Queenstown, New Zealand, is known for its stunning natural beauty, and as the adventure capital of the world, it offers a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy. From bungy jumping to skiing, wine tasting to helicopter tours, there is no shortage of things to do in this vibrant town.
Queenstown is hands-down my favorite city on the planet! I love everything about it- the people, the food, the activities and especially the adventures.
During my first trip to New Zealand, I planned 2 days here and quickly realized it wasn’t nearly enough time for all the amazing things to do in Queenstown. Therefore, on the second trip I spent another 5 days in Queenstown– and even that wasn’t nearly enough! There are just so many things to do in Queenstown New Zealand.
Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or a nature lover, there’s something for everyone in Queenstown. In this article, I’ll take a closer look at the best things to do in Queenstown to help you plan your trip and make the most of your time in this incredible destination.
This Queenstown travel guide covers:
– The top adrenaline junkie things to do in Queenstown
– The best outdoor things to do in Queenstown
– Things to do near Queenstown New Zealand and day trip ideas
– How to spend 2 days in Queenstown
Best Adrenaline Junkie Queenstown Activities
#1 – Things To Do In Queenstown New Zealand
Queenstown is where bungy jumping began, and it’s still one of the most popular activities in the area. The Kawarau Bridge Bungy is the original bungy site (and my personal favorite!) in Queenstown, and it’s a must-do for adrenaline junkies.
Some of the most popular locations for bungy jumping in Queenstown include the Kawarau Bridge and the Nevis Bungy, which is one of the highest jumps in the world at 134 meters.
Bungy jumping is a thrilling activity that’s not for the faint of heart. However, it is an incredibly safe activity, with operators prioritizing safety and using top-of-the-line equipment. When I jumped, the number of safety checks and rechecks made me feel extremely safe. The crew will weigh you upon arrival and again right before jumping to ensure they have the proper bungy for your body weight. I was also told that the ropes are only allowed to be used for a certain number of days because they wear down in the UV rays and are retired before they can become a safety concern.
Overall, bungy jumping is an unforgettable experience that will leave you with a sense of accomplishment and memories to last a lifetime. It’s a must-do for anyone visiting Queenstown who wants to experience the thrill of one of the world’s most iconic adventure activities.
I know what you might be thinking– “I could never”. Honestly, I said the same thing. But then I did, and I loved it so much I wanted to do it again!
My first recommendation is to go first thing in the morning so you can’t talk yourself out of it.
Second, when you get to the jump ledge keep your eyes on the horizon and do NOT look down.
Third, ask your guide to count you down, and commit to yourself that you will jump the FIRST time your counted down – don’t give yourself the option to countdown again because it will wreck your resolve.
I jumped from Kawarau Bridge Bungy, which is about 30 minutes outside of Queenstown. It’s a 43 meter drop over water. You’re strapped in at the ankle, therefore, you can only jump facing forwards or backwards, no freestyle flips.
There’s also the Ledge Bungy near the Queenstown gondola which is 47 meters, and you’re strapped in at the waste- allowing for freestyle. This also means you’ll have to walk yourself off the ledge instead of tipping forward like you would at the Bridge jump.
#2 – Things To Do In Queenstown New Zealand
Skydiving is sure to get your heart racing, and Queenstown, New Zealand, is one of the best places in the world to experience it. With its stunning natural landscape, clear blue skies, and experienced operators, skydiving in Queenstown is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
There are several skydiving operators in Queenstown, offering tandem and solo jumps from varying heights. The views from the plane and during the jump are breathtaking, with panoramic views of the Remarkables mountain range, Lake Wakatipu, and the surrounding countryside.
#3 – Things To Do In Queenstown New Zealand
Paragliding is another popular adventure activity to do in Queenstown, New Zealand. It involves running yourself off a cliff, while strapped to another person, and then flying through the air in a harness attached to a large parachute-like wing, which allows you to soar over Queenstown. Sounds interesting, huh?
