Before there were hobbits in New Zealand there was Queenstown – and if you thought Frodo and his friends were on an adventure, just wait until you get here. Situated on Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by the Southern Alps, Queenstown has everything for your ultimate adventure holiday…
Bungy-jumping. Check. Skydiving. Check. Caving. Check. Remarkable holiday and The Remarkables. Check and check. Wait, what was that last one? The Remarkables. They are a jagged mountain range that sits on the opposite side of the lake to the town. So after a day of adventure, you can find a seat at a laid-back café or one of the many lively bars in Queenstown and take in the view. Remarkable.
Queenstown’s Top 10
10. Horseback Riding Explore the scenery and try to spot a hobbit while riding into valleys and through rivers.
5. Fishing Throw a line into Lake Wakatipu at any time of the year and this glacial lake is sure to reward you with salmon or a very large rainbow trout.
9. Kiwi Birdlife Park A fun day out for the family and a chance to see New Zealand’s flightless symbol up close.
4. Skiing and Snowboarding Seasonal, or it would be higher on the list. There are four world-class ski fields to enjoy.
8. Skyline Gondola Fancy name for a cable car and even fancier views from the top of Bob’s Peak.
3. Maori Concert and Hangi Very touristy, but still a great chance to try food cooked Maori-style.
7. Parasailing For the best view of Lake Wakatipu, simply get strapped into a parachute and dragged behind a boat.
2. White-Water Rafting Queenstown is legendary for it. A huge variety of rapids are available. Things are going to get wet!
6. Underwater Observatory You may want to head here before parasailing, just to see what lurks beneath…
1. Shotover Jet Boating Speeding through narrow canyons and taking 360-degree spins. Pants-wettingly brilliant!
- Skyline Queenstown – Skyline complex on the summit of Bob's Peak. Lakefront trail goes to the 1924 hydrodam.
- Kawarau Suspension Bridge – Queenstown's historic 100-year-old landmark.
- Old Cromwell Town – Old town centre dating back to 1860.
- Gold Panning – Try your luck at panning for gold in one of the many streams.
- Arrowtown – Outside Queenstown, with quaint, historic buildings and beautiful scenery.
Queenstown Art & Culture
- Winter Festival – The annual event includes skiing competitions and endurance races.
- Arrowtown Autumn Festival – Annual festival celebrates autumn colours with a parade and daily events.
- Walk to Middle Earth Gold Arrowtown – Guided walking tours to the locations used in the "Lord of the Rings" movies.
- Lakes District Museum – Located in Arrowtown, the museum provides a look back into the life of the pioneers of an old gold mining town.
- Walter Peak Heritage Excursions – Tour the TSS Earnshaw and visit the Walter Peak High Country Farm and gardens.
- O’Connell’s Shopping Centre – New Zealand knit apparel, jewellery, artwork and food.
- Bonz New Zealand – An outlet for merino wool handknit jackets and sweaters.
- Australian Opals – Goldfields Jade and Opal and the Opal Centre.
- Opal & Jade Factory – Specialty jewellery, including pearl, paua, jade and Australian opals.
- The Gold Nugget – Specialty gifts handmade in New Zealand.
Gay & Lesbian Queenstown
- Queenstown and Arrowtown – Great restaurants and wine. Walk to most restaurants.
- Minibar – More than 100 varieties of great beers to sample in central Queenstown near the mall.
- 12Bar – Chic, comfortable cocktail bar that is gay friendly. Oldies music and a video screen.
- Dorothy Brown's – Bar and boutique cinema a short trip from Queenstown.
- Fiordland – Boat excursions in the largest national park in New Zealand.
- Cruise Milford Sound – Small ship cruises for wildlife, spectacular waterfalls and rainforests.
- The Shearing Shed – Farm tours for small groups and hands-on experiences.
- Backpacking – Contact an Adventure Tour operator for details.
- Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park – A beautiful vacation or weekend getaway right outside of Queensland. Great for families and groups.
- Queenstown Gardens – Provides wonderful views of the city from Lake Wakatipu. Lovely way to spend a quiet afternoon.
- Golf at Kelvin Heights Golf Course located on the Peninsula to play on one of the most scenic courses.
- Fish for a day or camp out for a week, and try fly fishing in the Queenstown Lakes district.
- Plan a day on the courts or take lessons from the pros at Queenstown Tennis Club.
- Play golf for the morning on one of the championship golf courses and enjoy a fine wine tasting in the afternoon on the Queenstown Wine Trail.
- Rent mountain bikes for the day or go for a cross-country trip to Lake Wakatipu and Ben Lomond Forest.
Taking place over 10 days in June and July, the Queenstown Winter Festival is the biggest winter party in New Zealand, with fireworks, comedy, music and more.
The 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games is an elite competition held in August. Come and see how the pros do winter.
Also in August, the Burton Open Sessions music festival showcases some of NZ’s most popular alternative music.
Every August, award-winning films are screened at the Adventure Film Festival. They all have one thing in common – adventure!
The Queenstown Jazzfest is held in October and attracts both local and international artists.
When To Go
Peak crowds descend on Queenstown in December and January for summer and from June to August for winter. Expect packed bars and a variety of accents.
Spring (October to November) and autumn (March to May) are generally quieter, but there’s still plenty going on.
Summer temperatures can reach 30ºC (86ºF), but in winter the mercury rarely gets above 10ºC (50ºF).
Queenstown is small enough to walk around, which is a great way to discover all the little cafés and bars on offer.
An extensive multi-coloured bus network operates, so after a big night you only have to remember what colour bus you were on.
If you have had a particularly late night, a taxi is always an option. However, a Night Bus runs from midnight until 5am on weekends.
Explore Queenstown by location
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87 hotels in Queenstown
The Nomads Queenstown Backpackers Hostel is in the heart of Queenstown and has Skippers Canyon, Nzone, Kingston Flyer, Dart Stables, Skyline Gondola, Sail Queenstown and Queenstown Gardens in its... More
Set amidst natural attractions and recreation sites, Novotel Queenstown Lakeside makes for a convenient starting point for travellers visiting this part of New Zealand. After attending gatherings... More
With picturesque surrounding vista from the luxurious accommodations, the centrally located Scenic Suites Queenstown makes for an ideal base when vacationing in this side of southern New Zealand.... More
Mantra Marina Queenstown makes for a convenient place to stay when on a Southern Lakes holiday with the Lake Wakitipu close by and easy access to the downtown area. Aside from fishing and boating... More
Offering stunning views of the Remarkables mountain range and the glittering waters of Lake Wakatipu, Heritage Hotel Queenstown makes for an ideal haven of tranquillity and relaxation in this... More
Offering exceptional accommodation with excellent friendly service and superior facilities set on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, the Copthorne Resort Lakefront Queenstown is just the place for you to... More
Discover more about this scenic New Zealand resort town with ease by opting to stay in the affordable and strategically located accommodations of Haka Lodge Queenstown. This Queenstown hostel... More
Business and leisure travellers looking for well-appointed and fully-serviced accommodations in the heart of Queenstown find suitable base at The Lofts Apartments Queenstown. This value-for-money... More
With lavish self-catering accommodations nestled on the foothills in the tranquil inner city, Alta Apartments makes for a fitting base for cosmopolitan travellers in this Otago resort town in New... More