Heaven on earth for adventure seekers and adrenaline junkies
Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu at the foot of towering mountains, Queenstown is a playground for thrillseekers. Jet-boating, bungy jumping, mountain climbing and paragliding are on the menu in the summer months, while winter attracts snow sport afficionados with the world-class Remarkables and Coronet Peak skifields just a 30-minute drive away.
There’s more than just thrills to be had – gold rush towns like Clyde and Arrowtown provide a glimpse into the past, while the stunning Lake Wanaka and a plethora of picturesque vineyards provide plenty of opportunities to soak up the scenery. Add in vibrant nightlife, amazing mountain biking, trout and salmon fishing, hiking and even a 150km scenic cycling trail, and you’ve got a town with just about everything a tourist could want.
Things to do: Queenstown
Bike the Queenstown Trail
Queenstown has an amazing network of biking trails. The Queenstown Trail, linking Queenstown, Arrowtown and Gibbston, is one of the most scenic ways you can visit the region’s most popular tourist attractions. It’s a smooth, well-signed trail, making for a very pleasant adventure. Choose sections that match your fitness and start pedalling between wineries, past mirror-bright lakes, over mountains and through lush landscapes.
Ride the Skyline Gondola
The best way to see all of Queenstown is to take the Skyline Gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak for breathtaking views across Lake Wakatipu to the surrounding mountains and the city below. Once you’ve ascended 480m on the steepest cable car lift in the Southern Hemisphere, settle in for lunch or dinner at the Stratosphere Restaurant & Bar, enjoying the spectacular scenery from the floor-to-ceiling windows.
Time-travel in Arrowtown
Serving prospectors during the gold rush of the 19th century, the quaint, historic village of Arrowtown is just a 20-minute drive from Queenstown. Wander along the main drag and take in local arts and crafts, bars and restaurants, and even a boutique cinema, or soak in the gorgeous greenery with a walk along the Arrow River.
Explore the Central Otago vineyards
The hills and valleys that surround Queenstown are prime wine-growing country. Venture out to Gibbston, Bannockburn or Wanaka and sample some world-class Central Otago Pinot Noir against a backdrop of lakes and snow-capped mountains, or grab dinner at one of the many award-winning restaurants in the area that showcase local wine and produce.
Take a steamship lake cruise
The TSS Earnslaw, a 1912 coal-fired steamship, is a beloved piece of Queenstown history. Take a relaxing yet informative 90-minute cruise on this lovely vessel, taking in the engine room and the historic on-board displays. It travels across Lake Wakatipu, past the Remarkables and Cecil Peak to Walter Peak High Country Farm. Make a day of it by adding a guided farm tour or a long gourmet lunch to your cruise.
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 to central Queenstown, or direct to the walking tracks of Wakatipu or Glenorchy and Mt Aspiring National Park; from NZD $10.
Bus Orbus 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 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 network links its main suburbs, and ferries will see you take the lake between Frankton and Queenstown.Back to top
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