Queenstown — what to do

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Aerial view Queenstown in winter from Bob's Peak (photo: Destination Queenstown)
Aerial view Queenstown in winter from Bob’s Peak (photo: Destination Queenstown)

Surrounded by majestic mountains and nestled on the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown and its surrounds offer endless opportunities for exploration on foot.

This region is one of the world’s great walking regions with walking and hiking trails ranging from the short stroll, pumping climb or multi-day hike.

There are several short walks in and around Queenstown including the Queenstown Hill Time Walk. It’s worth the 500m climb through pine forest to the summit for the reward – excellent views offering a 360-degree panorama of Lake Wakatipu, the Remarkables Range, the Kawarau River, Cecil Peak and Queenstown Bay.

A more sedate option might be to take a stroll along the lake’s edge starting from the lake-end of the mall making your way through Queenstown’s beautiful botanic gardens. Or go the other way and follow the lake to the end of town then along a lakeside bush trail to Sunshine Bay.

Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu from Remarkables Lookout (photo: Destination Queenstown)
Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu from Remarkables Lookout (photo: Destination Queenstown)

Slightly further afield are the world famous walks that venture into the heart of the Fiordland and Mt Aspiring National Parks. These include the Milford Sound, Hollyford, Routeburn, Dart/Rees, Caples and Greenstone tracks.

The Southern Lakes region is also famous as a mountaineering mecca with mountains and cliffs aplenty to play on.

The birthplace of adventure tourism, Queenstown remains a thrill seekers paradise with lots of high adrenaline activities including rafting, jetboating, hangliding, canyon swinging, skydiving, riversurfing and bungy jumping.

Indulge: As a four season destination, Queenstown is a hot spot with some of the country’s best restaurants, cafes, bars, wineries, shops and art galleries.

Visitors can spend the day soaking up the sun and pinot in one of Central Otago’s award winning wineries or follow the arts trail about the Wakatipu basin.

Shoppers will delight in a selection of designer clothing stores, beautiful jewellery shops, skate and surf outlets, and souvenir stores.

Day slowly turns into night in Queenstown in the summer. The town’s 130 bars and restaurants start buzzing late in the afternoon and the revelry continues right through into the early hours of the morning. Abuzz with tourists, locals, and VIPs from around the world.

Innovative and award winning restaurants abound with diners spilling onto sidewalk tables and cuisine to please every palate.
There are stylish bars, sophisticated clubs, Kiwi pubs, and late night hot spots with funky DJs entertaining the crowds. Two casinos offer the promise of easy money and there are always live gigs being played by local and visiting performers at various venues around town.

Queenstown Dining-out in The Mall (photo: Destination Queenstown)
Queenstown Dining-out in The Mall (photo: Destination Queenstown)


Fiordland National Park & Milford Sound

Southwest New Zealand is one of the great wilderness areas of the Southern Hemisphere. The jewel in Fiordland’s crown is Milford Sound, its steep rock walls and cascading waterfalls.
More about Fiordland National Park & Milford Sound

Queenstown — more infos

E.g. Queenstown Travel with an overview, weather and best season, airport, map & more

Or find all our articles by using the TAG Queenstown or type into the search field: Queenstown

Seasons

Alpine Lake, Queenstown (photo: Destination Queenstown)
Alpine Lake, Queenstown (photo: Destination Queenstown)

Queenstown during Spring

Spring time is from early September until spring’s official end on November 30

From early September until spring’s official end on November 30, daytime temperatures can hit 22°C (75°F). Once the sun sets temperatures can change quickly and evenings are cool, so it’s advisable to dress in layers and expect refreshing spring showers between hot sunny spells.

Queenstown during Summer

Clock Tower, Shotover Street, Queenstown (photo: Destination Queenstown)
Clock Tower, Shotover Street, Queenstown (photo: Destination Queenstown)

Summer experience in Queenstown: summer season runs from December 1 until end of March

Daytime temperatures hover between 20°- 30°C (mid 70°s – 90°F) and the 45 south latitude means dawn is as early as 5am and dusk doesn’t settle until around 10pm. Perfect for fantastic outdoor living and enjoying the many festivals, wineries, cafes, restaurants walks and other outdoor activities on offer.

Queenstown during Autumn / Fall

Glenorchy Shed -- Northern Tip of Lake Wakatipu (photo: Destination Queenstown)
Glenorchy Shed — Northern Tip of Lake Wakatipu (photo: Destination Queenstown)

Autumn’s True Colours reveal new reasons to visit Queenstown in April, May or June.
As summer melts into autumn, the Central Otago landscape ignites into vibrant colour, the evenings start to freshen and a touch of magic scents the air. The region slowly emerges from its summer reverie to embrace the cool caress of Mother Nature.

Winter

Queenstown Winter Festival (photo: Destination Queenstown)
Queenstown Winter Festival (photo: Destination Queenstown)

June through September: the snowfields open from early June, and a good season generally runs well into October.

Queenstown is a snow lover’s paradise with several ski areas on the doorstep of the cosmopolitan resort town. The après ski atmosphere is intoxicating as holiday makers enjoy superb food and the Queenstown ‘buzz’ in a myriad of bars and restaurants.The Southern Lakes region has a stable climate and southern ski fields rarely close due to bad weather.
Together the ski fields offer a vast range of terrain suitable for all levels of skier or rider.

Festivals

The Southern Hemisphere’s biggest winter party, the Queenstown Winter Festival (https://www.winterfestival.co.nz/), was first celebrated in 1974 !
It usually starts during the last week of June and goes until the first week of July – during this time thousands of locals and visitors populate Queenstown’s streets and ski slopes to welcome in the start of winter with mountain races, street parties, fireworks, live concerts, comedy, theatre, and loads of family fun.
Also look out for the NZ Mountain Film Festival (https://www.mountainfilm.nz/), the Glenorchy Winter Ball, Winter Pride (https://winterpride.co.nz/) New Zealand and Coronet Peak’s Mountain Mardi Gras.