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13 best things to do in Queenstown, New Zealand

Best things to do in Queenstown

There’s a reason Queenstown is considered the adventure capital of New Zealand. With exhilarating bungy jumping, skydiving, hiking, skiing and more to be uncovered, this small village is a thrill-seekers paradise. More than fun-loving activities, though, Queenstown is also known for its fun foodie scene and relaxed atmosphere. Whether you’re an international traveller looking ahead to the future, or an Australian looking to make the most of the Trans-Tasman Bubble, Queenstown is a must-visit destination to check out. So, we’ve rounded up the best things to do in Queenstown, to help you map out your next great Kiwi adventure.

1. Go Skydiving

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, you can’t go past skydiving over Queenstown. The ultimate adventure, in the adventure capital.

Get your heart pumping with a skydive over the soaring Southern Alps in tandem with an expert NZone instructor from a height of 15,000ft. You’ll freefall at an impressive 200km/hour for some 60 seconds, before pulling the parachute and enjoying the scenic views as you glide back down to earth.

Skydive in Queenstown

Image source:Contiki

2. Try Bungy Jumping

New Zealand is the literal home of bungy – it’s where the famous AJ Hackett created the first commercial bungy experience in 1988, inspired by Vanuatu’s Indigenous groups.

Now, AJ Hackett has 5 bungy options to try across New Zealand, including Queenstown’s original Kawarau Bridge Bungy, Ledge Bungy and the thrilling 134m Nevis Bungy (the tallest in NZ).

Kawarau Bridge Bungy Jump in Queenstown, New Zealand.

Image source:Contiki

3. Visit the Nevis Valley

Along with the exhilarating 134m bungy jump, the Nevis also offers two more high-flying activities to enjoy. You can ride the world’s biggest human catapult, being propelled 150m out across the valley with up to 3Gs of force on the Nevis Catapult. Or you can enjoy the thrill of swinging high on a 300m arc through the valley on the world-famous Nevis Swing (seriously, this thing is all over TikTok). If you’re keen to see (and hear) your friends wild reactions, but aren’t quite sure if you’d like to take the leap yourself just yet, spectators can also join the Nevis trips.

Whether you’re planning to bungy or take on one of the other activities, you’ll need to take the AJ Hackett Bus from Queenstown’s Bungy Centre ahead of your scheduled time slot. But don’t worry, when you book in the instructions will be super clear – and if you’re travelling with Contiki, we’ll take care of all the organisation for you.

nevis swing new zealand

Image source:Contiki

4. Go on the Skyline Gondola

No trip to Queenstown is complete without a ride on the Skyline Gondola. Not only does it offer sweeping views of the village and Lake Wakatipu, but it also delivers you to the top of Bob’s Peak where scenic vistas and activities await. Check out the viewing platforms and maybe even grab a bite to eat in the Stratosfare Restaurant.

If adventure is calling your name, test your skills on the Queenstown Luge or take a hike along the many trails atop the mountain, including the Skyline Loop Track or the lengthier Ben Lomond Track.

5. Take a ride on the Shotover Jet

Another iconic Queenstown experience, the Shotover Jet takes you on an exhilarating ride on Kimiākau (Shotover River). Showcasing the incredible beauty of the canyons and surrounding mountains – while also experiencing the thrill of high speeds and 360 spins – it’s the best of both worlds.

6. Try a Fergburger

As far as food joints go, Fergburger is an world-famous institution. And with good reason, too. With a menu offering 21 burgers to try (including brekkie and kids burgers) and some seriously perfect fries and shakes, this is a simple takeaway spot that lives up to the hype. Sure, you’ll have to queue to get your hands on a burger – or two – but it’s a quintessential Queenstown experience worth a spot on your itinerary.

Don’t forget to pick up some dessert from the Ferg Bakery (hello, Boston Cream Donuts!) and Mrs. Fergs (award-winning gelato). They’ve also recently opened Ferg Bar – a brand new cocktail bar to check out on your next visit to Queenstown.

Fergburger in Queenstown

Image source:Contiki

7. Try Skiing & Snowboarding

New Zealand is perfect in every season, but its snow-capped mountains are undoubtedly one of the best sights to see. In the snowy season, Queenstown is considered one of the best places to be, with three of the Southern Hemisphere’s best ski fields to explore: Cardrona, Coronet and The Remarkables.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced skier, the slopes offer up something for everyone and the Queenstown village comes alive after dark, with concerts, games and nightlife to enjoy.

skiing in queenstown

Image source:Contiki

8. Take a day trip to Milford Sound

The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Milford Sound is a must-visit when travelling through New Zealand. Though you can stay in the Fiordland National Park itself, one of the most popular options is to take a day trip from Queenstown.

With inky dark waters, forested green hills and impressive waterfalls – this natural wonder is a remarkable sight to behold. Enjoy a cruise along the mystical waters, with a scenic drive through the Fiordland National Park to bookend your journey.

new zealand contiki

Image source:Contiki

9. Hit up the Queenstown Wine Trail

Much like the rest of New Zealand, Queenstown boasts some stellar wineries to check out when you’re in town. Find out why the region is renowned for Pinot Noir with a visit to the wineries of Arrowtown, Queenstown and Gibbston. Check out vineyards and wineries including Amisfield, Akarua, Peregrine, Kinross and the impressive wine cave at Gibbston Valley Winery.


Image source:Contiki

10. Enjoy a Funyak Tour

Combine the fun of kayaking with inflatable rafts and you’ve got yourself a funyak. Take a tour of the picturesque Dart River, marvelling at the crystalline waters, canyons and mountains before hopping on a jet boat ride back down the river to end the experience.

Funyak in Dart River, New Zealand

Image source:Contiki

11. Take a Hike

If you need a break from heart-stopping adrenaline rushes, take a stroll along one of Queenstown’s many trails to reconnect with nature. With the Remarkables Mountain Range and the beautiful Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown has plenty of tracks to try out. For a shorter walk, check out the Queenstown Gardens or Sunshine Bay Track. For a longer hike try the Queenstown Hill Time Walk, Moonlight Track or Jack’s Point Track.

Hiking in Queenstown

Image source:Contiki

12. Relax at Onsen Hot Pools

Another way to unwind – a little more luxuriously than hiking – is to enjoy a relaxing spa at Onsen Hot Pools. Filled with pure water from the nearby mountains, the Onsen cedar hot pools are enjoyed year-round, with special stargazing evening slots if you want to make things really magical. Surrounded by mountains, the views are unparalleled as you enjoy a soak in one of the hot pools.

13. Pay a visit to Arrowton

Last but not least on our roundup of the best things to do in Queenstown is a visit to Arrowton. Just a quick 20-minute drive or a short bus ride away from Queenstown, you’ll find the historic gold rush village of Arrowtown. With a quaint heritage tree-lined main street filled with boutiques, galleries, restaurants and bars, it’s like taking a step back in time. Surrounded by the Arrowtown River and Mahu Whenua, it’s also known for beautiful walking and cycling trails.

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Tina Burke
by Tina Burke Nov 02, 2020

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