Hands down, Queenstown, New Zealand is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited. The city is nestled on the shore of the placid Lake Wakatipu under the shadows of to the towering Remarkables mountain range. I don’t think there is a single home in the whole city that doesn’t come with a million dollar view.
The city itself is clean and modern and offers so much to do. Queenstown is known as The Adventure Capital of the World, and for good reason! Keep reading to discover fun and unique things to do in Queenstown New Zealand… (and be sure to see what else is on our South Island Bucket List!)
1. Ride the Skyline Luge
The Skyline Luge was invented in New Zealand and now has 6 international locations. We have been to 3 of the locations and this is by far our favorite. The unmatched view from the top will take your breath away.
Riding the luge is a blast as you speed down the winding track along the mountainside.
An enclosed gondola ride will take you up to the top of the mountain where the luge track is located. You’ll then take a smaller lift up to the track.
I would recommend getting the multi-ride tickets because one time just isn’t enough! But seriously, the view alone is worth the price of the ticket.
2. Take a Thrilling Jet Boat Tour
If you’re looking for adventurous things to do in Queenstown New Zealand, you have to take a jet boat tour! There are a few different options available.
We did the Kawarau River with KJet, but the Shotover River is a popular choice too.
It was seriously such a blast to fly down the river and turn on a dime! Even Prince William and Kate did it during their tour of New Zealand.
3. Bungee Jump Off the Kawarua Bridge
If you still haven’t gotten your adrenaline fix, you have to bungee jump off the Kawarua Bridge.
This is the birthplace of bungy jumping and is a must on your New Zealand adventure bucket list!
I was soooo close to doing it but chickened out and totally regret it. But I did get to cheer on my cute friend who was brave enough to make the leap.
Even if you aren’t up for a jump, it’s worth a stop just to watch others jump. Not to mention, the view of the river is insane.
Other adventurous things to do in Queenstown New Zealand:
>River Boarding: For a unique experience try river surfing the rapids of Kawarau river!
>Nevis Swing: Swing high above the valley on the world’s biggest swing.
>Zipline Adventure: Take a 3-hour zipline tour with six different lines and spectacular views along the way.
>Skydiving: Queenstown is arguably the world’s skydiving capital!
>Paragliding: Soar above the most incredible scenery you’ll ever behold while paragliding.
>White Water Rafting: Catch some rapids while rafting down the beautiful Shotover river.
>Canyoning: This guided excursion will explore canyons and crystal clear pools using natural water slides, zip lines, pool jumps, rappelling, and swimming.
>Lord of the Rings tour: The best way to experience Middle Earth is by a 4-wheel drive Lord of the Rings Tour!
4. Enjoy a Day at Lake Wakatipu
For a more relaxing day, I would recommend hanging out at Lake Wakatipu. Rent a paddle board, kayak or even an aqua bike.
Or just grab some fish and chips and hang out on the shore while the kids play.
Take a Lake Cruise across the stunning Lake Wakatipu and soak up the million-dollar views.
Other lakes in the area that are worth a visit are Moke Lake or Lake Hayes. These serene and peaceful lakes are off the beaten path and are great for walking, cycling or just hanging out and having a picnic.
5. Take a Scenic Drive to Glenorchy
The road to Glenorchy curves above the banks of Lake Wakatipu and is one of my favorite drives in New Zealand. Especially as the sun is setting and the water is as still as glass.
The 45-minute drive to Glenorchy is worth it just for the drive alone! However, once you arrive in Glenorchy, check out the Funyak tour.
Or consider taking a Lord of the Rings Tour from Queenstown to Glenorchy.
The excursion takes you on a jet boat up the Dart river, then you float back down the crystal clear waters on an inflatable kayak.
6. Visit the Charming town of Arrowtown
Located about 25 (beautiful) minutes out of Queenstown is the charming town of Arrowtown. The drive there alone is stunning.
And if you want more time to soak in the scenery, consider booking a self-guided scenic bike tour from Arrowtown to Queenstown!
Arrowtown was once a gold rush city. The town has done a wonderful job preserving the history of the early settlement, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time.
This area also has a claim to fame as the filming location for the Ford of Bruinen on Lord of the Rings. Stroll down the streets admiring the cute shops and be sure to buy some homemade fudge from the Sweet Shop.
Check out the museum where you can rent or purchase a gold mining pan then try your hand at panning for gold in the river.
Explore the Chinese Settlement where immigrant miners once lived, then grab a bite to eat at Dudley’s Cottage Cafe. Gold panning equipment is also available at Dudley’s Cottage Cafe.
End your day with a stroll along the Arrow River trail which happens to be one of the filming locations for Lord of the Rings.
7. Hit the Trails on a Beautiful Hike
There are several hiking trails that offer spectacular views. Here are a few:
Kelvin Heights Peninsula Lakeside Trail: This trail follows along the edge of Lake Wakatipu. You’ll be surrounded by historic farmlands and some of the most scenic residential areas in New Zealand.
>Queenstown Hill Time Walk: Take in the view from the summit of Te Tapunui (3 hr return).
>Tiki Trail: Instead of taking the Gondola, try hiking up to take in the iconic aerial shots of the city. It is a challenging but rewarding hike!
8. Enjoy Local Eats
Enjoy the local cuisine and fun atmosphere at these favorite hot spots:
>Perky’s Floating Bar: For a unique experience, stop by this floating bar. They offer only drinks but you are more than welcome to bring in outside food.
>Taco Medic: If you’re looking for tasty food and a casual atmosphere this is the spot!
Fergburger: Fergburger is a Queenstown institution. Delicious burgers, but expect a line
>The Bathhouse: Fine dining and stunning views.
>V Know: Always fresh, specializing in NZ entrees.
>The Cow: This Pizza and Spaghetti House serves up the best comfort food with homemade bread and generous portions of pasta. The atmosphere is warm and inviting with a large stone fireplace and dark wood accents.
I hope this guide helps you find some fun and unique things to do in Queenstown New Zealand. Enjoy an unforgettable trip to one of my favorite cities!