76 things to do in Queenstown – the ultimate guide [including discounts]

The incredible resort town of Queenstown is a bucket list destination for kiwis and first time travellers alike. There really is nowhere else in the world like it.

With amazing wineries, incomparable scenery, highly-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.

Table of contents

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.

When you book through our links, you’ll often get a discount and we may earn a commission. Your support also allows us to run our Facebook communities and create helpful content at no cost to you. Thank you!

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.

Flowers blooming in the fields while a ship sailing in the lake docks nearby.
Enjoy the beautiful gardens at Walter Park Farm, where you hop off the TSS Earnslaw.

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?

A red fast craft sailing on a calm lake during a bright, sunny day.
The Spirit of Queenstown offers a wine and cheese package that we highly recommend.

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).

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.

A small boat cruising on calm waters of a lake.
The Million Dollar Cruise is a great option for those wanting a more intimate experience on Lake Wakatipu.


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.

On the runway while inside the pilot's cockpit.
Enjoy a scenic fixed-wing flight around Queenstown.

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.

Taking a group picture on top of a snow-capped mountain summit with a helicopter and a huge mountain on the background.
Reach incredible scenery on a helicopter flight.

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.

Parking a black helicopter while bringing food on top of a snowy mountain peak.
A heli-picnic is the ultimate way to celebrate a special occasion.

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.

Riding on a Segway near a huge lake.
Explore town on a Segway tour — perfect even if you’ve never ridden one.

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!

Car passing between a crevice at Skipper's Canyon.
Skippers Canyon is just one of the amazing places the Nomad Safaris is able to take guests.

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.

Three friends on quad bikes driving along a grassy field of the hills.
Rural scenery doesn’t get better than this! Hop of a quad bike to explore.

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.

Three adventurers in helmets riding on a UTV tour.
If you’d rather be a passenger, why not hop on a UTV tour?

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.

A man holding a rifle on a wooden balcony during a target shooting exercise.
How’s your aim? Test it out with some target practice in Queenstown.

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.

Beach Street, Queenstown 9300

A high speed Hydro Shark splashing huge amounts of water as it cruises on Lake Wakatipu.
Ride the Hydro Shark on/in Lake Wakatipu.

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.

27 Brecon Street, Queenstown 9300

Indoor skydiving in Ifly New Zealand.
Indoor skydiving is fun for all ages.

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).

45 Mull Street, Glenorchy 9372

A couple on a red rubber boat paddling through Dart River Chasm.
Venture into the Rockburn Chasm on your funyak.

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.

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.

Two boats with tourists river rafting on the turbulent waters of Kawaru.
The Kawarau River is a great introduction to white water rafting.

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.

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).

Tourists hiking on top of the glaciers.
Heli hiking will get you as close as possible to our glaciers as you walk in, on and through them!

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!

Two men paraflight together on top of a lake.
Join your buddies parasailing high above Lake Wakatipu.

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

Kids on an indoor rock climbing with adult supervision in Queenstown.

Get Your Thrills in the Adventure Capital of the World!

Queenstown is the adventure capital of the 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!

A man on a bungy jump near the mountains and a river below.
Every adventure-seeker should experience a New Zealand bungy jump — and you’ll have the choice of three jump sites in Queenstown!

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.

Spreading arms for a distant zip line while cruising across two mountains in Nevis Catapult.
Check out the newest attraction to open out at the Nevis.

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!

Having great fun while riding a zip line with a friend.
The Nevis Swing is perfect if you want to experience Nevis without taking on the biggest bungy in the southern hemisphere.
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!

34 Shotover Street, Queenstown 9300

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!

Skydiving with a river below and snow-capped mountain ranges in the surroundings.
Enjoy unsurpassed views as you jump over The Remarkables.

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.

Two people cruising through the clouds while paragliding in Coronet Peak.
Soar high above the ground with your experienced pilot.

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.

Tackling the white rapids with rocky banks in Shotover River Rafting.
Step it up a notch and take on the Shotover River.

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!

River boarding along a semi-turbulent river beside the rocky banks.
If you’d prefer to get wet, jump into the Kawarau River and try your hand at riverboarding.

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.

