The incredible resort town of Queenstown is a bucket list destination for kiwis and travellers alike. There really is nowhere else in the world like it.
With amazing wineries, incomparable scenery, higfrhly-regarded ski fields and adventure galore, this is the place to be!
We have bundled together all of the best activities, attractions and sights to allow you to build your dream itinerary.
From family-friendly adventures to adrenaline-inducing challenges, you’ll find something for everyone in Queenstown.
Pro Tip: As this is such an information-filled article, you may like to click ‘jump straight on in’ in the box below. This will allow you to scan the post and jump directly to points of interest.
Incredible Things to Do in Queenstown
Aside from grouping similar attractions and activities together, this list is not in any particular order. Take your time scanning through it, picking out what appeals most to you.
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Cruise Lake Wakatipu
1. Experience the TSS Earnslaw Cruise
The TSS Earnslaw is a local icon and a must-do for many whilst visiting the Southern Lakes.
This beautiful old boat is over 100 years old, making it one of the oldest tourist attractions in Central Otago. It is also the last passenger-carrying coal-fired steamship in the southern hemisphere.
What’s more, you can choose to tack a horse ride, gourmet BBQ or farm show onto your cruise ticket — all of which receive consistently high reviews.
Book: TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak Station with optional add-ons. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
Book: Scenic flight & TSS Earnslaw cruise combo. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
2. Cruise on the Spirit of Queenstown
The Spirit of Queenstown is the longest cruise offered on Lake Wakatipu.
This modern boat is comfortable and offers plenty of shelter on chilly days, plus there’s an option to include a wine and cheeseboard on certain sailings. Can you think of a better way to enjoy the sights?
Book: Spirit of Queenstown cruise. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
3. Enjoy the Million Dollar Cruise
Hop onboard this lovely boat for the most intimate public cruise on Lake Wakatipu. Complete with commentary and a bar selling drinks and snacks, this is a wonderful way to relax as you soak up the sights around Queenstown (including the historic dam and Willow Islands).
Book: The Million Dollar Cruise. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
Pro Tip: You’re also allowed to bring your own food on board. We recommend paying a visit to the supermarket to create your own gourmet picnic to enjoy onboard.
4. Marvel at the Views on a Scenic Fixed-Wing Flight
Tucked into the Southern Alps and flanked by lakes, this remarkable scenery was meant to be seen from the air!
Hop on a once-in-a-lifetime scenic fixed-wing flight over Queenstown. Or, fly a little further and see the Majestic Milford Sound from the air… this option is a great option for those that want to see Fiordland in a short period of time.
Book: 20-minute scenic flight. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
Book: 2-hour Milford Sound flyover. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
Book: 3-hour Aoraki/Mt Cook scenic flight from Queenstown. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
5. Hop in a Helicopter
If seeing the sights from above, with the added benefit of a snow landing, sounds good to you, be sure to book a helicopter flight whilst you’re in Queenstown.
With a range of flights, from nearby to Milford Sound, there’s something for all budgets and timeframes.
Book: 30 or 40-minute Queenstown heli flight with snow landing | 45-minute Southern Alps heli flight with snow landing | 60-minute heli flight with glacier & snow landing | 90-minute heli flight to Milford Sound & glaciers | Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
6. Tuck into a Gourmet Picnic on a Mountain — Perfect for Special Occasions
Perhaps the most memorable of any Queenstown activity, we highly recommend this private helicopter package for special occasions (perhaps a big birthday or a surprise engagement).
You’ll be picked up from your accommodation and whisked off to a remote mountain peak to enjoy a gourmet picnic (complete with champagne). When you’re ready to return to the real world, you’ll call on your pilot for your return heli transfer — with memories to last a lifetime.
Book: Picnic on a Peak. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
7. Join a Segway Tour
Prefer to see the sights whilst sticking to terra firma? If so, you might like to join a Segway tour.
These incredible machines self-balance and are suitable even for those who have never ridden a Segway before. This is a fun way to explore and learn about Queenstown.
Book: Guided Segway tour. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
8. Join a 4WD Tour (including LOTR)
A 4WD tour is one of the best ways to go off-road and really experience what makes this region so special!
Nomad Safaris run a number of memorable tours, including one to Skippers Canyon (with unsurpassed views) and a number of acclaimed Lord of the Rings tours — tried and tested by real fans.
Or, if you’d rather be more active, they also offer a self-drive option. On this tour, an expert driving instructor will teach you how to off-road safely. It includes a thrilling river crossing and a whole lot of fun!
Book (in order of expense): Glenorchy Lord of The Rings Tour | Gold heritage Skippers Canyon Road tour | 4WD-U drive experience | The Lord of the Rings day tour from Queenstown | Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
Soft Adventure in Queenstown
9. Ride a Quad Bike
Quad biking is a fantastic combo of fun, adventure and natural beauty. Start your adventure with a training session before hitting the tracks with your certified guide — even if you’ve never ridden a quad bike, their team will be able to get you up to speed quickly.
