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Sitting on the shore of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by majestic mountains is Queenstown - the Southern Hemisphere’s premier four-seas...More
Sitting on the shore of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by majestic mountains is Queenstown - the Southern Hemisphere’s premier four-season lake and alpine resort. Recognized as New Zealand's top visitor destination full of attractions, activities and fabulous things to do! The stunning lake and mountain landscape make it suited to all kinds of adventure with many attractions from Skiing to water activities with a huge raft of things to do in between. Queenstown has the reputation of being the ‘Adventure Capital of the world’. There’s skiing in the winter and adrenalin activities such as bungy jumping, sky diving, canyon swinging, jet boating, horse trekking, hiking and river rafting all year round. There are plenty of relaxing things to do as well, such as sightseeing or indulging yourself with spa treatments, boutique shopping and excellent food and wine.
Queenstown is known as New Zealand’s top tourist location has some of the best things to do in NZ. Taking the Skyline Gondola for magnificent views of the area is a top attraction. Famous for wineries, and cycle trails with private tours or self-guided tours. The ski fields in winter often double as mountain bike parks in the summer and there are many adrenaline activities such as bungy jumping, river rafting and jet boating. There are also many relaxing boat and bus tours and spas. There are many more activities such as incredible scenic flights with some of the most stunning scenery in the world, horse riding, 4WD Adventure, kayaking, hiking, fishing, photography, rafting and so much more.
What are the best things to do in Queenstown?
Here are the best Attractions and Activities to do in Queenstown
1. A trip out on Lake Wakatipu
There are many lake cruises and activities to choose from with luxury cruises, Lunch cruises, sunset cruises and more. Surrounded by stunning mountains including the Remarkables Mountain Range and the Southern Alps, Lake Wakatipu is New Zealand's longest lake and a highlight of Queenstown.
2. World’s most incredible Scenic Flights
Discover the beauty of Queenstown from above! There are helicopter flights just around Queenstown area and also flights that take you flying across the Southern Alps, Mt. Aspiring National Park and Fiordland National Park to Milford Sound and other stunning majestic mountain lakes and waterfalls.
3. Bike tours and trails
There are excellent guided biking tours including fabulous wine tours, Mountain Bike parks and plenty of stunning scenic cycling trails to explore. Hire a bike or take a tour and explore The Queenstown Trail which offers over 130kms of trails beside Lake Wakatipu and stunning rivers, climbing to Arrowtown and winding through vineyards. Discover historic sites, suspension bridges and hidden gems, ride a small section or discover the whole trail at your leisure.
4. Jet boat ride!
Queenstown is the original place for amazing jet boat tours running through spectacular rivers and lakes. These activities vary from white-knuckle, white water rides, private wilderness tours, to combos that offer jet boating followed by boutique wine tasting. Experience the thrill of a high-speed jet boat ride in Queenstown. Skim across the water, whizz round corners and shoot through narrow rocky gorges!
5. Sunset Cruise
Enjoy beautiful a sunset on various cruise boats, some with cheese and wine, while exploring New Zealand’s picturesque Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown. Surrounded by stunning mountains including the Remarkables Mountain Range and the Southern Alps, Lake Wakatipu is New Zealand's longest lake and a highlight of Queenstown.
6. Take a Winery tour
There are excellent wine tours to choose from. With 75 wineries only a 20-minute drive of Queenstown, and over a hundred more within 40 minutes, you’re in the heart of the world’s southernmost wine region. The best wineries near Queenstown offer wine tasting, delicious dining, and the chance to meet the winemaker with winery tours and events.
How about soaring majestically through the skies like an eagle, surrounded by breath-taking mountain views? Tandem para gliding or hang gliding is an amazing activity to do in Queenstown! Parasailing on the lake will lift you 600 feet in the air for a speedy adrenaline rush mixed with serene 360-degree views.
8. River sledging or surfing
The ultimate in water adventures in Queenstown try river sledging or surfing. Conquer grade 3 rapids, standing waves and whirlpools! Enjoy rapids, waves and the beautiful Kawarau River on a sturdy, easy to hold on to, very buoyant manoeurable sledge. The sledge keeps you more on the surface of the water than the bodyboards which are used for river surfing. Get action packed fun right in amongst the rapids, as well as a relaxing float. 9km of pristine beautiful water, It’s a trip not to be missed.
9. Day trip to Milford
Take the hassle out of driving to Milford Sound and join a guided coach tour from Queenstown. Sit back, relax and enjoy magnificent scenery and informative commentary. Your experienced local coach driver will show you the best views along the Milford Road and connect you seamlessly with a 2-hour lunch cruise.
