10 Best Things to Do in Queenstown, New Zealand

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New Zealand is known as being one of the most adventurous places on the planet, with plenty of high-flying and fast-moving activities to satisfy anyone who loves to experience the great outdoors. Queenstown is often referred to as New Zealand’s adventure capital, so this is where many adrenaline-seekers start their journeys and spend most of their time on the island. If you’re looking for excitement with a bit of relaxation and amazing scenery mixed in, then planning a trip to Queenstown is a must!

Ride the Skyline Queenstown Gondola
Scenic skyline Gondola in Queenstown

Ride the Skyline Queenstown Gondola

To get your bearings and take in the Queenstown landscape, many visitors start their adventures with a ride on the Skyline Queenstown Gondola. This gondola takes you to Bob’s Peak observation deck, where you can see scenic views, eat and drink, and even ride on the mountain bike trails. This is a kid-friendly activity that’s close to the center of town and easy to get to if you’re staying downtown. Once you get to the top of the peak, you can rent mountain bikes and protective gear to get active in the outdoors.

Ski or Snowboard at One of Four Resorts
Aerial View of Mountains in Queenstown, New Zealand

Ski or Snowboard at One of Four Resorts

Skiing and snowboarding are also popular sports in Queenstown, and there are several resorts that you can check out to get experience the region’s snow. The Remarkables is a ski area just east of Queenstown that offers many trails and a few terrain parks. These are great slopes to check out if you’re planning a New Zealand trip between June and September. Other ski areas to check out nearby are Treble Cone, Carona, and Coronet Peak.

Go Bungee Jumping
Tourist braves the Ledge Bungy in Queensland

Go Bungee Jumping

A man by the name of A.J. Hackett first established the commercial sport of bungee jumping in New Zealand, and there are lots of places to try it all over the island. One particularly popular place to bungee jump is the Kawarau Bridge, but jumping options are also offered from cliffs, rail viaducts, and even rooftops!

Take a “Lord of the Rings” Tour
Mountains covered with snow Lord of the Rings film location Glenorchy New Zealand

Take a “Lord of the Rings” Tour

“Lord of the Rings” fans often flock to New Zealand to see the epic settings for the movie scenes. When you’re in Queenstown, it’s easy to head over to these sites to learn about the geography of the area and how the famous scenes were created here. Pure Glenorchy offers scenic “Lord of the Rings” tours to take you deep into Middle Earth, and Nomad Safaris takes tourists to film sites in the Queenstown and Arrowtown areas, as well as the enchanted Lothlorien and Fangorn forests.

Hike to the Top of Bob’s Peak
Mountain range The Remarkables from Bobs Peak

Hike to the Top of Bob’s Peak

If you love to be outdoors but prefer to keep your feet on the ground, then a hike to the top of Bob’s Peak may be more up your alley. The hike is steep and challenging, but it’s a fun alternative to taking the gondola to the top. Most people complete the hike within and hour or two, and you’ll enjoy the serenity of the forest as you climb. The Ben Lomond Track is another great hiking area, but this is also steep and typically covered in snow in the winter.

Soak in the Onsen Hot Pools
Soak with a view at ONSEN Hot Pools

Soak in the Onsen Hot Pools

While many of the things on this list are all about getting your adrenaline pumping, this suggestion is all about relaxing and unwinding after adventurous days in Queenstown. The Onsen Hot Pools is a great place to take a soak and soothe your sore muscles. There are indoor and outdoor pools here with stunning mountain views that are wonderful to take a dip in at any time of the year. You’ll find these hot pools just a few miles north of the downtown area of Queenstown, and shuttle service is available when you book your soaking appointment. Massages are also offered here.

Go Whitewater Rafting on the Shotover or Kawarau Rivers
White water rafting on the Shotover River near Queenstown New Zealand

Go Whitewater Rafting on the Shotover or Kawarau Rivers

Whitewater rafting is another popular adventure sport around Queenstown, and both the Shotover and Kawarau Rivers are excellent places to get out on the water. You can experience some excellent Class IV and Class V rapids on the Shotover River. Meanwhile, the Kawarau is typically recommended more beginners and is a very popular option among tourists. Half day, full day, and multi-day adventures are offered on the rivers.

Sample Pinot Noir and Chardonnay at Nearby Wineries
Wineries of Gibston Valley and Central Otago

Sample Pinot Noir and Chardonnay at Nearby Wineries

Just outside of Queenstown you’ll also find a vibrant winemaking region, which is a perfect place to unwind after big days of adventure. The region around Queenstown is most known for its excellent pinot noir and chardonnay wines. Queenstown Wine Trail Tours offers guided trips, and there are around 200 vineyards in the Central Otago region, which is only about 40 minutes by car from the center of Queenstown.

Ride on a Luge Track
Luge track with beautiful lake and mountain at Skyline Queenstown New Zealand

Ride on a Luge Track

Perhaps you’ve watched the luge competition on the Olympics and wondered what this sport feels like to do yourself. When you get to the top of Bob’s Peak, there are a couple luge tracks where you can try it! This is a really fun way to experience a new sport and get wonderful views of the area as well.  The track takes you on more than 800 meters of tunnels, dippers, and banked corners and is open year around and daily. Combo packages are available with prices for a gondola ride and two luge rides at $55 per adult and $41 per child.

Get Airborne with Skydiving or Paragliding
Hang Paragliding Over Beautiful Landscape of Queenstown New Zealand

Get Airborne with Skydiving or Paragliding

Getting up in air during your Queenstown is one of the most memorable things you can do, whether you’re falling gracefully from a plane or soaring through the mountains. Getting high up above the scenic landscape is a great way to truly appreciate New Zealand’s natural beauty and get a bird’s eye view of the green hills, snowcapped peaks, and surrounding water. This is an ideal way to see the Remarkables, Lake Wakatipu, and Coronet Peak from a whole new perspective. Skydiving and parasailing are very popular activities in Queenstown, so it’s a smart idea to book your adventure in advance. NZONE Skydive and Skydive Paradise offer skydiving jumps in the Queenstown and Glenorchy area, while Coronet Peak Tandem and GFORCE Paragliding offer fun paragliding adventures.

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