On this 2.5 hour trip, you’ll enjoy incredible panoramic views of Queenstown. Splash your way through puddles and fly over molehills, stopping along the way for photos, whilst learning about the area.
Book: A quad biking adventure. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
10. Jump on a UTV Tour
If you’re feeling a little nervous about driving a quad bike, but you don’t want to miss out on the experience, we recommend joining this UTV (Utility Task Vehicle) tour.
On it, you’ll be driven by your experienced/driver guide as you enjoy a thrilling backcountry drive around this incredible part of Queenstown.
11. Test Out Your Aim Whilst Rifle Shooting
It’s possible to try your hand at target shooting in a safe and controlled environment whilst in Queenstown — all with the world-class views that the region is so renowned for.
Their professional team will be close to hand to train you on how to carry, hold and shoot your chosen gun, from a distance of 25m to an incredible 1,680m!
We love that there is no time limit on this experience so you’ll have plenty of time to practice your newfound skills.
Book: Clay target rifle shooting. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
12. Ride in the Hydro Shark!
The Hydro Shark is a totally unique way to experience Lake Wakatipu. Race on, under and above the water in your incredible shark-shaped boat.
You’ll dive up to 1.5 metres (5 feet) below the lake’s surface and fly up to 5.5m (18 ft) above the water. All of this happens whilst reaching speeds of up to 80km/h!
Don’t worry though, you’ll be perfectly safe in the capable hands of your qualified pilot.
Book: Hydro Attack shark boat ride. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
13. Indoor Skydiving at iFly
iFly offer a freefall experience without the need to throw yourself out of a plane — perfect for those that want to simulate skydiving without the commitment of a jump.
Hovering above their custom-built wind tunnel, your instructor will be with you every step of the way as you learn to hover and float through the air.
14. Experience the Best of Nature and Fun on Dart River Funyaks
Located in neighbouring Glenorchy, the Dart River funyaks trip is one of the best combo tours available in the region.
You’ll start with a thrilling jet boat ride up the Dart River before enjoying a delicious shared lunch and making your way back downstream in an inflatable funyak.
The highlight of the trip is undoubtedly your float into the Rockburn Chasm, along with the incredible colour of the river itself.
The whole day is a wonderful taste of Paradise (yep, that’s the name of the area you’ll be heading into — and paradise it certainly is).
Book: Dart River Funyaks. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
15. Go White Water Rafting – Kawarau River or Shotover (Low Grade)
If you like the sound of white water rafting, but you’re not quite up to the challenge of a higher grade river, the Kawarau is a great place to start.
This grade 2-3 river is perfect for first-timers and families. It’ll give you a wonderful introduction to white water rafting without pushing you too far.
Part of the Shotover is suitable for first-timers and families as it’s also grade 2. Consider adding it to your itinerary when you’re next in town.
Book: Grade 2 rafting on the Shotover River, including 4WD trip. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
Pro Tip: You’ll be pretty chilly when you come off the river so we highly recommend booking tickets to the hot pools for later in the day.
16. Enjoy a Scenic Heli Hike on a Glacier
Though neither of these heli hikes is based in Queenstown, it’s possible to make the trip there and make in a day — by scenic flight no less!
Flying up to these iconic glaciers by helicopter and walking on and in them is a real bucket list experience.
These tours are both incredibly memorable and a must-do for adventure-seeking nature lovers in Aotearoa.
Book: Franz Josef heli hike (inc. scenic flights from Queenstown) | Mt Cook heli hike (inc. scenic flights from Queenstown) | Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
Did you know? If you’re planning to pass through Mount Cook or Fox/Franz, it’s possible to join the same heli hikes from there. This will save you money on transfers (but means you’ll miss these scenic fixed-wing flights).
17. Enjoy the Views from Above the Lake – Go Parasailing
Soar high above Lake Wakatipu with one or two of your closest buddies.
A parasail is a comfortable, safe experience and is a wonderful way to enjoy the area’s stunning scenery. Plus you’ll get to enjoy a lake boat ride whilst others are up in the air… two for the price of one!
18. Join a Horse Trek
If you’re keen to enjoy the local scenery by horse you have a few options. First, you can book on the TSS Earnslaw, including the horse riding add-on. Alternatively, you can book a full trek near Queenstown.
Your two closest options are as follows:
- Moonlight Stables – This is the closest stables to Queenstown. They’re known for having calm horses and riding through lovely scenery (as is all scenery in this area!) 69 Morven Ferry Road, Queenstown 9371. 15-20 minute drive from Queenstown.
