New Zealand’s South Island is home to many fabulous places to explore, the most exciting of which is arguably Queenstown. A popular hub for travellers from around the globe, a visit to Queenstown is about adrenaline, the outdoors and meeting new people. No matter what type of traveller you are, you’ll love this wicked town. From backpackers to honeymoon couples, there’s a side of Queenstown for you. If you are short on time in this wonderful place, we’ll help you uncover our top 5 things to do in Queenstown so that you don’t leave disappointed. We can’t, however, guarantee, that you won’t leave wanting more.
1. Ride Skyline Queenstown Gondola
One of the first things you should aim to do whilst in Queenstown is head up on the Skyline gondola for views over the whole town. This helps you to get your bearings, appreciate the natural beauty surrounding you and get acquainted with the travel styles available to you here. For example, you can head up on the gondola for stunning views of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu, perhaps for a wonderful sunset photo stop, and spend very little. If you love thrills, head up in the gondola before riding the Skyline luge back down into town. If you fancy a splash or are looking for a romantic evening, book a meal for two with drinks at the top of the gondola with panoramic Queenstown views as your backdrop.
2. Drive To Local Arrowtown
If you have access to a car, a drive to local Arrowtown is well worth half a day at least of your time. A brief 20 minute drive away along wonderfully scenic roads, Arrowtown is a much quieter affair than its neighbour, with idyllic streets and friendly locals. Stop for a drink in a local restaurant or cafe and visit the Remarkable Arrowtown Sweet Shop. This short journey best enjoyed with your own car gives you a little taste of how wonderful it is to drive around New Zealand’s South Island. Roads are wide and mainly free of traffic, whilst the mountainous backdrop makes you feel as though you’ve stepped into an incredible film set.
3. Adventure Activities in Queenstown
Many people visit Queenstown wanting to experience some thrilling adventure activities on their travels. No matter what level of adventure you personally feel ready for, Queenstown has something for you. If you fancy just dipping your toes into adventure, try the many boating experiences available, from jet boating to parasailing. If you prefer thrills that last all day, try mountain biking in summer and snowboarding in winter on the nearby peaks including local favourites such as Cardrona and The Remarkables. If you’ve really come to Queenstown to push your comfort zone, this is the best spot in the world to try bungee jumping with the world leader AJ Hackett. Choose from a variety of jumps, a day out with old or new friends and even a well-shot video of your exciting achievement.
4. Milford Sound Cruise From Queenstown
With only a few days in Queenstown, you really must take a day to travel to nearby Milford Sounds, arguably one of the most impressive natural attractions in New Zealand’s South Island. Organise a cruise independently if you have a car or easily book a full day tour from Queenstown including your transfers. Sail through the incredible sounds, admiring the peaks and waterfalls, learning about this majestic landscape and maybe getting a little soaked on the boat from the spray too.
5. Wander Around Queenstown
Spare at least half a day of your time to wander Queenstown itself, stopping in waterfront coffee shops or dining in local treasures. Here, you’ll find countless shops, bars and restaurants with something to suit every style of traveller. Get to know local people, watch the boats in the harbour or make new travel friends. Queenstown is a magical place with countless things to do. It’s a place that really helps set the tone for travel around New Zealand’s South Island in general. Enjoy the views, challenge yourself to a new adventure activity and kick-back in the playground capital of New Zealand.