If you’re looking for a destination that’s jam-packed with adventure, stunning scenery, and friendly locals, then Queenstown is the place to be. Nestled in the heart of New Zealand’s South Island, this picturesque town is renowned for its outdoor activities and has been dubbed the “Adventure Capital of the World.” Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, a nature lover, or simply looking for a relaxing getaway, Queenstown has something to offer.
Interesting facts about Queenstown:
- Queenstown is located in the Southern Alps of New Zealand’s South Island.
- It was named after Queen Victoria, who was the reigning monarch of Great Britain and Ireland at the time of the town’s founding in 1860.
- Queenstown is known as the “Adventure Capital of the World” due to its numerous adventure activities, such as bungy jumping, skydiving, and skiing.
- The first commercial bungy jump was invented in Queenstown in 1988.
- The town is surrounded by stunning natural attractions, including the Remarkables mountain range and Lake Wakatipu.
- Queenstown has a rich gold mining history dating back to the mid-19th century.
- The Arrowtown Historic Village is a great place to learn about the town’s gold mining history.
- Queenstown hosts several world-class events throughout the year, including the Queenstown Winter Festival, the Queenstown Bike Festival, and the Queenstown Marathon.
- The town is home to several award-winning wineries, and wine tasting is a popular activity.
- Queenstown was a filming location for several movies, including The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.
- The TSS Earnslaw steamship has been sailing Lake Wakatipu since 1912 and is a popular tourist attraction.
- The town is home to the Southern Hemisphere’s largest underground wine cave, located at Gibbston Valley Winery.
- The Skippers Canyon Road is a scenic drive with a narrow, winding road and stunning views of the canyon.
- The Kawarau Bridge is the site of the world’s first commercial bungy jump.
- The Shotover River is a popular destination for jet boating, and it’s known for its narrow canyons and whitewater rapids.
- The Skyline Gondola offers panoramic views of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu, as well as a variety of activities, including luge rides and mountain biking.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the 20 best things to do in Queenstown, from heart-pumping activities to more tranquil experiences.
Bungy jumping is the quintessential Queenstown experience. The town is where the sport was born, and it’s still the best place to try it out for yourself. AJ Hackett Bungy offers a range of jumps, including the famous Kawarau Bridge jump, where you can jump solo or tandem. For the ultimate thrill, try the Nevis Bungy, which is the highest in New Zealand and offers a 134-meter drop.
Skydiving is another high-octane activity that’s popular in Queenstown. Skydive Southern Alps offers tandem jumps from 15,000 feet, with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. You’ll be harnessed to an experienced skydiving instructor, so even first-timers can enjoy the experience. You’ll freefall for around 60 seconds before the parachute opens, and then you’ll have a leisurely descent back to earth.
Shotover Jet Boat Ride
The Shotover Jet Boat Ride is one of Queenstown’s most popular attractions. You’ll board a high-speed jet boat that will take you on a thrilling ride through narrow canyons. The boat will perform 360-degree spins and speeds of up to 85 kph, so be prepared to get wet and hold on tight! The ride lasts around 25 minutes, and there are plenty of photo opportunities along the way.
Queenstown Hill Hike
For a more tranquil experience, take a hike up Queenstown Hill. The hike takes around 2-3 hours and offers stunning panoramic views of the town, lake, and surrounding mountains. You’ll pass through pine forest and tussock grassland before reaching the summit, where you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views. The trail is well-maintained and suitable for most fitness levels.
Milford Sound Day Trip
Milford Sound is one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand, and a day trip from Queenstown is a must-do. You’ll travel through the stunning Fiordland National Park, passing through valleys, forests, and waterfalls. Once you reach Milford Sound, you’ll board a cruise boat and take in the breathtaking scenery of waterfalls, mountains, and wildlife. Keep an eye out for seals, dolphins, and penguins.
Skyline Gondola and Luge
The Skyline Gondola and Luge is a popular attraction that offers stunning views of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. You’ll take a scenic gondola ride up Bob’s Peak, where you’ll find a restaurant, souvenir shop, and observation deck. The real fun starts when you ride the luge down the mountain. The luge is a cross between a go-kart and a toboggan, and you’ll have a blast speeding down the track.
The Central Otago region is known for its world-class wines, particularly pinot noir. There are over 80 wineries in the region, so it’s the perfect place to try some of New Zealand’s finest wines. You can take a self-guided tour or join a guided tour, which will take you to some of the best wineries in the area. Many wineries also offer tours of their vineyards and winemaking facilities.
The Milford Track is one of New Zealand’s most famous walks and a must-do for hikers. The 53.5 km track takes 4 days to complete and offers stunning views of the Fiordland National Park. You’ll walk through valleys, forests, and mountains, and see waterfalls, lakes, and wildlife along the way. The track is well-maintained and offers huts and campsites for overnight stays.