Personally, I’d bungy jump again before I went paragliding. I prefer being tethered to the earth and the g-forces from paragliding made me ill.
#4 – Things To Do In Queenstown New Zealand
Jet boating is a popular activity in Queenstown, New Zealand, that combines adrenaline-pumping speed with stunning natural scenery. The activity involves riding in a specially designed jet boat that can navigate shallow rivers and canyons with ease- while still making your heart race! The boat’s powerful engine creates a thrilling experience as it speeds through narrow channels and performs heart-stopping spins and turns.
Jet boating is a great activity for families, groups of friends, or solo travelers, and it’s suitable for all ages and skill levels. The boats are operated by experienced drivers who prioritize safety, so you can relax and enjoy the ride without worrying about a thing.
#5 – Things To Do In Queenstown New Zealand
Skiing and snowboarding are two of the most popular activities in Queenstown, New Zealand, and for good reason. The town is surrounded by several world-class ski resorts, including Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, and Cardrona, which offer some of the best skiing and snowboarding terrain in the Southern Hemisphere.
All of the ski resorts in Queenstown are well equipped, with top-quality lifts, rental equipment, and ski schools. Many also offer additional activities like tubing, snowshoeing, and night skiing.
#6 – Things To Do In Queenstown New Zealand
Shotover Canyon Swing
Take a leap of faith with the Shotover Canyon Swing. You’ll freefall 60 meters before swinging out over the Shotover River.
The Swing offers a variety of jump styles to choose from, including a classic jump, a tandem jump with a friend, a backward jump, and even a jump in a rocking chair. Each jump is designed to give you a unique and heart-pumping experience.
The Swing is located in a beautiful canyon, and you’ll get stunning views of the river and surrounding mountains as you jump. The experience is also fully customizable, with different jump heights, styles, and swings available depending on your preferences.
Best Outdoor Things To Do In Queenstown New Zealand
#7 – Things To Do In Queenstown New Zealand
Queenstown Hill Walk
For a more low-key activity, take a hike up Queenstown Hill. By New Zealand standards this is certainly a hill. However, for the majority of the world it’s a larger “hill” than you’ll find within driving distance to home. From the summit you’ll have beautiful panoramic views of Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, and the surrounding mountains.
Similar to most hiking trails in New Zealand, the trail is well-marked and well-maintained. The trailhead is located at the end of Belfast Terrace, a short drive from the town center. Parking can be difficult to find so be prepared to parallel park (which is extra challenging if you’re used to driving on the right side of the road!)
Most hikers find this trail takes about 1-2 hours to complete, depending on your fitness level and how many stops you make to take in the gorgeous New Zealand views.
While the trail starts off with a steep climb through the forest, it soon levels off as you reach the summit of Queenstown Hill. At the summit, you’ll find the iconic Basket of Dreams sculpture, which is a popular photo spot.
From the summit, you’ll have stunning 360-degree views of Queenstown and the surrounding area. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Southern Alps.
#8 – Things To Do In Queenstown New Zealand
Take a helicopter tour for a bird’s eye view of Queenstown and the surrounding area. You can choose from a range of tours, including flights over Milford Sound, glacier landings on the top of the Southern Alps, and tours of the Lord of the Rings film locations.
A helicopter tour in Queenstown is also a great way to explore remote areas that are not accessible by road, including secluded valleys and hidden lakes.
#9 – Things To Do In Queenstown New Zealand
Lake Wakatipu Cruise
Take a leisurely cruise on Lake Wakatipu, the third-largest lake in New Zealand. You’ll get stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the town of Queenstown.
There are several companies that offer lake cruises in Queenstown, with options ranging from short scenic cruises to longer, more immersive experiences. Most cruises depart from the Queenstown waterfront and offer a range of amenities, including onboard dining, bar service, and commentary from knowledgeable guides.
One of the highlights of a lake cruise on Lake Wakatipu is the chance to visit secluded coves and hidden bays that are only accessible by boat. Many of the cruises also offer stops at local attractions, including historic sites, wineries, and nature reserves.
