15 Truly Awesome Things to do in Queenstown, NZ
Queenstown, New Zealand is full of amazing things to do. From treks to dining, and adventure activities, there’s enough to keep you busy for weeks!
Choosing what to do when you’re on a limited time frame can be tricky, so here’s a list of the 10 best things to do in Queenstown.
1 – Go to the Top of Bob’s Peak
Bob’s Peak gives a great view of Queenstown city and its surroundings. The Skyline Gondola will take you up to the top of the mountain. Once you’re up there, take in the views, take a luge ride (or three) down the mountain, dine at their fancy Stratosfare restaurant and take one of the most impressive landscape photos of New Zealand.
This is one of the great things to do in Queenstown if you’re on a budget as you can consider walking up to see the stunning views. The tiki trail will take you at least 45 minutes to reach the top.
2 – Have a Dip in Onsen Hot Pools
Onsen Hot Pools is the Instagram spot of the things to do in Queenstown. Enjoy the spectacular views of the Shotover River while you bathe in their cedar tub. If you’re planning a trip to Queenstown, book early! Their hot pools are a popular spot, so they will book out. Sessions are one hour long, so the best time to go is during sunrise. This way, you’ll get to see the views during golden hour and after dark.
Prices start at $126 NZD during the daytime and $150 NZD during the nighttime for two people. They also have spa experiences available at an extra cost.
3 – Picnic at Queenstown Gardens
Queenstown Gardens is a little piece of tranquillity right in the middle of the city. In the late evening, bring along a bottle of wine you picked up following a wine tasting and of course, an infamous Ferg Burger.
The gardens are also a great place to feed the ducks, go for a stroll, or an evening run.
4 – Day Trip to Milford Sound
No bucket list of things to do in Queenstown is complete without visiting Milford Sound. The peaks in the fiord feature plummeting waterfalls. If you’re lucky, you may get to spot penguins, seals, and dolphins.
Milford Sound is located four hours from Queenstown. While it is driveable, most people choose to take a day tour. There are plenty of companies to book through, so if you’re a last-minute planner, you should be able to turn up at any tourism booth and book there. Prices are relatively constant amongst companies at around $150 NZD per person.
5 – Watch the Sunrise at Lake Moke
Lake Moke is one of the lesser-known beauties of Queenstown. This horseshoe-shaped lake is a great place to go for sunrise. As the sun rises, golden colours are painted on the faces of the mountains.
If you’re keen to walk the steep climb to the lookout at the top, it should take you around 45 minutes. Otherwise, just walk five minutes from the campground car park to view the three mountain peaks.
6 – Go Wine Tasting
The Central Otago region of New Zealand is known for its great wine varietals, especially Pinot Noir. Because of this, you’ll find an array of Queenstown vineyards and wineries scattered across the region. Many of these wineries will offer wine tastings, anything from free of charge (with a donation encouraged) to around $15 for five decent pours.
Our recommendations, if you’ve only got time to stop by one or two are Chard Farm and Amisfield.
7 – Eat at Ferg Burger
Ferg Burger was mentioned above, but this deserves a things to do in Queenstown spot in itself. They’re New Zealand’s most famous burger joint, and one of the best restaurants in Queenstown. It’s the only place in the town that has lines extending out to the street.
Ferg Burger caters to everyone, including their vegans and gluten-free customers. They’ve also expanded to provide baked goods and sweet treats. Ferg Baker and Ferg Gelato are right next door. The pies are amazing!
8 – Jetboat Across Shotover River
Shotover and Kawarau Rivers are a sight to see and one of the adrenaline-pumping things to do in Queenstown. Why not experience them by darting through the rivers on a jetboat?
The exhilarating experience will cost you as little as $50 NZD for 25 minutes, or the more popular option is one hour, at $120 – $160 NZD, depending on the company you book with. Shotover River is a more popular spot to do it, so generally, tours from Kawarau River are on the cheaper side.
9 – Bungy Jump, if you Dare!
Another one for the adrenaline lovers out there. AJ Hackett opened the first commercial Bungy site in the world in New Zealand. So there’s no better place to go bungy jumping, whether you’re a first-timer or a keen jumper.
Bear in mind this short but invigorating experience will come at a high cost. Tickets will cost you upwards of $200 NZD making one of the more expensive things to do in Queenstown.
10 – Watch the Sunset at Lake Wakatipu
Lake Wakatipu is a long lake (stretching over 80 km long) at the edge of Queenstown. It’s only a few minutes away from the town on foot. Catch the sunset here during one of your evenings in Queenstown.
Pair watching the sunset with a great Kiwi snack. Cookie Time does 2-for-1 hot cookies during their happy hour from 6 pm – 7 pm. Sit at the water’s edge and enjoy these tasty treats.
11 – Visit Arrowtown
At only 20 minutes from Queenstown, this charming, little town is one not to be missed. Arrowtown is was a booming town during the gold rush of the late 1800s.
Try your luck at gold panning, visit the Chinese settlement and Arrow River, and dine at their many great brunch bars.
12 – Climb Queenstown Hill
Queenstown Hill isn’t as high on the list of things to do in Queenstown as Bob’s Peak, but in my opinion, the surrounding views are more spectacular. It’s only a 1.5-hour walk to the top which is a little steep, but it wouldn’t be considered a difficult trek. There are many photo opportunities in the beech forest, viewpoints, and at the summit.
13 – Browse the Town
Just like any other tourist destination, you have to spend some time walking around the town. There’s a great selection of restaurants, bars, and shops.
The waterfront is the best area to relax. The buskers create such an atmosphere. Buy an ice cream (or a hot coffee during winter) and sit on the grassy patch by the harbour and enjoy. Make sure to grab a Queenstown map!
14 – Catch the View at Bennett’s Bluff
Bennett’s Bluff is one of the most popular photo spots in Queenstown. It’s only a 30-minute drive out from the town, and it’s on the way to the up-and-coming town of Glenorchy. If you’ve rented a car or a campervan, definitely consider travelling to Glenorchy for a half-day trip, and visit Bennett’s Bluff Lookout on the way.
The viewpoint is by Mount Crichton, and it’s easy to find as you’ll see a lot of cars stopped off at the side of the road, no matter what time of day you visit. Make it at sunset for one of the most romantic things to do in Queenstown!
15 – Go White Water Rafting
Many rafting courses around the world are man-made. Not in Queenstown! Queenstown is the perfect place for white water rafting. The Shotover and Kawarau Rivers are the two popular places to do so. This is conveniently where you can bungy jump and do a lot of the other adrenaline activities that get your heart pumping.
Many courses are available, whatever your ability.