Heaven on earth for adventure seekers and adrenaline junkies
New Zealand’s finest resort city is so beautiful and so much fun that people venture here from around the world to enjoy its unrivalled splendour, whether in summer or winter. Nestled on the shore of Lake Wakatipu at the foot of the mountains, it’s a playground for thrillseekers, offering jet boating, bungy jumping, mountain climbing and paragliding. Come winter, it’s the perfect base for fans of quality snow sports, with The Remarkables and Coronet Peak offering world-class facilities less than 30 minutes away.
Add the close proximity of former gold rush towns like Clyde and Arrowtown, Lake Wanaka and its nearby ski resorts Treble Cone and Cardona, amazing mountain biking tracks, trout and salmon fishing, hiking and even a 150km scenic rail trail for cyclists, and you’ve got a town with just about everything a tourist could want. And that’s even before you start exploring the plethora of bars, pubs, cafés, restaurants, shops and hotels in the heart of the city.
Things to do
Restaurants and bars
Stroll around the city centre and check out the deals on offer at the countless bars opens in new window and restaurants opens in new window competing to welcome you. Pizza, Thai, Mexican, craft beer, domestic wine and just about everything else you can think of is on offer, including the world-famous-in-New-Zealand burger joint, Fergburger opens in new window.
Serving prospectors during the gold rush of the 19th century, the quaint village of Arrowtown opens in new window is just a 20-minute drive from Queenstown and is home to arts and crafts, bars and restaurants, outdoor adventure companies and a boutique cinema.
The best way to see all of Queenstown is to take the Skyline Gondola opens in new window to the top of Bob’s Peak for breathtaking views across Lake Wakatipu to the surrounding mountains and the city below.
Steamship lake cruises
The 90-minute cruise across Lake Wakatipu on century-old steamship the TSS Earnslaw opens in new window is a relaxing and educational way to spend your time. Optional add-ons include a guided farm tour, horse trek, barbecue lunch or evening dinner.
Luge, bungy and paragliding
Once you reach the top of the Skyline Gondola, it’s up to you how you get back down again. Zip down on the luge track opens in new window – and once you’re down there, go back up and do it all again. Take the world’s most scenic bungy jump opens in new window. Or fly over Queenstown on a tandem paraglide opens in new window.
Distance to city centre 8km
Taxi Taxis take around 15 minutes to get into town and cost around NZD $45.
Shuttle Book ahead for shuttles opens in new window to central Queenstown, or direct to the walking tracks of Wakatipu or Glenorchy and Mt Aspiring National Park; from NZD $20.
Bus Orbus opens in new window route 1 to Fernhill runs every 15 minutes, 7 days a week, and takes about 30 minutes to get to central Queenstown. The fare is NZD $4.Back to top
When to go
Summer days from December to March are long and warm, with temperatures sometimes hitting 30°C though the average is in the low 20s. Winter from June to August sees the mercury dip into the single digits, or if you’re lucky, below freezing. The humidity is moderate and rainfall is manageable.
The ski season kicks off with the annual Winter Festival in late June, with the festivities happening throughout the township and at ski resorts. Its huge popularity means early bookings are a must. If you’re in Queenstown in summer, expect music festivals and outdoor concerts, summer sports events, markets and food-and-wine festivals. Wine lovers, time your trip with the Pinot Celebration.
Ready to go? Find cheap flights to QueenstownBack to top
Getting around the central Queenstown is an easy stroll. Hiring a bike is a great way to see the sights around the lake. Further to go? Queenstown’s affordable public bus opens in new window network links its main suburbs, and ferries opens in new window will see you take the lake between Frankton and Queenstown.Back to top