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Queenstown travel tips:

  • Queenstown region Queenstown is one of the three main tourist destinations in New Zealand (along with the Bay of Islands and Rotorua), the adrenaline capital of the world, where bungy jumping was invented!
  • Although the lake is only at an altitude of 310 metres it's practically mountain weather up here and the nights can be chilly
  • The best views are from Bob's Peak where you can paraglide down again after sipping a latte, in time for your helibiking appointment
  • The most spectacular jetboat location is probably the Shotover Canyon, where commercial jet boating began, but there are many other options all around the lake these days - and actually all around New Zealand

Sensational in any season

The first people to discover Queenstown's rare beauty were Maori pounamu (jade) hunters. Then came the gold miners, in search of another kind of treasure. Today Queenstown is treasured for its magnificent scenery, adventure opportunities and luxury lifestyle.

Adrenalin buzz: Queenstown’s wildly exciting environment is irresistible to adventure seekers. In the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’ you’ll find adrenalin-stirring, sanity-reducing exploits of the most extreme kind.

Long summer days blonde the tussocks, throwing the hills open to mountain bikers and hikers. The brilliant reds and golds of autumn colour the trees, inspiring photographers and golfers alike. In winter, snow transforms the region into a remarkable alpine playground for skiers and snowboarders. Spring brings the spark of fresh green to the landscape - a time to celebrate life with a cruise on the lake or an invigorating bungy jump.

Travel tip: day trip to Milford SoundIn any season, you can count on stylish accommodation, designer shopping and marvellous cuisine experiences. Queenstown's compact downtown area is a cosmopolitan hub that's relaxed during the day and huge fun at night.

Larger-than-life scenery: From crystal clear Lake Wakatipu across to The Remarkables mountain range, Queenstown’s environment is majestic, awe inspiring and almost unbelievable. Catch the gondola up Bob’s Peak to discover this view.

See here for hotels in the Queenstown region.

Source: Tourism New Zealand

Highlights of the Queenstown region

  • Queenstown travel tips: Lake WakatipuQueenstown: The main South Island resort attracts loads of young visitors because of its outstanding party reputation, multitudes of cool bars and cheap food. In summer it is the base for cruises, alpine flights and exclusions, in winter for the Coronet Peak and Remarkables ski areas. Apart from jetboating and bungy jumping you can also river raft, abseil, skydive, swing, hang and paraglide, dirtbike, go canyoning, heliski, 4 wheeel drive, luge, rockclimb, snowshoe walk, zipride, indoor climb, golf, fly planes, quadbike, mountainbike, feed the ducks and party all night! But however busy Queenstown is, it is set in a gorgeous enviroment, with great lake and mountain views wherever you are. Don't miss the waterfront and the sight of the historic steamer TSS Earnslaw, after 100 years it's still cruising around Lake Wakatipu. Just a short walk away along the beach are the Queenstown Gardens, planted on a small peninsula that forms the little harbour of the town - although the trees are mostly exotic (fir trees), the views from the lakeshore are lovely. The famous view from Bob's Peak (on Ben Lomond mountain) is truly unforgettable, you can either catch a comfortable gondola or walk up on the Tiki Trail in one hour (alternatively you can also walk from Bob's Peak to Ben Lomond Saddle, 3-4 hours return). Another rewarding walk to a viewpoint is the 3 hour 'Queenstown Hill Time Walk', starting from Belfast Terrace. Also the (unsealed) road to the Remarkables skifield is open to the public and offers amazing views from top.
  • Arrowtown: One of the best preserved old towns in New Zealand, it still has a main road that is practically intact, complete with heritage walk and a partly reconstructed Chinese gold miners village. Thanks to its vicinity with Queenstown and the many visitors, all the shops and restaurants are in perfect shape.
  • Queenstown travel tips: Kinloch near GlenorchyGlenorchy: At the western end of Lake Wakatipu and a gorgeous drive away, it is far enough that most New Zealand visitors stay away (otherwise it would add an extra day to their tight itineraries and therefore it is really quiet). Behind Glenorchy, on the way to Paradise and Kinloch, two rivers from two valleys converge in a huge delta and mountains with glaciers are in plain view. There are plenty of bush walks if you continue further on the gravel roads, for example the start of the Routeburn Track - Fiordland is just behind the ridge here, a mere 10 kilometres away instead of 340 kilometres with the car! Many Lord of the Rings film locations can be found here, but apart from that it is an enchanting place for everyone. If you like the Swiss alpine towns of Lucerne and Interlaken then you'll also love being here!
  • Queenstown travel tips: Way to Milford SoundTo Milford Sound: The road to Te Anau and Milford first follows Lake Wakatipu and is an attraction in itself. At the end of the lake lies the small village of Kingston, once the home of the Kingston Flyer steam train. The 2 hour drive then crosses epic plains and tussock reserves, with quirky little towns, sheep and deer farms along the way. The drive to Milford Sound is about 3,5 hours, just possible in a day trip but overnighting in Te Anau is highly recommended if you'd like to have sufficient time for a cruise and stops on the way.

The best Queenstown walks

  • Queenstown travel tips: Dart RiverBen Lomond Track (3-4 h return to Ben Lomond Saddle, 6-8 h return to Ben Lomond Summit at 1748 m), access from Skyline Access Road, Queenstown or from Bob's Peak
  • Glenorchy Walkway - boardwalk in the lagoon and along the lake (1-2 h return), Lake Road, Glenorchy
  • Lake Sylvan Track - fairy forest walk to Lake Sylvan (80 min return), Routeburn Road, 30 min drive from Glenorchy
  • Routeburn Nature Walk - at the start of the Routeburn Track, (1 h return), Routeburn Road, 35 min drive from Glenorchy
  • Mount Aspiring National Park - a range of spectacular long walks like the Greenstone Track, Caples Track, Rees-Dart River Circuit and Routeburn Track
  • Sawpit Gully Trail (2-3 h return), access from the Arrowtown River Trail, Arrowtown

The best Queenstown lookouts

  • Queenstown travel tips: Bob's PeakBob's Peak - Queenstown Gondola, or by foot via the Tiki Trail
  • Queenstown Hill Time Walk - to the summit of Te Tapu-nui above Queenstown (3 h return, 500 m altitude difference), Belfast Terrace, Queenstown
  • The Remarkables Skifield Road - accessible road with fantastic views, State Highway 6, south of Frankton
  • Bennett's Bluff lookout - views above Lake Wakatipu, on the road to Glenorchy
  • Clyde Lookout - Clyde Lookout Road, Clyde
  • Alexandra Clock - walk to an 11 m wide clock (since 1968) on the Knobbies Range (2 h return), Alexandra

The best Queenstown museums

  • Lakes District Museum, Buckingham Street, Arrowtown
  • Clyde Historical Museum, Fraser Street, Clyde
  • Central Stories Museum & Art Gallery, Centennial Avenue, Alexandra

Map of the Queenstown region

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