Queenstown, New Zealand is a destination that offers something for every type of traveler. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie seeking adventure or a culture seeker looking for a taste of local culture, Queenstown has something for you. But with so much to see and do, it can be hard to know where to start. So we’ve put together this guide to help you plan your visit and make the most of your time in this beautiful New Zealand town.
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Is Queenstown safe?
A common question that many travelers have is whether or not their intended destination is safe. The answer is yes, crime is considered very low in Queenstown, and walking alone during the night is considered safe. It’s a safe destination for travelers. However, as with any destination, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and take the usual precautions to keep yourself and your belongings safe.
How long should you Stay in Queenstown?
This will depend on your interests and the type of trip you’re planning. For those who are primarily interested in adventure activities, a week or more would be ideal to fully experience all that the area has to offer. If you’re looking for a more relaxed, leisurely trip, a shorter stay of 3-4 days would still allow you to see the main attractions and take part in a couple of activities.
If you’re interested in skiing or snowboarding, it’s recommended to stay for at least a week to make the most of the ski season. If you’re interested in hiking, a week would give you enough time to complete one or two of the more challenging hikes, such as the Ben Lomond track, and if you’re looking to experience a variety of adventure activities, such as bungee jumping, skydiving, and jet boating, then at least a week is recommended.
In terms of cultural attractions and dining, a shorter stay of 3-4 days would be sufficient to see the main attractions and try some of the local specialties.
The amount of time you choose to stay in Queenstown will depend on your own interests and schedule. But with so much to see and do, it’s worth considering a longer stay to make the most of your time in this beautiful destination.
Best Activities to do in Queenstown
Queenstown, New Zealand is often referred to as the “adrenaline capital of the world” and it is not hard to see why. Here’s a list of the best outdoor activities to do during your stay.
Skiing and Snowboarding
Queenstown’s ski season typically runs from June to October and offers a variety of ski/snowboarding areas to choose from. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, you’ll find something to suit your skill level. With a combination of groomed trails, backcountry, and terrain parks, there is something for everyone. You can rent equipment in the town center, everything from beginner snowboards to the best snowboard boots.
Mountains open for skiing & snowboarding include:
- Coronet Peak: Coronet Peak is one of the most popular ski areas in Queenstown, known for its groomed trails and terrain parks. Offering a great service to beginners and intermediates. It also offers night skiing from 4-9 pm, making it a great option for those who want to make the most of their time on the mountain.
- The Remarkables: The Remarkables is another popular ski area that offers a variety of terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels. The mountain is known for its stunning views and its family-friendly atmosphere. It also has a jump park if you fancy your skills off a ramp.
- Cardrona: 1 hour from Queenstown, Cardrona is a ski area that offers a wide range of terrain, and is considered the best ski resort in New Zealand for beginners.
- Treble Cone: Treble Cone is a ski area that offers a more challenging terrain. It’s famous for its long un-crowded groomed runs.
If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, a bungee jump is a must-do. The historic Kawarau Bridge is home to the original bungee jump and it is still one of the most popular spots to take the leap. If you’re feeling particularly brave, the Nevis Bungy is New Zealand’s highest bungee jump and offers a heart-stopping 134m freefall that’s an 8.5-second free fall.
For an even more exhilarating experience, skydiving over Queenstown will give you a bird’s eye view of the town and the surrounding mountains as you freefall through the sky. With stunning views of the Remarkables, Lake Wakatipu, and the Southern Alps, it is an experience you will never forget. Most skydivers opt for the “one and done” approach and go for a 15,000 feet option. Although they also offer 9,000 and 12,000 feet options.
White Water Rafting
Queenstown offers some of the best whitewater rafting in the world. The Shotover and Kawarau Rivers offer a range of grades to suit all abilities, from a family-friendly grade 3 to a grade 5 for the more experienced rafters.
Queenstown is a mountain biker’s paradise with a wide variety of trails for riders. The locals say the Queenstown mountains tend to skip the beginner’s tracks. Even the green Hammy’s Track in Queenstown Bike Park (skyline mountain) is more intermediate level. From easy cross-country trails to technical downhill tracks, there is something for everyone. The local bike parks offer lift-accessed riding and bike rentals, making it easy to experience the best of what Queenstown has to offer.
Queenstown is surrounded by stunning mountains, and the area offers a variety of hiking trails, ranging from easy to difficult. Some popular hikes include the Ben Lomond Track, which offers panoramic views of the town and the surrounding mountains, and the Routeburn Track, which is a multi-day hike that takes you through some of the most beautiful scenery in the region.
Tiki Trail is a popular hike that takes you through a beautiful forest and offers great views of the lake and the mountains. The hike is moderate and takes about 1 hour up and 45 minutes to come down. The top of the Tiki trail is where the Ben Lomaond track begins
Ben Lomond Track is a popular hike that offers panoramic views of the town and the surrounding mountains. It’s a moderate hike that takes about 4-5 hours to complete.
Queenstown Hill is a popular hike that offers great views of the town and the surrounding mountains. The hike is moderate and takes about 2-3 hours to complete.
