Queenstown, you beautiful thing!This is one of New Zealand's most beautiful towns and has earned the title of 'Adventure Capital of the World' for good reason. There are dozens of things to do around Queenstown, most of them involving gorgeous scenery and high levels of adrenaline. There are also plenty of chill Queenstown activities for low-key or tired travellers!
No matter whether you like fast-paced or slow and steady, you'll love these 10 Queenstown activities.
Hitting the slopes undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Queenstown. There are ski- fields aplenty, with the beginners level Cardrona, or the aptly-named Remarkables and Coronet Peak is for mid to advanced peeps.
2. GO UP THE GONDOLA
Most places to visit in Queenstown involve some kind of view, and the gondola is no exception. The view from up top will put little heart emojis in your eyes. The Skyline Queenstown centre at the top has balcony views, a cosy cafe where you can grab coffee, and a more deluxe dining experience at the Stratosfare Restaurant where you can have dinner overlooking the township. Of course, there's also the kiwi-classic luge! You'll be saying 'can I go again' at the end of round one, so go for the Gondala + 6 luge rides package. They have three course types of advanced, medium and beginner so it suits all adrenaline levels.
3. Wine yourself silly
The Otago Region is wine country and Queenstown is right in the thick of it, with over 200 wineries within a 40 minute drive! If you don't love wine, you might be converted with a visit to any one of these beautiful vineyards. The Otago Region specializes in its Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon-Blanc varietals.
Some of the top vineyards to visit are Peregrine Wines, Chard Farm Winery, and Gibbston Valley Wines.
4. Cycle the Frankton Track
If you're a cycling fiend, the Frankton Track is where it's at for you. Get your lycra pants out and go exploring. The track begins near Queenstown Airport and finishes right near the waterfront of the township proper. It's an easy ride and not so hilly, which is unusual for Queenstown.
5. Hike the Ben Lomond Track
The Ben Lomond summit sits right next to Lake Wakitipu, overlooking Queenstown. This hike is pretty demanding and takes a full day. Pack plenty of water and plan your trip so you have enough daylight hours to complete the trek (plan for 8 hours). With a summit of 1,750 metres, you'll be rewarded on a clear day with spectacular vistas across Lake Wakatipu and can include views across to Mount Earnslaw and Aspiring.
6. Go bar hopping
Queenstown points of interest include the lively bars around town. Visit the Ballarat Trading Company in the centre of town for an old-western style cowboy feel, or if you're after something more plush and fancy, then Eichardt's bar is the place to go. Threesixty Restaurant and Bar has a happy hour from 4-6pm and also boasts an alcoholic hot chocolate. 1876 is another cosy bar with its happy hour running from 10-11pm. Miss Lucy's on top of Snooze Queenstown has gorgeous lake views and a stylish interior where you can enjoy cold bevvies and hot pizzas.
7. The CookieTime Store
If you're a bikkie lover (which you should be) then this is a must. You'll be like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory, in awe of the art of biscuit-making. They also do happy hour which lasts between 6-7pm, with a two biscuits for 3 bucks offer. How can you say no?
8. TAKE A DAY TRIP TO MILFORD SOUND
You'll be mind-blown how beautiful this place is - it's definitely one of the top things to see in Queenstown. Majestic waterfalls and jet-dark water give this place an ethereal feel. It rains often in Milford Sound, so be prepared to get soaked and get your camera battery's fully charged! When we say day trip, it's true, prepare a whole day for this (12/13 hours), because although it looks close, zig-zagging roads mean you'll need to take your time. JUCY Cruise will be your go-to for a trip that includes transport to and from Queenstown on top of a boat trip.
9. Skydive or Bungy
If you're going to attempt one of these activities in your lifetime, best do it here! Get your adrenaline pumping and be brave because this ain't for the faint of heart! There are numerous places you can skydive or bungy around Queenstown. The Kawerau bungy is the original jump so it has a bit of history. If you're after more extreme jumps, visit the Gondala bungy, situated on Bobs peak (the massive hill that overlooks the township), or alternatively go and scream your pants off at The Nevis, this one is a big mumma at 134 metres!
10. Onsen Hot Pools
This is for the ones seeking inner peace and complete relaxation. You'll need to be organised to visit, bookings need to be made in advance. You get an hour in these private rooms of pure joy. Or you can indulge further and have a massage package too. Prices vary but well worth the spend. The best time to go is in the evening where you're surrounded by romantic lanterns.