Sliding on a small cliff with waters below during canyoning in Mt. Aspiring.
Combining jumps, slides, climbing and abseiling, canyoning is the ultimate immersive adventure in NZ.

All-Ages Fun

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.

Pro Tip: It’s hard to beat sunset at the top of the Skyline!

Luge riding with a view of a huge lake in Queenstown.
You can’t beat the Skyline and Luge for incredible views and family fun.

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

Family mesmerized by the chequered black-white maze of Odyssey Sensory Maze
Prepare for your eyes to play tricks on you at Odyssey.

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

Glow-in-the-dark mini golf course of Thrillzone, Queenstown
Indoor mini golf is a great rainy-day choice.

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.

A couple paddleboarding on the calm waters of Moke Lake SUP.
Moke Lake is a bit of a hidden gem — don’t miss it off your Queenstown itinerary.

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!

Tourists enjoying the ride on a yellow speed boat.
We highly recommend riding a jetboat whilst you’re in town!

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.

Alternatively, head over to nearby Glenorchy for the most beautiful ziplining scenery in the country at Paradise Ziplines.

Riding on a zip line and crossing through the forest.
Choose the zipline course that best suits you.

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.

A kid pointing at a fish in an underwater aquarium with his mom behind him.
Time Tripper and the Underwater Aquarium is some of the most affordable fun in town.

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.

Upper, Brecon Street, Queenstown 9300

A Kiwi bird walking along the shrubs.
Meet NZ’s incredible native birds at Kiwi Park.

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

Four black lawn balls on the grass.

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.

Black steam train Kingston Flyer passing across a field.
The Kingston Flyer is fun for the whole family.

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

Greenstone carved into different shapes and sold in Queenstown Markets.

Bike Riding

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.

A couple resting at the edge of a rocky cliff while they rest their mountain bikes in Queenstown.
Access private land on this guided mountain bike 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.

Bikers parking their bikes while checking their gears on a table.
Ride at your own pace between Arrowtown and Queenstown (including transport to get you there in the first place).

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.

Friends parking their bikes beside a bench while taking a view of the forest and a far away mountain ranges.
Explore Queenstown with a premium e-bike or pushbike.

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!

162 Arthurs Point Road, Arthurs Point, Queenstown 9371

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).

Steaming bath tub with a view of a rocky mountain in Onsen.
The Onsen Hot Pools are the ultimate in luxury, overlooking the Shotover River.

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?

Woman lying down while having a massage on her head.
A massage is the perfect way to relax after a busy day exploring Queenstown.

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.

A woman about to enter a pink float tank.
Sensory deprivation tanks (AKA float tanks) can be a great way to destress.

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!

Beekeepers looking at the home of a swarm of bees.
Book into a beekeeping or honey spinning experience.

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

Tourists getting scared in Fear Factory
Can you make it through Fear Factory without chickening out?

50. Cuddle a kitty at QT Community Cats

Join the team at QT Community Cats for some feline fun.

Opened during lockdown, this amazing charity is going good in the community, while improving animal welfare and bringing smiles to the faces of visitors.

Get in touch with them if you’d like to spend some time with the kitties in their care.

Have a Bite to Eat

51. 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!

Three hamburgers of Fergburger.
The Cock Cajun at Fergburger – Grilled chicken tenderloins rubbed with Cajun spices, cooled with lemon yoghurt, lettuce, tomato, red onion and aioli.

52. 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

Why not pay a visit to the original cookie bar?

53. 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.

A crew crafting a slice of pastry in Remarkable Sweet Shop.
The Remarkable Sweet Shop serves up delicious free fudge samples.

54. 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)

A hand holding a delicious ice cream in Patagonia Chocolates.
Patagonia have thee different types of free-flowing chocolate on tap — take your ice cream to the next level!

Partake in a Bevvy or Two

55. 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.

A pastry, french fries, and a glass of beer.
Cargo Brewery is a favourite spot in Queenstown.

56. 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.

A tourist van of Hop-on Hop-off Wine Tour.
Travel at your own pace with a hop-on hop-off tour.

57. 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!

Lady holding a graduated cylinder while mixing a gin to some of the glasses in front of her during a Gin Tour in Queensland.
Join a guided tour to the best wineries, breweries and distilleries in the area.

