Top 10 Things To Do in Queenstown

In New Zealand's South Island, set amid the magnificent Southern Alps mountain range on the banks of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is a vibrant resort town and one of New Zealand’s most popular destinations. Renowned for adventure activities, skiing & snowboarding and spectacular alpine scenery, there are endless things to do in Queenstown. Here is a list of the top 10 things to do in Queenstown, New Zealand.

1 Skiing/Snowboarding
Skiing/Snowboarding

Image credit: Simon / Adobe Stock

Queenstown is renowned as a snow sports paradise. During winter and early spring enjoy fantastic skiing and snowboarding with three ski areas to choose from; Cardrona, Coronet Peak and The Remarkables.  All ski fields offer great facilities and infrastructure, beautiful scenery and fantastic skiing with varied terrain. The Remarkables and Coronet Peak are sister mountains and are great for kids and beginners to advanced skiers/snowboarders (kids 5 years and under ski for free). If you want to have lots of fun in the snow on your Queenstown holiday, we recommend buying a single or multi-day pass that gives you access to both mountains (prices per day depend on how many days).
  • Prices: For one day: Adults - $199; Youth (6-17) - $57; Children (5 and under) - Free; Senior (65+) - $57
  • Duration: 1 day
  • Times: 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.
  • Best time: June till October
  • Minimum age: No age restrictions
2 Shotover Jet
Shotover Jet

Photo and information by Shotover Jet

World famous as the ultimate jet boat experience, Shotover Jet has thrilled over three million people since 1965 – and now it’s your turn! Shotover Jet is the only company permitted to operate within the Shotover River’s spectacular canyons, carved over thousands of years by billions of tonnes of fast-flowing water from the heart of the Southern Alps. Less than 10 minutes’ drive from Queenstown is where you’ll find our jet boats skimming across as little as 10 centimetres of water with speeds of up to 85 kilometres per hour. Shotover Jet was one of Queenstown’s first adventure activities and continues to be at the forefront of jet boat innovation and design. Combining the classic New Zealand invention of the jet boat with the Kiwi culture of adventure, Shotover Jet has become part of what is quintessentially ‘New Zealand’, helping to put Aotearoa on the global tourism map as one of the country’s must-do visitor activities
  • Prices: Adults - $155; Children - $89; Family pass - $399
  • Duration: 25 minutes on water allow 90 minutes
  • Times: Summer: 8am – 6pm daily Winter: 9:00am – 4:00pm daily Operate every day (river and weather conditions permitting) except Christmas Day.
  • Best time: Any time as long as the weather is good
  • Minimum age: Minimum height 1m tall, Shotover Jet reserves the right to extend to 1.2 metres to ensure maximum passenger safety.
3 Bungy Jumping
Bungy Jumping

Photo: AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand | Information confirmed by AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand

Another iconic Queenstown activity and a must on any daredevil’s list of things to do in Queenstown. There are various bungy jumping options around Queenstown, but the AJ Hackett Bungy on Kawarau Bridge is the most famous because it’s bungy founder AJ Hackett’s original bungy jump, making it the world home of bungy jumping! This 43-metre jump over the Kawarau river includes an optional dunk in the river at the bottom. Jump alone or do a tandem jump with a friend.
  • Prices: Adults - $205; Children - $155; NZ students - $175
  • Duration: 1.5 to 2.5 hours
  • Times: 9:20am - 4.30 p.m.
  • Best time: Any time as long as the weather is good
  • Minimum age: Minimum 10 years of age
  • Additional info: We also have weight requirements of: 35kg to 235kg
4 Skydiving - NZONE
Skydiving - NZONE

Photo and information by NZONE

It takes courage to jump out an aircraft from 15,000ft.  The flight to altitude takes you over the breathtaking scenery of the Otago region. You'll be harnessed to an experienced jumpmaster, as you reach terminal velocity/200kph. An exhilarating freefall is followed by a 5-minute parachute ride as you float safely back down to earth. NZONE were the first skydive operation in New Zealand, operating since 1990 and are winners of the NZ Supreme Tourism Award.
  • Prices: $229 - $459
  • Duration: 3 to 4 hours
  • Times: 8am to 8pm
  • Best time: Any time as long as the weather is good
  • Minimum age: No age restrictions
  • Additional info: The ability for a child to jump is determined by their age (over 5 years), weight, size and how the harness fits. The minimum weight is 30kg and all passengers must be big enough to fit safely into the harness.
5 White Water Rafting on the Kawarau River
White Water Rafting on the Kawarau River

Photo and information by Go Orange

Take a thrilling rafting adventure through the incredible scenery of the spectacular Kawarau river which featured as the River Anduin in Lord of The Rings. The Kawarau river ride has grade 2-3 grade rapids and is suitable for complete beginners. Your expert guide will teach you paddling techniques, and there will be plenty of time to relax and take in the scenery along calm stretches of the river. Go Orange offer trips that are a great half day activity.
  • Prices: $199
  • Duration: 4.5 hours
  • Times: Departs at 9 a.m. or 2 p.m.
  • Best time: Any time (even in the rain)
  • Minimum age: Minimum 13 years of age
  • Additional info: Weight range: 40kg – 120kg
6 Skyline Gondola & Luge
Skyline Gondola & Luge

