It’s really not difficult to find awesome things to do in Queenstown. Especially if you’re looking for a thrill because there are heaps of exciting Queenstown activities to choose from. It’s really no surprise why backpackers flock to Queenstown in droves. It’s currently unofficially crowned the adrenaline capital of the world. No matter your thrill, you’ll find the perfect activity for your level of comfort… or lack thereof.
There are too many reasons to list that justify why many of us have passed through for a ‘visit’ and have never left. For some of us it’s the stunning views we wake up to each morning, for others it’s the pure fact that every night of the week is an excuse to lose our inhibitions and for the rest, it is the endless opportunities to live each day to its fullest; snowboard or ski, bungy, hike – you name it – Queenstown has it all!
For the casual thrill-seeker to the full-throttle adrenaline junkie, here’s our list of the best things to do in Queenstown…
Best Things to Do in Queenstown
1. Skyline Gondola & Luge
Queenstown is probably prettiest place in the whole wide world (no exaggeration)! The best way to snap some amazing photos you ask? Head up the Skyline Gondola for views like this…
and afterwards – luge back down ;). It’s well worth combining your scenic gondola ride with lunch at Stratosfare Restaurant and Bar which has amazing views looking down over Queenstown.
2. Shotover Canyon Swing
70 Jump Styles to choose from. 109 metre platform. 200 metre swing. 60 metre vertical free fall. This activity is typical Queenstown, it’ll have you screaming for your life and then dying to do it all over again. A Shotover Canyon Swing is a rite of passage for every backpacker that comes through. You can also do the Shotover Canyon Fox as well while you’re there!
3. Milford Sound
OK. Prepare to be WOWed. Milford Sound is like no other place on Earth and is one of the many unique wonders that sits so majestically in the stunning country that is – KIWI LAND! Milford Sound was once deemed the ‘8th Wonder of the World’ and you’ll see why when you’re there. Day trips depart from Queenstown and include a coach drive through the jaw dropping serenity of the Fiordlands National Park and a boat cruise through the Sound. An absolute must do!
4. Haunted House (Fear Factory)
When we say that Queenstown ‘has it all’ – we weren’t lying! OK, we know at first a mention of a Haunted House sounds a little lame… however do not (we repeat… DO NOT) underestimate just how scary the Fear Factory is! We won’t give away too many details. You will just have to try it for yourself.
5. Bungy Jump
Queenstown is the absolute Queen (no pun intended) of Bungy Jumping with 3 different AJ Hackett Bungy sites to choose from:
- The Ledge Bungy will have you free falling 400 meters above Queenstown from the Skyline Gondola – intense – with night jumps also available in Winter!
- The Nevis is the highest of all New Zealand Bungy Jumps and the 134 meter drop offers an epic 8.5 second free fall.
- AJ Hackett launched the world’s first commercial bungy site at Kawarau Bridge – just a short drive from Queenstown’s town centre. The 43 meter Kawarau Bridge bungy will have you leaping into Kawarau Gorge (take our tip – ask for a water touch).
6. Jet Boating
You have not jet boated until you’ve done it in Queenstown. FACT. Speeding at over 85 km an hour, spinning through narrow river canyons, racing over 10cm deep water, all the whilst surrounded by draw-dropping scenery – we do it a little different here. If you’re worried about safety, there’s no need, these boats are custom-built for the canyons and are managed with an unparalleled maintenance and risk management program.
Choose between Shotover Jet or Skippers Canyon Jet Boat. Skippers Canyon has a fascinating gold mining history and amazing scenery. Skippers Canyon Road was actually carved out of the rock face by the miners over 120 years ago!
The country’s diverse landscape means that no matter where you jump out of a plane in New Zealand, you are guaranteed some pretty amazing views. Free falling from a tiny plane at 15,000ft above the snow capped mountains and lakes of the Southern Alps is no exception… just WOW! (NZONE Skydive and Skydive Paradise both offer a sensational sky diving experience overlooking the magnificent views of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu.)
8. Hang Gliding
Imagine standing at the top of a mountain. You are so high that the clouds above feel like just an arm’s stretch away. The town of Queenstown below you looks like a tiny Lego land. You are strapped into a harness and attached to both a stranger and a metal frame extending to a parachute.
You’re then told to run as fast as you possibly can off the edge of the mountain top. You have no choice, so you do it. As your feet leave the ledge you then begin to float and fly through the sky like a bird. As the nerves subside you soon begin to calm down. Wow. The views below you are absolutely amazing. This must be what it feels like to be an Eagle. Hang-gliding in Queenstown – this is possibly the most unbelievable experience you have ever had…
9. White Water Rafting
Taking a casual boat ride down a placid stream is far from the breadth of this activity. You’ll be thrown around, rushing down rapid waters and pushed to your absolute limit. New Zealand’s beautiful Mt Aspiring National Park is the perfect place to get the ultimate combination of nature’s finest plus your adrenaline fix while white water rafting.
10. Ziptrek Ecotours
Ziptrek Ecotours is an incredible Queenstown experience that will have you zip lining from tree to tree like Tarzan! The journey begins from the top of Queenstown’s Skyline Gondola. Prepare for some fantastic views as you make your way through the tree tops.
BONUS – Winter Only Activities
If you happen to make it to Queenstown in winter, then a snowmobile session must be on your cards. Especially for those of you that are not seasoned skiers or snowboarders, you can easily master a snowmobile in an afternoon and get that adrenaline fix you’ve been craving. They only operate June through to October, so if you’re interested, make sure to line up a trip then.
12. Skiing & Snowboarding
Queenstown is famous for its world-class skiing. For the beginner to the advanced skier, you’ll find a run that suits your level. Plus, if you’re really extreme, you can even organise a helicopter charter to a remote part of the mountain and ski your way down.
Read more about skiing and snowboarding in Queenstown
Can’t choose which things to do in Queenstown? Our travel agents are standing by to help you!
Need a place to stay? Stay at Nomads Queenstown Hostel
Speak to the staff at your hostel to find out more about these Queenstown activities and all the other things to do in Queenstown, because seriously, there’s loads to do here! You won’t regret, that I can guarantee!