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40 Amazing Things to Do in & Around Queenstown New Zealand

40 Amazing Things to Do in & Around Queenstown New Zealand

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by the Southern Alps, Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand, but there’s so much more to do and see.

From bungee jumping and skydiving to scenic lake cruises and wine tours, there’s something for every type of traveler. After countless trips, I’m excited to share my ultimate guide covering the best activities and things to do in Queenstown for adrenaline junkies, nature lovers, hikers and everybody in between!

1. Bungee Jumping with AJ Hacket

By far, the most iconic Queenstown adrenaline activity is a bungee jump with AJ Hackett. In fact, many Queenstowners consider this a rite of passage!

Having been around since 1988, AJ Hackett is the world's best, safest and biggest bungee jumping company. If you've always wanted to try bungee, then there's no better place than the birthplace of bungee in the adventure capital of New Zealand!

You'll have a few options around Queenstown:

  • The Ledge: A 47-meter jump located in the heart of Queenstown, offering stunning views of the town and Lake Wakatipu.
  • Kawarau Bridge: The iconic 43-meter jump where bungee jumping first began, known for its historical significance and the option to touch the water.
  • The Nevis: A 137-meter jump, the highest in New Zealand, providing an adrenaline-pumping free fall and breathtaking views of the Nevis Valley.
Bungy jumping in queenstown

2. The Skyline Gondola

Did you know that Queenstown is home to one of the Southern Hemisphere's steepest cable cars?

Taking the Skyline Gondola offers great views of Queenstown. At the top, you'll have impressive panoramic views from Bob's Peak overlooking the town, the Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu.

There are also plenty of Queenstown activities to choose from at the top, including the Luge and the Nevis bungy.

  • Location: 53 Brecon Street
  • Cost: Round trip: $59 NZD for adults, $41 NZD for children (6-14 years)
  • Opening Hours: Daily from 9 am to 10 pm
Queenstown skyling gondola from bob's peak

3. The Queenstown Luge

Located right beside the gondola, the Skyline Luge is a popular adventure activity suitable for all ages.

A luge is a fun type of go-karting where you can control your speed as you navigate through a series of twists and turns on two distinct tracks, each providing stunning views of Lake Wakatipu, Remarkables, and the surrounding mountains.

When it comes to luge rides, I'd say this has to be the most scenic on earth!

  • Location: Top of the Gondola
  • Opening Hours: Open daily from 9 am to 10 pm (weather permitting)
  • Cost: One ride: NZD $12, Five rides: NZD $42, Ten rides: NZD $67.

Tip: You can find various combo packages that combine the Luge with Gondola rides. I recommend walking down Brecon Street and booking directly to save money.

Skyline gondola luge in queenstown

4. Queenstown Ice Bar

If you're looking for the coolest thing to do in Queenstown, it's the famous Queenstown Ice Bar, where everything is made of ice, from the walls to the glasses. This is one of the most unique activities in town and a great way to start a night out.

There are also some pretty awesome ice sculptures inside and it's a popular spot to visit for tourists and locals alike.

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5. TSS Earnslaw Cruise to Walter Peak High Country

If you search online, the most recommended cruise activity in Queenstown is onboard the 1912 vessel, the TSS Earnslaw. Known as the "Lady of the Lake", this unique boat as an onboard museum, and cruises down the beautiful Lake Wakatipu before disembarking at Walter Peak High Country Station for a Gourmet BBQ.

Since 1912, this vessel has transported passengers while providing panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and lake, along with fascinating historical insights.

  • Location: Departs from Steamer Wharf, Queenstown
  • Departures: Multiple times daily; check the link below for schedule & booking
Heritage cruise ship near queenstown

6. Visit Milford Sound

One of the most amazing experiences you can have in Queenstown is a visit to the one and only Milford Sound. This incredible Fjord is arguably the most scenic part of the country, and you'll want to see it from the water!

I've visited Milford Sound a few times now and I can honestly say it's one of the most beautiful places to visit in the South Island.