#10 – Things To Do In Queenstown New Zealand
Central Otago, where Queenstown is located, is known for its world-class wines. The region’s unique climate and soil conditions create ideal growing conditions for a range of grape varieties, resulting in some of the best wines in the country. Take a day to explore the vineyards and sample some of the local wines.
There are several wineries located within a short drive of Queenstown, each offering their own unique tasting experiences. Some popular options include Amisfield, Gibbston Valley Winery, and Mt Difficulty, among others. Many of the wineries offer tastings of their award-winning wines, as well as tours of the vineyards and cellar door sales.
#11 – Things To Do In Queenstown New Zealand
Picnic In Queenstown Garden
Grab some take away from one of the best restaurants in Queenstown and walk over to the gardens for a quiet afternoon.
Located in the heart of Queenstown, the park covers over 33 acres and features a variety of walking tracks, gardens, and recreational facilities.
There are several picturesque spots within the park to set up a picnic, with plenty of open spaces and stunning views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Wakatipu.
Aside from picnicking, Queenstown Garden offers a range of other activities, including frisbee golf, tennis courts, and a skate park. There are also several historic landmarks within the park, including the Queenstown Bowling Green and the Queenstown Millennium Time Walk.
#12 – Things To Do In Queenstown New Zealand
Get a burger at Fergberger
Fergburger is known for its mouth-watering burgers, made with fresh and locally-sourced ingredients. The menu features a range of creative and unique burger options, including the classic Fergburger, the Southern Swine, the Chief Wiggum, and the Bun Laden. It’s a must-visit destination for foodies and travelers alike, and has become an iconic spot in the town’s culinary scene.
I skipped this my first trip to Queenstown. Mistake! It’s definitely worth a trip. They have vegan burgers too!
Due to its popularity, Fergburger often has a long line of customers waiting to place their order. However, the wait is worth it, as the burgers are cooked to order and are served hot and fresh.
#13 – Things To Do In Queenstown New Zealand
Ride The Queenstown Luge
The Queenstown Luge at Skyline allows riders to speed down a specially designed track, winding their way through the trees and taking in the insanely beautiful views of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu below. Take my word for it- this is incredibly fun for all ages!
On my first trip to Queenstown I skipped this activity. It was a mistake. Don’t worry – I made up for it on my next trip!
Make sure you buy at least two tickets- the first round you must take the ‘baby’ track (they don’t like it when you call it that though). It’s fun, but the other two tracks are WAY better, so you’ll want to have 2 or more rides so you can try them out!
Aside from the luge itself, the Skyline Queenstown also offers a range of other activities, including a gondola ride, mountain biking, and walking tracks. There are also several dining options on-site, including a restaurant and bar with panoramic views of Queenstown.
Pro tip: explore Skyline Queenstown in one day so you can combine your gondola ticket in the purchase price of your Luge rides.
Best things to do near queenstown new zealand
Next, here are a few itinerary items that aren’t in Queenstown, but are a short (<45 minute) drive and well worth the trip!
#14 – Things To Do In Queenstown New Zealand
A day trip to Glenorchy is a popular activity for visitors to Queenstown, New Zealand. Located just 45 minutes away from Queenstown by car, Glenorchy is a small town situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by breathtaking mountains and scenery.
Glenorchy Cafe: This is a great place for brunch and exploring the Glenorchy Walkway. You’ll recognize the scenery from Lord of the Rings and Narnia (assuming you’ve seen either, otherwise, you’ll just really dig the scenery without reference.)
Glenorchy Wharf: This is a great spot to take a leisurely stroll and enjoy the stunning views of the lake and mountains. Visitors can also hire kayaks or take a boat tour from the wharf.
Glenorchy Animal Experience: This is an interactive animal farm where visitors can get up close and personal with a range of farm animals, including alpacas, llamas, and miniature horses.
