12 Best Things to Do in Queenstown NZ: Must-See Attractions


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Are you looking to visit Queenstown, NZ soon? Here are some of the most fun and unique things to do in Queenstown. These breathtaking sights, activities, and attractions are sure to make for a memorable vacation experience.

Welcome to the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown, New Zealand, a place where the spirit of exploration and thrill finds its true calling! Nestled among the serene landscapes of the South Island, Queenstown is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be uncovered. From the breathtaking peaks of The Remarkables to the tranquil beauty of Queenstown Gardens, there’s no shortage of things to do in Queenstown. This makes it a symphony of stunning contrasts. It offers a slice of paradise for every kind of traveler.

Whether you’re a thrill-seeker looking to conquer the skies and waters or a serene soul yearning for moments of tranquility amidst nature, Queenstown welcomes you with open arms. Dive into the culinary wonders of the town, let the local wines tantalize your senses, and let the rich tapestry of experiences weave memories that last a lifetime. So, pack your bags and let your heart wander into the enchanting realms of Queenstown, where every nook and cranny whispers tales of adventure and allure. It beckons you to live the stories untold. Here’s everything you need to know about these fun things to do in Queenstown.

This article on the best things to do in Queenstown NZ contains affiliate links, where I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. 

Best Places to Visit in Queenstown

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Queenstown? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this diverse vacation spot in New Zealand. So keep reading to discover all these unique Queenstown places to visit.

Are you looking to partake in an adrenaline-fueled array of activities like bungee jumping and jet boating? Or would you prefer to go hiking and wine tasting? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Queenstown can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in Queenstown that you should know about.

1. Kawarau Bridge

Embarking on a journey to Queenstown and not experiencing the thrill of bungee jumping is like visiting Paris and missing the Eiffel Tower! Kawarau Bridge, the birthplace of commercial bungee jumping, offers a heart-pounding adventure for those willing to take the plunge. It’s one of the coolest things to do in Queenstown, where the rush of adrenaline meets breathtaking scenery. This creates a symphony of emotions that resonate with the spirit of adventure.

The jump from the historic bridge is not just a leap into the unknown. It’s a dance with gravity, a moment where time seems to stand still, and the world around fades away, leaving only the beating of your heart and the wind whispering secrets of the land. And as you rebound and sway above the turquoise waters of the Kawarau River, the realization dawns – you’ve just lived a moment that’s the essence of Queenstown’s spirit, a memory etched in your soul, whispering tales of courage and exhilaration.

Kawarau Bridge: Where history meets adrenaline, the birthplace of bungee jumping framed by stunning natural beauty.

2. Queenstown Gardens

Wondering where to go in Queenstown that offers a serene escape amidst vibrant blooms and lush greenery? Queenstown Gardens is your dream come true. In the heart of Queenstown, it’s a sanctuary of tranquility and natural beauty. It’s a place where the hustle and bustle of the town seem like a distant echo, and the only sounds are the whispering leaves and the gentle hum of the lake waves. 

Wandering through the well-manicured paths, every step reveals a new facet of nature’s artistry, from the delicate petals of the rose garden to the towering trees whispering secrets of the ages. The gardens are not just a visual feast. They’re a journey through the essence of nature, where every scent and every color tells a story of the land’s rich tapestry.

As you meander, the panoramic views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountain range unfold, painting a living masterpiece that changes with every passing moment, a reminder of the ever-evolving beauty of Queenstown. It’s a place where nature and soul intertwine. This leaves a lasting imprint of Queenstown’s enchanting allure.

Queenstown Gardens – A tranquil oasis ranked among the 12 best things to do in Queenstown NZ.

3. Skyline Luge Queenstown

Skyline Luge Queenstown offers a thrilling ride that’s among the unique things to do in Queenstown. This provides an exhilarating experience for adventure seekers and those looking to enjoy the breathtaking scenery. Positioned high above the town, this luge ride gives you panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes as you navigate the winding tracks.

The journey begins with a scenic gondola ride, elevating you to the starting point where excitement and anticipation build. Once there, you’re met with a choice of tracks, each promising its own set of thrills and stunning vistas. The descent is a blend of speed, control, and laughter, as you steer through the bends and curves, feeling the rush of the crisp mountain air.