- High Country Horses – If you have the time, High Country Horses is undoubtedly the best riding in the area. Located in Paradise (just on from Glenorchy), they take guests through glacial fed rivers and through land that provided the backdrop to the Lord of the Rings movies. With over 150,000 acres to explore, they’re able to customise a ride to suit you. 243 Priory Road, Glenorchy 9372. 50-minute drive from Queenstown (along the road to Paradise).
19. Challenge Yourself to Bouldering
Bouldering is a bit like rock climbing but without the ropes or harness.
Don’t worry though, bouldering walls don’t reach as tall as normal rock climbing walls and the cushioned floor will catch you if you fall.
If you’ve never tried bouldering before, Basecamp Adventures is a great place to do so, thanks to its wide range of courses.
Unit 3/15 Red Oaks Drive, Frankton, Queenstown 9371
Get Your Thrills in the Adventure Capital of the World!
Queenstown is the adventure capital world. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, you’ve come to the right place!
20. Jump Off a Bridge — Go Bungy Jumping
Queenstown is home to three incredible jump sites. There, you’ll find the first commercial bungy jump site in the world (Kawarau Bridge) and the biggest jump in the southern hemisphere (Nevis, which is also the third highest in the world). They also have The Ledge bungy, perched high above Queenstown (where you’ll also find the luge).
We firmly believe that no adventure-seeker should leave Aotearoa without completing a bungy jump, and this is a great place to do so!
21. Become a Human Catapult
This is perhaps one of the most unique things to do in Queenstown. As weird as it seems, this activity is exactly what it says it is — a massive catapult!
You’ll be slung across the same canyon that is home to the largest bungy jump in the southern hemisphere, so don’t be fooled — this isn’t for the faint of heart.
Ride a Giant Swing!
Queenstown is home to two giant swings, each one distinctly unique. If you’re looking for a serious thrill, but can’t quite bring yourself to bungy jump, we recommend checking one of them out.
22. The Nevis Swing
With a 300m arc and plenty of freefall, the Nevis Swing is serious business.
You won’t jump off this platform yourself – instead, you (and your tandem buddy, if you choose to swing with someone else) will be held out over the canyon before being released into the abyss.
It’s a whole lot more fun than it sounds, we promise!
23. The Shotover Canyon Swing
The Shotover Canyon Swing is our favourite swing in New Zealand!
The team is absolutely hilarious and the jump site is beautiful. What’s more, there are literally dozens of ways to jump off their platform.
Swing backyards on a garden chair, fly off the slide, flip, have the rope above you cut, be pushed off with a rubbish bin on your head (we’re not even kidding)… if there’s a weird and wacky way to jump, they’ve probably thought of it!
Book: Shotover Canyon Swing. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
24. Throw Yourself Out of a Plane!
Queenstown would easily be one of the most scenic places in Aotearoa to take on a skydive.
Jumping with snowcapped peaks right behind you and having your parachute opened below the Remarkables mountain range, really is an experience unlike any other.
This is another must-do for adrenaline junkies!
Book: NZONE Skydiving. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
25. Enjoy the View Whilst Paragliding or Hang Gliding
If indoor skydiving sounds a bit tame but you’re not quite ready for the real thing, why not head up to the mountains to try out paragliding or hang gliding?
You’ll be buddied up with an expert pilot before soaring above the landscape that Queenstown is so famous for.
Book: Coronet Peak hang gliding and paragliding. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
26. Go White Water Rafting – Shotover River (High Grade)
Though it’s not the most challenging river in New Zealand, the Shotover River is great for adventurous travellers keen to take on their first white water rafting experience.
This river sits between grade 3 and 5 (with grade 5 being the most advanced river that is commercially rafted) and includes rapids like the Aftershock, Squeeze and Pinball.
You’ll finish up by rafting through a massive tunnel that was formed back in the gold rush days which is a real highlight.
27. Jump in the Water — Try Riverboarding
Whether you know it as riverboarding, sledging or river surfing, this is an amazing way to not only ride on the water but in the water.
You’ll be kitted up and accompanied by a fully-trained guide as you cruise your way through the rapids on your board. It’s a whole heap of fun!
Book: Kawarau riverboarding. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
28. Enjoy a Day of Canyoning
Canyoning involves jumping, climbing, swimming and abseiling your way along a river and with such an incredible setting, this is one of the most beautiful places you can canyon in New Zealand.
You’ll be kitted up with all of the required gear and supported by an experienced guide throughout, so even if this is your first time canyoning, you’ll be set.
29. Head up the Gondola & Ride the Luge
Overlooking Queenstown you’ll find Skyline — home to a gondola, luge tracks, restaurants, bungy jumping site and world-class views.
Catch the gondola up (or walk if you’d prefer) and enjoy the scenery and attractions at the top.
