Queenstown is referred to as the 'Adventure Capital of New Zealand', and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. The town sits on the shore of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu, boasting a captivating backdrop of majestic surrounding mountains and beautiful rivers. The town is a hub for outdoor activities and adventure sports, where one can indulge in year-round activities like bungee jumping, sky diving, canyon swinging, jet boating, horse trekking, mountain biking, hiking and river rafting that attracting tourists from across the world, making it one of the most sought travel destination in the world.
The best way to get a true taste of the uniqueness of the town is to indulge in some of the best things to do in Queenstown, which include attractions like Skyline Gondola with its iconic views, Glenorchy, Mount Aspiring National Park, Skippers Canyon, Kawarau River, Lake and Alpine and Queenstown Hill. One can indulge in adventure sports like off-road driving, cave explorations, skydiving, bungee jumping, river rafting, jet boating, hot air balloon rides, cycling, mountain biking, motorcycling, golf, hiking, kayaking, fishing, surfing, windsurfing, kite surfing and diving. One can get a taste of the culture of the city by taking a visit to its museums like the Lakes District Museum; art galleries like Graham Brinsley Gallery, David John Gallery and by indulging in tasting the locally manufactured wine at Waitiri Creek Wines Ltd, Queenstown Wine Trail and Skippers Canyon Wine Tour. The town also offers vibrant markets selling everything from clothes and souvenirs to food and art, some of the important stores being Untouched World, Remarkables Peak Town Centre, Aotea Gifts and Kapa Design Gallery. The town also offers a gastronomic delight by offering a mouth-watering cuisine at the various restaurants, clubs, bars, cafes and casinos. A tour of Queenstown, with its spectacular scenery and world-class activities and attractions, is sure to take your breath away.
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What to Do in and around Queenstown
Enjoy 21 best Queenstown attractions and points of interest to choose from!
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Brecon St, Queenstown, New Zealand
09:00 am - 06:00 pm
Among the various other things that are a part of New Zealand’s original recipe, the main ingredient, apart from The Lord of The Rings, is the country’s national bird. Now, you aren’t likely to spot any Kiwi’s when you venture into the wilderness of New Zealand. In fact, you stand a better chance viewing them up close along with other birds that are the pride of New Zealand, not to mention the 30 other species you’ll get to see. Spread over 5 acres, visitors can enjoy a wide range of activities from wildlife shows to forest trails to having an encounter with the dinosaur of today’s world.
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Fiordland National Park, Te Anau, New Zealand
The seven wonders of the world keep changing- there were the old wonders and the new wonders. The eight wonder however, has remained constant. Aptly coined by the author, Rudyard Kipling, Milford Sound is one of the most visited tourist attractions of the world. The only fiord accessible by road, you could opt to see Milford Sound by day or by night. The scenes Milford Sound will bestow on you are sure to help you seek inspiration even in the most mundane things. With tall cliffs carved out of glaciers and the river as deep as 2000 feet, the best way to experience Milford Sound is by a coach/cruise tour operated on a daily basis and highly recommended not to mention the scenic flights that will give you a bird’s eye view on one the world’s most spectacular sights.
Apart from a cruise tour, there’re a lot of other activities that speak of the heritage of Milford Sound. You could visit the underwater observatory, hike up to the mountains, check out the black corals or just go kayaking. There are a great deal of tours that have affordable offers to encompass the complete experience of Milford Sound, although you could make your own itinerary should you wish to.
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Te Anau, New Zealand
What starts off as a cruise on Lake Te Anau, ends with a sight that is unique to New Zealand- the grotto of the glow worms. Before you are seated in smaller boats at the cave, there’s an informative session about glow worms and their life cycle. The caves are an underground network that is accessible only by a smaller boat, from Cavern House. Since the caves are on the younger side of geology, the water flowing through them is still sculpting the rocks to form pathways, whirlpools and waterfalls. Through-out the boat ride, the guides will be providing their inputs to enhance the experience. Somewhere during this tour of the underground world, you’ll be led to the hideout of the glow worms. Imagine amidst the darkness you suddenly come across thousands of luminous sources of light.
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Brecon St, Queenstown 9348, New Zealand
09:00 am - 11:00 pm
For the best view of Queenstown, climb aboard the Skyline Gondola that will take you to the top of Bob’s Peak for a breath-taking panorama of the adventure capital of the world. Not only is the view from the destination picturesque, the journey to Bob’s Peak too is a real treat. Coronet’s Peak, The Remarkables and the Queenstown Gardens to name a few, are just some of Queenstown’s attractions that you’ll be able to spot.
One of the most popular activities here, apart from the dining atop the peak is the Luge Ride. From Bob’s Peak, hop on for a free airlift (by chair) about 100 m high for an 800 m Luge Ride down. The Luge cart is safe for all ages and you can enjoy a scenic view on the ride down and catch the airlift back to the starting line for another ride. There’s also a cultural Maori Kiwi Haka dance that takes place on the hill, the tickets for which can be purchased at the entrance.
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Next to Marine Parade, Queenstown, New Zealand
Another feather in New Zealand’s cap, the Queenstown Gardens is a botanical garden that, within its premises, houses a wide variety of flora, both exotic and native. With a waterfront peninsula, the garden is surrounded by The Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu. If you’re good at aiming, bring along a Frisbee and try your hand at New Zealand’s first ever Frisbee golf course. If not, take a stroll in the garden, feed the ducks, read a book in the lap of nature or just lie back and bask in the sun…
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Steamer Wharf, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand.