Every twist and turn brings a new perspective of Queenstown’s beauty, with the azure waters of Lake Wakatipu and the jagged peaks of the Remarkables framing your adventure. It’s a ride that combines the joy of discovery with the thrill of the journey, leaving you with unforgettable memories of your time in this essential destination in Queenstown.

Soaring high, an exhilarating ride that’s one of the 12 best things to do in Queenstown NZ.

4. Dart River Adventures

For those yearning to witness the untouched wilderness and stunning landscapes, Dart River Adventures offers one of the best places to go in Queenstown. It’s a journey that takes you deep into the heart of the world-renowned Mt. Aspiring National Park, where nature’s grandeur unfolds in its purest form.

Curious about what to do in Queenstown for a memorable adventure? Exploring the Dart River Adventures is the answer. You start your adventure with a thrilling jet boat ride, skimming across the shimmering waters of the Dart River, surrounded by towering peaks and ancient forests. The boat navigates through narrow channels, providing close encounters with the pristine environment and its inhabitants.

Next, you get to explore the ancient beech forests on foot, a place where time seems to stand still, and the air is filled with the whispers of the trees and the songs of native birds. It’s a tranquil experience. This allows you to connect with nature on a deeper level and discover the hidden gems of Queenstown.

Finally, a backcountry journey unveils the diverse landscapes of this region, from rugged terrains to serene valleys, each step revealing the multifaceted beauty of this Queenstown destination. Is this among the top things to do in Queenstown, New Zealand? You bet!

Embrace the thrill of Dart River Adventures – an exhilarating journey through pristine waters and stunning landscapes.

5. Milford Sound

Milford Sound is a spectacle of nature, a place where towering cliffs meet the serene waters, creating a symphony of visual wonders. Witnessing this beauty is one of the best things to do in Queenstown that captivates the senses and imprints memories of a lifetime.

The journey to Milford Sound is a visual feast, with landscapes changing from lush meadows to rugged mountains. Every turn of the road reveals new scenic delights, making the journey as enchanting as the destination itself.

Once there, a cruise on the tranquil waters is the most exciting way to experience the grandeur of the fjord. The boat glides past sheer cliffs, waterfalls cascading from great heights, and seals basking on the rocks. The air is crisp, the scenery breathtaking, and the experience unforgettable.

For the more adventurous, kayaking offers a closer encounter with the natural wonders of Milford Sound. It allows you to navigate through the serene waters and explore the hidden nooks and crannies of this Queenstown spot.

Milford Sound – A breathtaking spectacle of nature’s wonder, among the 12 best things to do in Queenstown NZ

6. Lake Wakatipu

Lake Wakatipu, with its crystal-clear waters and stunning mountain backdrop, is a paradise for nature lovers and one of the cool destinations in Queenstown. It’s a place where the beauty of the landscape reflects in the pristine waters, creating a serene and picturesque environment.

Thinking of where to visit in Queenstown to see the panoramic views of the mountains and the charming town? A cruise on Lake Wakatipu is a delightful experience you should consider. The gentle breeze, the rhythmic sound of the waves, and the breathtaking scenery make it a rejuvenating journey.

For those seeking a bit of thrill, jet boating on the lake’s azure waters is a thrilling way to explore Lake Wakatipu. The speed, the splashes, and the spins add an adrenaline rush to the scenic beauty of the lake.

Whether it’s a peaceful cruise or a thrilling jet boat ride, Lake Wakatipu offers diverse experiences. This makes it a must-visit when you’re exploring the wonders of Queenstown.

Immerse in the serene beauty of Lake Wakatipu, a tranquil retreat. Among the 12 best things to do in Queenstown NZ

7. Gibbston Valley Winery

Situated in the heart of Queenstown’s wine region, Gibbston Valley Winery is a must-visit for anyone with a penchant for fine wines. It’s not just a place to indulge in exquisite flavors but also a locale where the scenic beauty is as captivating as the wines are enchanting.

Visitors to Gibbston Valley are treated to a rich array of wines, each echoing the uniqueness of the region’s terroir. The winery offers enlightening tours where guests can delve into the nuances of the winemaking process and explore the extensive wine caves.

Every sip at Gibbston Valley is a journey through the diverse and rich palate of the region. It allows one to experience the essence of Queenstown’s wine country. The panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes, with the vineyards set against the backdrop of rugged mountains, elevate the wine-tasting experience to new heights.