Skiing and Snowboarding
Queenstown is a popular destination for skiing and snowboarding, with 4 ski resorts within an hour’s drive of the town. The season runs from June to October, and the resorts offer a range of terrain for all levels, from beginner slopes to advanced runs. The ski resorts also offer other activities, such as snowshoeing and tobogganing.
Paragliding is a popular activity in Queenstown, and it’s a great way to see the stunning landscapes from a different perspective. GFORCE Paragliding offers tandem flights from Coronet Peak or the Remarkables. You’ll be harnessed to an experienced pilot, and you’ll soar like a bird over the mountains and lakes.
Glenorchy Movie Locations Tour
Fans of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies will love this tour of the film locations in Glenorchy. You’ll see where some of the most iconic scenes were filmed, including Isengard, Lothlorien, and the Misty Mountains. The tour also takes you through some of the most beautiful scenery in the region, with stunning views of the mountains and lakes.
Arrowtown is a charming gold rush town just a short drive from Queenstown. The town is full of historic buildings, shops, and cafes, and it’s a great place to spend an afternoon. Take a walk along the river, visit the Arrowtown Museum, or explore the Chinese settlement.
A helicopter tour is a great way to see the stunning landscapes around Queenstown. Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters offers a variety of tours, including a trip to Milford Sound or a heli-skiing adventure. You’ll soar over the mountains and lakes, and see some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
Mountain biking is a popular activity in Queenstown, with trails for all levels. You can rent a bike and explore the scenic trails around Queenstown, from easy rides along the lakefront to more challenging rides through the mountains. You’ll see some stunning views along the way, and there are plenty of places to stop for a picnic or a coffee.
Experience the beauty of the New Zealand countryside on horseback. Dart Stables offers horse treks through the scenic Glenorchy area. You’ll ride through forests, rivers, and mountains, and see some of the most beautiful scenery in the region. The treks are suitable for all levels, from beginners to experienced riders.
TSS Earnslaw Steamship Cruise
The TSS Earnslaw steamship has been sailing Lake Wakatipu since 1912, and a cruise on the historic ship is a must-do in Queenstown. You’ll take a scenic cruise around the lake, and visit the Walter Peak High Country Farm for a delicious meal. The ship is a beautiful piece of history, and the cruise is a great way to relax and take in the stunning views.
Gibbston Valley Cheese Factory
The Gibbston Valley Cheese Factory is a great place to sample some of the region’s finest cheeses. You can take a tour of the factory and learn about the cheese-making process, or simply sit back and enjoy a cheese platter with a glass of wine. The factory is surrounded by beautiful vineyards, so it’s a great place to spend an afternoon.
Milford Road Scenic Drive
The Milford Road is one of the most scenic drives in the world, and it’s a must-do when visiting Queenstown. The road winds through the Fiordland National Park, offering breathtaking views of mountains, lakes, and waterfalls. You’ll pass through the famous Homer Tunnel, and see stunning scenery at every turn. Be sure to take your time and stop at the many viewpoints along the way.
Experience the thrill of a zipline ride through the forest canopy with Ziptrek Ecotours. The tour includes six ziplines and offers stunning views of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. You’ll be harnessed to a zipline and glide through the treetops, feeling like a bird in flight. The tour also includes a walk through the forest and a guided eco-tour.
Skydive or Bungy Jump at Night
For the ultimate adrenaline rush, try a night skydive or bungy jump with Nzone Skydive or AJ Hackett Bungy. Jump under the stars and see the town and lake lit up below you. The experience is truly unforgettable, and it’s a great way to see the town in a different light. You’ll be harnessed to an experienced instructor and jump from a height of up to 134 meters.
Queenstown is a destination that truly has something for everyone, whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or simply a chance to take in the stunning natural beauty. From bungy jumping and skydiving to hiking and wine tasting, these 20 activities are just a taste of what Queenstown has to offer. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or a nature lover, you’ll find plenty of things to do in this beautiful part of the world.
In conclusion, Queenstown is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking adventure, nature, and stunning scenery. With so many activities to choose from, it’s easy to see why this town has become known as the “Adventure Capital of the World.” Whether you’re seeking thrills, relaxation, or a little bit of both, Queenstown is the perfect destination.
What is the best time to visit Queenstown?
The best time to visit Queenstown is during the summer months (December to February) for warm weather and long days.
What is the weather like in Queenstown?
Queenstown has a temperate climate with warm summers and cool winters. The weather can be changeable, so be sure to pack layers.
Can I do bungy jumping or skydiving if I’m afraid of heights?
Bungy jumping and skydiving are not recommended for those who have a fear of heights. However, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy in Queenstown.
Are there any family-friendly activities in Queenstown?
Yes, there are many family-friendly activities in Queenstown, including the Skyline Gondola and Luge, Shotover Jet Boat Ride, and horseback riding.
How do I get to Queenstown?
Queenstown has an international airport, as well as bus and shuttle services from other major cities in New Zealand.