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Attractions in Queenstown – Top 10 Things to Do

Located on New Zealand’s South Island, this lively town is towered over by the imposing snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps and overlooks the stunning Lake Wakatipu. Welcome to New Zealand’s adventure capital — Queenstown, one of the most desirable tourist destinations in New Zealand.

Whether you plan to abseil down a cliff, visit art galleries, take a cruise, join whale-watching tours or go swimming through caves, Queenstown is devoted to tourism and has something for the whole family. You’ll find countless experiences and exciting attractions in Queenstown. Read on and learn more about the best places to visit in Queenstown.

 

Lake Wakatipu

A beautiful red, purple and blue sunset view over Lake Wakatipu.

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/melvin_nicholson/33423091458

Your first Queenstown must-see is Lake Wakatipu. Overlooked by the towering Remarkables, NZ’s third-largest lake is a popular destination for adventure tours, with ski fields, bungy jumping, paragliding, and many hiking trails.

Due to its unusual Z-like shape, Lake Wakatipu’s tide causes the lake to rise and fall by 10 centimetres every 25 minutes. According to local Māori legend, this phenomenon is linked to the slumbering heartbeat of the monster Matau, who lies at the bottom of this glacial Queenstown lake.

A scenic cruise on Lake Wakatipu is a great way to take in the blissful scenery of Queenstown aboard the fully restored coal-powered steamship TSS Earnslaw. This New Zealand icon is complete with a bright red funnel, white hull, and timber decks where you can relive the elegance of past-century travel.

Lake Wakatipu also offers serene kayaking experiences and year-round trout fishing tours. The lake’s beaches are famous Queenstown, New Zealand attractions over the summer season. You’ll find the best Queenstown view from Lake Wakatipu’s shoreline, simply watching the sun rise and set behind the Southern Alps.

 

Gondola Ride to Bob’s Peak

Gondola going up Bob's Peak overlooking Queenstown high above sea level.

Photo Credit: https://www.skyline.co.nz/

Bob’s Peak is one of the most beautiful things to see in Queenstown. If you look up toward the hills and snow-capped mountains along your walk through the streets of central Queenstown, you can’t miss it. From the heart of Queenstown CBD, you can hike the Tiki Trail or ascend the 450-metre mountain with a quick 5-minute ride on the Queenstown Skyline Gondola.

Riding this year-round gondola costs $44 for adults and $26 for children. Once you reach the top, you have adrenaline-pumping activities such as luge-riding, ziplining, paragliding, hiking, and downhill mountain biking, with mountain bike rentals available on-site. Then, why not celebrate the end of an action-fuelled day with dinner and drinks at the award-winning Skyline Queenstown Stratosfare Restaurant and Bar?

Should you prefer something more subdued, several lookout platforms offer differing vantages to soak up Queenstown. Skyline Queenstown provides stargazing tours high above their complex on the specially constructed platform on clear nights. When it comes to sightseeing in Queenstown, this is it. You’ll have an unforgettable clear view of the night sky away from light pollution.

 

Ride the Luge

people enjoying a high speed luge circuit high above Queenstown city.

Photo Credit: https://www.queenstownnz.co.nz/

Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, and surrounding mountains serve as your spectacular backdrop as you twist and turn through banks, corners, tunnels, and dippers. These purpose-built Luge carts put you in complete control as you steer your way around the twisting downhill gravity fuelled racetrack, cheering your head off.

You can choose from two tracks, a gentle and leisurely ride on the Blue Track or the steep and adventurous Red Track. Regardless, it is a fantastic adventure experience for adults and kids seeking a thrilling and unique experience to enjoy in Queenstown. Once is never enough!

 

Queenstown Gardens

The relaxing view at the Queenstown Gardens on a beautiful sunny day.