Starting with a scenic bus journey through the stunning landscapes of Fiordland National Park, you'll witness towering peaks, lush rainforests, and mirror-like lakes. Once you arrive at Milford Sound, you can embark on a boat cruise through the fjord, marveling at the dramatic cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and unqiue wildlife, including some cute basking fur seals and dolphins.

New zealand milford sound with a boat

Tip: For those with their own car or camper, you can take the scenic drive to Milford Sound by yourself. It's one of the most beautiful roads in the world! Then, just book a sound cruise directly from the National Park for under $60.

7. Queenstown Flight & Boat Trip to Milford Sound

Looking for the ultimate way to get to Milford Sound? Taking a scenic flight is not that much more expensive than a day trip and is great if you're short on time.

That's because the fjord is much closer to Queenstown than you think. However, by road you need to drive around the Southern Alps, which takes at least 3.5-4 hours! With a scenic flight, you can be there in less than 40 minutes, and enjoy spectacular views of New Zealand's South Island on the way.

I recommend booking a flight that includes the fjord boat trip, so you can take in the spectacular beauty of one of the world's most beautiful fjords from the sky and the sea!

Queenstown plane over south island

8. Hike the Tiki Trail to the Skyline Gondola

For those of you who'd prefer to lace up the boots and hit the trails then you should know that the hikes in Queenstown are some of the most accessible and scenic in New Zealand!

Just beside the Skyline Gondola is Queenstown's Tiki Trail, which twists and turns steeply up the mountain to Bob's Peak and the Skyline Gondola.

This is an enjoyable hike passing through dense birch and fir forest with sounds of native birds and wildlife. It's certainly a peaceful hike until you unexpectedly cross the downhill mountain bike trails which is a great reminder that you are in the adventure capital of the world!

  • Trailhead: Base of the Skyline Gondola on Brecon Street
  • Distance: Approximately 2.1 km (1.3 miles)
  • Duration: 1 to 1.5 hours
Tiki trail hike from queenstown

9. Ben Lomond Track

If you're looking to step it up a notch, check out my favourite hike in Queenstown– the Ben Lomond summit track.

Continuing on from the Skyline Gondola, the track continues around the bend to a grassy, hilly plain that climbs gently to the Ben Lomond saddle. The final summit push to Ben Lomond's 1,748 m peak is accessible from the saddle and can be attempted by most fit hikers in most seasons.

At the top, you'll get insane views of the Remarkables Range, Lake Wakatipu, and the Queenstown foreshore. The view from the top is easily worth the effort!

  • Starting Point: Base of the Skyline Gondola
  • Hike Distance: 18 km (return)
  • Duration: 5-7 hours (out and back)
  • Elevation Gain: 1,483 meters
Ben lomond track in winter
Ben Lomond Track in Winter

10. Mountain Biking in Queenstown

Queenstown is one of the best places on earth for downhill mountain biking. There is a huge international and local scene here and Queenstown is also the stage for several downhill competitions every year.

There are hundreds of maintained tracks ranging from beginners to professionals. If you don't have your own bike, it's possible to rent one from several bike shops in Queenstown.

The Queenstown Bike Park, located at the top of the Skyline Gondola, is a popular spot featuring over 30 world-class trails. Additionally, the scenic trails around Lake Wakatipu and the challenging downhill tracks in the Remarkables and Coronet Peak areas provide diverse biking experiences.

You'll also find the best resource on Queenstown bike trails on the Queenstown Trail website.

Lake wakatipu mountain biking area from queenstown, new zealand

11. Queenstown Helicopter Tour

By far the best way to see Queenstown is from the sky. There are loads of different helicopter tours departing from Queenstown including budget-friendly, 20-minute Lake and Remarkables flights, glacier trips, and even half-day flights to Milford Sound!

For the best value, I recommend checking out the 20-minute "pilot's choice" flights that include an alpine landing. While the routes are weather and crowd-dependent, these trips are much more affordable and soar up close to the eponymous peaks and land at least 5,046 feet (1,538 meters) above Lake Wakatipu, for unparalleled views stretching all the way to the Southern Alps.