Seeking to immerse yourself in the local flavors and breathtaking scenery? Exploring Gibbston Valley Winery is one of the coolest things to do in Queenstown. It promises a symphony of taste and visual delight.

Sip and savor at Gibbston Valley Winery – a haven for wine lovers, nestled in the heart of Queenstown.

8. Skippers Canyon

Skippers Canyon, a historic and scenic gorge, is a treasure trove of stunning landscapes and thrilling adventures. This makes it one of the unique places in Queenstown to explore. The canyon’s rugged beauty and rich gold mining history create a blend of excitement and intrigue for every visitor.

The journey to the canyon itself is an adventure, with the road offering panoramic views of the Shotover River and the rich, golden landscapes of the region. Here, you can delve into the past at the restored Schoolhouse, a testament to the canyon’s bustling days during the gold rush era.

For the thrill-seekers, the canyon offers jet boating experiences that are bound to get your heart racing, as you navigate the narrow river canyons and feel the rush of the wind. It’s a place where the allure of adventure and the whispers of the past converge. It offers a multifaceted experience for every traveler.

Exploring Skippers Canyon is undoubtedly one of the Queenstown attractions you shouldn’t overlook, where every moment is steeped in beauty and history.

Skippers Canyon – A journey back in time through the rugged landscapes of NZ’s historic gold-mining region. | Photo credits: TripAdvisor

9. Glenorchy

Perched at the northern end of Lake Wakatipu, Glenorchy is a tranquil paradise. It offers some of the Queenstown places to visit for those seeking peace and natural beauty. The serene landscapes, pristine waters, and lush greenery of this area are a visual feast. It invites travelers to immerse themselves in nature’s splendor.

Glenorchy is a gateway to several renowned walking and hiking trails. This includes the Routeburn Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. Here, you can traverse through enchanting forests, cross crystal-clear streams, and witness the grandeur of the Southern Alps.

For film enthusiasts, Glenorchy’s breathtaking scenery might look familiar, as it served as a filming location for movies like “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit.” It’s a place where cinematic fantasies come to life, surrounded by the majestic beauty of mountains and lakes.

Visiting Glenorchy is a chance to experience the unique things to do in Queenstown, whether it’s exploring the enchanting landscapes. This embarks on thrilling adventures, or simply soaking in the serene ambiance of this picturesque haven.

The gateway to Paradise! A scenic gem nestled in the heart of New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown!

10. Arrowtown

Arrowtown, a charming and historic gold mining town, is one of the best places in Queenstown that captivates visitors with its well-preserved heritage and colorful autumn foliage. It’s a living museum, where the echoes of the gold rush era resonate in the quaint buildings and picturesque streets.

A stroll through Arrowtown’s Buckingham Street transports you back in time, with its array of boutique shops, cafes, and galleries housed in delightful colonial architecture. This is a place where history and modernity coalesce. It offers a rich tapestry of experiences for every traveler.

For those with a penchant for history, the Lakes District Museum provides fascinating insights into the region’s past. It showcases artifacts and exhibits from the gold mining days. And for the nature lovers, the nearby Arrow River presents opportunities for scenic walks and gold panning adventures.

Arrowtown is not just a glimpse into the past. It’s a vibrant destination with a plethora of activities. This makes it a must-see in Queenstown for anyone eager to explore the diverse facets of this enchanting region.

Arrowtown, New Zealand – A captivating fusion of historic charm and stunning autumnal hues.

11. Shotover Jet

For those seeking an exhilarating rush, the Shotover Jet in the iconic Shotover River Canyons is a must-visit in Queenstown. This thrilling adventure is not just about speed. It’s a journey through the stunning, rugged terrains of the canyons, where the azure waters contrast sharply with the rocky cliffs.

Located just a short drive from the heart of Queenstown, Shotover Jet provides a unique and unforgettable experience, allowing visitors to witness the raw beauty of the landscapes that define this region. The boat races through the narrow canyons, skimming past rocks and performing spins that leave the heart racing. It makes this one of the Queenstown things to do if you’re up for an exceptional adventure.

The experience is heightened by the pristine surroundings, with the majestic cliffs and crystal-clear waters creating a picturesque setting for this high-speed adventure. It’s a harmonious blend of natural beauty and adrenaline-pumping excitement, a signature experience of Queenstown.

