Every time I visit Queenstown, I wonder how much this little place has to offer. Queenstown is one city which holds a special place in my heart.
When you visit NewZealand, usually your trip starts in Queenstown, Auckland or Christ Church. I would suggest to leave Queenstown for the last, it being the best!
Here is my Top 12 list which will help you plan better easy as there is always too much to miss
1. Queenstown Hill
Hiking Queenstown Hill to the summit of Te Tapunui is a ‘must’ thing to do. Easy climb of 500 m starts from the Belfast Street right at the centre of Queenstown . The short climb through Pine trees is rewarded by a 360 degree view of Queenstown Hill which provide glimpses of Lake Wakatipu, Kawarau River & The Remarkables.
A “Dream Basket” is located at the top of the hill which is supposedly a linkage to the future.
Wanderer’s Tip: I did a mistake of hiking at the noon during the summer, which was miserably hot!
2. Lake Wakatipu
Lake Wakatipu is located right at the centre of the city surrounded by mountains which makes it even more convenient for travelers . A walk along the shores of Wakatipu is simply perfect for any time of the day. There are options for biking & fishing as well. Easy access to water and the picnic benches on the shore makes it a great place for everyone.
3. Steam Ship Cruise
Though this was not in my plan, I ended up with a Groupon ticket and I am glad I did. The iconic TSS Earnslaw steamship, cruises across the lake while you spend time learning the history of Queenstown or working of the Steam engine. There is a cafe onboard which serves drinks & food .Optional extras include visit to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a guided farm tour, horse trek, barbecue lunch or evening dining.
Wanderer’s Tip: Considering it is a 90 minute cruise, think if it would really interest you as there is not much of an activity and is more of a quite cruise.
4. Adventures – Name it , you got it
No wonder why Queenstown is called as the adventure capital. There are endless options varying from White River rafting, Shot over Jet, Kayaking, Helicopter Rides, Swings, Skydive, Luge, Gondola, Skyline etc. Most economic way to enjoy some of these will be to purchase the combo coupons based on your preferences.
Combos, ExperienceOZ, Ultimate Queenstown & Queenstownadventure are some of the providers which you could choose from.
5. Bungy Jumping
Though it is an adventure by itself, I believe Bungy Jumping is something which I should call out separately. AJ Hackett Bungy provides three different options for Bungy Jumping in Queenstown.
For the ease of decision making, below is a quick comparison.
- Nevis Bungy: New Zealand’s highest Bungy (134m), 8.5 seconds free fall (Most expensive of all the three)
- Kawarau Suspension Bridge: World’s first commercial Bungy, 43m high, Water touch available
- Ledge Bungy: Freestyle Bungy with legs left free without being tied, night jumps available
I chose Nevis Jumpy and I must say I did enjoy it (Anyways you must Jump , then why not from the tallest)
6. The Remarkables
The Remarkables mountain range is famous for its ski fields & the beautiful back drop it forms for the Lake Wakatipu. I visited it as a part of a Lord of the Rings tour. Shuttle services are also available from Queenstown for easy transportation.
7. Art Galleries , Wine shops , Pizza parlours
No trip to Queenstown is complete without a glass of good wine. There are number of Wine shops, Art Galleries & Pizza Parlours all around the city. For those who have an eye for art, this is a great place too. You could walk in to the galleries and view the art works, a lot of them specialising in New Zealand landscapes. One of the delicacies I got carried away was the delicious Pizzas available through out in Queenstown . Where you are there, make sure to try .
8. Day trip to Milford Sound
Four hours away from Queenstown is Milford Sound, part of the World Heritage Fiordland National Park. With a range of activities including multi day hikes, Milford Sound leaves you with a long lasting impression. You can drive down, or take one of the package tours from Queenstown to visit Milford Sound. The road leading to Milford sound itself is beautiful with pristine alpine views.
Te-Anau is a stop over while driving towards Milford sound (also the last gas station!) .Cruises to Doubtful Sound, another picturesque location starts from here as well.
Mirror lake is another quick stop, located just 5 minutes walking distance from the main Road, where you get to catch a glimpse of the reflections of Earl Mountains.
9. Ferg burger
Queenstown is famous for its Big, Fresh & Juicy Ferg Burgers . The long queue outside the cafe which is open for 21 hours (!) proves it as well. However I must say, even though it was a great burger, I did not find it standing up to the hype (could be partially because I was a vegetarian at the time and hence could not taste a meat burger)
10. Arrow town
Arrow town is a historic village 25 kms away from Queenstown. This little town has its own charm with the heritage buildings , bike tracks and gold rush history. Also, it is famous for its beautiful Autumn colours .
Glenorchy is situated 45 km away from Queenstown and serves as a stop over for those who head towards Routeburn/Rees/Dart/Greenstone walking tracks in Mount Aspiring & Fiordland National parks. Just as other places around Queenstown, Glenorchy is a centre for endless options including hiking, skydiving, cruises, kayaking, Jet boating, Horse Riding and so on. Glenorchy hotel provides good accommodation options.
12. Buy Merino
New Zealand is famous for Merino wool . Merino is a breed of sheep famous for its fine, soft wool and its ability to thrive in New Zealand’s ‘high country’. When you get a lot of options to purchase Merino clothing & accessories in Queenstown why not buy it as a souvenir?
What I missed? ( Yes, I need a reason to go back to Queenstown again !)
- Coronet Peak
- Moke Lake
- Bob’s peak
- Queenstown Garden
Do I need a Car in Queenstown ?
You don’t, as there are shuttle services available from anywhere to everywhere . But if there are more people, driving town to Milford sound will be more economical than purchasing the packages.
So , what do yo think . Did I miss any hot spot of Queenstown? Please let me know