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The best activities and day tours in Queenstown

Story by: Grace Reveley     Date: 17 April 2022    Image by: Canva | Walter Niederbauer

7 minutes reading time New Zealand

The adventure capital of the world, Queenstown, is located down on the South Island of New Zealand. Surrounded by crystal clear lakes, rows of vineyards, and picture-perfect towns, Queenstown is the heart of Otago offering some of the best adventures in the world.

The best activities to do in Queenstown

Whether you’re adrenaline junky or just want some fun with your family, Queenstown has it all. Before planning your trip, let’s check out some of the best adventures that you simply can’t miss.

Ziplining, Queenstown

Ziplining

Flying through trees on zip lines as you gaup at spectacular views of Lake Wakatipu is the way to start your time in Queenstown. You can find your zip-lining adventure by heading to the top of the Skyline gondola. When you reach the top, take a right and you will come to their hand-built treehouse where you will start your first zip.

As you make your way through 6 thrilling ziplines, using gravity as your source of speed, you will learn of their conservation efforts from their friendly local guides. They are doing their bit to bring the local wildlife back to the mountains, giving you education and exhilaration at the same time. Your local guide will tell you stories of the Mauri people that founded Queenstown and their role in shaping the beautiful landscape.

Queenstown, Bungy Jumping

Bungy Jumping

Arguably one of the most famous places to bungee jump in the world, A J Hackett has 3 fantastic sites that will send your senses spiraling as you jump into the unknown. Starting the world’s first bungee jump in 1988, they put New Zealand on the map for adrenaline.

Located in Queenstown, at Kawarau Bridge and the Nevis, you can take your pick at which platform you choose to take your jump. Nestled within beautiful views, you may choose to take home photos and videos of your jump to keep the adventure alive for many years to come.

Queenstown Sky Diving

Sky Diving

Queenstown boasts some of the best views in the world, from the glistening waters of Lake Wakatipu to the snow-capped mountains of Otago, it’s essential you see the views from above.

Meet up with your local jumping expert as you ascend up through the sky before you take your jump. As you freefall, take in the beautiful views of Coronet Peak and The Remarkables, two mountain ranges that soar into view. When you glide down, you see Lake Wakatipu come back into your eye line, along with fields of vineyards, the twinkle of neighboring towns, and many people admiring you from below.

Sky diving is a fantastic way to see another perspective of Queenstown. Not quite ready for the real thing just yet? Queenstown has an indoor sky diving center, allowing you to get to grips with freefalling before you try it at 15,000ft.

Jet Boating, Queenstown

Jet Boating

Not had your fill of adrenaline yet? Take a ride on Queenstown’s fastest-speed boats. Specifically designed to complete tight turns at high speeds for the ultimate rush, jet boating is fast becoming the most popular way to get your fix.

Based at Lake Wakatipu and Shotover river, these boats fly along the water at great speeds, throwing 360-degree spins along the water. This high adrenaline boat ride will leave you spinning with excitement.

As you whiz past gorgeous mountains, you will get up close and personal with them as your guide drives as close as they dare. This 25-minute ride of your life will have you on the edge of your seat the whole way round.

Luge Track, Queenstown

Luging

Get great views of Queenstown while you twist and turn at speed down a racing track to beat your friends to the finish. Luging is go-karting at its finest, using gravity and great driving to get you around the course, this eco-friendly activity will be the highlight of your trip.

When you head up the gondola out of Queenstown, this time turn right and be met by locally produced ice cream, gorgeous views, and the famous luging. As you wiz around the tracks with your friends and family, don’t forget to smile for that all-important action picture.

Make sure you pre-book as it fills up fast. Why not pair this adventure up with an all-you-can-eat buffet at the top of the Gondola. Sample delicious local food as you watch the sun go down over Lake Wakatipu, the perfect end to an action-packed day.

What so see in Queenstown

The best day trips from Queenstown

Now that you have experienced what Queenstown has to offer, it’s time to take your adventures further afield. Find out what’s on offer just a short day trip away.

Milford, Queenstown

Milford and Doubtful Sounds

Situated on the west coast of the South Island, Milford and Doubtful sounds are where huge cliffs meet cascading waterfalls. Featured as one of the Eight Wonders of the World, these naturally formed mountains are separated by crystal clear waters, showing off some of the best scenery in New Zealand.

Whether you choose to visit either Milford or Doubtful Sound, you won’t be disappointed. Choose from cruising the water by boat, kayak, or even take a scenic flight to get up close and personal with this beautiful view. You can even try your hand at scuba diving or snorkeling or just opt for the gorgeous hike on the Milford Track. This day trip usually takes between 9-12 hours, so pack snacks and your camera, and be ready to be stunned.

Coronet Peak, Queenstown

Coronet Peak and The Remarkables

A short 25-minute drive away from Queenstown, you come to the wonderful mountain range of Coronet Peak. With its winter or summer activities, not only do you get spectacular views of the valley below, you can seek out some adrenaline too. From mountain biking and sightseeing up their gondola in the summer to skiing and snowboarding in the winter, this mountain range has something for everyone.

Let’s not forget about The Remarkables on the opposite side of the valley. A 45-minute drive from Queenstown will give you Lake Alta, hikes to nearby mountains and delicious food. This mountain range offers amazing skiing and snowboarding in the winter and hiking in the summer, if you can decide between which mountain, why not try both?

Queenstown Wine Region

Queenstown Wine Regions

Otago is famed for its delicious wines, incorporating locally grown grapes and lots of love, it’s the secret to their success. Fancy a taste? It couldn’t be easier to visit these local vineyards, choose to cycle, or use the hop-on-hop-off wine bus to get around.

As you wiz past lakes and sheep-filled fields, the vineyards come into view just 25 minutes out of Queenstown. Try a sample menu from $5 or take home a bottle as a memory of your wonderful day. Hungry? Try out the local cheeses that are created specifically to pair perfectly with the Otago wines.

Arrowtown, Queenstown

Arrowtown

Once you have shopped your way around Queenstown, it’s time to take the local number 2 bus to Arrowtown for just $2. This scenic town dates back to 1870, with beautiful heritage buildings and tree-lined streets, this town makes for the perfect picture.

Originally founded in the gold rush era, you can visit the remnants of local Chinese settlements and even give gold panning a go for yourself. If gold is not your style, why not pick up some local green jade called ‘pounamu’ from the shops. This precious stone is held in high regard by Maori people and is crafted into jewelry to bring good luck.

Lake Wanaka, Queenstown

Wanaka

This beautiful town is a short scenic drive from Queenstown. Take the twisting roads of the Crown Range to get to this beautiful town, make sure you stop off at the viewpoints along the way to see an unobstructed view of the valley below.

Wanaka has everything to offer, from huge glistening lakes to beautiful bespoke shops to the baffling mazes in Puzzle World, it has something for everyone. Get up early for a sunrise over the lake or even head up to Rob Roy glacier for a challenging hike with the most rewarding views of Lake Wanaka.

Got a sweet tooth? Then make sure you head to Patagonia, the local chocolate shops found in Otago to try out delicious ice cream or a warming hot chocolate. However you choose to spend your time in Wanaka, you will be met with friendly locals and great food.

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