Franz josef glacier from robert's point track helicopter

12. Skippers Canyon

Queenstown is the doorstep for a multitude of epic canyons, gorges, and rapid rivers.

Carved out by the Shotover River during the gold rush era, this canyon is renowned for its steep cliffs, narrow roads, and historical significance. Visiting Skippers Canyon is a great way to spend a morning or afternoon. Here, you can do a few short walks and even swim in the turquoise flowing waters of the Shotover River.

Near the car park, you will also find the Edith Cavell Bridge, which is undeniably one of the most scenic bridges I've ever come across! Otherwise, for a more scenic journey, drive all the way to "Skippers Bridge".

Location: Skippers Bridge, Skippers Road (1 hour drive from Queenstown)

Edith cavell bridge in skippers canyon, queenstown new zealand
Girl in queenstown, new zealand

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13. Shotover Jet

The Shotover Jet is yet another of Queenstown's iconic adrenaline activities! Located at Skippers Canyon, just next to the Edith Cavell Bridge, this jet-boating activity is one of the most iconic in the world.

Known for its high-speed maneuvers, including 360-degree spins past rocky outcrops, and skimming across inches of water at over 85 kilometers per hour, the Shotover Jet offers one of the most exhilarating experiences from Queenstown.

The ride lasts about 25 minutes but to me, it felt much shorter! The whole time we got expert commentary from the experienced drivers.

Shotover jet boat in queenstown

14. Gibston Valley Canyoning Trip

Yep, just 15 minutes from Queenstown is a scenic canyoning area called the Gibston Valley, surrounded by beech forest and steep-walled canyons.

If you've never been canyoning (canyoneering) before, I recommend giving it a go in Queenstown. These trips are top-notch, guiding you through narrow gorges, natural rock pools, and scenic waterfalls. Along the way, you'll be able to try abseiling and sliding down natural water slides or jump into crystal-clear pools (I recommend a wet suit, it's cold!).

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15. Visit Doubtful Sound

A trip to New Zealand's wild Fiordlands is one of the best things you can do in the country and quite convenient from Queenstown. The journey typically involves a boat ride across Lake Manapouri followed by a coach trip over Wilmot Pass.

While nowhere near as popular as Milford Sound, Doubtful is (arguably) just as beautiful! Known as the "Sound of Silence," this is a pristine and remote fjord also located in Fiordland National Park, but accessible from Manapouri.

This majestic sound is three times longer and ten times larger than Milford Sound and features lush rainforests, rugged peaks, and just as many waterfalls!

Location: Boat from Manapouri, approximately 170 km (105 miles) from Queenstown.

Tip: While Milford Sound is a must-visit in New Zealand, sometimes the road (Milford Road) is closed. Doubtful Sound is a popular alternative in this case!

Mitre peak on a day trip to milford sound from queenstown

16. Spirit of Queenstown Lake Wakatipu Cruise

In my opinion, the TSS Earnslaw Cruise is the best Lake Wakatipu Cruise to choose from Queenstown for its historical value. However, the Spirit of Queenstown is a more modern and comfortable cruising boat is a more spacious and luxurious catamaran that feels less crowded.

And, since it's faster, it'll visit more places in the short 1.5-hour timeframe, including amazing sights of the Remarkables mountain range, Bob's Cove, Cecil Peak, and Mt. Earnslaw.

Spirit of queenstown lake wakatipu cruise

17. Kereru Zip Trekking

Looking for an epic zip-lining adventure in Queenstown?

Zip trekking in Queenstown offers a fun adrenaline activity very close to town. Ziptrek Ecotours, the most popular zipline provider in Queenstown, offers several courses that take you through the treetops and across scenic vistas.

If you're looking for a longer-lasting adrenaline hit that is easier on the wallet, then this Queenstown activity is a great bet!

  • Start Point: Ziptrek Treehouse, 100 m from the Skyline Gondola
  • Opening Hours: Tours operate daily, with multiple sessions throughout the day.