Photo Credit: https://www.arrivalguides.com/

Stretch your legs and take a walk through the Queenstown Gardens located at the far end of the beach at Queenstown Bay. If you’re looking for free things to do in Queenstown, this is it! Stroll along an easy, flat, 25-minute trail amongst perfectly manicured rose garden beds, be amongst an array of beautiful, native, and international flowers.

You can absorb the stunning scenery of the Remarkables Mountain Range, which is usually hidden from view when you’re in the Queenstown city centre. The infamous English Oaktree was first planted in 1867 and still stands at the Park Street entrance.

Curious where to go in Queenstown to be a part of a favourite local pastime? Come to Queenstown Gardens to play frisbee golf at the Disc Golf Course — all you need is a frisbee. This 18-basket course is loads of fun and is another free activity in Queenstown. So come test your skill!

 

Bungy Jumping – AJ Hackett Style

brave lady posing during a bungy jump high above with Queenstown city in the background.

Photo Credit: https://www.queenstownnz.co.nz/

Queenstown is the home of bungee jumping. AJ Hackett is synonymous with bungee jumping – a worldwide sensation that first started at their Kawarau Bridge location back in 1988.

If there ever was anything on your Queenstown bucket list, this adrenaline-inducing jump should be right up there. AJ Hackett Bungy in Queenstown has 3 of New Zealand’s famous locations:

  • Kawarau Bridge Bungy – dive 43 metres headfirst into the Kawarau River; water-touch optional
  • Ledge Bungy — freestyle 47 metres off the edge, high above Queenstown.
  • Nevis Bungy – a purpose-built Bungy gondola; 134 metres above the Nevis River.

Operated by the world’s most trusted Bungy company with over 20 years of experience, you can be sure that this life-changing experience will undoubtedly satisfy your adrenaline-seeking spirit while you’re in Queenstown.

 

Skiing and Snowboarding Resorts

enjoy a ski down the slopes at Coronet Peak in Queenstown.

Photo Credit: https://www.coronetpeak.co.nz/

If you’re a winter sports enthusiast, then Queenstown is THE place to be over the winter months. A popular Queenstown tourist destination domestically and internationally, you can be sure that these mountains come alive with skiers and snowboarders.

Queenstown hosts Coronet Peak ski fields, only a 30-minute drive from Pegasus Queenstown, and The Remarkables Ski Resort, 45-minutes away. The crisp winter days of Queenstown are perfect for outdoor skiing and snowboarding experiences. These icy white mountain peaks offer a variety of excellent trails, unrivalled scenery, and lift-accessed terrain. And all trails are suitable for all levels, from first-timers to seasoned skiers and boarders. A side note, Coronet Peak offers night skiing every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.

We know that skiing and snowboarding are pricey endeavours. Pegasus Queenstown can help by offering one of our affordable Queenstown vehicles to help you extend your budget. So, be sure to hit the slopes at these amazing ski fields when you visit Queenstown during winter.

 

Jet Boating

high speed jet boat ride on the river in a canyon in Queenstown.

Photo Credit: https://www.myguidequeenstown.com/

Jet boat tours are one of the more affordable adventure experiences you can get in Queenstown. Imagine Shotover River jet boat thrills or whitewater rafting through unspoiled beauty and turbulent rapids. You’ll find several different Queenstown jetboating operators offering exciting tours to choose from, all year round:

  • Shotover Jet
  • Go Orange Jet
  • K-Jet
  • Skippers Canyon Jet
  • Dart River Adventures

Feel the exhilaration of a jet boat ride as you skim across the river, whizz around corners, and shoot through narrow gorges at neck-breaking speed. Fun for the entire family, jet boating gives you a unique combination of power and speed.

As the longest-running adventure activities in Queenstown, you’ll enjoy wall-to-wall canyon excitement from start to finish. So get your blood pumping and experience this action-packed adventure!

 

Drive to Glenorchy

iconic hutt in Glenorchy and the spectacular landscape in the background.