Apart from its spectrum of adventure sports, the other reason why people keep coming back to Queenstown is due to its scenery. One of the many boat cruises you should take whilst in Queenstown is the T.S.S Earnslaw. The cherry on the icing here is that not only do you see a whole new side of Queenstown, you also get to explore the century old vintage Edwardian steamship. Sail on the waters of Lake Wakatipu for a full 90 minutes and use them to your advantage the visit the steam room, the mini-museum full of pictures of the by-gone era and the bridge to name a few. There’s a Promenade cafe should you wish to just knock back a cold one and take in the view(s).
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Queenstown, New Zealand
09:00 am - 04:00 pm
True to its name, The Remarkables are worth being remarked about! Although, when compared to what it can offer to tourists, the view is somewhat sidelined. A 45 minute drive from Queenstown, The Remarkables is the place to be for winter sports. With facilities for both amateurs and experts, be it skiing or snowboarding, there’s a place for everyone. The best winter retreat for families, children under 10 can ski for free. When you’re exhausted from all the activity, devour a well deserved meal at any of the licensed cafes, bars or Snack Shacks.
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Gibbston RD 1 | State Hwy 6, Queenstown, New Zealand
10:00 am - 04:00 pm
Growing grapes is a delicate art, more so, if the end product is wine. What Burgundy is to France, Otago is to New Zealand! A wine connoisseur’s paradise, Gibbston Valley Wines is New Zealand’s finest wine producing hub. Renamed the ‘Valley of Wines’, the weather conditions of the Gibbston Valley keep swinging into the extremes, making this feat of producing top quality pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot gris, riesling and sauvignon blanc all the more commendable. Enjoy a fine wine & dine experience with award winning tours and private tours with veteran winemakers.
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174 Glenda Drive, Queenstown 9348, New Zealand
08:00 am - 11:00 pm
Undoubtedly a sight that must not be missed, the Skippers Canyon, not only comes with a lot of history but also 22 km of unadulterated scenic beauty. Accessible only by the Skippers Road, a ride on the road is more than enough to give you a sneak-peek into what the trip ahead holds in store. The Shotover River runs through the Canyon, making it a popular spot for jet boating/skiing, bungy jumping, caving, etc. However, there aren’t any self-drive options available to visit Skippers Canyon; there are companies that conduct the tour of a daily basis complete with 4WD minibuses.
Regarded as New Zealand’s best kept secret, the highlight of the trip will be crossing the Skippers Bridge suspended 90m from the river, with all of its 14 original wires still intact. Apart from the drive along Skippers Road, there are a lot of other activities that will reveal the mystery of Skippers Canyon!
#10 of 21 Things to do in Queenstown | Added 13031 times in trip plans
221 Kent St.Kingston Railway Station, Queenstown 9748, New Zealand
10:00 am - 01:00 pm
What previously used to be a fully functional mode of transportation during the erstwhile years is now a scenic railroad ride along the Wakatipu district on 14 kms of preserved tracks! The Kingston Flyer is a vintage train that has now been converted as a tourist attraction. Experience what it would be like to travel in the 80’s- whole compartments for your family, broad leather seats, door services with a wine and dine option as the Wakatipu district whizzes by, this vintage train ride is definitely one of the things you must do if you’re seeking a heritage tour in New Zealand.
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Otago, New Zealand
Queenstown is famous for the sheer variety of adventure sports it has to offer. At any given tourist attraction, there will be at least two adventure sports up for grabs. One such coveted location is the Kawarau River. For those of you who aren’t fond of extreme sports, the Kawarau River is also a historical landmark that can keep the history buffs entertained while the more daring lot jump off bridges and tackle the current of the river. Here’s a bit of a movie trivia for you- did you know that the Kawarau River was the River Anduin in the Lord of The Rings?
The Kawarau Suspension Bridge, about 43 m from the river, makes a perfect spot to try your hand at bungee jumping. In the olden times, this bridge was used to connect the Otega gold mines and Queenstown. Known as the first commercial bungee jumping site of New Zealand, it’s the ideal start to your bungee jumping fantasy. You could either bop over the water or dunk your head in it, or just slink in enough to dip your hands in. Even if you don’t want to leap off the bridge, it’s a treat to watch eager tourists experiencing the thrill of free falling, shrieks and all.
The Kawarau River is considered to be one of the mild rivers and highly recommended for first time rafters or Jet Boarders. No prior rafting experience is required and not only is it safe, but you can also appreciate the beauty of the land from down there. Don’t underestimate the current of the water though! White water river rafting is a popular attraction and a must-do when you visit New Zealand.
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South Island 7886, New Zealand
12:01 am - 12:00 am
Located on the western coast of New Zealand’s South Island, this national park is said to be the extension of the highest peak of Southern Alps. Often referred as ‘glacier country’, this pristine park offers impressive terrain that deserves exploration. The small greenery, coast, lakes, wetlands, rivers and many such natural features of this park will put you in awe of its beauty. You can explore the terrain by hiking or can go for kayaking on the lakes. All in all, this national park has a host of activities to offer in its kitty.
So missing out on this site will be a sheer loss to your trip to Franz Josef.
Lake and Alpine together make the perfect setting for an excess of adventure activities; in winter there is skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, snow mobile rides and the extreme art of helicopter ski jumping.
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For a calmer view of the town you could take a relaxed hike to the top of Queenstown Hill and view the lakes and forests from above, or explore one of the wetland nature preserves that denote the Otago region.