$5 OFF: Ziptrek Ecotours on BPD when you use code: OLLY5

Tiki trail queenstown hike

18. Hike to Queenstown Hill for Sunset

Queenstown Hill is probably the most iconic sunset hike in town. This hike is much easier than the Tiki trail, yet just as rewarding– especially for sunset or sunrise.

This popular trail, known as the Time Walk, leads to a beautiful viewpoint just outside of town with great views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables from a unique angle.

  • Location: Queenstown Hill Carpark, Belfast Terrace
  • Walking Time: Between 2 - 3 hours return.
  • Hike Distance: Approximately 6 km return.
Queenstown hill sunset hike

19. Play Frisbee Golf in the Queenstown Gardens

After a long day of adrenaline-pumping adventure activities and hikes, what better way to unwind than to have a beer or two and play frisbee golf with your mates in the Queenstown gardens?

But, what's frisbee golf you may ask? It's exactly that. The game has similar rules and objectives as golf, yet is played with frisbees. Queenstown's 18-hole course is designed to cater to all skill levels, making it a great activity for families, friends, and solo adventurers!

This is one of the best free things to do in Queenstown if you have your own frisbee. Otherwise, you can rent them from most sports and outdoor stores in Queenstown for around $25 for a cheap set.

  • Location: Queenstown Gardens, Park Street
  • Opening Hours: Open daily from sunrise to sunset.
  • Cost: Free to access.
Queenstown park, new zealand

20. Swim in Lake Wakatipu

Queenstown's resident lake is one of the most picturesque in New Zealand and also makes for a great place to cool off in the summer months! There are various locations to go swimming around Queenstown, with the main spots being Queenstown Bay, Frankton Beach, Kelvin Heights, Bob's Cove and Wilson Bay.

However, this is a mountain lake, so prepare to get a little chilly!

Tip: Located right in the heart of town, Queenstown Bay (Beach) is the most convenient spot for a swim. There are (weirdly futuristic) toilets and changerooms, as well as many cafes, restaurants, and other amenities nearby.

Swimming in lake wakatipu, queenstown, new zealand

21. Take in the Lakeside Sunset Views

Watching the sunset over Lake Wakatipu is a must-do activity in Queenstown. When the sun gets low, you'll get some epic reflective views of the nearby mountains and hills!

I recommend walking down to the lakeside boardwalk to unwind and watch the sunset. This boardwalk and lakeside area usually attracts dozens of groups when the weather is nice so it's also a great place to meet other travelers as well!

Sunset from queenstown

22. Hike at Bob's Cove

The Bob's Cove track is one of the best bang-for-buck hikes in Queenstown in terms of views! What I mean by this is that after just a very short yet scenic walk around the edge of Bob's Cove and a small hill climb, you will be rewarded with one of the best coastal views near Queenstown!

The trail offers stunning views of Lake Wakatipu, lush native bush, and the picturesque cove itself. It's an excellent spot for photography since the protected waters create a really calm, reflective surface! Along the way, you'll also find interpretive signs about the area's history which is super fascinating.

  • Location: Glenorchy-Queenstown Road, about 14 km (8.7 miles) from Queenstown
  • Distance and Duration: Approximately 2 km (1.2 miles) round trip and takes about 1 hour
Family at bob's cove

23. Camp at Moke Lake

Moke Lake is a more off-the-beaten-path mountain lake hiking and camping area just a stone-throw away from Queenstown.

Of course, you'll need your own transport to drive the short, 20-minute road to Moke Lake. If you are exploring New Zealand in a non-self-contained camper, then visiting Moke Lake is also one of the best and most affordable places to spend the night!

Surrounded by mountains, this lake provides stunning views and features a scenic hiking track called the Moke Lake Loop.

