Queenstown is famous for its outdoor adventures, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have anything to do when the sun isn’t shining. There are some activities that can be even more enjoyable in the rain, and you’ll find lots to do indoor too. Here are some of the top ways to have a good time when it’s wet out.
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Ever wanted to travel back in time? The Time Tripper is an ideal place to get out of the rain while going on a journey that will take you back 90 million years in just 30 minutes. Experience the time when dinosaurs were roaming the planet and discover how Lake Wakatipu was carved by a massive giant glacier right from a comfortable seat. The Time Tripper tells the story of how this stunning region was created and takes viewers through the present day via a state-of-the-art animated show narrated by world-renowned New Zealand actor Temuera Morrison. Located in a former underwater observatory, it feels as if you’re really in a time machine, and after the show you can watch the trout, diving ducks and eels under the water.
Soak in a Private Jacuzzi at the Onsen Hot Pools
Onsen Hot Pools has both indoor and outdoor options, include private Jacuzzis. You’ll be able to enjoy a soak all to yourself, or with the one you love. They accommodate up to four, so you can even hang out here with your friends too. With a push of a button the walls open up to spectacular views of the mountains and Shotover River. After dark it’s still a wonderful place to be simply enjoying the quiet that’s only interrupted by the sounds of the rushing water outside.
Experience Spine Tingling Chills at the Fear Factory
Queenstown has a year-round haunted house so you don’t have to wait for Halloween to enjoy spine-tingling fun out of the rain. This interactive experience is quite the adventure and it’s definitely not for the faint-of-heart. It’s filled with terror and surprises – in fact, exactly what happens in there is a well-kept secret. You’ll even have to sign a confidentiality agreement.
Sip a Drink in an Ice Bar
If you’ve never visited an Ice Bar, now is a perfect time. Rainy or not it’s an experience you shouldn’t miss while in Queenstown, and you have two different options to choose from, Below Zero or Minus 5 Ice Bar. Just before entering you’ll be given an “Eskimo” jacket and snowshoes to help keep you comfy and warm. Then enjoy sipping a tasty cocktail while surrounded by ice carvings. They make for some unique Instagram selfies and a great story to tell too. The bars, furniture and sculptures are all made out of ice.
The Lakes District Museum
Just 20 minutes from Queenstown in Arrowtown is this outstanding museum for delving into the area’s history and culture, focused on the gold rush day as well as early Maori life. It may be small but it’s considered a must-visit, located inside the old Bank of New Zealand. There are hands-on exhibits for learning about pre-European Maori life, the first European settlers in the region and the gold rush. The museum also hosts an art gallery, bookshop, archives and research facility.
Thrillzone is an indoor gaming center that offers plenty of fun for a rainy day. It’s best known for its virtual reality experience, a 12D motion theater that features movies with a variety of effects like speed, bubbles, fog, snow and rain for an immersive show. It has a selection of more than 80 movies to choose from, with all packages tailored to individual audiences, like alien adventures, the land of dinosaurs and roller coasters. Laser tag, paintless paintball and games are available too.
Join a Quad Bike Tour
While a quad bike tour may be an outdoor activity, almost everyone says it’s more fun when done in the rain, riding through the puddles and mud. You’ll need to be 13 or older and have a moderate level of fitness to take part. An expert guide leads riders along dirt-bike tracks, crossing creeks and climbing hills, allowing you to enjoy the thrills and magnificent views from the Kawarau River into the mountains of the Kawarau Gorge. All tours are tailored made with a select small group based on skill level to ensure a great ride for everyone from beginners to the advanced. You’ll even get complimentary photos too.
Visit the National Transport and Toy Museum
If you want to bring back your childhood or just have an interest in nostalgic vehicles and toys, be sure to visit the National Toy and Transport Museum. Perfect for a rainy day, the massive collection was started over a half-century ago by a professional car and truck wrecker who created the museum to showcase classic vehicles. Over the decades it grew to more than 50,000 items, including over 500 Barbie dolls with a variety of clothing and accessories, restored cars, motorbikes, fire engines, steam-operated vehicles and more. It also hosts an outdoor space with a playground and pedal toys for kids, along with picnic tables for enjoying lunch if the rain lets up while you’re there.
Try Whitewater Rafting
A whitewater rafting excursion is going to get you wet anyway, so why not go in the rain? Trips are available rain or shine for riding the raging grade 3 to 5 rapids on the Shotover River. A half-day tour from Queenstown will take you out to brave those wild rapids, rafting through the Oxenbridge Tunnel and dropping into the Cascade Rapid. All your gear, including a wetsuit, helmet, jacket, booties and life jacket are included.
Go Wine Tasting
No matter what the weather, if you like wine, a wine tasting tour is guaranteed to make for a good time. New Zealand has become known worldwide for its fantastic vino and a four-hour wine and food tasting tour can bring you from Queenstown into the rolling hills of Central Otago’s wine region. You’ll enjoy traditional New Zealand fare and wine in a local eatery and visit Gibbston Valley Winery to explore the country’s biggest underground wine cellars. Enjoy sipping various premium wines and delicious cheeses while learning about the various grape varietals.