The Skyline Gondola/ Luge
The Skyline Gondola offers a stunning panoramic view of the town and the surrounding mountains. It is also home to the Luge, a fun, and exciting gravity ride.
Disc golfing in the Queenstown Gardens is a great way to experience the beauty of the park and get some exercise at the same time. The Queenstown Gardens Disc Golf Course offers a challenging and fun 18-basket course that winds its way through the park. The course is suitable for players of all skill levels, from beginners to experienced players. The course is set in a beautiful location, and players can enjoy the scenery while playing. The course is also family-friendly, making it a great activity for families visiting.
You can rent a frisbee in Small Planet (town center) for just 5 dollars a day!
One popular activity is jet boating, which provides a thrilling ride on the Shotover and Kawarau Rivers. You can easily rent great kayaking gear or a paddle board and stand-up paddleboarding are also popular options for exploring the calm waters of Lake Wakatipu. Visitors can also try their hand at fly fishing in the lake or in nearby rivers.
For those looking for a more leisurely experience, there are also options for scenic cruises on the lake. Whether you are looking for an adrenaline rush or a more relaxed experience, Queenstown has something for everyone to enjoy on the water.
Here are some of the best cultural things that you can experience in Queenstown.
Walter’s Peak via the TSS Earnslaw Cruise
Walter’s Peak is a historic farm and homestead that offers a glimpse into the area’s past. Take a tour of the farm and enjoy a traditional New Zealand lunch/dinner while taking in the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Wakatipu. You can also catch a sheep shearing show, where the local Collies and Kelpies put on a show rounding up the sheep.
The Queenstown Arts Centre
The Queenstown Arts Centre is the town’s premier art gallery and exhibition space. With a rotating selection of exhibitions, it is a great place to see the work of local and national artists.
Note: I would also recommend visiting the Ivan Clarke Gallery in the town center, this features many of his famous lonely dog paintings.
The Queenstown Gardens
The Queenstown Gardens is a beautiful park that offers a peaceful and relaxing place to escape the hustle and bustle of the town. With a variety of walking tracks, gardens, and playgrounds, it is a perfect
Queenstown, New Zealand is a food lover’s paradise. The town offers a wide range of dining experiences that will satisfy any palate. From fine dining to casual eateries, there is something for everyone. Here are some of the best dining experiences that you can have in Queenstown.
Queenstown’s most famous establishment which often finds itself in the top 10 lists for best burgers in the world. It’s a must-do if you visit Queenstown. Expect a huge queue at all times, so much so that they’ll provide you with an umbrella while you wait to protect yourself from the sun or rain. Once you place your order you can go explore while your food is being cooked, just check your order progress online so you know when to collect.
Walter’s peak Buffet
For a more upscale experience, check out Walter’s Peak Restaurant, which serves up locally-sourced, seasonal cuisine in a beautiful setting. The restaurant has a great ambiance and the perfect place to enjoy a romantic dinner.
Stratosphere Skyline buffet
For those who want a variety of foods to choose from, the Skyline buffet is a great option. The buffet serves up a wide range of dishes, including local specialties and international favorites, and the views of the city and lake are beautiful.
When the sun goes down, Queenstown’s nightlife comes alive. The town is home to a number of late bars and clubs.
The World Bar
The World Bar is a popular spot for live music and a lively atmosphere. With a variety of local and international acts, it’s a great place to catch a gig and party the night away.
Minus 5 Ice Bar
Minus 5 Ice Bar is a unique nightlife experience that is perfect for a winter night out. The bar is made entirely of ice, and you’ll be provided with warm clothing to keep you warm as you enjoy your drinks.
Zephyr bar is a small locals’ favorite late bar with a nice vibe. If you fancy yourself at a game of pool it’s easy to jump into a game of doubles with others.
The best selection of IPAs in Queenstown, great food, and a nice chill atmosphere.
These are just a few of the many nightlife experiences that Queenstown has to offer. With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder that it is known as a party town. Whether you’re looking for a casual night out or a more upscale experience, Queenstown has something for you.
Recommendations for accommodation
When it comes to accommodation, Queenstown has options to suit every budget and preference. From budget-friendly hostels to luxury resorts, you’ll find something that meets your needs. Some recommendations include the Base Backpackers, which offers dormitory rooms and private rooms, and the Novotel Queenstown Lakeside, which offers a variety of rooms and suites with lake and mountain views.
How to plan a trip to Queenstown
Finally, let’s talk about how to plan your trip to Queenstown.
The best way to get around is by car, as it allows you to explore the area at your own pace. New Zealand has some of the most scenic roads in the world, if you venture out of Queenstown I’d recommend a self-drive tour of the country. However, if you prefer not to drive, there are also bus and shuttle options available.
When it comes to budgeting, Queenstown can be a bit pricey, but there are ways to save money, such as by staying in budget-friendly accommodation, cooking your own meals and opting for hikes over pricey skydives.
The best time of year to visit
The best times to visit Queenstown are in the summer, between December and February, and in the winter, between June and August. These are the peak seasons for adventure activities and the weather is generally the most favorable.
Queenstown is a place that offers something for every type of traveler. With its adventure activities, cultural attractions, dining, and nightlife options, it’s a place where you can create a vacation tailored to your interests and budget.