10. Fly to Stewart Island for the day!
Add Stewart Island to your Queenstown Itinerary. Sit back and relax and fly to one of New Zealand's bucket list destinations. This 1hr flight makes getting to Stewart Island incredibly easy with up to 6hrs on the ground to make the most of your time there before flying you back to Queenstown in time for dinner!
Skiing or Snowboarding in Winter
Every year from early June onwards until the end of August, the region transforms into a winter wonderland, attracting snow sports enthusiasts from around the world with its incredible lake and alpine scenery, crisp blue-sky days, easy access to some of New Zealand's finest ski and snowboard terrain and a vibrant après ski scene. The region’s four ski areas, all within a handy 20 to 90-minute drive of Queenstown, offer a range of terrain for all levels whether you’re keen to conquer the basics, enjoy groomed runs, tackle off-piste, throw down some freestyle tricks or experience the thrill of night skiing.
What are the best Free things to do in Queenstown?
Here are the best Free Attractions and Things to do in Queenstown
1. Hike Queenstown Hill
Queenstown Hill is easily one of the best hikes in Queenstown with the most rewarding views. The trail starts from pretty much right in the town centre. The hike to the viewpoint is all uphill but only takes around an hour and the views from the top are absolutely breath-taking!
2. Queenstown Gardens
Queenstown Gardens lies at the heart of town, is completely free and is the perfect getaway for those needing a breather from all the action. Queenstown Gardens are one of New Zealand’s finest parks with epic mountain and Lake Wakatipu views. Graceful trees, lush lawns and well-tended flowerbeds, stone bridge and water fetures make it an idyllic spot to relax and enjoy the view.
3. Visit the Saturday Markets
On Saturdays, the Queenstown Markets set up at the marina in town right in front of Earnslaw Park. They run from 9 am to 4:30 pm all year round. You’ll find everything from handmade jewellery and local artwork to soap to food
4. Visit Arrowtown
Arrowtown is a former mining settlement which is totally stunning in autumn and loved for its seasonal hues and its interesting historical relics. Arrowtown is a charming and quirky gold rush village nestled below the beautiful peaks that surround the sparkling Arrow River.
5. Hike Ben Lomond
Ben Lomond is a somewhat difficult hike that will take you all day or about 6-8 hours depending on your fitness level to reach the summit and the shorter the Ben Lomond Saddle loop still takes approximately 3-4 hours to complete. The Summit is an incredible mountain to climb though with 360-degree panoramic views. If you are up for the challenge, the climb will reward you with magnificent views of Mounts Earnslaw and Aspiring.
6. Drive to Glenorchy
Take one of the most scenic drives in all of New Zealand – the drive to Glenorchy. The drive is gorgeous at every turn and only takes around 1 hour each way. The small town of Glenorchy is as picturesque as the drive itself.
7. Mount Chrichton Loop Track
This is one of the easiest short hikes around Queenstown. There are views along the trail and you can pay a visit to Sam Summers Hut! This is actually an old house from the 30’s with a lot of history behind the family who lived here that you can read about it when you visit. There is also a beautiful waterfall next to the hut as well as an old gold mining tunnel to explore too!
8. The Queenstown Trail
If you love cycling, a ride along the Queenstown Trail is an absolute must. This vast track covers 120 kilometres (74.5 miles), traversing Arrowtown, Queenstown and Gibbston to unveil the region’s most incredible natural features. There are rides for all levels: beginner routes cross leisurely points like Lake Wakatipu and the Arrow River, while more challenging journeys comprise everything from river crossings to rustic countryside terrains.
9. Visit Bob’s Cove
Go for a short walk to the lookout, sit by the lake, or take advantage of one of the public BBQs. Bob’s Cove is only accessible by car and about a 15-20 minute drive outside of Queenstown along the road to Glenorchy. This beautiful little bay is worth the drive and Bob’s Cove lookout hike is one of the most popular trails around Queenstown. It is short and easy taking most people only 20-30 minutes each way. From the top, you’ll have spectacular views of Lake Wakatipu!
10. Hiking at Moke Lake
Moke Lake is approximately a 30-minute drive from Queenstown and is simply breath-taking! There is a choice of many trails, or just enjoy the view of Moke Lake and the surrounding mountains. The most popular hiking trail in the area is the Moke Lake Loop Track. This trail takes you around the perimeter of the lake and takes about 2-3 hours to complete.
11. Visit Lake Hayes
Lake Hayes is about a 15-minute drive out of Queenstown and is another stunning lake to visit. There is a walking trail going right around the lake and is a great place for swimming in the summer months.