We particularly love the luge track for all-ages fun but recommend heading up, even if just for the views.
Book: Skyline tickets – Gondola with optional luge and meal vouchers. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
Pro Tip: It’s hard to beat sunset at the top of the Skyline!
30. Check out the Odyssey Sensory Maze (& SMASHIT)
When the weather in town is bad, we recommend making a beeline for the Odyssey Sensory Maze.
A real hit with families, this attraction is filled with illusions, tricks of the light and tricks to bend your mind.
On-site you’ll also find SMASHIT. There you can smash and bash your way through their breakable gear… it’s the perfect stress reliever and another fun option on a wet-weather day.
57 Shotover Street, Queenstown 9300
Book: Odyssey Sensory Maze & SMASHIT. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
31. Play a Round of Mini Golf
Everyone loves a friendly (and competitive) game of mini golf and luckily Queenstown has two different courses for you to choose from.
Queenstown Mini Golf has an 18 hole course that’s fun for the whole family. Located outside, near the base of the Skyline gondola, this course is perfect on a sunny day. What’s more, they even have a large car park making access a breeze.
34 Brecon Street, Queenstown, 9300
If you’d prefer to play inside, the indoor mini golf course at Thrillzone Queenstown is another great family-friendly option. This glow-in-the-dark course is affordable fun, with each of its holes being inspired by famous local landmarks.
Head along to one of these courses with your whānau for a bit of friendly competition when you’re next in town.
53 Shotover Street, Queenstown 9300
Book: Putt and Glow indoor mini golf. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
32. Entertain Everyone at Thrillzone
In addition to glow-in-the-dark mini golf, Thrillzone Queenstown is home to a raft of activities from virtual reality and escape rooms to and paintless paintball and drift carts.
You’ll find something there to engage the kids, whilst also exciting more adventurous adults. Plus, because everything is inside, the weather is never a worry.
What’s more, they offer a fantastic kids club so you can leave your youngsters behind for a few hours whilst you have some time to yourself.
53 Shotover Street, Queenstown 9300
33. Kayak or SUP Moke Lake
Moke Lake is a small but beautiful lake tucked into the mountains near Queenstown.
This sheltered spot is perfect for family-friendly kayaking and stand up paddleboarding. After a training session with your instructor, you’ll be free to explore this beautiful setting, before returning to shore for refreshments.
What a wonderful way to spend a sunny day!
Note: This trip is suitable for people aged 8 years and up.
Book: Moke Lake kayaking. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
34. Race Around on a Jet Boat
Another on the ‘designed in New Zealand’ list, a ride on a jet boat is an absolute must for visitors to our country.
Race through canyons, on top of water just centimetres deep at times, all whilst surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery we have.
Fun for the whole family, jet boating is one of the best things to do in Queenstown!
Book: Shotover Jet – the original (and most exciting) ride Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
Book: 4WD and Shotover Jet combo. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
Book: KJet – departing from right Queenstown’s lakefront. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
Book: Real NZ Jet Boat – 2 different ride lengths available. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
Book: Dart River Wilderness Adventure – a more relaxed, scenic ride. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
35. Zip Through the Trees
Starting near the top of the Skyline, you’ll find a family-friendly ziplining course. Their lines provide beautiful views out over Queenstown, making this a popular activity with all sorts of travellers.
The team there have a strong focus on conservation and will gladly share information about local flora and fauna with you. They’ll also set challenges (if you’re up for them) and will encourage you along the way.
Note: This trip is suitable for people aged 6 years and up.
36. Visit Time Tripper & the Underwater Aquarium
This is the only underwater experience in Queenstown (unless you count the Hydro Shark) and it’s a real hit with kids.
Venture under the wharf where you’ll have the opportunity to see long-fin eels, rainbow and brown trout and diving ducks — and dinosaurs!
Along with viewing the underwater aquarium (which gives you a direct view under the surface of the lake), you’ll also take a seat and enjoy a family-friendly movie that transports you way back in time.
This is one of the most affordable activities in Queenstown and a must if you’re travelling with little ones.
37. Meet Our Native Birds at Kiwi Park
Kiwi Park offers guests the chance to spot our iconic native bird, the kiwi. These flightless birds are nocturnal and incredibly rare, so seeing them somewhere like this is your best chance at an encounter.
In addition, they have 30 other species, spread across 5 acres of landscaped bush — and they’re conveniently located at the base of the Skyline.
We suggest checking their website in advance and trying to time your visit with one of the conservation shows or feeding windows.
Book: Kiwi Park [discounted].
38. Try Your Hand at Lawn Bowls
Though most people think of skiing and adventure when they think of Queenstown, it’s definitely easy to take it easy there too!
