Cruise on Lake Wakatipu: The TSS Earnslaw, affectionately known as the ‘Lady of the Lake’, offers a vintage steamship experience. Glide across the waters of Lake Wakatipu and revel in the mountainous scenery.
  • Million Dollar Cruise: Indulge in a scenic cruise with tales of the region’s history and a chance to spot local wildlife.
  • Jet Boat Rides: For a bit of high-speed excitement, a jet boat ride, like the Shotover Jet, thrills with rapid manoeuvres through the Shotover River canyons.

Scenic Views, Drives, and Flights

  • Skyline Gondola: Ascend above Queenstown in the Skyline Gondola for panoramic views of the city and beyond. At the top, you can dine, stroll, and photograph the landscape.
  • Scenic Flights: Take to the skies for a bird’s-eye view with a scenic flight. Options range from plane rides over the Remarkables to helicopter tours that provide a more intimate glimpse of remote places.
  • Helicopter Tours: For those seeking the ultimate scenic experience, helicopter tours afford you the chance to touch down on mountain peaks and enjoy exclusive vistas.

Whether you’re cruising placid waters or soaring through skies, your time in Queenstown is sure to be unforgettable with these transport and tour options.

Day Trips and Excursions

milford sound

  • Milford Sound: One of New Zealand’s most breathtaking natural attractions, Milford Sound awaits your discovery. You can indulge in a scenic cruise amidst towering cliffs and cascading waterfalls. Its beauty is so profound that Rudyard Kipling called it the eighth wonder of the world.
  • Mount Cook: A haven for mountaineers and hikers, Mount Cook (Aoraki) is the highest mountain in New Zealand. Here you can explore the alpine landscapes and perhaps trek the famous Hooker Valley Track for some spectacular views.
  • Skippers Canyon: For a dose of adventure mixed with history, Skippers Canyon offers thrilling 4WD tours through a landscape carved by gold miners over a century ago.
  • Te Anau: The gateway to Fiordland National Park, Te Anau is a picturesque town and starting point for many excursions into the park, including the renowned Milford and Routeburn Tracks.

Neighbouring Towns

Glenorchy is a place to visit near queenstown

  • Arrowtown: Step back in time in Arrowtown, a charming historic gold mining town just a 20-minute drive from Queenstown. Wander along the tree-lined streets or browse the boutique shops and cafes.
  • Wanaka: a versatile, serene lakeside haven, perfect for adventure lovers and those seeking a more relaxed vibe than bustling Queenstown. A 1 hour drive from QT, the breathtaking scenery of Lake Wanaka and the mountains offer a variety of activities, from winter sports to summer thrills, all wrapped up in a town with a laid-back atmosphere and charming local spots to unwind.
  • Glenorchy: Located at the northern tip of Lake Wakatipu, Glenorchy is a launchpad for hiking trails and Middle-earth scenery, serving as many backdrops for “The Lord of the Rings” films. The drive to Glenorchy is known to be one of the most scenic routes in the world.


Final Thoughts on Things to Do in Queenstown

In short, Queenstown is the ultimate chill spot with a side of thrill. It’s got epic views, cool activities for every vibe, and a mix of chill-out spots and wild adventures. Whether you’re hitting the slopes or just kicking back with a local wine, you’re in for a good time. So grab your gear and get ready for some top-notch memories—Queenstown’s got it all and then some. It’s not just a trip; it’s where you live the good life, surrounded by New Zealand’s epic scenery.

[avatar] Author: Eliot Prince