Things to do in Queenstown, NZ

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Queenstown is the perfect city for adventurous travelers to visit. You could easily spend a couple days enjoying the resort town. From bungy jumping to vineyards, there is seriously something for everyone. Visiting Queenstown in the winter is ideal, as the city is known for snow sports. Many people visit for the ski fields and cross country skiing. However, you will find plenty to do in the summer as well! The preview of Lake Wakatipu (the third largest lake in New Zealand) and surrounding mountains as you land at the airport really sets the scene for this gorgeous city. 

Ride the Skyline Queenstown Gondola

If you are looking for a picturesque view of the city, head up the Skyline Queenstown Gondola. A cable car takes you 1,475 feet (450 metres) above Queenstown to enjoy stunning, panoramic views. Once at the top, you can also stop by the Stratosfare Restaurant or Market Kitchen Cafe. There is a luge if you want some fast-paced fun while you are there! My younger brother and cousins loved the track when we visited. There are combo tickets for the Gondola and luge rides.

Visit a Central Otago Winery

New Zealand is most well known for Sauvignon Blanc but you will find a lot of Pinot Noir in this region. The Gibbston River Ridge is home to an abundance of vineyards and is located just east of Queenstown. Many of these wineries have a restaurant or cafe on site so you can make an afternoon out of it. It is also easy to “winery hop” since there are so many so close!

Some popular Central Otago wineries include:

  • Amisfield Winery
  • Brennan Wines
  • Chard Farm Winery*
  • Coal Pit Wine
  • Gibbston Valley Winery*
  • Mt Rosa Wines
  • Peregrine Wines
  • Waitiri Creek Wines

*Chard Farm and Gibbston Valley WInery are some of the oldest vineyards in the region.

Bungy Jump at AJ Hackett

Bungy Jumping was first commercialized in New Zealand by AJ Hackett. I took the plunge and bungy jumped off the Kawarau Bridge while I was visiting Queenstown. If you are looking for an adrenaline rush, AJ Hackett has a few options for you. In addition to the Kawarau Bridge, there are also two other bungy jumping locations in Queenstown: The Ledge and the Nevis Bungy. The Ledge offers panoramic views of Queenstown and the Nevis Bungy is the tallest in New Zealand. 

Visit Kiwi Birdlife Park

Kiwis are a flightless bird you will only find in New Zealand. You can see them at the Birdlife Park in Queenstown, which is home to over 100 native birds and reptiles, all of which are members of conservation programs managed by the Department of Conservation. Your visit supports their efforts! The Birdlife Park even offers Kiwi encounters, where you can learn about the unique birds from wildlife keepers. Give yourself at least two hours to explore the park and see all the native birds.

Walk Around Steamer Wharf

Steamer Wharf is a hotspot for bars and restaurants in Queenstown. You will find plenty of places to enjoy a family meal or fine dining on the waterfront. The Minus 5 Ice Bar would definitely be a memorable experience! The wharf is packed with more traditional pubs and bars, too. We stopped by Patagonia Chocolates for some delicious (award-winning) ice cream. You can also stop by OK Gift Shop to grab some locally made souvenirs.

Ski at Coronet Peak

If you visit Queenstown in the winter, you can head up to Coronet Peak for a day of skiing or snowboarding. On Wednesday and Friday nights in July and August, Coronet Peak is even lit up for night skiing experiences. Coronet Peak offers packages for everyone, from first-time skiers to experts. If skiing is not your thing, you can grab a Gondola pass or hire a toboggan! There is also opportunity for sightseeing and more to do in the summer. The mountain offers spectacular views. 

Take a Day Trip to Milford Sound

Milford Sound is located within Fiordland National Park, about three hours from Queenstown. You can book a cruise that leaves from Queenstown and enjoy the natural beauty of Milford Sound from the water. Milford Sound is also known for its wide variety of wildlife, including dolphins, seals and penguins. There are several walking tracks throughout the park as well. The Milford Track is one of the most famous hikes in New Zealand, but it will take you four days to complete the journey!

Queenstown is such a gorgeous town and there is plenty to do. You could plan an action packed adventure or relax and enjoy the scenic views and local wine.


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