New Zealand is an incredible place to visit for reasons that go well beyond its cities. But if you’re able to spend a day in Queenstown, you’ll find that there’s still plenty to do in and around the city without leaving the area. Just like Auckland, this is a city packed with beauty and activity (and yummy eats), so I wanted to share some of the very best things to do in town.

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1. Ride In The Skyline Gondola

It may be a bit touristy, but the Skyline Gondola – arguably the most famous attraction in Queenstown – is still worth your time! Take this smooth bust steep ride right up to Bob’s Peak and enjoy some of the most incredible views in New Zealand. And if you have the time, stick around until evening to take part in the stargazing.

2. Hike The Queenstown Hill Time Walk

There are a lot of amazing hikes in and around Queenstown, and which one you go for may depend on the difficulty level you’re up to. The Queenstown Hill Time Walk is a great option though. You can manage this trail in about two hours, and enjoy more breathtaking views – as well as an intriguing art installation (the Basket of Dreams) meant to represent an inward jersey and consideration of the future.

3. Go Bungy Jumping

Take a leap of faith in the home of the world’s first bungy! You’ll have a few different options, but the Kawarau Bridge is maybe the most exciting of the bunch. You’ll be able to touch the water below as you reach the full extension of your jump.

4. Ski The Remarkables

Anytime skiing is a recommendation it’s a given that weather has to cooperate. But if the weather cooperates and there’s adequate snowfall in the peaks around Queenstown, you can’t do much better than skiing the Remarkables. The lifts are about 45 minutes outside of town, but it’s a perfectly manageable day trip, and you’ll get to enjoy world-class skiing (or snowboarding) with incredible views.

5. Have A Drink On The Beach

There have actually been some calls for alcohol bans on Queenstown’s beaches. For the most part though, drinking in public is legal in New Zealand, and this has led some to enjoy the occasional drink on the beach. It’s certainly a nice change of pace from the more adventurous activities the city is known for.

6. Lose Yourself In The Queenstown Gardens

Located right in town, the Queenstown Gardens mix nature, park space, and views of Lake Wakatipu. So head out for a few hours to explore, or set up a picnic! If you’re interested, you can also enjoy free disc golf in the Gardens.

7. Learn To Taste At The Winery

Don’t forget that New Zealand is known for its wines! You can venture outside of Queenstown to tour an actual winery if you want to make an event of it. But if you’d rather stay i the city, The Winery is a warm, friendly wine bar where you can try more than 80 local wines.

8. Try Your Luck At The Tables

If you like, you can enjoy an elegant, professional casino in Queenstown as well! New Zealand has lately gained a reputation for extensive online and mobile casino offerings, and these are very convenient for locals. For a visitor in town though, the live SkyCity Queenstown casino makes for a fun night out.

9. Try The Luge Track

This actually ties win with the Skyline Gondola suggested above. But we have to point out that one more option you hav once you reach the top is to enjoy a luge course on the way down. You can travel down more than 800 meters of winding track, with lake views and mountain ranges in the background (though you’ll need to keep your eye on what you’re going).

10. Go Jetboating

If you’re picturing a high-powered engine attached to a bit boat with a group of passengers on it, you know what to expect. Jetboating down Dart River isn’t like any other experience you’ll have had on a boat, or any other craft.

11. Take A Day Trip To Arrowtown

Head to Arrowtown – about a 20-minute drive from Queenstown – and enjoy a look back into New Zealand’s history (and the South Island gold rush). It’s a place known for its visual and historical charms, but also one that’s become well known for its culinary scene.

12. Go Canyoning

Head to Gibbston Valley outside of the city for an unforgettable guided canyoning experience. Canyoning, if you aren’t aware, means swimming, climbing through rocky gorges, and rappelling down waterfalls, all in one go. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s one of the best ways to get in touch with the country’s nature.

13. Summit Ben Lomond

For a bit more adventure, make the hike up Ben Lomond. This hike can take about five hours, and is somewhat steep in places, but is generally considered suitable even for inexperienced hikers. It reaches an elevation near 6,000 feet though, making it yet another amazing sightseeing spot in town.

14. Try The World’s Most Famous Burgers

Okay, so we can’t necessarily say they’re the most famous. But it would be hard to think of burgers more famous than those of Fergburger these days. Not only is this restaurant famous (to the point that it has a long line at all hours) – but it’s fairly commonly referred to now as the best burger in the world!

15. Relax At The Spa

Simply put, the Onsen Hot Pools on the edge of Queenstown are life-changing. You can relax in a private hot tub with your own view of the area’s unrivaled natural beauty.

16. Find Goodies At Remarkables Market

You won’t find a much happier place in town than Remarkables Market! There are local foods, crafts made by local artisans, and sometimes live musical performances, all out in the open air. Unfortunately the market only runs on Saturdays, but if it works with your schedule it still makes for a lovely stop.

17. Enjoy Incredible Japanese Food

There are a lot of different types of cuisine on offer in Queenstown (and really throughout New Zealand). But some of the Asian cuisine in particular is excellent. Head to Tatsumi or Kappa for a memorable meal, and some of the most authentic Japanese food you’ve ever tried.

18. Take A Helicopter Tour

The Skyline Gondola, various hikes and even bungy jumping all represent awesome ways to see Queenstown from different vantage points. But you can truly see it all if you elect to take a helicopter tour of the area. Various companies offer these kinds of tours, and while it’s a bit pricey, it’s also fairly extraordinary.

19. Take A Lake Cruise

Take a lake cruise to enjoy Queenstown’s beauty and atmosphere in the most relaxing way possible. Lake Wakatipu defines Queenstown more than another natural feature or attraction, and there are a lot of on-water tours available that allow you to drift along and enjoy some leisure.

20. Swim

Finally, find a place to swim! Lake Wakatipu can be quite cold, but there are safe places to take a dip, and it’s almost a shame not to get in the water in such a gorgeous lake region.

Find out what to pack for New Zealand!

Be prepared for anything, while still travelling carry on only! Check out our packing list for New Zealand

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