  • Location: Moke Lake Road, 13 km (8 miles) from Queenstown
  • Camping Facilities: The campground offers basic facilities including toilets, picnic tables, and non-powered sites. There are no showers.
  • Cost: Approximately $15 NZD per adult per night and $7.50 NZD per child per night. Pay online or on-site, prebooking is not required.
  • Opening Hours: The campsite is open year-round, but access is usually restricted in winter due to snow. Large campers can make it (we've done it) but not recommended.
Moke lake loop in new zealand

24. Drive the Scenic Road to Glenorchy

The Glenorchy-Queenstown Road has to be one of the world's most scenic drives! Following the edge of Lake Wakatipu, the road winds gently through the mountain ranges with mind-blowing views of snow-capped peaks and distant glaciers along every turn.

There are also several pull-over areas on the side of the road (I recommend Bennett's Bluff), where you can stop and snap some shots or simply admire the view! The entire route is 46 km (29 mi) and takes 45 minutes without stops.

Queenstown to glenorchy drive

25. Hike the Routeburn Track

The Routeburn Track is one of New Zealand's Great Walks. In my opinion, it's also probably the best of all the Great Walks in New Zealand, and that's saying something!

Spanning 32 km (20 miles) through the Fiordland and Mount Aspiring National Parks, this track connects Glenorchy and the Fjiordlands. Along the way, you'll get epic views of snow-capped mountains, lush valleys, cascading waterfalls, and pristine lakes.

The highlights of this track are Harris Saddle and Conical Hill and you can actually see the best sections of the route on a very long return Routeburn day hike from Queenstown.

Lake harris routeburn day hike

26. The Earnslaw Burn Hike

Hobbit fans rejoice! The Earnslaw Burn hike follows the path of Bilbo and his companions as they march on their quest through Middle Earth.

Even if you're not a Tolkien fan, the Earnslaw Burn hike is still one of the best hikes in New Zealand and certainly one of the most scenic outdoor activities to do near Queenstown. The track dips and climbs through dense beech forest before opening up into a spectacular glacial burn with a track that leads all the way to the Earnslaw glacier.

Similarly to the Routeburn, this hike departs from neighbouring Glenorchy, but can easily be reached from Queenstown following a quick drive on the scenic lakeside road.

  • Trailhead: Glenorchy-Paradise Road
  • Distance and Duration: Approximately 30 km (13.7 mi) and typically takes 8-10 hours
Earnslaw burn hike

27. Lord of the Rings Tour

Did you know that both the North and South Island of New Zealand were the location of all Lord of the Rings filming sets? Of course you did!

There are hundreds of different locations that you can discover that were featured in the epic trilogy right around Queenstown including Isengard, Lothlórien, Amon Hen, and the Misty Mountains.

There is a very popular LOTR Tour that you can book online, covering most of the iconic destinations in this southern region near Queenstown. This is my personal favourite since it's a 4WD adventure, allowing you to access remote and rugged filming sites that are otherwise difficult to reach.

Girl in queenstown, new zealand

28. Stand-up Paddleboarding and Kayaking on Lake Wakatipu

Especially popular in summer, renting a kayak or SUP on Queenstown's Lake Wakatipu is one of the best things to do in Queenstown for families! On calm days, Lake Wakatipu is very flat, which means stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking are accessible to both beginners and experienced paddlers!

There are literally countless local rental shops providing equipment and basic instruction, just walk along the waterfront or ask in town. Good options are RealNZ, SUP Queenstown, and Paddle Queenstown.

Tip: Make sure to pick a calm day, because strong winds are common in Queenstown, especially in the afternoons! I recommend not booking too far in advance for this reason.

Queenstown lake wakatipu

29. Drive to the Remarkables Ski Area

The Remarkables mountain range is one truly worthy of the name. The constant Queenstown backdrop also features a great ski area that is very popular during the winter months of June to October. The area boasts a variety of runs for all skill levels, excellent snow conditions, and modern facilities.

Even if you're visiting outside of pow season, driving up the access road to the Remarkables Ski area is still a worthwhile trip. During the summer (November to May), the area transforms into a haven for hiking and mountain biking.

  • Location: Access road begins off State Highway 6, near the Queenstown Airport (45 minutes from Queenstown to the ski area).
  • Cost: During the winter season the access fee is NZD $10 for vehicles. In the summer, access is typically free but apparently, they planning to charge the fee for summer too now.

Tip: The access road is very steep and winding, and it can be challenging in winter. Ensure your car is equipped with snow chains and take your time and enjoy the drive,

Shotover and saddle viewpoint at lake alta

30. The Lake Alta Hike

Did you know that there's a secret lake hike worth checking out year-round right near the Remarkables Ski Field? Make sure you don't miss the short track to one of Queenstown's most scenic alpine lakes; Lake Alta.

To access this hike, you will need to take the ski field access road mentioned above. There is a sign once you arrive at the parking lot which leads the way. The lake itself is nestled in a glacial basin, surrounded by towering peaks which is great for photos.

I also found a little-known track that climbs the saddle to a spectacular viewpoint of the Lake and of Shotover country below.

  • Location: Base of the Remarkables Ski Area
  • Distance and Duration: About 3.5 km (2.2 miles) round trip in about 1.5 to 2 hours.
Lake alta queenstown hike

31. Visit Coronet Peak

On the other side of Shotover country is another of Queenstown's popular ski fields. Similarly to the Remarkables ski area, there is a well-maintained, yet steep access road to the top.

During the winter months (June to October), Coronet Peak is the main ski field near Queenstown. It's a bustling hub for skiing and snowboarding with a range of slopes suitable for all skill levels.

In the summer, Coronet Peak offers some scenic hiking trails with great views. However, in my opinion the summer views from Coronet aren't as great as the Remarkables areas.

  • Location: Top of Coronet Peak Road, about 16 km (10 mi) from Queenstown
  • Cost: During the winter, a single-day adult lift pass is around NZD $129, with discounts available for multi-day passes.
Shotover and saddle viewpoint at lake alta

32. Skydiving

Having adrenaline withdrawals? Skydiving in Queenstown is arguably the most beautiful place to do so in the entire world! The good news is it's also comparably affordable whether you’re a first-time jumper or a seasoned skydiver.

With a huge skydiving scene, there is loads of competition. Below are my recommended options:

  • Tandem Skydive: 9,000, 12,000 or 15,000 Feet
  • Indoor Skydiving: iFly near Queenstown is a cool place to experience weightlessness without getting on a plane.
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33. Paragliding

For those not ready to jump out of a plane, how about launching off a mountain?

If you've already arrived in Queenstown, then you probably would have already noticed the hundreds of paragliders and hang-gliders that dot the skies above Queenstown. If not, have you looked up? That's because paragliding is one of Queenstown's most popular adventure activities and the high mountains surrounding the town are perfect launching pads!

However, you don't need to be a pro to partake in the fun. There are many sports and adventure stores in Queenstown that can hook you up with a tandem, or you could compare prices and book online.

Paragliding in queenstown, best things to do
Paragliding is one of the best Queenstown activities for adrenaline junkies!

34. Drive to Arrowtown

Arrowtown is a small, historic mining town that is located only a short distance from Queenstown.

The drive from Queenstown to Arrowtown is scenic and relatively short, passing through picturesque landscapes with views of the Remarkables mountain range and Lake Hayes.

This well-preserved 19th-century gold mining is very small. The main street has plenty of boutique cafes, shops, galleries, and souvenir shops. If you're interested in the mining history of New Zealand, or you want to see its quaint and picturesque buildings and mountain backdrops, then add Arrowtown to your Queenstown itinerary!

  • Location: Approximately 20 km (12 miles) northeast of Queenstown (20-25 minutes).
  • Route: From Queenstown, take State Highway 6A to Frankton, then continue on State Highway 6 before turning onto Arrowtown-Lake Hayes Road (State Highway 89).

Tip: Explore beyond the main street. This area is great for hiking, biking, and fishing. Popular trails include the Arrow River Trail and the Tobins Track.

Arrowtown near queenstown

35. Unwind by the Arrow River

Arrowtown is also a mini-hub of short hikes and river walks. Located just near the main Arrowtown visitor's car park is a hiking area that is very popular with day-trippers from Queenstown.

The Arrow River is known for its clear waters, lush greenery, and peaceful surroundings. It’s an ideal spot for a picnic or simply relaxing by the water. You can easily access the river via a short walk from the main car park.

The river area is rich in history, with remnants of the gold mining era still visible. Also, check out the old Chinese Settlement near the river, which offers a glimpse into the life of early gold miners.

Arrow river near arrowtown

36. Stick a Thumb Out

I know, this is a little bit of a random one. However, Queenstown is known as one of the easiest places in the world to hitchhike!

The combination of a large backpacking community and the warm, welcoming Kiwi spirit has created a scene where hitchhiking has become a regular form of transport for many travelers and locals.

So, if hitchhiking is on the bucket list, or if you're looking to save money on transport to any of the Queenstown attractions and must see places, then go ahead and give it a go!

Road to queenstown, new zealand

37. Visit the Kawarau Gorge

While most people visit the Kawarau Gorge from Queenstown for the famous Bungy bridge, I think that it's a worthwhile destination in itself! The gorge offers spectacular views of rugged cliffs, turquoise waters, and lush vegetation. There are several lookout points where you can stop and soak in the scenery.

The Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge is not only the site for bungy jumping but also a great spot for photography and enjoying the views of the river below.

I'd recommend stopping by Roaring Meg for some of the best photo opportunities of the gorge.

Location: State Highway 6, about 25 km (15.5 miles) east of Queenstown

Kawarau gorge, roaring meg from queenstown

38. Eat a Fergburger

No, this isn't a food blog, but eating at Fergburger is so iconic that this burger joint seems to make its way onto every list of Queenstown attractions!

Known for their massive size, delicious flavors, and quality ingredients, these beasts are a must-try. I get one (or three) every single time I visit Queenstown.

Yes, the burgers really are that good, especially after a long day of hiking and exploring. Now that I've mentioned it, you'll likely see those paper-bag-wrapped wonders in the hands of every second person on the Queenstown boardwalk!

Tip for vego's: Fergburger even caters for vegans and vegetarians, so nobody has to miss out.

  • Location: 42 Shotover Street
  • Opening Hours: Open daily from 8:00 am to 5:00 am
  • Cost: From NZD $13 to $25+ per burger
Fergburger in new zealand

38. Devil's Staircase Lookout

While the Glenorchy to Queenstown road certainly gets more attention, on the other side of the elbow is yet another incredible lakeside drive.

The Devil's Staircase Lookout is a spectacular vantage point along the drive from Queenstown to Kingston and Te Anau, offering breathtaking views of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountains.

This is one of my favorite spots to take photos of the deep blue waters and the dramatic Remarkables mountain range in the background. There's plenty of space on the side of the road too with a large car park. So, if you have a camper, pull over for lunch (if it's not too windy!).

Location: State Highway 6 approximately 25 km (15.5 miles) south of Queenstown.

Queenstown scenic road near lake wakatipu in new zealand

39. Hit the Road!

Queenstown is my favourite place in New Zealand. However, the truth is that the South Island of New Zealand is one of the most adventure-packed and wild places on earth, so you should explore beyond town!

Some of the best adventures and memories are made on spontaneous trips! If you haven't yet, get your set of wheels and just drive, the roads surrounding Queenstown are so picturesque that they deserve a spot on the list!

Peter's lookout drive we seek travel

Tip: How to Get Around in New Zealand

Rent a car! New Zealand is very safe for motorists & driving is the best way to explore the country.

I always DiscoverCars to get the best deals. Or, if you want a camper, I've had good experiences in NZ with Spaceships & Travellers Autobarn.

Driving on the road near queenstown

40. Visit Wanaka

The adventures certainly don't end at Queenstown! Known colloquially as Queenstown's tamer little brother, Wanaka is another hotspot for great hikes and activities.

Located only an hour from Queenstown, many travelers only stop by for a day trip. However, if you want to check out some of the must-do's, including climbing Roy's Peak or the majestic Blue Pools, then it's worth stopping for at least a few days.

