The Best Things To Do In Queenstown

Written By: Claire Hollands

One of the most popular cities to visit in New Zealand, Queenstown has everything you could want for an amazing holiday getaway. From the gorgeous waters of Lake Wakatipu to the numerous boutiques and restaurants in the city, there’s something for everyone. City dwellers and outdoor enthusiasts alike will find plenty to do during a stay, whether it’s hiking on one of the many backcountry trails, hitting the water on a jet ski, or checking out the cultural sites throughout Queenstown, this New Zealand destination appeals to all ages and interest levels.

Throughout the city you’ll have plenty of opportunities to check out the beautiful scenery that surrounds you. Check out the Skyline Gondola when you want to see expansive views of Lake Wakatipu and the glittering skyline of Queenstown. If you want to get out and explore some of the natural landscapes in the area, be sure to check out Glenorchy or even venture into Mount Aspiring National Park for scenic escapes.

Queenstown is home to many world famous golf courses – but if you’re not into golf, head over to Queenstown Gardens for a little Frisbee golf, which is fun for the entire family! Throughout the year, Queenstown is home to numerous festivals and events, ranging from music, sporting and food – something that is sure to appeal to all guests. Visitors who are interested in doing some shopping will have plenty to choose from throughout Queenstown. A downtown shopping district is located right on the scenic Lake Wakatipu shores, ranging from art galleries, boutiques, souvenir shops and artisan stores.

For those looking for adventurous activities in the surrounding area, wineries, creative markets and cultural points of interest are located all around and within a short driving distance. In town on a Saturday? Be sure to visit the Saturday Creative Queenstown Art and Craft Market which takes place throughout the entire year in a lovely outdoor venue and features all locally handmade goods, live music and delicious snacks. If you want to have an especially good view of Queenstown, check out the coastal sites and beautiful surroundings on one of the many offered scenic flights that take place from the city.


Queenstown Skyline Gondola

Bob’s Peak towers over Queenstown, and the gondola, the steepest in the southern hemisphere, provides a picturesque trip to the top of the mountain. Magnificent views of Queenstown and The Remarkables await, and you can also view the tour boats gliding across Lake Wakatipu. Take your time enjoying the landscape as you have a meal and drink at the restaurant and café. For even more fun, have a go on the luge ride at the mountains’ peak!


The Remarkables

Viewed from Queenstown, The Remarkables look majestic, but also fearsome. But just a 40-minute drive and you arrive at the ski field, a family friendly location where you can walk, and hike, and of course ski. Watch the professional skiers or join in at a level that suits you. There are snow-sports schools for those wanting an introduction or refresher course, but remember, it’s all about having fun!


Shotover River

The Shotover River is for thrills and adrenaline seekers! Famous for its jetboat rides, you’ll speed and spin your way along this magnificent river for the experience of a lifetime. Want something without the motor but just as exciting? Whitewater rafting may be for you! Still want more? Go bungy jumping! Shotover River is the mecca for adrenaline sports and activities – you’ll remember this day for a long time!


Queenstown Gardens

Queenstown Gardens is just the place to take a break from the speed and action that permeates through Queenstown. Slow down for a while and enjoy some simple pleasures like feeding ducks on a tranquil pond or playing on swings. Spread over 36 acres, this park has a kaleidoscope of colourful plants and memorials to remember the history of this beautiful town.


Doubtful Sound

Doubtful Sound displays the true meaning of pristine! From the towering cliffs to the crystal-clear waters, the scenery is brilliant, and this waterway is home to dolphins, fur seals, and the shy penguins. Doubtful Sound is not as well-known as Milford Sound, and is a little harder to get to – but its ten time bigger than its well-known sibling! If you’re not too keen on the planning, sit back and relax on a guided tour!


Kawarau River

Water and excitement go together on the Kawarau River. Take the leap and bungy jump off the bridge – the very first site in New Zealand for bungy jumping, and it’s still a real “rush”. Get on the river with a jet boat ride or go river surfing – there is also white water rafting, with options for beginners through to the experienced. If you’re looking for an education experience, you can also learn about New Zealand history, at the old gold miners’ huts.


Walter Peak High Country Farm

A visit to this farm starts with a picturesque cruise on the steam ship TSS Earnslaw, and is the start of a 3.5 hour tour. Once you arrive you’ll be taken on a guided tour of the property to see sheep shearing and sheep dogs rounding them up! You’ll learn how to shear and spin the wool and enjoy a light meal in front of a warm fireplace. This is no hobby farm, spanning over 25,000 hectares and running 18,000 sheep and 800 cattle; your rubbing shoulders with professionals.


Hollyford Track

For hikers, the Hollyford Track is a hidden gem just two-hours north of Te Anou. The trail leads you from the mountains to the sea, meandering through a valley. The 56 kilometres of terrain is relatively flat and accessible most of the year and there are several guided tours. As with all treks, you need to be fit, but the track is well marked, and huts are available along the track.


Milford Sound

Described as the eighth wonder of the World by Rudyard Kipling, Milford Sound is New Zealand’s premier tourist attraction. Upon entering the sound you’re surrounded by sheer cliffs 3,900 feet (1,200 meters) high, carved by glaciers, rising dramatically from the dark waters.


Lake Wakatipu

Located on the South Island of New Zealand, the majestic and picturesque Lake Wakatipu draws people from all over the world to its shores. As one of the biggest lakes in the country, Lake Wakatipu is home to any number of fun activities; from jetboating to kayaking, to fishing, and even just relaxing at the waters’ edge, there is no shortage of ways to enjoy the serenity of the region. In addition, several of New Zealand’s most popular tourist destinations can be found at the edge of Lake Wakatipu – including Queenstown and The Remarkables Mountain Ranges – so finding a suitable place to experience this natural splendour should be an easy task!


Central Otago

For the outdoor enthusiast, Central Otago in New Zealand is a fabulous escape – from the beautiful snow-capped and majestic mountains to the plentiful waterways and rivers throughout, there’s always something to explore and enjoy for an adventure. Another major advantage to visiting Central Otago is the proximity to other nearby regions and terrain – whether you want to go hiking or plan to just explore the various wineries throughout, there’s really no end to the options!

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