Photo Credit: https://www.queenstownnz.co.nz/

Glenorchy is a rustic town 45 minutes from Queenstown, nestled at the northern shores of Lake Wakatipu on the South Island. This small settlement is set against a background of native beech forest, glacial rivers, and soaring mountain ranges and is one of the must-visit Queenstown tourist attractions.

You’ll encounter unique places to stop along the way on one of the most beautiful drives on the South Island any time of the year. Glenorchy’s spectacular landscapes have been the setting for many movies such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit and Narnia.

Here are some free things to do in Glenorchy:

  • Visit Glenorchy’s iconic and historic red shed
  • Hike the Glenorchy Walkway track to Glenorchy Lagoon
  • Walk the jetty
  • Visit Mrs. Woolley’s store and café
  • Go to the Glenorchy Animal Farm

Whether you want to relax and take in the natural surroundings or challenge yourself in the great outdoors, you’ll fall in love with Glenorchy.

 

Skydiving Queenstown

tandem skydiving high above Queenstown.

Photo Credit: https://www.backpackerbanter.com/

Nothing will make your adrenaline rush more than jumping out of a plane and freefalling back to earth! If there were one unmissable activity while visiting Queenstown, a tandem skydive would rank at the top of the list.

NZONE Skydive is only a 12-minute drive from Pegasus Queenstown and is the trusted skydiving operator in Queenstown, operating for over 30 years. They are the only Tandem Skydive company to have won New Zealand’s Supreme Tourism Award.

Experience fantastic views of Queenstown from 12,000 feet above sea level as you reach altitude on a 10-minute scenic flight. Harnessed to an experienced jumpmaster, you’ll free-fall for around 45-seconds reaching speeds of up to 200kph!

You will expect a sensory overload like no other before enjoying a breathtaking 5-minute parachute glide above the Wakatipu basin as you land safely back to earth. This Queenstown experience is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression for years to come. So take the plunge; you’re in safe hands.

 

Stuff Your Face with a Fergburger

a delicious burger with chips from Fergburger.

Photo Credit: https://trip101.com/

With so many food and drink options in Queenstown, even if you stayed for a month, you could go somewhere different for pretty much every meal, even if you stayed here for a month. But the best place to visit in Queenstown for a meal is Fergburger.

Their freshly baked buns combined with juicy patties, selection of sauces and cheese makes this quick burger meal feel gourmet. They have an extensive burger menu, including vegetarian options.

Fergburger is open daily from 8 am to 4.30 am (you read that right, that’s 18.5 hours!) If you want to skip the line, phone in your order and pick it up for takeout (that’s what locals always do!). Eating at Fergburger is one of those “must-do” things in Queenstown as a tourist and is well worth the hype. Many visitors from the North Island of New Zealand have this Queenstown burger joint on their radar!

 

Other Must-See and Do’s in Queenstown, New Zealand

  • Hike up to the Ben Lomond Summit or follow the Queenstown Hill and Lake Alta walking trails.
  • Hire a bike and traverse 130km of biking trails. The Queenstown Trail connects Arrowtown, Lake Hayes, Arrow River, and Gibbston.
  • While in Arrowtown, visit the art galleries to learn more about the Otago gold rush.
  • Fiordland National Park.
  • Kiwi Birdlife Park on Upper Brecon Street.
  • Take a day trip to enjoy the spectacular scenery of Moke Lake and have a picnic.
  • Take a scenic helicopter flight or cruise in Milford Sound.
  • Visit the Saturday markets for handmade souvenirs, organic produce, pastries and live music.

 

Book with Pegasus Rental Cars to get going!

Now you know what to see in Queenstown, let the Pegasus Queenstown team get you exploring the Queenstown centre and its surrounding region with ease. We’re just a 5-minute drive from the Queenstown Airport. So, check out our wide range of affordable vehicles. Upon arrival, our complimentary shuttle service will take you to your car; you can just hop in and drive off and start your escapade.

We’re looking forward to your Queenstown visit!