Location: Approximately 67 km (42 miles) north of Queenstown, along State Highway 6.

Roys peak track in new zealand near wanaka

Where to Stay in Queenstown

I've written a separate, accommodation guide to the best places to stay in Queenstown– make sure to check it out get a great deal! Otherwise, below is a quick summary of my top picks.

Shotover penthouse & spa queenstown accommodation new zealand

1. Shotover Penthouse & Spa Luxury

An incredible penthouse apartment that features an outdoor terrace with a barbecue and hot tub. It is situated 200 m from the Skyline Gondola and Luge.

Outdoor hot tub at night at the luxurious family home

2. Family Home Group Pick

Great for families due to its epic 5-bedroom option and a bonus is the trampoline and outdoor hot tub. And just an 8-minute drive from Downtown Queenstown.

The black sheep backpackers queenstown accommodation

3. Black Sheep Backpackers Budget

A fun-filled hostel that features pod beds, an outdoor hot tub, and located within walking distance from central Queenstown. Free bike rental is available.

Spaceship rentals 3840

3. Spaceship Camper Alternative

I cruised around in style in a Spaceship rental car. These are great for budget adventure travelers since you’ll get your accommodation and transport ticked off in one neat package.


How to Get to Queenstown

By far, the most popular way to get to Queenstown is to simply fly into Queenstown Airport. This airport is located in Frankton (also Central Otago), which is only a 10-minute drive from town.
This is an international airport with services flying from Australia and other parts of New Zealand including Wellington, Christchurch, and Auckland.

When is the best time to Visit Queenstown?

The thing about Queenstown is that there are so many things to do and see all year round. As a result, many people are drawn back to Queenstown many times over.
While it certainly is a destination worth visiting any time of the year, the best time to visit will depend on what Queenstown attractions and activities you'd like to do.

When is the best time for hiking?

The best time to visit Queenstown for hiking is in the summer months of December through to February. During this time, the weather is great, most tracks are open and there is less ice on the alpine routes.

What to do if you visit Queenstown in Winter?

For skiers and snowboarders, winter is the best time to visit Queenstown! In fact, hundreds of thousands of people visit Queenstown in winter to hit the slopes! There are lots of ski lodges and ski resorts to stay in.
The most popular hill is named Coronet Peak.


Views of hiking ben lomond

Budget Travel Tips for Visiting Queenstown

Okay, Queenstown clearly isn't the cheapest place in New Zealand. However, that doesn't mean that it's not a budget-friendly travel destination.

In fact, I still managed to spend less than NZD $80 on average per day on my recent trip to Queenstown. Below I've listed some useful tips to help you stretch the travel funds further.

  • Rent a camper - New Zealand is the best place to do it! You'll save big on transport and accommodation. I recommend Travellers Autobarn or Spaceships for a more budget option.
  • Shop at Pac N' Save - New Zealand's best and cheapest supermarket.
  • Visit Queenstown in the shoulder seasons - This is a good way to save money anywhere! Consider traveling in April/May and October/November.
  • Grab combo deals - if you plan to do more than one activity, you'll usually save money by booking your Queenstown activities in packages. I've linked to some good ones throughout this guide.

More Things to Do in Queenstown

I hope this Queenstown travel guide has been useful! If you're looking for even more tourist attractions and things to do around Queenstown, check out this list:

  • Mount Aspiring National Park
  • Lake Hayes
  • The Lakes District Museum
  • The Kiwi Birdlife Park
  • Onsen Hot Pools
  • Live music in town
  • Happy Hour at the Queenstown Ice Bar

If you're still looking for more New Zealand road trip and travel inspiration, make sure to check out some more free guides and articles below.

36 best things to do in queenstown
Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.

Olly Gaspar

Thursday 4th of June 2020

I'm glad to hear Panjene, enjoy Queenstown!


Wednesday 22nd of April 2020

Thanks sharing your blog, I had pan to visit but i didn't have any idea what exact I will do. But from your blog I got quite a number of things I will be doing.