The Queenstown Bowling Club invites everyone (from people who’ve never bowled before to seasoned pros) to give it a go at an unbelievably affordable price. What’s more, there are plenty of people to hand to give you some helpful pointers.
Queenstown Gardens, 19 Park Street, Queenstown 9300
39. Ride an Old Stream Train
The Kingston Flyer is a vintage steam train located at the southern end of Lake Wakatipu. incredibly, this old beauty still operates today, having been built in 1878!
After boarding the Kingston Flyer you’ll make your way along the Kingston to Fairlight rail track, enjoying spectacular views, before disembarking for a snack. Then you’ll board again and enjoy the return journey.
This really is an incredible example of history rarely found in New Zealand.
221 Kent Street, Kingston 9373
Drive time from Queenstown to Kingston: 40 minutes.
Pro Tip: Keep your eyes peeled on the drive in and out of Kingston. The Devil’s Staircase, alongside Lake Wakatipu, is one of the most incredible stretches of road in Aotearoa.
40. Play a Round of Frisbee Golf
Also known as disc golf, Queenstown Gardens is home to a full 18-basket tournament course.
This fun social game combines frisbee throwing with a golf-course style layout. The rules are simple, so it’s easy to pick up and it’s also incredibly affordable — just pop along to the Queenstown Ice Arena to hire your discs, and buy a scorecard and map.
41. Check Out the Creative Market on a Saturday
Right on the side of Lake Wakatipu, the Creative Queenstown Arts and Crafts Market is a wonderful place to browse and perhaps pick up a meaningful souvenir. There, you’ll find a wide range of quality arts and crafts that have been produced around the South Island.
With live music and entertainment, and a beautiful backdrop, this is a great market to swing by,
Every Saturday. Summer Hours: November – April 9.00am – 4:30pm | Winter Hours: May – October 9.30am – 3:30pm.
Beach Street, Earnslaw Park Queenstown 9300
42. Book a Guided Mountain E-bike Tour
Hop on your e-bike and ride to the top of Grant Peak with your guide. At 800m above sea level, it provides amazing views over the Wakatipu Basin and out over the Southern Alps… plus, as you’ll be riding an electric bike, this ride isn’t as challenging as it would once have been.
Along the way, you’ll also learn about the gold mining history of this area and be introduced to some Māori mythology.
It’s a great day out for people that enjoy biking!
Note: This land is only accessible by joining this guided tour.
43. Explore Arrowtown and Queenstown by Bike
Prefer to ride at your own pace? If so, this self-guided bike trip (with included transport) is just the ticket.
You’ll head to Arrowtown in your pre-arranged transport. From there, you’ll borrow a premium bike (electric ones are available should you choose) and be given a map of the trails you’ll find on the way back to Queenstown.
Explore Arrowtown’s fabulous restaurants, cafes and shops before cruising back to home base in Queenstown.
Book: Self-guided Arrowtown & Queenstown bike trip, including transport. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
44. Hire a Bike and Explore at Your Own Pace
If you like the sound of having complete flexibility with your bike hire but you don’t want to head as far away as Arrowtown, this is the perfect solution.
Hire a bike (electric or pedal-powered) and explore the incredible scenery around Queenstown at your own pace.
Book: Regular or e-bike hire in Queenstown. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
Rest & Relaxation
45. Relax in Your Own Private Hot Pool
Few attractions in New Zealand are as iconic as the Onsen Hot Pools.
Overlooking the Shotover River, these cedar hot tubs are a wonderfully luxurious break from the real world.
We love that a snack and drink are included with your entry ticket and the premium feel to these pools — they’re a real must-do!
Book: Onsen hot pools. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
Pro Tip: We recommend booking yourself into the Onsen Pools either first thing in the morning (when they’re incredibly peaceful) or as the sun is setting (to make the most of the transition from day to night).
Did you know? It’s also possible to book a hot pool literally in the middle of nowhere! If you’re keen on a bathing adventure, check out Hot Tub on the Hillside.
46. Get a Massage
Whilst visiting Queenstown, it’s very possible that you’ve pushed your body to its limits with a bungy jump, skydive or active attraction. Even if you’ve had a more relaxed visit though, chances are, you’re deserving of some R&R.
Fortunately, there are a number of wonderful massage therapists in town.
Why not book yourself in for a treat?
47. Immerse Yourself in a Float Tank
Though playing a visit to a float tank might not be top of your Queenstown list, it’s well worth considering.
Floating weightlessly in water perfectly warmed to your body temperature is a great way to switch off your senses and really relax.
If you’ve never tried floating before, this could be just the spot to give it a go.
Book: An hour in a float tank.
Unique Activities in Queenstown
48. Become a Beekeeper
If you’re looking for a unique animal (or is that insect?) encounter whilst you’re visiting the Southern Lakes, be sure to check out these experiences!
