Queenstown is the city that has it all. Whether you’re seeking adventure, are a nature lover, or simply want to relax, Queenstown has something for you. It also happens to be one of the most beautiful little cities I have ever been to. Queenstown definitely stole my hearts, and it is seriously full of so many things to do.
Queenstown is part of my 10 day New Zealand South Island Itinerary
Heres is a list of the top things to do in Queenstown.
Go on a hike
From easy strolls to more demanding full day hikes, Queenstown has no shortage of beautiful tracks to keep you busy.
Our favourite hike was to the summit of Bob’s Cove. The hike begins with a gentle stroll around the shore of Lake Wakatipu, before taking you up a steep track to the top of the lookout point.
From the there you will be able to see out to two different bays, as well as to the Remarkables. In September we had nearly the whole area to ourselves.
If you’re up for a bit more of a challenge, try the Ben Lomond track. The hike gives you 360 degree views of the surrounds, including Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkable mountain range. It will take 7-8 hours, and is quite physically demanding.
Be sure to check on the weather conditions before going on this hike, there can often be extreme weather conditions at the summit. When we were there in September there was snow, which we definitely weren’t prepared for, so we had to skip this hike.
Ride up the Skyline Gondola
Ride up the Skyline Gondola to the top of Queenstown Hill. The views at the top are seriously amazing, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to wander around the various view points. If you’re feeling adventurous you can ride on a luge down the hill.
There is also an awesome restaurant up at the top, where you can get indulge in a buffet lunch or dinner whilst looking out to the crazy views.
We usually don’t expect much from buffets, but this one was actually really delicious! Think freshly made sushi, salads, bao, curries, desserts and much more.
Drive to Glenorchy
They say life is about the journey and not the destination, and this definitely true about the drive to Glenorchy as well. The town itself is small but cute, with just a few cafe’s and a gorgeous lakeside.
The drive there however is definitely the main attraction. The road winds its way around the edge of Lake Wakatipu, offering breathtaking views of the lake and mountain ranges.
The drive takes around 40 minutes, but allow yourself plenty of extra time for photo stops and general gazing in awe along the way.
Go on a wine tour
Queenstown is surrounded by beautiful wineries and vineyards, with the Central Otago region being famous for its Pinot noir. Whilst we’re not exactly wine aficionados, we can say going on a wine tour was one of the most fun things we did in Queenstown.
You can make your own way around the various wineries, or else choose a tour to go on.
We went with Altitude Wine Tours, which took us to three different wineries. We sampled a lot of wine, had an amazing cheese board, and sang loudly (and badly) to songs on the way home.
Our group even went out for dinner afterwards once we got back to Queenstown. The tour is equal parts fun and informative, and we left feeling slightly more like actual wine aficionados.
Try an Adventure activity
Queenstown isn’t known as the adventure capital of the world for no reason. There is seriously an endless list of adrenaline pumping activities to do here!
On my first trip to New Zealand I bungee jumped at the Kawara Bridge, which was equally parts terrifying and exhilarating. You could also try sky diving, jet boating, paragliding and so much more.
Treat yourself to a private spa
Slow down a little and relax in your own private spa at the Onsen Hotpools. The hot pools have amazing views over the Shotover River Canyon, and are the perfect way to unwind after a busy day of adventuring around Queenstown. You can go during the day to really appreciate the views, or at night to soak under the stars.
Prices start at $87.50 NZD for one bather or $126 NZD for two bathers.
Explore the night life
We were surprised to discover that Queenstown was full of amazing bars and nightlife. The town really comes alive on a Saturday night, the bars were packed!
Start the night with a cocktails and tapas at Eichardt’s bar, before cosying up in front of the fire place at Attiqa bar. If you’re up for a dance, end the night at Winnies or World Bar.
You also can’t go past Cowboys, which as the name suggests is country western themed. Cheesy but also fun!
Where to stay in Queenstown?
Queenstown offers a huge variety of accommodation, from AirBnbs to hotels and hostels. We stayed at an AirBnb with amazing views of the lake about 5 minutes from the city centre.
We recommend staying for at least three to four nights in order to experience all that this awesome town can offer.
As you can see there is no shortage of activities to do in Queenstown. The hardest part is deciding what to pick!