31 Things To Do In Queenstown
Kia ora! Queenstown is the ultimate holiday destination for nature lovers, adventure seekers, and wine enthusiasts. With its beautiful mountain views, crisp alpine air and a bustling town centre, this picturesque city is the perfect escape for couples, families and anyone looking for a little bit of excitement.
While it’s known as the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown truly has something for everyone, from adrenaline-pumping outdoor activities to a thriving food and wine scene.
Join us as we explore 31 of the best and most memorable adventures to share with your loved ones in Queenstown.
1. Hit the slopes
Coronet Peak and The Remarkables Ski Fields offer some of the best skiing and snowboarding experiences in town, with runs suitable for all skill levels. If you’re new to the slopes, both ski fields offer rental equipment and ski lessons to get you started. If you're a freestyle pro looking to show off your skills, The Remarkables Ski Fields have terrain parks and half-pipes, making it the perfect spot to take your skills to the next level.
When it’s time to take a break and warm up, both ski fields have on-site cafes and restaurants serving up hot beverages and snacks to help you recharge after a long day on the mountain.
2. Explore the beauty of Lake Wakatipu
A trip to Queenstown isn’t complete without a cruise down Lake Wakatipu – and what better way to do it than on an old vintage steamship! Originally built in 1912, the iconic TSS Earnslaw is one of the oldest tourist attractions in town. On this charming journey you’ll have the opportunity to watch the skilled stokers at work, before stopping at the historic Walter Peak High Country Farm for a guided farm tour and a delicious barbecue lunch or dinner.
3. Experience the ultimate relaxation
Tucked away in the gorgeous alpine landscape, Onsen Hot Pools is a hidden gem that offers a perfect escape from the crowds. These Japanese-inspired cedar-lined hot pools provide the perfect ambience to soak and unwind in the natural hot water, while enjoying the breathtaking views of the Shotover River Canyon below.
Whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway or a solo escape, the Onsen Hot Pools are a must-visit destination in Queenstown. Just make sure you book well in advance, especially during peak ski season, to ensure you don’t miss out.
4. Thrill, chill and paddle
If you’re looking for a way to combine thrill seeking and serenity in one, check out the Funyak Safari Adventure. This full-day adventure takes you deep into the stunning Mt Aspiring National Park on an inflatable canoe, where you'll navigate hidden side streams, rock pools, and ancient chasms. You'll even get to indulge in a delicious wilderness picnic lunch, and end the day with a 4WD coach ride through some of New Zealand's most famous filming locations. It’s the combination of heart-pumping excitement and peaceful paddling for us!
5. Enjoy breathtaking views of Bob's Peak
Take a five minute walk from the town centre and hop on the Skyline Gondola, the southern hemisphere's steepest cable car, for a 450 metre scenic journey up to Bob's Peak. At the top, indulge in epic views of Lake Wakatipu before embarking on an adventurous ride back down. (See #6 on our list!)
6. Take on the Luge
After a peaceful chairlift ride on the Skyline Gondola, get ready to feel the rush of adrenaline as you zoom down on the Skyline Luge – an adventure that's not just for kids! First-timers must choose the easier track first before advancing to the more challenging track, but don't worry – multiple Luge runs are encouraged to truly unleash your competitive side.
7. Soar through the skies
Launch off from the top of Bob’s Peak and experience the ultimate rush of paragliding or hang gliding! There are plenty of experienced partners that offer top-of-the-line equipment and experienced instructors to ensure your safety and enjoyment. Whether you're a first-time flyer or an experienced glider, paragliding or hang gliding in Queenstown is a bucket list activity you won’t want to miss.
8. Go canyon swinging…
Hold onto your hats! The Nevis Swing, the world's biggest swing, is the ultimate adrenaline rush for solo or tandem thrill-seekers. Located just 40 minutes outside of Queenstown, this swing launches you into a 70 metre freefall, reaching speeds of 120 kilometres per hour before hurtling you towards a rocky cliff face. This is one experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.
9. …or bungee jumping
The Nevis Bungy is definitely not for the faint-hearted. This 134 metre bungy jump is one of the highest in the world, with a heart-stopping freefall from a suspended platform high above the Nevis River that will push even the most seasoned adrenaline junkies to their limits. Will you take the leap?