Join a beekeeper as you tend to an active hive, or head inside to extract honey from a beehive… whether you rub shoulders with the bees or stay a safe distance away will entirely depend on the activity you choose.
Buzz to it!
49. Scare Yourself at the Fear Factory
Offering frights and scares, Fear Factory is another unexpected attraction in town.
Head into the haunted hallways of the Old Lockhart Hotel and prepare to be scared witless by live actors and serious special effects.
Will you make it through without yelling “I chicken out!’?
More than 20,000 chickens have been added to the list — could you be next?
59 Beach Street, Queenstown 9300
Book: Fear Factory.
Have a Bite to Eat
50. Tuck into a Fergburger
Fergburger would undoubtedly be the most famous burger spot in all of New Zealand. Does it live up to the hype though? We certainly think so! Each time we pay a visit to Queenstown we make a beeline for Ferg’s — and we suggest you do the same.
With a massive range of unique and well-loved favourites, you’ll be able to choose beef, pork, chicken, fish, venison, lamb or vegetarian. Yum!
My personal favourite is the Sweet Julie (grilled chicken tenderloins, marinated in a ginger soy sauce, dressed with sweet chilli, lettuce, tomato, red onion and aioli) but everything on their menu is a winner.
In order to beat the queues, it’s best to pay them a visit outside of normal meal times (at morning tea, afternoon tea or in the middle of the night — they close at either 2.30 am or 4 am!). Alternatively, it is possible to phone your order through, but if they’re busy they won’t actually be able to get to your call, so the safest bet is to make the most of their quieter times.
42 Shotover Street, Queenstown 9300
Did you know? Next door to Ferg’s, you’ll also find Fergbaker, Ferg’s Bar and Mrs Ferg. They all sell amazing food and drinks so it’s well worth swinging past too. We’ve been told the pies from Fergbaker are out-of-this-world!
51. Treat Yourself at the Cookie Time Cookie Bar
The Cookie Time Cookie Bar injects fun (and a fair dose of sugar) into Queenstown!
These classic NZ cookies have been taken up a notch at the cookie bar, serving giant freakshakes, warm cookies, hot chocolates, s’mores and so much more.
This is a fun place to swing if you’re travelling with kids or if you have a sweet tooth of your own.
18 Camp Street, Queenstown 9300
52. Try Free Fudge at the Remarkable Sweet Shop
This is another must-see for those that love the sweet stuff! Serving up an incredible range of locally-made fudge, they offer free tastings and the opportunity to purchase fudge by the gram.
Tuck into fudge flavours like crème brûlée, chocolate mint swirl fudge, apple crumble fudge, and cookies n’ cream, or shop their wide range of lollies (candies) and chocolates.
Their sweets make excellent gifts for people back home — just be sure to purchase extra for yourself too!
23 Beach Street, Queenstown 9300 (with additional stores at Arrowtown and Queenstown Airport).
Did you know? The Remarkable Sweet Shop will courier fudge to you, right across the world! As an added bonus, shipping is free in New Zealand if you spend over $40.
53. Enjoy Patagonia’s Ice Creams and Chocolates
Lucky-last on the dessert front is Patagonia. This wonderful shop serves up the best chocolates, ice cream, hot chocolates, coffee and desserts.
What’s more, it’s located right beside the lake so you’ll be perfectly positioned to enjoy your treats as you wander.
This is another great option if you’re wanting to purchase gifts for friends and family back home.
2 Rees Street, Cnr of the Mall, Queenstown 9300 (with additional stores in Wānaka, Arrowtown and at Queenstown Airport)
Partake in a Bevvy or Two
54. Have a Beer at the Cargo Brewery
Cargo is an innovative brewing company based in Queenstown. If you enjoy beer, be sure to head along to one of their venues.
The Cargo Cellar Door is in Gibbston Valley, just out of Queenstown. There you’ll find acres of grass (perfect for outdoor activities including cricket, volleyball, croquet and soccer) and the opportunity to sample their beers (and wine from other brands too). They also serve lunch in the beer garden.
Cargo Cellar Door, 2323 Church Lane, Gibbston Highway. Open 12 pm – 5 pm.
They also run Gantley’s — the oldest pub in Queenstown. Located a 5-minute drive from Queenstown, they have a lovely established garden and plenty of shade for sunny days. They serve delicious food in a beautiful setting, making it well worth the drive.
Cargo at Gantley’s, 172 Arthurs Point Road, Arthurs Point. Open 12 pm to late, and from 9 am on weekends.
55. Hop on a Wine Bus and Move at Your Own Pace
If you’re keen to explore the region’s incredible wineries but don’t have a sober driver, then a hop-on hop-off tour could be the answer!
