A Guide to Queenstown

New Zealand’s premier resort town is located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by some of the South Island’s most spectacular alpine scenery. Queenstown is a bustling tourist destination, and people from all over the planet come here to experience what many consider to be the adventure capital of the world. From skiing to bungee jumping, mountain biking and the famous Shotover Jet Boat, Queenstown is sure to meet the needs of all adrenaline seekers. Having said that, I do appreciate that perhaps not everyone is looking for thrills, and that the idea of a bungee jump might make some feel a little queasy, but don’t worry! There are plenty of slightly less extreme activities in and around Queenstown for you to indulge in as well. These include day trips out to the nearby Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, the stunning Fiordland National park, as well as visits to several excellent local wineries. Here is my list of some essential things to do whilst in Queenstown…      

Get Extreme

26.A brave bungee jumper steps off the famous Kawarau Bridge

The title of ‘Adventure Capital of the World’ goes to show just how seriously this little town takes its extreme sports. The trend goes back to 1998, when adrenaline fuelled pioneers AJ Hackett and Henry Van Asch opened the world’s first commercially operated bungee jump, off of the now famous Kawarau Bridge. The company is still very much in business and remains incredibly popular, making it a must for any true adventure enthusiast when visiting.

A Guide to Queenstown

If being tied up and thrown off a bridge isn't your thing, there are plenty of alternatives available. If you want to get out on the water, then take a memorable trip on the Shotover Jet Boat, which speeds through the river canyons in a wet and wonderful tour that will get your heart racing. Other adventurous options include skydiving, dirt-bike tours and river rafting!    

Snow Sports

24.The ski field on the Remarkables, Queenstown

In the winter, Queenstown becomes one enormous winter playground, with thousands of people flocking to the slopes of the surrounding mountains every year. Skiing and boarding can be done on any one of the town’s four ski fields, Coronet Peak, The Remarkabes, Cardrona and Treble Cone, with each having its own unique terrain and character. As if that wasn't enough, the season is one of the longest in the southern hemisphere, lasting from June until around October depending on the snowfall. For more adventure in the cold you can ice skate or even take a tour on a snowmobile.

Queenstown Hill

A 500m climb up to the summit of Queenstown Hill will reward you with incredible views of the city, the surrounding landscape, and the huge Lake Wakatipu. The walk takes on average three hours both ways. Don’t forget your camera!

Queenstown Garden

A revitalising trip to the Queenstown Garden is a must for any visitor to the area. In spring, native birds and stunning floral displays are the highlight for many, and a wander through at any time of year is highly recommended. 

Wine

For a luxurious break from adventure, consider taking a wine tasting tour of the local area. The Otago region is among New Zealand’s best for producing wine, and there are many operators which offer personal tours of nearby vineyards along with exclusive tasting sessions. Some fantastic nearby wineries include Gibbston Valley Winery, the Amisfield Cellars at Lake Hayes and the Peregrine Winery.  

Make the most of having a base in Queenstown

Some of New Zealand’s finest natural sights are only a day trip away, including the magnificent Westland Tai Poutini National Park, New Zealand's Glacier Country, and the awe inspiring Fiordland National Park, where you can see the famous Milford Sound. In Westland Park to the north you can admire the spectacular Fox and Franz Josef glaciers, with an ice hike or a scenic flight, whilst the southern fiords harbour an array of natural wonders and a cruise on Milford Sound, or a walk on the Milford Track, is something you shouldn't leave New Zealand without doing.