10. …or catapulting
Get ready to experience the ultimate adrenaline rush with the Nevis Catapult – the third instalment of the Nevis Valley “Thrillogy'! Launch yourself over the stunning Nevis Valley at a mind-boggling speed of up to 100 kilometres per hour in just 1.5 seconds! Take the Bungy Bus from the town centre and try all three experiences in one epic day.
11. Step back in time
Experience the charm of a bygone era with a visit to Arrowtown. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover or just seeking a charming getaway, this enchanting village has something to offer everyone. Soak up the gold rush era by trying your hand at gold panning in the Arrow River, or take a leisurely stroll along the village's quaint main street. Feeling hungry? Indulge in some delicious local cuisine at one of Arrowtown's gastropubs. Your taste buds will thank you.
12. Explore Queenstown’s wine region by bus…
Did you know that Queenstown is located in the southernmost wine region in the world, with over 200 vineyards within an hour's drive? The heart of this wine country is in Gibbston, and the best way to explore it all is with the Queenstown wine trail tour. Choose between private or small group winery tours by bus, and taste the top quality, cool climate wines that have won over sommeliers and wine lovers around the globe.
13. …or pedal your way through!
If you’re looking for a unique way to explore Queenstown’s wine country, try one of Around the Basin's biking and winery tours. With a shuttle service, bike safety briefing, trail maps, and visits to wineries, breweries, and even a cheesery, this tour lets you go at your own pace and taste as many wines as you'd like.
14. Get up close and personal with New Zealand’s native birdlife
Want to spot a Kiwi bird in its natural habitat? Head to Kiwi Park, a charming five-acre reserve near the Skyline Gondolas entrance. With their entry ticket, visitors can enjoy a Kiwi encounter, a self-guided audio tour, and a daily conservation show.
15. Zip through the air
Looking for a fun adventure in Queenstown that's suitable for the whole family? Try the ZipTrek EcoTour, an eco-flying ziplining experience that takes you soaring through the beautiful canopy. This guided tour starts off slow and low, gradually building into higher heights and faster speeds. It's a confidence-boosting experience that's perfect for all ages, and a great way to create lasting memories.
16. Sink your teeth into a legend
Why dine at a regular restaurant when you can grab a world-famous FergBurger takeaway and enjoy it lakeside? Sink your teeth into a juicy burger and bask in the picturesque scenery and sunshine. It’s the perfect way to relax and indulge in a bit of people-watching, while enjoying some of Queenstown's most famous cuisine.
17. Go underground
For a truly unique wine tasting experience, head over to the Gibbston Valley Wine Cave. Carved into the rocky hillside, this underground cave is home to some of the region's finest wines, including their signature Pinot Noir and award-winning Chardonnay. Take a guided tour to learn about the winemaking process and the history of the cave, followed by a tasting of their delicious wines.
18. Chill out at the coolest bar in Queenstown
Step into a winter wonderland at Below Zero Ice Bar, the largest ice bar in Australasia! The entire venue is an icy paradise, from the walls to the furniture to the cups. Don’t worry about freezing, though, because they’ll provide you with a cozy coat, gloves, and boots on arrival. Inside the bar you’ll find incredible ice sculptures, an ice hockey table and even a photo booth to snap some cool shots. It’s the perfect place to spend a hot day and a must-do on your Queenstown bucket list!
19. Take to the skies
Experience Queenstown’s natural beauty from a new perspective with a scenic helicopter ride over the Remarkables mountain range. Soar high above the peaks and valleys, take in panoramic views of the lakes, rugged terrain and majestic mountains below, and even choose to land on a stunning alpine location! With a variety of unique helicopter experiences available, this is one thrilling and unforgettable way to explore the city.
20. Get wet and wild
Hold on tight and experience the ultimate rush of adrenaline as you zoom through the beautiful canyons of the Shotover River! Operating since 1865, the world-famous Shotover Jet is a must-do activity for thrill-seekers of all ages. Each ride lasts approximately 25 minutes and features sharp turns through rapids and shallow waters. Just make sure you’re prepared to get wet!
21. Savour the taste of local delights
For a delicious lunch in a beautiful outdoor setting, head over to Kinross. This family-owned winery and restaurant features a range of locally sourced and seasonal ingredients (try the truffle potatoes and roast pumpkin!), all prepared by skilled chefs. And of course, no visit to Kinross would be complete without sampling some of their award-winning wines. You can even book accommodation on site.
