Best Things To Do in Queenstown
Queenstown offers visitors unlimited access to the great outdoors. You can bungee jump off Kawarau Bridge, hike breathtaking mountain trails like Ben Lomond Track, tackle some serious powder at Coronet Peak or The Remarkables; you can even fly through the air as you paraglide or sky-dive. And at the end of the day, you can relax your aching muscles in the Onsen Hot Pools or take a scenic ride above the city on the Skyline Queenstown gondola. Before you leave this stunningly beautiful city, stop by Walter Peak High Country Farm and Kiwi Birdlife Park for up-close encounters with local wildlife.
Updated July 29, 2020
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For some of the best mountain vistas, climb aboard a Skyline Queenstown gondola. After ascending nearly 1,500 feet, you'll end up at an observation deck atop Bob's Peak, where views of central Queenstown, The Remarkables and Coronet Peak await you. You'll also find a restaurant, a bar and various mountain bike trails at the top.
However, for the most thrills, check out the attraction's luge tracks, which are accessible via a chairlift that picks up by the gondola. Previous travelers said that you'll not only enjoy fantastic views, but also a hair-raising, yet kid-friendly experience.
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Approximately 10 miles north of downtown Queenstown lies the picturesque ski and snowboard destination of Coronet Peak. This ski area, which is open during the winter months, features 32 slopes, two terrain parks, a tubing park and a ski school. Plus, the slopes themselves are geared to skiers and snowboarders of all levels, so beginners, intermediates and advanced visitors will all feel right at home.
During New Zealand's summer (December to February), you won't get to ski but can drive up Coronet Peak to take in the surroundings. Recent travelers said you'll find breathtaking views at the top.
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Located 15 miles east of central Queenstown, the truly remarkable Remarkables offer 47 ski and snowboard trails and three terrain parks. Skiers and snowboarders of all levels can be accommodated on The Remarkables' slopes, which are open annually from June to September. Should you choose to ski here, expect to find some of the best mountain views in the area.
While some recent skiers preferred Coronet Peak, overall, past travelers said The Remarkables are worth visiting. And remember, even in the summer, you can still drive or hike to the top to take in The Remarkables' stunning vistas.
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If you're coming to Queenstown for adventure activities, odds are you're here to bungee jump. This heart-pounding endeavor, which is offered locally by AJ Hackett Bungy, is one of the area's most popular outdoor activities. Several bungee sites can be found within Queenstown, including Kawarau Bridge (home of the world's first commercial bungee jump), The Ledge (which sits on Bob's Peak and can be reached by the Skyline Queenstown gondola) and The Nevis (an above-river jump that holds the distinction of being New Zealand's highest bungee jump).
According to recent travelers, bungee jumping in Queenstown is a life-changing experience. Even visitors with a fear of heights noted that if you can shove aside your nerves, you'll thoroughly enjoy this exhilarating activity. If you can't quite stomach a bungee jump, try one of AJ Hackett Bungy's bungee swings. The country's biggest bungee swing is located at The Nevis site and features a nearly 1,000-yard swing over the Nevis River.
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After a long day of heart-pounding activities like skiing The Remarkables or Coronet Peak, skydiving and bungee jumping, a nice soak is usually just what the doctor ordered. And at the Onsen Hot Pools, soaking in one of the indoor and outdoor pools also includes an incredible mountain vista. Visitors find that the pools (each of which can accommodate up to four bathers) are as nice in the hot, sweltering weather as they are in the middle of winter.
Whether you're traveling with your significant other, friends or family, Onsen Hot Pools is a must for those looking to relax. Past visitors raved about the views each bathing room offers. Though daytime vistas are gorgeous, consider visiting at night to take in breathtaking views of the night sky.
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The family-friendly Kiwi Birdlife Park is Queenstown's premier destination for animal-spotting. Situated less than a mile away from downtown Queenstown alongside Skyline Queenstown, Kiwi Birdlife Park offers more than 30 animal species, including brown kiwis, tuataras and rainbow lorikeets.
When visiting this wildlife sanctuary, plan to take in a kiwi feeding and conservation show. Both received tons of praise from former visitors and are packed with loads of information about New Zealand conservation efforts.
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Walter Peak High Country Farm is more than just a petting zoo, which is what most "farm attractions" tend to be. The experience begins with a cruise across the picturesque Lake Wakatipu. Once you get to the idyllic farm, you can take a tour, watch sheepshearing demonstrations, feed farm animals, enjoy an outdoor barbecue lunch (or morning or afternoon tea) and walk through flowering gardens.
Recent visitors say this farm experience is truly delightful. Whether you're a history buff, an animal lover or just want an escape from Queenstown's adrenaline-pumping activities, odds are you'll appreciate this relaxed, yet informative attraction.
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To fully grasp the beauty of Queenstown's landscape, head 9,000, 12,000 or 15,000 feet up and jump out of a plane. Though it'll take some guts to follow through with a skydiving excursion, as you freefall, you'll see jaw-dropping views of Queenstown, The Remarkables' snow-capped peaks, Lake Wakatipu and the South Island's rolling green hills.
Since skydiving is one of Queenstown's most popular outdoor activities and local operators offer a limited number of jumps each day, recent travelers recommended reserving your excursion at least a few days in advance. Also consider planning your skydiving trip toward the beginning of your stay in Queenstown. High winds or poor visibility can result in skydiving cancellations, so you'll want plenty of time to reschedule your jump should you come across weather issues.
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If you want a breathtaking aerial view of Queenstown without the freefall feeling skydiving provides, consider booking a paragliding excursion. As you float with your pilot, you'll catch bird's-eye views of iconic Queenstown landmarks like Coronet Peak, Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables.
Jaw-dropping views are a given when you paraglide in Queenstown. In addition to the vistas, prior travelers appreciated the flexibility provided with a paraglide excursion. Thrill-seekers can do acrobatic moves with their pilots, while less adventurous participants can simply float along with their guides.
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For outdoor enthusiasts who'd rather keep their feet firmly planted on the ground instead of soaring above Lake Wakatipu or plummeting toward the Nevis River, Queenstown offers Ben Lomond Track. This scenic walking and hiking trail starts at the western end of Skyline Access Road – about a mile southwest of central Queenstown – and ends at the nearly 2,000-foot high Ben Lomond Summit.
Past explorers cautioned that this hiking trail is best reserved for healthy, active travelers since the path is steep. Keep in mind: In the winter, Ben Lomond Track will have plenty of snow to traverse, so dress accordingly.
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