10 Things to do in Queenstown, New Zealand

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Queenstown is one of New Zealand's most popular tourist destinations, and when you arrive, you'll instantly see why; the natural environment of this formerly modest city is truly sensational. Add adventures for the thrill seeker, a great selection of international restaurants and shopping opportunities, and Queenstown quickly appears on the must-see list for many people in New Zealand.

To help plan your visit, here are some of the best things to see and do in Queenstown and the surrounding area.

1. Queenstown Skyline

Queenstown is home to the steepest funicular in the southern hemisphere, the Queenstown Skyline. From the foot of Bob's Peak, you will be taken 450 meters from the summit, where incredible views await. The entire city, the Kelvin Heights Peninsula, the Remarkables mountain range and Lake Wakatipu are visible at the end of the tour.

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At Bob & # 39; s Peak, you can have fun on the luge cart track or go mountain biking to Queenstown on designated paths. In addition, Bob & # 39; s Peak houses the Stratosphere Bar restaurant, with panoramic views and many lunch and dinner options.

If you want to stretch your legs, instead of riding the cable car, there is an alternative trail to the top. In addition, you can walk from Bob & # 39; s Peak to Ben Lomond ridge, if you can't get enough of the impressive scenery. It is a very demanding and full-day hike, so bring plenty of supplies and shoes suitable for hiking.

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2. Glenorchy

Glenorchy is a charming rural town across Lake Wakatipu, 45 kilometers from Queenstown. Glenorchy is loved for its stunning natural setting. Here you will see majestic mountains, a long stretch of Lake Wakatipu and rivers roaring towards the lake. But the first attraction to this picturesque city is its prominence in the world-famous Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Glenorchy's plains and rivers have been shown as Isengard in popular films. Therefore, the city is a wonderful destination for LOTR fans and nature lovers.

Glenorchy houses some cozy cafes and souvenir shops, where you can stock up on Kiwi goodies to take home.

Glenorchy Lagoon and boardwalk in New Zealand

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3. The Routeburn trail

This trail, which is one of New Zealand's great hikes, leaves your jaw dropping for 20 miles in a straight line. O Routeburn Track takes you through mossy forests and glacial rivers, while you can have fun with the surreal landscape around you. The snowy peaks of the Southern Alps, immobile lakes and gigantic rock formations are just a few rewards when facing this multi-day journey. Basic huts, as well as some campsites, are available at four points on the Routeburn route. It is necessary to book in advance to guarantee a place to sleep.

Routeburn Trails and Landscapes

4. The notables

From June to October, this mountain range east of Queenstown becomes an excellent destination for winter sports, when a snowy blanket covers the peaks and ski slopes open to the public. From Queenstown, shuttle buses cover 25 kilometers to this favorite ski resort several times a day in winter. This is not just a top destination for those who want to slide down the slopes; movie lovers can add The Remarkables to their guest list, as the pointed peaks were featured in the Hobbit trilogy as the "Misty Mountains".

In summer, the Notable Ski Area it can be visited as a viewpoint, with impeccable views of Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and the Southern Alps peaks on the horizon.

The Remarkables ski area

5. Shopping

Queenstown is really the tourist heart of this region on the South Island, and there are many opportunities to accumulate practical and fun things. If you are planning a trip or a camping adventure, Queenstown has numerous outdoor stores with everything needed, from pots to tents. If you're worried about what to take home, Queenstown gift shops select every type of souvenir imaginable. Beach Street and Shotover Street are the main points to satisfy your shopping desires.

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6. Skipper Canyon

If you're looking for chilling action in Queenstown, Skippers Canyon is a destination hard to ignore. The gorge is carved by the wild Shotover River and has narrow passages. The most popular way to see Skippers Canyon is by jet boat. In this boat, you will be flying over the river at speeds of up to 80 kilometers per hour and the captain shows that a boat that accommodates a dozen people can actually do spin tricks.

Another tour takes you to explore the canyon and the Winky Museum, which offers an insight into the lives of the miners who worked there during the gold rush in the 19th century.

Captain canyons

7. Visit a winery

Otago – the Queenstown region – is a well-known wine region in New Zealand. Vineyards with mainly chardonnay and pinot noir grapes are widely spread in this area. Some wineries are close to the city and are a good option for wine tasting tour and relaxing experience.

The Black Ridge Vineyard, about 90 kilometers east of central Queenstown, caters to wine enthusiasts with tastings and backyard tours. This winery organizes affordable tastings and offers spectacular views of the plains of central Otago.

Choose Akarua and Artisan on the outskirts of Queenstown if you want to pair wines with comforting meals, served in the on-site stylish restaurant.

Vineyard

8. Mount Crichton Loop Trail

This one footstep it extends for about 6 kilometers and has practically all the elements that you are looking for in an easy and familiar trail; the charming Sam Summers Waterfall, woods, a mining tunnel and even an old miners hut. The trail also has a viewpoint from where you can see the Remarkables, Queenstown's most iconic mountain range.

The entrance to Mount Crichton Loop Track can be found near the Twelve Mile Delta Campsite, along the road between Queenstown and Glenorchy, on the left when driving from Queenstown.

9. Kayaking on Lake Wakatipu

There is something magical about the blue, calm water of Lake Wakatipu. New Zealand's third largest lake is a significant part of Queenstown's identity and a favorite spot for active travelers. Whether on speedboats or stand-up paddling, people get together to enjoy the action and the breathtaking views of Lake Wakatipu. One of the most relaxing and rewarding ways to discover the lake is to go kayaking. Paddle on the surface for a few hours or a whole day to completely absorb the charming environment.

Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown

10. Skydiving

It is not much more spectacular than seeing Queenstown and a large part of the South Island at a height of up to 4500 meters. After reaching that altitude with a small plane, you will free fall, reaching speeds of up to 200 kilometers per hour. After the parachute enters, you will be floating over the charming Southern Alps, Lake Wakatipu, and on a clear day, you will still have a glimpse of the imposing Mount Cook on the horizon.

Jumps of 2750 or 3650 meters are the most economical options available. Parachutists can be organized at one of the many tour operators in central Queenstown.

Skydiving photo

summary

Queenstown has many activities and sights for explorers of all ages. Whether you are looking for excitement, hiking or simply relaxing, this city on the South Island of New Zealand it will not disappoint. Water and winter sports are within walking distance, as are the famous wineries in central Otago.

Tours and Activities

Head shot by Huub Lakerveld

Huub Lakerveld

Writer and Traveler

Huub has traveled around the world as a digital nomad since the beginning of 2018, while working as a travel writer. His passion for travel is motivated by the connection with the locals and the search for different landscapes. Always accompanied by your favorite travel companions: a camera and a notebook. [Read full bio]

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