These comfortable vans stop at 18 of the most popular locations around the wider-Queenstown region, including Arrowtown and Gibbston Valley and a number of highly-acclaimed wineries and breweries.
You can hop on and hop off whenever you like, spending however long you want at each stop.
56. Join a Guided Wine/Beer/Gin Tour
If you’d prefer to join a guided tour that includes your wine tasting and food, there are a number of wonderful options available.
Choose from a tour that focuses on gin, wine or craft beer and explore with your experienced guide. Plus, with no need to worry about a sober driver, you can really get into the swing of things!
57. Ride a Bike Around the Wineries
A biking tour is another popular way to see Queenstown’s wineries. Choose to join a guided tour, or bike at your own pace — the choice is yours.
Book: Guided e-bike wine tour. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
Book: Self-guided Gibbston Valley wineries bike trip with transport. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
58. Enjoy a Tipple in Style – Join a Gin/Wine Heli Tour
Queenstown is home to the first heli gin tour in the world, and it certainly is spectacular.
Transfer from one spot to the next by helicopter and be served fabulous local gins or wines.
If you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion (like a big birthday or anniversary), this is the ultimate experience!
59. Chill at an Ice Bar
Queenstown gets pretty chilly in the wintertime, but it’s possible to experience frosty fun at any time of year.
You’ll find a number of ice bars in town, each of which has ice carvings and serve drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) out of glasses made of ice.
Though they’re kept consistently sub-zero, you’ll be loaned warm clothes to ensure you have a comfortable experience.
Book: Below Zero ice bar (with optional drinks). Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
60. Make Friends on a Bar Crawl
Though it won’t be for everyone, a car crawl can be a great way to meet new friends.
Join your host as you bounce from bar to bar with your new drinking buddies. Both of these lively tours include five shots, pizza and games (with prizes). Plus, you’ll be entitled to discounted drinks all night long.
61. Grab a Drink at Perky’s the Floating Bar
Permanently moored on the dock, Perky’s is a great spot to stop off for a drink (or a bite to eat).
There’s no admission charge to hop on board and enjoy unsurpassed lakefront views (after all, it doesn’t get closer to the lake than on the lake). Plus the drinks are fairly priced — especially considering the location.
If you’re hungry, it’s possible to order burgers on board and they’ll be delivered right to you, care of Devil Burger.
Did you know? Many locals rate Devil Burger above Fergburger. We don’t personally agree but encourage you to try both and report back in the comments of this post!
Hit the Mountains
62. Go Skiing or Snowboarding
Queenstown and Wānaka are home to some of the best skiing and snowboarding in Aotearoa. With incredible views, expansive runs and great quality snow, skiing is a major drawcard for many travellers in the wintertime.
To help you decide which local ski field is the best option for you, we recommend you read our conclusive guide.
63. Treat Yourself to Some Heli-skiing
Heli-skiing Harris Mountain is a real bucket-list experience for those who are passionate about powder.
You’ll start your day off by transferring to the helipad and preparing for your day on the mountain. Then you’ll climb into the helicopter to explore a range of untouched runs. Over the course of the day, you’ll take on three or four runs with a break in the middle for a buffet lunch.
You’ll have access to a wide range of terrain, ranging from easy rolling slopes to challenging chutes and steep valleys, allowing you to really make the most of your experience.
Book: Heli-ski package.
Pro Tip: This experience is best suited to intermediate/experienced skiers and boarders. If you’re still honing your skills, we suggest doing so on the normal ski fields first.
64. Try Out Snowshoeing
Explore The Remarkables by snowshoe with an experienced alpine guide. You’ll be well away from the ski fields, amongst gentle rolling terrain.
This is a fantastic alternative to skiing. You don’t need any experience to try snowshoeing and it’s suitable for most fitness levels and ages (7+).
Book: Snowshoeing. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
65. Book a Snowmobiling Experience with Helicopter Flight
Snowmobiling is a great way to experience the snow without having to be too physical.
You’ll race over incredible snow-covered scenery on the back of your snowmobile, including plenty of photo stops on your fully-guided tour.
That’s not all though — this tour also includes a scenic helicopter flight over The Remarkables, the Hector mountains and the Nevis River Valley, before stopping at a snowy plateau on the Garvie Mountain Range.
66. Drive Your Own Pack of Dogs on a Dog Sledding Adventure
UnderDog invites guests to meet their team of Arctic sled dogs — all 40 of them! These incredible Siberian and Alaskan Huskies drive sleds right throughout the year.
Though they offer both summer and winter tours, we reckon it’s the snow that makes this experience truly memorable.
Race across the snow as you connect with your sledding team. More animal lovers, this is one of the best things to do in Queenstown!
Tramps, Hikes & Walks
67. Head Off on a Guided Day-Walk
If you’d like to make the most of your walk, we suggest joining a guide.
