View across Queenstown

Top 7 Experiences in Queenstown

Queenstown is the gem in New Zealand’s crown and one thing is certain, no matter what season you choose to visit, you will not be disappointed. The moment you step out of the airport terminal you will be greeted by friendly locals and one of the most spectacular backdrops of towering mountains that are guaranteed to enchant you from the very first moment.

Here are my top picks of 7 experiences you cannot miss in Queenstown and surrounds.

1. Get your camera ready…or don’t 

The reason I say this is, it’s quite easy to get swept up into capturing that perfect shot and believe me you will not be stuck for picture perfect scenes in Queenstown. The best way I can describe the scenery is, it’s as if the mountains, lakes, and trees have been painted on a canvas. So it’s fair to say my camera worked overtime on my first few trips! However after my first trip I found myself putting the camera down and just simply soaking up the scenes before me. From the peaks atop the Remarkables, to magical Lake Wanaka, the serene drive to Glenorchy or just sitting on the banks of Lake Wakatipu and watching the world go by.

2. Food, glorious food! 

Who doesn’t love exploring new cuisine and places to dine? Whatever your preference, you’ll find something to tempt your tastebuds. The wonderful thing about Queenstown is the variety and the incredible, fresh, and delicious produce. There are incredible fine dining options such as Rata and Madame Wu. Or follow the legendary lines that appear outside of Fergburger for that ultimate burger and chip fix, the infamous Boston Buns at Fergbaker or the offerings at the Public Bar and Kitchen (did I mention the amazing pavlova I may have happened to order several times in one visit?). You are spoilt for choice at every turn – and that was just in the heart of Queenstown. Be sure to venture out of town for even more amazing experiences. 

3. Winter wonderland 

Queenstown is a winters paradise. Skiers from around the globe descend on Queenstown to hit the slopes of this renowned region. Whether you are driving to the slopes (be sure to be prepared with snow chains and check conditions) or booking a coach service, it is incredibly organized with many operators to choose from. Likewise, there are many retailers offering ski gear for hire both in town and at the various resorts if you do not have your own. If you’re not too keen on skiing, the scenery makes it worthwhile visiting all the same. Another drawcard apart from the powdery slopes is the Queenstown winter festival usually held in June/July each year. This popular event transforms the city into a live party with music, events, fireworks, ice skating rink and local markets. 

4. Did someone say adrenalin? 

Queenstown and adventure go hand in hand. The region is certainly not short on adrenalin pumping activities. Choose from bungee jumping at Kawarau Bridge, the Nevis Catapult or the Canyon Swing. Or if you prefer sky diving, jet boating, paragliding, gondolas, go karting or helicopter experiences to available to entice visitors. In Queenstown there are adventure activities to suit every adventure-seekers desires.

5. On the road 

Some of the best experiences are found on the road visiting nearby towns and the incredible vineyards. My top picks include Amisfield Cellar Door, set amongst picture perfect grounds and boasting amazing cuisine. Another favourite is historical Arrowtown, the beautiful village set on the Arrow River. Walk along  Buckingham Steet, the heart of the town and home to heritage buildings housing fashion boutiques, restaurants, bars, cafes, galleries and quirky giftshops. Discover the town’s gold rush history and you can even hire a gold pan and try your luck finding gold!

6. Lake Wanaka 

About 1.5 hours’ drive out of town is one of jewels of Queenstown; Lake Wanaka. This spectular region is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike, and it’s easy to see why. Enjoy hiking in Mount Aspiring National Park, a World Heritage area where the views from Roys Peak are out of this world. Lake Wanaka itself is simply stunning no matter the time of day and is home to the most photographed tree in New Zealand – dubbed ‘That Wanaka Tree’. According to local legend it was merely a tiny willow tree used as a fence post, before growing into the iconic spot that is today. Sadly, the tree was subjected to vandalism earlier this year with the lower branch cut off. 

7. The Queen of all towns 

One of the best parts of Queenstown is just strolling through the town Centre and taking it all in. It is just magical in winter with the cobbled streets, billowing chimneys, crisp clean air and snow-capped mountains surrounding you. There’s so many thing to explore; visit Earnslaw Park, pop into the many shops and boutiques or stroll through the Botanic Gardens and witness the colorful floral displays. At night, the restaurants and bars are abuzz with chatter, and the aroma of incredible food fills the air. The heart of Queenstown is quite compact, making it easy to get around, but it sure packs a punch in terms of what it offers. 

Whether you’re after an adrenalin-filled holiday or a getaway, Queenstown has it all. It’s natural beauty, foodie scene and welcoming locals will leave you wanting to return again and again. There are regular flights from Australia and as travel restriction continue easing, I’d highly recommend visiting Queenstown as part of your New Zealand holiday. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. 

Visit New Zealand’s south island on our Hidden Gold of the South tour.

Written by Amanda Bruno

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *