Are you looking for the best things to do in Queenstown? As a Kiwi who has visited Queenstown multiple times, I’ve got you covered!
Queenstown is an absolutely stunning city and hands down one of my all-time favourite holiday destinations! It’s got everything for adventure seekers and relaxation enthusiasts alike. The mountain scenery is breathtaking, the lakes are gorgeous, and the activities are downright thrilling.
No wonder Queenstown is one of the most sought-after destinations in the world! The adventure capital of New Zealand is one of the best places to visit on the South Island.
Whether you’re hitting the ski slopes in winter or just taking a stroll along the waterfront in summer, Queenstown is the perfect getaway all year round. It guarantees an unforgettable experience for those seeking some serious fun.
10 Best Things to do in Queenstown
1. Go Bungy Jumping
If you’re an adrenaline junky then going bungy jumping in Queenstown is an experience like no other! Set amongst the majestic backdrop of the Remarkables mountain range, Queenstown is a world-renowned destination for bungy jumping.
From the exhilarating heights of the Nevis Bungy to the thrilling Kawarau Bridge Bungy, Queenstown’s bungy jumping sites will have your heart racing and adrenaline pumping. Given it’s the birthplace of commercial bungy jumping it’s the best place to give it a go!
2. Ride the Skyline Gondola and Luge
The Skyline Gondola in Queenstown is a great experience for anyone looking for something unique and exciting. From the top of the Gondola, you can take in the gorgeous views of Lake Wakatipu and the mountains surrounding Queenstown, while admiring the alpine scenery.
It’s worth it to head up here just for the views, they are that stunning! Make sure you don’t miss the viewing platform and if you’d like to enjoy a drink or a bite to eat then stop by the restaurant as well.
After enjoying the views, you can take a thrilling ride down the Skyline Luge. With two different tracks to choose from, the Arrow track or the Dart track. It’s also possible to do the Night Luge for something a bit different and a fun night out.
So if you’re looking for an exciting activity for the whole family while visiting Queenstown, look no further than the Skyline Gondola and Luge.
3. Shotover Jet Boat Ride
If you’re looking for a thrilling activity in Queenstown, the Shotover Jet Boat Ride is a must. Hop onto a jetboat and be ready for an exhilarating ride down the Shotover River. You’ll be amazed at how little water these boats need to propel themselves, I certainly was surprised!
You’ll be taken around sharp corners and through narrow canyons at speeds of up to 85km an hour whilst your experienced and knowledgeable driver spins you around 360 degrees. It’s a great way to take in the magnificent scenery of the region and experience the river in a totally unique way.
4. Grab dinner from Fergburger
If you’re looking for a casual dinner in Queenstown, then Ferburger is the place to go. It’s a popular spot that can get quite busy, but the wait is definitely worth it.
You can choose from a variety of delicious burgers made with locally sourced ingredients. The line can be long, so prepare yourselves and aim to join the line before the hunger pains hit, then you’ll be in for a treat when your meal is ready.
View this post on Instagram
The casual atmosphere makes it the perfect spot for travellers looking to take in the local atmosphere, it’s a popular place for a reason! I would also recommend checking out the bakery next door if you need to grab breakfast on the go, the thought of the incredible pies here has me dreaming of home!
5. Soak in Onsen Hot Pools
Visiting Onsen Hot Pools is a must for travellers to New Zealand! Watching the sunset over the hot pools is truly a magical experience if you’re lucky enough to secure a sunset session (book in advance to avoid disappointment!).
Even if you don’t manage to book in at sunset time, simply lounging in these natural mineral pools is an amazing way to relax and connect with nature. It’s the perfect way to unwind after a long day of exploring. It’s sure to be one of the highlights of your trip!
6. Cruise on the TSS Earnslaw Steamship
If you are seeking an unforgettable experience to cap off your trip to New Zealand, why not take a ride on the TSS Earnslaw Steamship?
This vintage steamship has been in service on Lake Wakatipu since 1912 and is one of the oldest tourist attractions in New Zealand. Embarking on a cruise aboard the Earnslaw is truly a unique experience, as you will get to enjoy stunning views of the lake, the surrounding mountains, and the charming township of Queenstown.
The crew on board can provide you with an informative tour and interesting facts about the history of this vessel. You can also choose to grab some cafe food onboard or book a gourmet long lunch and enjoy the surroundings as you drift along the lake. Taking a cruise on the TSS Earnslaw is a truly memorable experience and a must-do for all visitors.
7. Go skiing or snowboarding
During the winter months, Queenstown experiences snowfall, making it an ideal destination for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts. Renowned for its exceptional ski slopes, this picturesque location offers a perfect opportunity to embark on an exhilarating adventure.
For those seeking the closest ski resort, The Remarkables is a top choice. With its diverse range of terrain, it caters to skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels. Even if you’re a beginner, worry not, as there are beginner classes available to ensure you can enjoy the slopes without feeling left behind.
8. Walk up Queenstown Hill
Queenstown Hill stands out as one of the most accessible and beloved walks in Queenstown. Nestled in the heart of the town, reaching it is a breeze. The walk spans 4.2 kilometres, taking approximately 3 hours for a round trip.
The reward? Breathtaking 360-degree views of the town await you. This scenic trek takes you high into the mountains overlooking Lake Wakatipu.
While this trek can be challenging, it remains safe to traverse throughout the year. Keep in mind that during winter, there may be snow, so reliable footwear with good traction is a must. With its winding pathways and lush greenery, taking a stroll up Queenstown Hill is an unforgettable way to explore this part of New Zealand.
9. Visit the Queenstown Gardens
Located in the heart of the city, the gardens are filled with vibrant blooms, lush greenery, and captivating views. The gardens offer both a peaceful and exciting escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, with plenty of beautiful spots to relax and take in the beauty of nature.
Begin at Queenstown Bay Beach and follow the Te Araroa Trail, leading you into the charming gardens. Explore the garden peninsula before continuing along the lakeshore track, where you’ll discover numerous benches to pause and marvel at the breathtaking views.
This serene oasis is the perfect setting for a relaxing afternoon. Bring along some snacks, find a cozy spot, and witness the sunset over Lake Wakatipu.
10. Go on a day trip to Milford Sound
There are plenty of amazing day trips to explore from Queenstown but if there’s one you must do, it’s a day trip to Milford Sound! Located about three and a half hours away by car, Milford Sound showcases the stunning beauty of the Southern Alps and Fiordland National Park.
Once you arrive at Milford Sound, embark on a cruise to make the most of this beautiful destination. Spend the day exploring the fiords, taking in the breathtaking views, and enjoying the abundance of wildlife.
Make sure to take plenty of photos, as the views here are simply stunning. From the awe-inspiring nature to the friendly locals, this day trip from Queenstown to Milford Sound will be an experience you will never forget.
When is the best time to visit Queenstown?
The best time to visit Queenstown really depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for warmer temperatures, summer (December to February) is the best time to go.
However, if you’re looking for winter activities, then winter (June to August) is the ideal time to visit. Autumn (March to May) is also a beautiful time to visit with the temperatures still mild and the town less crowded.
I’ve visited Queenstown both in autumn and winter, both trips were incredible and offered different experiences so you really can’t go wrong when planning when to visit.
Conclusion: 10 things to do in Queenstown
Queenstown is an incredible destination with something for everyone. With its breathtaking landscapes, exhilarating activities, and a multitude of attractions, it’s no wonder that this destination attracts countless visitors each year.
The toughest decision you’ll face is probably deciding on how many days to stay! There is no definite answer unfortunately as it depends on how much you plan on doing, however, most people find a week is enough time to experience most of what Queenstown has to offer.
You can explore the many picturesque walking and biking trails, take a day cruise on the lake, go white-water rafting, ski or snowboard in the winter, and explore the vibrant city centre. There is truly something for everyone in Queenstown, so no matter how many days you decide to stay, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience!
Guest Bio: Sammy Green is the owner and creator of My Blonde Bucket List, a blog that helps travellers plan trips to New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, Portugal and beyond. Having travelled to 20 countries (and counting) her goal is to inspire you to experience all the world has to offer.