Photo and information by Skyline Queenstown

If you’re after endless fun with spectacular views, take a ride with the Skyline Gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak and immerse yourself in the panoramic views of Queenstown and the surrounding mountains. There is plenty to keep you entertained while you take in the scenery. When you get to the top, discover a host of family-friendly activities on offer. Get on a chairlift to the Luge Top Station, get on our purpose-built Luge carts and take an exciting, downhill ride on over 800 metres of banked corners, tunnels and dippers to a backdrop of stunning views – you’ll find out that once is never enough! Or settle in for a relaxing dining experience with the best of New Zealand and international cuisine at Stratosfare Restaurant & Bar. After dark, journey into the hidden world of the night sky with Skyline’s guided Stargazing tours or enjoy a show at the Moonlight Theatre. There is something for everyone! Located an easy five minute walk from the centre of town, a visit to Skyline Queenstown is a must do!
  • Prices: Luge prices (including Gondola & 2 luge rides): Adults - $55; Children - $41.
  • Duration: allow half a day to really enjoy the full Skyline experience
  • Times: Open everyday, from 9am till Late.
  • Best time: Year round
  • Minimum age: All ages welcome, however minimum height restrictions are in place for riding the Luge solo.
7 Take a Cruise Aboard the TSS Earnslaw
Take a Cruise Aboard the TSS Earnslaw

Photo and information by Real Journeys

One of the more relaxing things to do in Queenstown, cruising across Lake Wakatipu is a fantastic way to enjoy the breathtaking scenery. Take a peek back in time aboard this vintage 1912 coal-powered steamship. Explore the decks and check out the engine room at work or just relax and take in the mountain views while enjoying a drink or snack from the Promenade Cafe as you listen to the onboard pianist play classic old-time tunes.
  • Prices: $70
  • Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Times: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Best time: All year (except during annual maintenance)
  • Minimum age: No age restrictions
  • Additional info: The TSS Earnslaw Cruise can also be combined with activities and dinning available at Walter Peak High Country Farm.
8 Amisfield Winery - Chef Lunch & Wine Tasting
Amisfield Winery - Chef Lunch & Wine Tasting

Photo and information by Amisfield Winery

Amisfield Winery, who’s vineyards are located north in the sub region of Mt Pisa, have an exquisite bistro on the edge of Lake Hayes, Arrowtown. You can enjoy their popular ‘Trust the Chef’ degustation experience, which consists of multiple smaller courses, some designed to share. Their Cellar Door is also at the Lake Hayes address, where you can try their wines, especially Pinot Noir what the region is famous for.
  • Prices: $75 - $140.
  • Duration: Around 30 minutes for wine tasting, 1.5 to 3.5 hours for dining.
  • Times: 12:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
  • Best time: All year
  • Minimum age: 18 years of age
9 Hike the Ben Lomond Track
Hike the Ben Lomond Track

Image credit: Rosana / Adobe Stock

Perhaps the most popular hike in the Queenstown area. It takes between 4-6 hours to get to “the saddle” and 6-8 hours to get to the Ben Lomond Summit (1,748m). After the saddle, the track gets more challenging (not recommended for children under 10 years old). We recommend taking the Skyline Gondola (NZ$40) up to the track which takes about 2 hours off the total hike time. This hike requires a reasonable level of fitness, so it’s not for everyone, but if you are up to it, it really is a must do! Some say it’s the best hike they’ve done...ever. If the weather is fine, you can see views of Mount Aspiring/Tititea and Mount Earnslaw/Pikirkatahi. Make sure you wear appropriate walking shoes and take water, food and warm clothing. Also be sure to check the Department of Conservation website for further guidance and safety information for this track.
  • Prices: Free; Skyline Gondola: $40.
  • Duration: 3 to 8 hours
  • Times: All day
  • Best time: All year
  • Minimum age: Not recommended for children under the age of 10
10 Take a Day Trip to Glenorchy and Paradise
Take a Day Trip to Glenorchy and Paradise

Image credit: Daniela / Adobe Stock

The drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy along the banks of Lake Wakatipu is stunningly picturesque. It's only a 45 minutes drive but it's so hard not to stop and take photos along the way that it often takes a lot longer. The small town of Glenorchy and the nearby (and more remote) settlement known as Paradise are both a photographer's and dream. Paradise is 20 kilometres from Glenorchy and part of the road is not sealed. The Paradise Trust is a great place to visit to take in the mesmerizing views, it's privately owned and guests are welcome to walk the grounds and picnic for a small fee.
  • Prices: Adults -$170.00; Children (0 - 14 years) - $90.00
  • Duration: 4.5 hours
  • Times: 7:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.
  • Best time: All year
  • Minimum age: No age restrictions

Share

Top 10 Things To Do in Queenstown
+