If walking for three days, carrying all your gear and organising transport on the track sounds like hard work, it’s possible to experience it as a day walker. These guided walks include transport, snacks and an experienced guide to help you make the most of this beautiful walk.
There are other wonderful options for guided walks too, including one up The Remarkables mountain range. We suggest keen hikers check them out.
Book: Routeburn guided day-walk. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
Book: A half-day guided walk on The Remarkables. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
Pro Tip: Though it’s in Glenorchy, we highly recommend joining a local guide tramping up Mt Alfred too.
68. Choose Your Own Walk
Queenstown (and the neighbouring areas) is home to some of the bet tramping and walking in the whole country.
As a starting point, we recommend checking out the following walks:
- Bob’s Cove Track
- Ben Lomond Track
- Lake Alta
- Lake Hayes Walkway.
Head Off on a Day Trip from Queenstown
69. Head to Mighty Mount Cook
Drive time from Queenstown to Mount Cook Village: Approx 3 hours.
Explore Fiordland National Park
70. Head to Milford Sound – the Eighth Wonder of the World
Milford Sound (Piopiotahi, in te reo Māori) is one of the most spectacular natural tourist attractions in Aotearoa.
This massive fiord, covered in rainforest and native bush, gives way to the murky waters below. On a rainy day, you’ll see Milford come to life with temporary waterfalls, whilst on a clear day, you’ll only see the few permanent waterfalls (but you may spot picture-perfect reflections in the water).
During your visit you’ll likely see resident fur seal colonies, penguins and dolphins too so keep your eyes peeled.
Though we encourage visitors to spend a night in Te Anau (or in Milford Sound itself), it can be done as a day trip from Queenstown.
Drive time from Queenstown to Milford Sound: 3.5 – 4 hours (without stops).
Book: 1.5-hour heli-flight from Queenstown to Milford Sound & glaciers. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
Book: 2-hour Milford Sound flyover. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
Book: Milford Sound fly-cruise-fly (land in Milford Sound and explore). Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
Book: Small-group tour from Queenstown to Milford Sound. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
71. Marvel at Doubtful Sound
Doubtful Sound/Patea is another beautiful fiord in Fiordland.
You’ll find it in the same region as the smaller but more famous and accessible Milford Sound. It is the second-most famous tourist destination in New Zealand (after Milford Sound) but it is perhaps even more beautiful. Plus, getting there is a real adventure as it’s not accessible by public road (and you’ll need to cross a lake to even get to the private road).
Drive time from Queenstown to Manapouri: 2 hours.
Book: Doubtful Sound scenic flight & nature cruise. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
Book: Doubtful Sound day tour and cruise from Queenstown. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
72. Explore Te Anau
Te Anau is one of our favourite little towns in New Zealand. Whilst it attracts many tourists, it somehow manages to feel authentic and welcoming. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a bad word said about this spot!
If you’re visiting, be sure to plan your visit in advance as there’s so much to do!
Drive time from Queenstown to Te Anau: 2 hours.
73. Take a drive over to Glenorchy
The drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy is known as the road to Paradise. When you make the trip, you’ll know exactly how it earned that name.
At the end of your journey, you’ll find Glenorchy — a lovely little town in its own right.
There you’ll find the famous little red shed (as photographed below), a couple of good pubs, access to wonderful hiking (like Mt Alfred) and some other worthwhile activities.
Drive time from Queenstown to Glenorchy: Approx. 40 minutes.
Book: Dart River Funyaks in Glenorchy. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
Book: Glenorchy and Paradise tour from Queenstown (perfect if you don’t have a car). Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
74. Explore Arrowtown
No trip to Queenstown would be complete without paying Arrowtown a visit.
This beautiful little town roared into life during Otago’s historic gold rush. Now, this quaint village is home to some wonderful bars, cafes, restaurants and shops. You’ll also find countless historic buildings there, along with a great skate park to entertain the kids. We also suggest you pay a visit to the beautiful Arrow River whilst you’re in town.
Drive time from Queenstown to Arrowtown: 20 minutes.
75. Check Out Wānaka
Wānaka is another local spot that can be visited in only a day — though ideally, we’d recommend spending a number of nights there.
This area has some of the region’s most famous and well-loved hikes (including Roys Peak), a quirky movie theatre, a lavender farm, via ferrata and so much more. Before visiting, be sure to read our suggestions about the best things to do in Wānaka.
Drive time from Queenstown to Wānaka: 1 hour.
Book: Puzzling World. Promo code NZTTPLAY to save 10%.
Related: The best restaurants in Wānaka.
Queenstown is a place that offers something for everyone!
What are your favourite activities there?
All photos are care of Klook, the operators mentioned and our own collection.