In essence, Shotover Jet offers more than just a thrilling ride. It’s a gateway to experiencing the breathtaking beauty of one of the Queenstown destinations. This creates memories that linger long after the ride is over.

Experience adrenaline rush with Shotover Jet – A most exciting jet boat ride. | Photo credits: TripAdvisor

12. Moke Lake

Moke Lake, a hidden gem situated amidst the stunning mountain ranges. It offers a serene escape from the bustling energy of Queenstown. This is a place where the tranquil waters mirror the surrounding peaks, creating a picturesque panorama that captivates every visitor.

Just a short drive from the town center, this secluded lake is a haven for those who love to be enveloped in nature. It’s an ideal spot for a leisurely picnic, a refreshing swim, or a tranquil kayak ride. It allows you to immerse yourself in the soothing ambiance of this secluded paradise, definitely a thing to do in Queenstown if you want to relax and unwind.

For the more adventurous, the surrounding trails beckon hikers and bikers to explore the scenic landscapes, unveiling breathtaking views at every turn. It’s one of the coolest activities in Queenstown for nature enthusiasts seeking a peaceful retreat.

Moke Lake isn’t just a destination. It’s an experience, a journey into the serene beauty of Queenstown’s landscapes, a place where each moment is a brushstroke on the canvas of unforgettable memories.

Secluded serenity at Moke Lake, New Zealand – an untouched paradise for nature lovers and adventurers alike.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in Queenstown

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Queenstown? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Queenstown:

What is the best time to visit Queenstown?

The best time to visit Queenstown, New Zealand, is during the spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May). These seasons offer pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and the opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and exploring the stunning landscapes of the Southern Alps and Lake Wakatipu.

Is Queenstown expensive to visit?

Queenstown, New Zealand, is often considered relatively expensive to visit, especially in peak tourist seasons. Accommodation, dining, and activities can be pricey. However, travelers can find budget-friendly options, and the experience is well worth it for those looking to explore the region’s natural beauty and adventure activities.

How many days should I spend in Queenstown?

Spending 3 to 5 days in Queenstown is ideal to explore the town, nearby attractions, and engage in outdoor adventures. It allows time for activities like hiking, jet boating, and visiting Milford Sound. However, the duration can vary depending on your interests and the experiences you want to have in this stunning region of New Zealand.

Are there family-friendly activities in Queenstown?

Yes, Queenstown offers a variety of family-friendly activities. You can explore the Kiwi Birdlife Park, take a scenic cruise on Lake Wakatipu, enjoy the Skyline Queenstown Gondola, or go on an easy hike in nearby nature reserves. Adventure parks like Shotover Jet provide exciting experiences for families as well.

A vibrant fusion of serene landscapes and heart-pounding adventures. The ultimate destination for every travel enthusiast!

What is Queenstown best known for?

Queenstown, New Zealand, is renowned as the “Adventure Capital of the World,”. This offers a plethora of adrenaline-pumping activities like bungee jumping, skydiving, and jet boating. Nestled against the stunning backdrop of the Southern Alps, it’s also famed for its breathtaking landscapes, vibrant nightlife, and access to nearby Fiordland National Park.

Is Queenstown New Zealand worth visiting?

Absolutely! Queenstown, New Zealand is a must-visit destination. It offers a unique blend of thrilling adventures, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture. Whether you’re seeking adrenaline-fueled activities, serene natural beauty, or culinary delights, Queenstown provides a diverse array of experiences that cater to all types of travelers. This makes it a worthwhile destination.

Final Thoughts on Exploring Queenstown

Queenstown, the jewel of New Zealand’s South Island, is a symphony of breathtaking landscapes, thrilling adventures, and serene retreats. It’s a place where the vibrant hues of the lakes dance in harmony with the towering peaks, and the air is filled with the melody of whispering winds and rustling leaves.

Whether you’re seeking the adrenaline rush of bungee jumping or the tranquil embrace of a secluded lake, Queenstown welcomes you with open arms. This invites you to create a symphony of unforgettable memories. It’s not just a destination. It’s a canvas where every moment paints a stroke of extraordinary.

So, pack your bags and let your spirit soar in the enchanting realms of Queenstown, where every day is a new journey, a new adventure, a new story waiting to be written in the book of your life.

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