Here’s a list of the 15 best things to do in Queenstown (New Zealand), along with famous landmarks, museums, and other points of interest.
Queenstown might not be one of the largest cities in New Zealand, but what it does offer is an abundance of adventure, which has given rise to its nickname as the adventure capital of the world.
It’s a haven for adrenaline-seekers, and the city of Queenstown is beautifully located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu on the South Island. Moreover, it serves a great base for travelers wanting to explore the wine region or various ski areas nearby.
In this article, I’m sharing some of the best places to visit in Queenstown as well as activities and attractions that shouldn’t be missed while visiting.
Bob’s Peak and Skyline Gondola
Bob’s Peak is without a doubt one of the most scenic spots in the area and offers stunning views of Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, and the mountain ranges surrounding them.
Getting to the peak is easy as there is a cable car called Skyline Gondola leading to the top. The great panorama is not the only reason to come here, there is also an interesting luge track on offer here that stretches over 1600m.
If you like to relax there is a very scenic restaurant at Bob’s Peak that offers a great combination of fantastic food and great views.
Bob’s Peak is also known for being a great Bungy Jumping destination as the popular company AJ Hackett has made it one of its homes in Queenstown. If you ever wanted to jump off a mountain this is the place to come.
The Nevis Bungy which is also located in Queenstown is considered to offer the country’s longest fall at 134 m. And if these two adrenaline-inducing jumps weren’t enough, the company offers another jumping site in Queenstown called Kawaru Bridge.
As the name suggests you jump off a bridge here and due to the way the Bungy is designed your hands will briefly come in contact with the water before you are being pulled up again.
The Kawarau River
Kawarau River leads eastwards from Lake Wakatipu and is known for its steep gorges that make it a real natural marvel. The river used to be an area of gold mining.
And when you come here today some of the historic huts belonging to the miners of the 19th century can still be explored. What attracts most people to the river are the many types of watersports that it offers.
You can go white water rafting here or go jet boating. The travel agencies of Queenstown offer various interesting adventure packages.
Milford Sound is one of the most impressive fiords in all of New Zealand and attracts large numbers of visitors due to its incredible natural beauty.
Even though the fiord is almost 300 km away from Queenstown coming here for a few days is very much recommended if you like untouched nature.
One of the best ways to experience the area is by making use of the boat tours offered by Mitre Peak Cruises. This company uses smaller boats that can get very close to many of the fascinating sites here including spectacular waterfalls.
Queenstown is situated right at the banks of Lake Wakatipu, a large inland lake that amazes with its natural surroundings.
When you are in Queenstown you definitely shouldn’t miss going on a cruise around the lake as the mountain ranges surrounding the area are particularly impressive from the water.
The lake is also a real highlight for bird watchers as it is home to many rare species such as the black-billed gull which can only be found in New Zealand.
Queenstown Gardens are one of the must-visits for nature-lovers as the magnificent gardens are not just incredibly beautiful but are also located right on Lake Wakatipu with its amazing backdrop of mountain ranges.
The site features a delightful rose garden and many old trees. The gardens are located on a small peninsula that is surrounded by water on almost all sides. Many lovely benches await you. Ideal for escaping the hustle of the busy streets of Queenstown.
The Remarkables Ski Area
Queenstown is a great place for skiers as it offers a fantastic ski area that rightfully calls itself “The Remarkables”. The big mountain terrain of the area can be reached in only around 45 minutes from Queenstown.
In total there are 8 ski lifts here that service 385 hectares of slopes. The Remarkables Ski Area offers slopes suitable to beginners as well as enthusiastic skiers and is a great place for the whole family.
Gibbston Valley Winery
Gibbston Valley Winery is the perfect place to come for wine-loving visitors of Queenstown.
The estate is much more than just a great place for wine and offers a great combination of spa facilities, great accommodation options, delicious food, and of course the fantastic local wine.
There is also a bike rental service here that lets you discover the natural surroundings. Needless to say, the estate also features an interesting wine shop that regularly organizes wine tastings.
Queenstown Golf Club
Queenstown Golf Club is a world-class site that attracts thousands of golfers every year. This course is surrounded by the fantastic scenery of Lake Wakatipu and offers 18 versatile holes that are great fun for golfers of all levels.
The entire golf club is perfectly maintained. Playing your favorite sport surrounded by the waters of the lake and the mountain ranges in the distance is surely an unforgettable experience.
Shotover Jet Board ride
The Shotover Jet is one of the most adrenaline-inducing ways to experience the canyons of Queenstown’s surroundings. The boats combine power and speed with incredible natural landscapes.
The company behind these boat rides is owned by the Māori people who lived here long before the first European settlers arrived.
Watch the sunrise/sunset from Queenstown Hill
Queenstown Hill is not just a great area for hiking but also offers an incredible panorama of the city and Lake Wakatipu. The view is particularly impressive during the sunrise and sunset.
Many people time their climbs to the top of the hill so they arrive just in time for sunset or sunrise. The colorful sky during the mornings and evenings is a real attraction for nature photographers.
Drive the Queenstown-Glenorchy road
The Queenstown-Glenorchy road is one of the most scenic roads you can find in New Zealand and should definitely not be missed if you have access to a vehicle during your time in Queenstown.
To complete a full round-trip from Queenstown to Glenorchy you will drive around 90 km which makes the road ideal for a day-trip as there are numerous viewing spots along the road and having a picnic along the way is a fantastic way to enjoy the natural surroundings.
Gforce Paragliding is known for its fantastic tandem flights over Lake Wakatipu. You will make use of the Skyline Gondola and start your flight at Bob’s Peak before landing safely beside the water.
The flights offer a completely new panorama of the city and are one of the best experiences to be had here. The guides leading the flights are very experienced and professional and the gear used is of the highest quality in order to make the flights absolutely safe.
Coronet Peak Ski Area
If you are looking for some uncomplicated skiing close to the city, the Coronet Peak Ski Area is just right for you. This ski resort is only 15 km north of Queenstown and can be reached in only a few minutes.
This area is known for its rollercoaster-like terrain and has made a name for itself not just in the local area but all over the country. There are seven ski lifts here and skiers can enjoy 280 hectares of slopes.
There is night-skiing available as well as slopes geared towards beginners who just get started.
St Peter’s Anglican Church
The St Peter’s Anglican Church is a fantastic stone building situated in an oasis of greenery that gives the church a very tranquil atmosphere.
This church was constructed in 1863 when Queenstown only consisted of a few houses. Soon after gold was found here and the town quickly grew to become one of the biggest in New Zealand.
St Peter’s Anglican Church is known for its beautiful furniture. Don’t miss the eagle lectern made by a Chinese man in the 19th century.
Want more recommendations on things to do in Queenstown, New Zealand? Leave a comment below!