There are no shortages of things to do while in Queenstown New Zealand. Queenstown really earns the title of “Adrenaline Capital of the World” but there’s a lot more to do there than just the heart pounding activities. Our on recent trip to Queenstown this past December, we tried to do as many activities as we could while still enjoying the amazing natural beauty. Trust us when we say that you will not be bored in this town. Truthfully, this list could go on and on but here are our top 10 things to do in Queenstown New Zealand.
1. Queenstown Skyline
Technically, Queenstown doesn’t have a real skyline unless you consider the mountains a skyline. What Queenstown does have, though, is an awesome lookout point called the Skyline Queenstown. Situated on Bob’s Peak at 450 meters, Skyline Queenstown gives you the best views of Queenstown, the Remarkables Mountains, and Lake Wakatipu. It’s also really easy to get to as you can take a gondola ride straight up. For those wanting a little more nature, you can take a hiking path up from Queenstown to get there. It’s not an easy hike but totally worth it.
Once you’re at the Skyline, take in the views! There’s a restaurant in the visitor center if you’re feeling hungry. We highly recommend doing the luge ride at the Skyline. We rode it multiple times and couldn’t get enough. For those wanting a bit more adrenaline, the ledge bungy is right next to the visitor center.
Speaking of doing bungy jumps, Queenstown is the a great place to get your first taste of it if you’ve never done it before. The first commercial bungy company was started in New Zealand by a man named AJ Hackett. Mr. Hackett’s companies still run one of the safest bungy operations in the world out of Queenstown. There are three bungy places to choose from: Kawarau Bridge (43M), Ledge Bungy (47M), and the Nevis Bungy (134M). For my first jump ever, I chickened out of the Nevis and chose the Ledge Bungy instead. If this is on your bucket it, Queenstown is the perfect place to take the plunge!
3. Queenstown Hill
If you’re looking for something a little more easy-going than jumping off a perfectly bridge, take a hike instead. The Queenstown Hill hike will also give you another great perspective of Queenstown and the surrounding area. The hike itself isn’t too difficult and can take you as little as 2 hours return. If you’re like us, you’ll probably take a bit longer since the views are too amazing.
4. Queenstown Garden
Want to avoid climbing hills and still get great views of the Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu? Take a stroll through Queenstown Garden. The walk is easy and you’ll be walking right along the lake. Stop and smell the roses too. Seriously though, do stop and see the rose garden! Once you’re done taking a stroll, find a bench somewhere and just admire the beauty. A rock next to the lake will suffice too.
5. Jet Boating
Jet boating is one of those essential Queenstown things to do. You can’t leave Queenstown without doing this! Now there are a few to choose from with the Shotover Canyon being the most popular. In our opinion, the Dart River jet boat was equally as thrilling and it’s hard to top those views in the photo above. Plus, you also get to kayak (or funyak as they call it) back down the river! It’s like a two-for-one super adventure. If you’re looking for more of an adrenaline jet boat ride, choose the Shotover Canyon. If you want more scenic beauty, go with the Dart River jet boat. Either one you choose, you won’t be disappointed.
6. Drive to Glenorchy
So you chose to the Dart River jet boat right?? This means that you’ll be making one of the most beautiful drives you’ll find in New Zealand down to Glenorchy. Even if you didn’t do the Dart River jet boat, make your way to Glenorchy anyways! Trust us, the drive is totally worth it and it’s only 45 minutes each way. Make sure to take your time while driving to really soak it in. Once you’re in Glenorchy though, grab a cup of coffee from one of the local cafes, head down to the dock, and just hang out by the lake.
7. Milford Sound
Milford sound is a little bit of a longer drive from Queenstown than to Glenorchy. Clocking in about 4 hours each way, this will have to be a day trip. Don’t be deterred though, as this is a can’t miss natural wonder! The drive is also spectacular. We made a lot more stops to take photos than we intended. Technically, Milford Sound is more of a fjord than an actual sound but it’s beautiful nonetheless. A boat ride in Milford will take you around 2-3 hours. Make sure to bring a jacket and maybe an extra pair of clothes. You could get wet!
8. Lake Wakatipu
A day in Queenstown isn’t complete without ending it relaxing on the shore of Lake Wakatipu. This is pretty much what all the locals seemed to be doing everyday and hey, we know why. With views like this, it’s hard to not stop and just chill. The lake isn’t really meant for swimming unless you want to take a dip in it’s frigid waters to cool off. The lake is pretty much cold year round. After a long exhausting day of activities, go buy yourself a six pack of beer and hang out with the locals by the lake.
9. Helicopter Ride
If you’re like us, your plane ride into Queenstown was ruined by clouds and you missed the incredible mountainous landscapes. Fear not, cause you can see those mountains even closer on a helicopter ride! Actually, you can walk on one of those mountains or even a glacier like we did. We took an amazing ride around the Queenstown area and landed on a glacier which was pretty darn cool. A word of warning though, helicopter rides are not cheap!
10. Ben Lomond Hike
We left this one for last because it was the most difficult thing to do. The Ben Lomond hike is one of the most scenic hikes you can do in Queenstown. But be warned though, this hike is not for the faint of heart! This hike will take you up to 5 hours return and it is mostly uphill. You can start either from Queenstown or from the Skyline Queenstown. We recommend taking the gondola up to the Skyline and then starting your hike from there. Once you get to the top of the Ben Lomond track, you’ll be rewarded of one of the best 360 degree views ever! Be sure to take all the Instragram pictures you want up there cause you earned it!
Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or just casual traveler, Queenstown has a ton of things to do! Whatever you choose to do though, the natural beauty of Queenstown and New Zealand will be ever present.