Glenorchy Lagoon Boardwalk: This is a scenic boardwalk that takes visitors around the Glenorchy lagoon, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains and birdlife.
#15 – Things To Do In Queenstown New Zealand
Also a short drive from Queenstown, Arrowtown is a charming historic town located just a short drive from Queenstown, New Zealand. The town was founded in the mid-1800s during the Otago gold rush, and has retained much of its old-world charm and heritage. The charm and uniqueness of this town is what made it one of my favorites!
In addition to its scenic beauty, Arrowtown has plenty of attractions and activities to offer, including:
Arrowtown Chinese Settlement: This is a fascinating historic site that showcases the lives and experiences of Chinese miners during the Otago gold rush.
Arrowtown Museum: A small but interesting museum that provides an insight into the town’s history and heritage.
Arrow River Trail: This is a scenic walking and cycling trail that runs along the Arrow River, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains and countryside.
Boutique Shopping: Arrowtown is home to a range of boutique shops and galleries, selling everything from handmade jewelry to local art and crafts.
Wine Tasting: Arrowtown is located in the heart of New Zealand’s Central Otago wine region, and there are plenty of wineries and vineyards in the surrounding area that offer wine tasting tours.
If you’re in the mood for a drink, check out The Blue Door. They pack a lot of charm into an intimate atmosphere and offer delicious cocktails.
Then, for a low-key evening, check out Dorothy Browns bar + cinema for an extremely unique movie night.
#16 – Things To Do In Queenstown New Zealand
Milford Sound Cruise
Take a scenic drive to Milford Sound and enjoy a boat cruise through the fjords. You’ll see waterfalls, wildlife, and stunning landscapes along the way.
Milford Sound is one of New Zealand’s most iconic natural wonders, located in Fiordland National Park in the southwest corner of the South Island. A Milford Sound cruise is a must-do experience for anyone visiting Queenstown, offering a unique opportunity to see the breathtaking beauty of this region up close.
During my first trip, my Milford Sound Cruise was canceled due to avalanche thread – one of the downsides to visiting New Zealand during spring. Don’t worry – I made it to Milford Sound on my next trip and it was well worth the wait!
The cruise takes visitors on a journey through Milford Sound’s towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and stunning natural scenery. The sound is home to an abundance of marine life, including seals, dolphins, penguins, and visitors may even spot whales in the waters surrounding the sound.
How to spend 2 days in Queenstown
Queenstown is a beautiful destination with plenty of activities and attractions to keep visitors entertained. If you have two days to spend in Queenstown, this is how I recommend you spend your time!
Start your day with a scenic walk or bike ride along the Queenstown Trail. The trail offers stunning views of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountains. This is a great way to get a lay of the town!
Take a gondola ride up to the Skyline Queenstown complex for panoramic views of the town and the Remarkables mountain range. While you’re there be sure to ride the Queenstown Luge!
Choose from one of the adventure activities, such as bungy jumping or jet boating, that Queenstown is famous for. After grab lunch from Fergberger and eat a picnic lunch in the Queenstown Garden.
End the day with a relaxing dinner at one of Queenstown’s many restaurants or bars, and enjoy the lively nightlife.
Take a day trip to the nearby historic town of Arrowtown, and enjoy the autumn colors and historic sites.
After your visit to Arrowtown, stop by one of the many wineries in the region for a wine tasting and lunch.
Take a cruise on Lake Wakatipu or visit the nearby Glenorchy for some outdoor adventure, such as hiking or kayaking.
Watch the sunset from the Queenstown Gardens, a beautiful park in the heart of town.
Of course, there are many other activities and attractions in Queenstown, so feel free to adjust this itinerary to suit your preferences and interests.
Queenstown was also my first solo female trip. I highly encourage women to take a solo trip at some point in their lives, it’ll help you find new layers of yourself you can’t create in any other way. Check out these considerations for solo female travel, and a few important safety tips before you fly out!