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Queenstown – a picturesque outdoor haven often known as the ‘Adventure Capital of New Zealand,’ offers an abundance of thrilling activities and stunning landscapes, making it a favorite among both adrenaline seekers and nature lovers. Our top picks for things to do in Queenstown will ensure an unforgettable experience in this stunning destination.
1. Exploring the Scenic Beauty of Lake Wakatipu
Begin your Queenstown adventure by taking a leisurely stroll or a bike ride around the serene and captivating Lake Wakatipu. The jewel in Queenstown’s crown, this glacial lake presents awe-inspiring vistas of the surrounding mountains, such as the Remarkables, Cecil Peak, and Walter Peak. You can also embark on a scenic boat cruise across the lake on the historic steamship TSS Earnslaw, offering a unique perspective of the region’s beauty.
2. Feel the Adrenaline Rush with Bungy Jumping and Swing
As the birthplace of commercial bungy jumping, no trip to Queenstown would be complete without taking a leap of faith at the iconic Kawarau Bridge Bungy, operated by AJ Hackett. For those seeking an extra adrenaline rush, consider trying out the Nevis Swing, the world’s highest cliff swing, or the Ledge Bungy, which allows you to do freestyle jumps with a backdrop of picturesque Queenstown.
3. Get Your Heart Racing with Jet Boating
Experience a thrilling jet boat ride with Shotover Jet, charging through narrow canyons and doing 360-degree spins at high speeds. Skippers Canyon Jet and KJet on Lake Wakatipu are other fantastic options for adrenaline-pumping jet boating. These high-octane adventures allow you to take in the rugged beauty of Queenstown’s waterways while satisfying your thirst for excitement.
4. Conquer the Skies: Skydiving and Paragliding
Daredevils should not miss the once-in-a-lifetime experience of skydiving in Queenstown. With Skydive Southern Alps, NZONE Skydive, and Skydive Paradise, plunging from 15,000 feet above the stunning landscape will leave you breathless. Alternatively, tandem paragliding from the top of Coronet Peak with the likes of GForce Paragliding will offer a slightly less hair-raising yet equally exhilarating aerial experience.
5. Ski and Snowboard at World-Class Resorts
Winter sports enthusiasts flock to Queenstown for its exceptional skiing and snowboarding opportunities. The town is located a short drive away from world-class ski fields, including Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Cardrona Alpine Resort, and Treble Cone, catering to thrill-seekers of all levels. Experienced instructors and rental facilities are available to help you maximize your time on the slopes.
6. Hiking and Biking in Queenstown
Traverse Queenstown’s stunning landscapes on one of its many walking trails, such as the Queenstown Hill Walk, Ben Lomond Track, or the Routeburn Track. Mountain biking enthusiasts can try out the exhilarating trails at Skyline MTB Park, 7 Mile Delta, and Rude Rock. These outdoor excursions will not only challenge your physical stamina but also reward you with breathtaking views.
7. Relax and Unwind at Onsen Hot Pools
After days filled with adrenaline-pumping activities, soak your tired muscles at the luxurious Onsen Hot Pools. These private pools boast floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Shotover River, offering an idyllic setting to rejuvenate and recharge as you take in the natural beauty of Queenstown.
8. Indulge in the Local Culinary Scene
Queenstown is also home to a vibrant food and wine scene, with many incredible eateries to satisfy your hunger after an action-packed day. Local favorites include Fergburger, a legendary burger joint, Rātā for contemporary New Zealand cuisine by acclaimed chef Josh Emett, and The Cow for its delicious pizzas and cozy atmosphere. A visit to Gibbston Valley Winery and Amisfield Winery for wine tasting is highly recommended.
9. Discover Lord of the Rings Filming Locations
Queenstown’s breathtaking landscapes served as a backdrop for several iconic scenes in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Film buffs can book a guided tour such as the Safari of the Scenes or Pure Glenorchy to explore locations like the Remarkables and Twelve Mile Delta. You’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to Middle Earth while learning fascinating facts about how the movies were brought to life.
10. Unforgettable Views from Skyline Queenstown
To top off your Queenstown adventure, admire the marvelous panoramic views of the town, Lake Wakatipu, and the Remarkables from the Skyline Queenstown viewing platform. A thrilling gondola ride will whisk you up to this awe-inspiring vantage point, where you can also enjoy a sumptuous buffet meal at the Stratosfare Restaurant & Bar, or try out the thrilling Luge ride.
Queenstown truly is a remarkable destination that captures the essence of New Zealand’s adventurous spirit and majestic landscapes. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or a nature lover, you’re bound to find unique and exhilarating adventures to create memories that will last a lifetime.