58. 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.

Tourists riding bicycles while crossing a bridge.

59. 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!

Three colleagues clinking wine glass while sitting around a table.

60. 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.

Woman in white coat holding a cup in Below Zero Ice Bar, Queenstown.

61. 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 between bars and clubs 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.

People enjoying and drinking inside Bar Hop Queenstown.

62. Grab a Drink at Perky’s 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!

The tourist ferry, Perky's Floating Bar moored in a harbour waiting for Passengers.

Hit the Mountains

63. 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.

Skiing while cable lift passes overhead in the Coronet Peak.
Skiing Coronet Peak. DQ Full Use. DQ commissioned photo shoot. Photographer Miles Holden.

64. 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.

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.

Skiing from atop of a snow hill.
Fresh power — the ultimate treat for snow bunnies!

65. 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+).

Tourists walking on a snow covered path using snow shoes.
Escape the grounds on The Remarkables whilst snowshoeing.

66. 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.

A white helicopter and five black snowmobiles parked on the snow.
Combine snowmobiling and a heli flight for the ultimate winter-wonderland experience in Queenstown.

67. 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!

Sleighing on the ice with Underdog Sled Dog Tours.
Met the sled dogs any time of the year.

Tramps, Hikes & Walks

68. Head Off on a Guided Day-Walk

If you’d like to make the most of your walk, we suggest joining a guide.

Routeburn is one of New Zealand’s most famous Great Walks (Milford Track, another nearby walk is probably the most famous) and it’s located conveniently down the road in Glenorchy.

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.

Pro Tip: Though it’s in Glenorchy, we highly recommend joining a local guide tramping up Mt Alfred too.

69. Choose Your Own Walk

Queenstown (and the neighbouring areas) is home to some of the bet tramping and walking in the whole country.

If you’re a keen walker we suggest you read about our favourite Queenstown and Wānaka walks.

As a starting point, we recommend checking out the following walks:

  • Bob’s Cove Track
  • Ben Lomond Track
  • Lake Alta
  • Lake Hayes Walkway.
Snow-capped mountain ranges and a lake below as seen from Queenstown Hill Walk.
Queenstown Hill offers beautiful views.

Head Off on a Day Trip from Queenstown

70. Head to Mighty Mount Cook

Mount Cook National Park (or Aoraki as it’s known in te reo Māori) can be visited as a day trip from Queenstown (though we’d encourage you to stay for longer if possible).

Home to a number of wonderful walks (including our favourite, the Hooker Valley Track) and activities, this beautiful part of Aotearoa is a hit with everyone that visits.

If you are able to spend the night, check out our favourite Mt Cook hotels.

Drive time from Queenstown to Mount Cook Village: Approx 3 hours.

Looking over the icebergs in Mount Cook.
Enjoy the Hooker Valley Track’s incredible vistas!

Explore Fiordland National Park

71. 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 two 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 Milford Sound, stopping along the way, it can be done as a day trip from Queenstown.

Drive time from Queenstown to Milford Sound: 3.5 – 4 hours (without stops).

Two women on half embrace pointing at the peak of the mountain while a man leans on the railing of the boat they are riding.
Marvel at the mighty Milford Sound.
72. 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).

Visitors to this region will surely ponder whether to explore Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound. That article will surely help you decide.

Drive time from Queenstown to Manapouri: 2 hours.

Tourists wearing life jackets paddling on their kayaks while their ship anchors to a yellow buoy.
Doubtful Sound is an incredible place to visit — it’s even better if you can stay the night though.
73. 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!

We suggest staying in one of these accommodations if you do want to spend the night.

Drive time from Queenstown to Te Anau: 2 hours.

A boat cruising on the calm waters.
Onboard Faith in Fiordland on Lake Te Anau.

74. 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.

Trees on a sloping growth beside a lake near the red barn of Glenorchy facing the green grass.
Glenorchy’s famous red shed is the perfect backdrop for photos.

75. 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.

Various decorative stalls in Arrowtown Street.
Picture-perfect Arrowtown is filled with gold mining history.

76. 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, wonderful restaurants, 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.

Tourists walk up the grassy tracks of Roy's Peak.
Incredible views at the top of Roys Peak 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.

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