22. Lace up your hiking boots…
If you’re a nature enthusiast, the Queenstown Hill Time Walk is a must. This scenic trail takes you through lush forests, historical gold-mining sites and stunning viewpoints. The cherry on top is reaching the famous Basket of Dreams sculpture, where you can take in panoramic views of the Remarkables mountain range, Lake Wakatipu, and the town below. Whether you’re an avid hiker or just starting out, this trail has something for everyone.
23. …or take your hiking game to the next level
If you’re looking to kick things up a notch, the Ben Lomond Walk is a must. Easily accessible from Queenstown, there are two options to choose from: a four-hour hike through the native beech forests to Ben Lomond Saddle, or a six-to-eight-hour hike to Ben Lomond Summit. The latter is more challenging, but well worth it for the stunning mountain views on a clear day.
24. Take a road trip to Glenorchy…
The scenic drive from Queenstown to the quaint village of Glenorchy offers some of the most beautiful views New Zealand has to offer. The route takes you through winding roads that snake through rugged landscapes, with incredible views of Lake Wakatipu and the snow-capped mountains beyond. The journey takes just 45 minutes, making it an easy and accessible adventure from Queenstown that should not be missed.
25. …and be transported to Middle Earth!
No trip to New Zealand is complete without a visit to one of the stunning locations where the Lord of the Rings was filmed. When you arrive at the town of Glenorchy, just 40 minutes from Queenstown, you’ll see where plenty of iconic scenes were brought to life, including Isengard, Amon Hen, and Lothlorien. Even if you’re not a huge fan of the films, the tour is still worth it for the scenery alone.
26. Buckle up for the beauty of Milford Sound
If you’ve got a bit more time to spare, a day trip to Milford Sound is an absolute must. This scenic journey takes approximately four hours each way, and passes through some of the most jaw-dropping landscapes you’ll ever see. Think towering mountains, lush rainforests and pristine rivers. The best part is the cruise through Milford Sound itself, where you'll be treated to towering waterfalls, rugged cliffs, and plenty of marine life that call this place home.
27. Explore Queenstown on two wheels
Grab your helmet and get ready for an unforgettable mountain biking adventure on the Queenstown Trails! With over 130 kilometers of scenic trails to explore, there’s a route to suit every skill level, from beginners to seasoned pros. And with plenty of bike rental options and guided tours available, it’s easy to find the perfect ride.
28. Ride the rapids
Prepare to get soaked! This epic white-water rafting adventure takes you on a wild ride down the Kawarau River. As you navigate the twists and turns of the river, you'll be treated to incredible views of the mountains and forests that line the riverbank. And with experienced guides and top-of-the-line equipment, you can relax and enjoy the ride, knowing that you're in safe hands. So grab your life jacket, put on your game face and get ready for an adrenaline-fueled adventure!
29. Get a bird’s eye view
For a truly magical way to experience Queenstown, take to the skies in a hot air balloon at sunrise. Sit back and relax while experienced pilots guide you through the air, offering the best views of the Southern Alps, lakes, rivers and the surrounding areas. Whether you’re looking to spark some romance or create unforgettable memories with your loved ones, grab your camera and capture the beauty of Queenstown from a whole new perspective.
30. Say cheese!
Be sure to make a stop at Mt. Rosa Winery and indulge in their signature cheeseboard. Made from locally sourced milk and aged to perfection, their selection of artisanal cheeses (including their award-winning blue cheese) is the perfect accompaniment to a glass of full-bodied Pinot Noir. This is the perfect way to spend an hour – or a whole afternoon.
28. Ride the rapids
Escape the town centre and take a tranquil stroll through Queenstown Gardens, a beautiful park nestled on the shore of Lake Wakatipu. Get lost in the rose gardens, play a game of frisbee golf, or simply relax on one of the many comfy benches. With plenty of shady trees and walking paths, the Queenstown Gardens are the perfect spot for a lazy afternoon picnic or a romantic evening stroll.
No matter what brings you to Queenstown, Oaks Hotels, Resorts & Suites are the perfect place to stay during your trip. Located just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the shores of Lake Wakatipu, our resorts offer a range of comfortable and modern accommodation options, and are the ideal base for exploring all that Queenstown has to offer.