Things to do in Queenstown
After a graceful 450m climb to the top, you'll be treated to some of the best views Queenstown has to offer. New Zealand's unique scenery is on full display here, and there's a bunch to do once you've filled your photo quota. Enjoy a drink at the panoramic restaurant bar, watch a traditional Maori performance, or take the fast track back down the mountain with a Skyline Luge ride.
Skyline park and a view of Queenstown
Milford Sound is a gorgeous fjord that's perfect for kayaking and seeing the breathtaking scenery up close. There are also plenty of local attractions that will give you a better idea of the scope and majesty of the area. Wildlife lovers will be particularly content spending hours here, as Milford Sound is home to colonies of fur seals, dolphins and penguins.
View of Milford Sound at sunset
Shotover Jet Queenstown
If you feel the need for speed, aboard Shotover Jet Queenstown is where you need to be. Who doesn't love the idea of rocketing across gorgeous New Zealand lakes at breakneck speed on a boat? This is a fun way to spend an afternoon, especially if you go as a group when the weather's fine.
The Shotover River cutting through a rocky gorge
South of Queenstown lies Lake Wakatipu. This is one of New Zealand's largest and deepest lakes (its floor actually lies below sea level despite its position in the mountains). Home to many different local animals, the area has also doubled for Scotland's Loch Ness on the silver screen and was featured in The Lord of the Rings films. It's bordered by the spectacular mountain range called The Remarkables.
Panoramic view of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu
The Remarkables are a mountain range and major ski field that border Lake Wakatipu. If you love skiing or snowboarding, you've chosen the right destination – the slopes here are some of the best anywhere in New Zealand, and they are breathtaking at sunset. In fact, many locals believe the mountains got their name based on the stunning sight they present as night starts to fall. If snow sports aren't for you, these ranges can also be enjoyed on various walking trails, or even from the air in breathtaking scenic helicopter ride.
Sunset view over The Remarkables
The only lake in New Zealand with an unmodified shoreline, Lake Wanaka is another pristine body of water among the Otago Mountains. This is also a gateway to the Mount Aspiring National Park and its many scenic hiking trails. For those looking to get back to nature, Lake Wanaka provides an excellent and life-affirming day trip.
The lone tree of Lake Wanaka
Northeast of Queenstown lies Arrowtown, a Gold Rush-era mining town that's home to the world-renowned Lakes District Museum. The Gold Rush period in New Zealand was a very unique time and Arrowtown chronicles those years in great detail. This is the perfect place to spend an afternoon immersed in history while surrounded by breathtaking nature.
Main street of the historic gold mining town of Arrowtown
If you can't see yourself hiking through the nearby mountains, perhaps you'll settle for a stroll through Queenstown Gardens. Located on Lake Wakatipu's northern edge, the gardens are home to beautiful plant life native to New Zealand and from around the world. The gardens are open year-round to visitors, and there are even tennis courts available if you fancy a hit.
Reflections of willows and other trees reflected in a pond in Queenstown Gardens
Queenstown is bordered on all sides by glorious hills and mountain ranges just perfect for hiking tours and day trips on foot. Hiking Queenstown is among the most rewarding ways to experience the natural wonder of the Otago region first-hand. If you're not sure where to start, don't worry! There are plenty of guided hiking groups that embark regularly from the town centre and cater to all levels of fitness.
Man hiking at Roys Peak, Lake Wanaka
Taking to the many lakes around the town is one of the best ways to gain an appreciation for the majesty of the area. Kayaking Queenstown will see you gliding across the many beautiful lakes, surrounded by towering cliff faces and waterfalls. Watch out for the odd jetboat, but the lakes are large, so they shouldn't disturb your serenity too often.
Kayak On The Beach Of Lake Wakatipu
Love nothing more than finding a nice quiet river and throwing a line out? Fishing in Queenstown is another popular way to spend time on your holiday. There are plenty of rivers and lakes for fly-fishing and a colourful variety of fish to discover. Embark alone or go on a tour – it's entirely up to you!
Fly Fishing in Queenstown
Give your pounding heart a break by immersing yourself in some Queenstown arts and culture. The town centre is brimming with art galleries and examples of Maori culture. Interested in the region's pioneering history? Save time in your itinerary for a visit to nearby Arrowtown (a 20-minute drive from Queenstown) and its world-class Lakes District Museum.
Kiwi Birdlife Park
Kiwi Birdlife Park is an animal sanctuary specialising in conservation and education. This popular Queenstown attraction hosts regular interactive shows featuring one New Zealand's most well-known feathered friends, the Kiwi. If you'd like to get up close and personal with indigenous New Zealand animals, this is your best opportunity to do so.
One of Queenstown's most popular attractions, the Underwater Observatory on Lake Wakatipu's edge offers unfettered views of the life that teems on and beneath the lake's surface. From eels to truly gigantic trout to recklessly diving ducks, you'll be surprised what you'll find waiting to say hello from within Wakatipu's depths.