10 activities to do in Queenstown
Coined ‘The Adventure Capital of the World’, Queenstown is the place to be for skiing and snowboarding June – October. But it isn’t all about carving and riding, check out our top 10 activities to do in and around Queenstown – after all, experiencing New Zealand is a once in a lifetime trip!
When you’re in Queenstown for an extended period of time, hopping on board a helicopter and experiencing the extensive back country wilderness New Zealand has to offer, is a must. The snow is some of the best in the world, and the views will take your breath away.
Heli-skiing is an unforgettable and unmissable alpine experience – and the routes in New Zealand are unrivalled compared to Europe.
Did you know, the first commercial bungy jump was opened in Queenstown way back in 1988? Fast forward almost 30 years and Queenstown is still the world centre for bungy jumping. If bungy jumping is on your bucket list, you should tick it off on the original jump, the historic Kawarau Bridge bungy.
Fans of The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings Trilogies cannot miss the chance to see the actual film locations. New Zealand was used exclusively for the filming of these movies because it’s beauty and untouched landscapes allowed Middle Earth to come to life, and many of the locations are just a short drive from Queenstown.
Nomad Safaris offer ‘Safari of the Scenes’ tours from your hotel door – and if you end the day eager for more of your favourite films, there are 2 different tour options available, so you can book in again.
Jet Boat Riding should be at the top of every high speed adventure junky’s bucket list. Queenstown is world famous for Jet Boat Rides. You’ll whizz down rivers, round corners and shoot through narrow rocky gorges. Skippers Canyon Jet Boat Tours is the must do jet experience in Queenstown – it’s the only tour in the region where you can experience historic gold mining relics in the river and see Lord of The Rings locations.
5) Walking & Hiking
Queenstown is a walking and hiking paradise, walking during the winter months will require you to wrap up warm, but the landscapes will be worth it.
The Fiordland and Mount Aspiring national parks are easy to reach from Queenstown, but there are also short, scenic walks that start right from the town centre. There are trails and tracks suitable for all levels of fitness, check out the the Queenstown Tourism Website for a list of reputable guiding companies. If you’re feeling confident about exploring independently, there are plenty of New Zealand walking books with trails to follow.
High above Lake Wakatipu you’ll find the Skyline Queenstown Luge. A chairlift serves the luge tracks taking you higher than the Skyline Gondola. With stunning views across Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables, you will hop on a luge cart and follow one of the luge tracks down. With two unique tracks with different levels of difficulty and steepness, you will having the ride of a lifetime twisting and turning through banks, cuttings and tunnels. The Skyline Gondola is located just 1km from the Pinewood lodge.
Arrowtown is where history meets nature, with stunning walking trails and ski fields inthe winter, it is no wonder this is a tourist favourite. Gold plays a huge part in the history of Arrowtown – gold was found along the river in the 1860’s and many of the buildings in the main street were built during the days of gold mining.
A lively, quirky and historic village, Arrowtown is a great day out, the Connectabus runs from Queenstown to Arrowtown daily.
White Water Rafting tends to be more of a summer activity (October – May), but you might be able to fit in a trip just before or after your instructor course. Queenstown Rafting operate tours on the must-do rivers for rafting, the Shotover and Kawarau Rivers. Both rivers are world-renowned for their fast flowing waters, obstacles and magnificent scenery. It is Kawarau River that starred as the River Anduin in the Lord of The Rings trilogy (I know, we keep mentioning them, but LOTR & NZ come hand in hand nowadays).
The #1 original zipline tour in NZ! Ziptrek Ecotours is an exhilarating eco-adventure through the forest above Queenstown. There are 2 courses at different grades of difficulty, you’ll have time to do both during your ski or snowboard instructor course! This isn’t for the faint-hearted, and if you like Go-Ape you’ll LOVE this. On the Kea 6-Line Tour – which includes the steepest zipline in the world – you will land at the base of the Skyline Gondola Hill on an adrenaline high!
Most wine drinkers will be aware that New Zealand wines are among the most well-respected on the shelf – New Zealand Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc are some of the best in the world. Queenstown and the Central Otago is the fastest growing wine region in New Zealand. The area has ideally suited growing conditions for Pinot Noir – which is 80% of the regions wine production). Not yet convinced? This wine region has won loads of gold medals for it’s Pinot Noir – more than any other area in NZ – so it is essential for any wine-lover to join a wine tour during their time in Queenstown.
Join a tour with the Queenstown Wine Trail to learn all about the history of wine making in Queenstown and, most importantly, taste the delicious wine on offer.