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Queenstown is the perfect travel destination all year round, with a dry climate and majestic mountain ranges throughout the region in the summer and the entire region transforming into a wonderland in winter. The snow-covered landscapes and exciting variety of summer and winter activities makes Queenstown one of the world’s best holiday destinations.
Being one of the most diverse geographic locations in the world, it can be difficult to figure out what to do in Queenstown. Here’s a list of fun things to do in Queenstown that we recommend to experience.
Queenstown is widely known as the adventure capital of New Zealand, with many different exciting activities to experience. For the thrill seekers, Queenstown is the perfect destination for the adventures of a lifetime.
The world famous Shotover Jet is a thrilling jet boat experience located at Arthurs Point – 7km from Queenstown. If you are an adrenaline seeker, this is one experience to not miss. Experience exclusive access to the breath-taking Shotover river canyon on a state-of-the-art jet boat ride. For those that are seeking a thrill, speeding past rocky outcrops and skimming through narrow canyons will be the activity that just hits the spot!
For those wanting more than just excitement, the Dart River Adventures Funyaks is the perfect combination of a thrilling and relaxing adventure. Experience an exhilarating jet boat ride up the Dart River into the heart of Mt Aspiring National Park, that will pump you full of adrenaline. You will then travel down the river on funyaks and explore the beautiful Dart River water scenery at your own pace.
The Dart River Adventures Horse Riding is a relaxing adventure located at Glenorchy – 45 minutes from the heart of Queenstown. For nature lovers and Lord of the Rings fans alike, the Dart River Horse Riding is the perfect remedy to experience the Dart River horse trail. Don’t be wary if you have never ridden on horseback before, as this is suitable for all different riding skills and is the horse-riding experience of a lifetime.
Queenstown is arguably the winter paradise of New Zealand as it transforms into a wonderland during the June to September period. For those that want to experience the snow, Queenstown is a must visit destination during winter.
Snow activities is a must for those that visit Queenstown in the winter season during June to October. The irreplaceable alpine scenery and world-class infrastructure makes it an unrivalled skiing and snowboarding location. Queenstown is the snowboarding and skiing paradise as it has four ski areas that can cater to any skill level and those that are seeking different terrain. For those that are inexperienced, make sure you read the beginner’s guide to skiing in Queenstown for all the information on how to rule the slopes.
New Zealand’s one and only Heli-Snowmobile Adventure – Queenstown Snowmobiles is the perfect winter adventure. The snow adventure begins with a helicopter flying across scenic mountain ranges and through the river valley, 6000ft above sea level with stunning views and photo opportunities. You’ll then be able to ride the snowmobiles through the snow at a comfortable pace. For those that are inexperienced, the Wilderness Snowmobiling Adventure is suitable for any skill level.
For those that are want an unforgettable winter and experience the views of the alpine environment, the Queenstown Snowshoe Adventure takes you on an ascent into the Lake Alta cirque surrounded by inspiring peaks. If you are adventurous, the Snowshoeing Adventure should not be missed. You’ll be able to explore snow caves and have the opportunity to carve your own snow chair!
Queenstown is the hiking paradise of New Zealand, with three ‘Great Walks’ located in the South Island. Those that are interested in getting closer to nature and encountering different New Zealand habitats, hiking is a must in anyone’s Queenstown itinerary. We’ve compiled a list of the top 7 Queenstown walks and hikes suitable for various fitness levels, experience and wish to experience Queenstown’s nature from up-close.
Guided Walks: New Zealand provides an irreplaceable experience and opportunity to discover the history and beauty of Queenstown’s nature. If you are short of time, experience the Routeburn Track Day Walk in under 9 hours. The Routeburn Track Day Walk provides unparalleled panoramas of snow-capped mountains and acres of alpine farmlands for the perfect nature views.
Hollyford Track’s Three Day Wilderness Experience is a multi-day adventure on foot, jet boat and helicopter, that operates between the October and April period. For those that are wanting to experience wilderness in comfort, this Hollyford Track experience is the perfect opportunity. The ancient forests and the clear waters of Hollyford River will be sure to satisfy any comfort and wilderness experience needs. You will also get the opportunity to spend the nights in a lodge with a 3-course dinner at the end of every night.
Queenstown is without a doubt, the location with unimaginable beauty. The beautiful scenery throughout Queenstown makes it difficult to choose which place to visit. For those that are wanting to experience the natural beauty of the day and night in New Zealand, Queenstown is a must visit destination.
The Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters provides magnificent scenery and views around Queenstown, with plenty of different destinations to fly over including the Shotover River, Kawarau Gorge and The Remarkables. This is the perfect way to view the Queenstown scenery from an unreachable angle and the views will be worth every second in the air. Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters offer views for everyone, from those that wanting to experience the thrill of landing on snow and to those that are wanting to see the Middle-Earth.
Stargazing is one of the most popular nighttime activities in Queenstown. The clean and fresh air provides stunning pristine night skies and the minimal light pollution provides the most beautiful scenery imaginable. Queenstown is located far enough south, that you may be able to experience and see the Aurora Australis or Southern Lights.
If you are seeking for a unique stargazing experience, we suggest venturing out to Dark Sky Project in Takapō (Tekapo) for a though-provoking and breath-taking stargazing tour. Located just 3 hours drive from Queenstown, Takapō (Tekapo) is home to the world’s largest gold standard Dark Sky Reserve . The area provides some of the clearest night skies in the world, making it the perfect location to stargaze and wonder about what lies above.
There is much more to the proclaimed adventure capital of New Zealand. The wide variety of eating and drinking options throughout Queenstown, provides the perfect foodie paradise, no matter your budget or taste. Famous for their Pinot Noir, the Queenstown region boasts internationally renowned wineries and cellars that offer tasting and dining options. However, if you don’t fancy the vineyards, you don’t have to go too far. Have a browse at all the restaurants that Queenstown has to offer visitors.
There are plenty of places to stay in Queenstown, with a range of hotels, boutiques and serviced apartments to suit the needs and budget of everyone. If you are interested in visiting or staying in Queenstown, read our Queenstown Accommodation introduction for more information.