18 Fun Things to do in Queenstown On Your First Visit

Things to do in Queenstown

This charming lakefront town has made its mark on the travel world, and it’s easy to see why! With an endless list of epic things to do in Queenstown New Zealand there is truly something for everyone. From thrill seekers to those looking for a relaxing holiday in the mountains, no trip to Queenstown would be complete without these 18 activities!

18 Things to Do in Queenstown New Zealand

1. Hit the Beach

The first thing you’ll notice on your trip to Queenstown New Zealand is the stunning Lake Wakatipu. In the spring, summer, and fall months travelers and locals alike flock to the town beach to swim and sun.

Just be warned, you’ll also be sharing the space with dozens of ducks! They’re more than happy to sneak up and steal your food while you’re busy taking in the views.

Queenstown New Zealand Beach

2. Ride Skyline Queenstown 

Hop on the Skyline Gondola and ride high above the city. Here you will not only find amazing views, but you’ll be able to take part in a range of Queenstown activities.

Coast down the luge track with a set of wheels, or for the more daring take a turn on the bungy swing! If you’re looking for some exercise you can make the steep climb up the Tiki Trail instead of the gondola.

This is also the start of the famous Ben Lomond track which is another one of the top things to do in Queenstown! 

Queenstown Skyline 

3. Hike Queenstown Hill

Although the Tiki Trail is a must, your first hike in town should be up Queenstown Hill. The hike is one of the shortest near town but it’s also pretty steep! 

We recommend packing a small picnic for the top. From here you’ll have unreal views of the lake and Remarkables mountain range.

→ Queenstown Hill: Fun Hike to the Best View of the Remarkables

Best Things to Do in Queenstown

4. Stroll in the Queenstown Gardens 

By now you know how easy it is to get out in nature in Queenstown New Zealand! The Queenstown Gardens are the perfect spot for an afternoon stroll and are located a short walk from the town beach. Take the path that goes along the waters edge then cut up to admire the colorful flowers and trees. 

Things to do in Queenstown Gardens

5. Bike the Frankton Tack  

Not only is the Frankton Track one of the top things to do in Queenstown, but it’s arguably the most beautiful biking trail in New Zealand! What makes it so enjoyable is that it’s great for all skill levels.

The mostly flat pathway goes from Queenstown to Frankton and then out on the Peninsula Track. Get a full day bike rental so you can take your time swimming, grabbing lunch, and even a local craft beer while you cruise along the lake. 

Queenstown Activities

6. Take on the Ben Lomond Track

Ready for a challenge? If so, this hike will be one of the best Queenstown things to do for you! The Ben Lomond Track begins from the top of the Skyline Gondola.

From there, work your way up the physically demanding trail and along the Ben Lomond saddle. At the summit you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of the mountains around Queenstown that stretch on for miles and miles!

→ Ben Lomond Track: Why It’s the Best Hike From Queenstown NZ

Queenstown New Zealand Hike

7. Get Out on Lake Wakatipu

By now, you can see many of the most fun Queenstown activities are around its stunning lake… So are you ready to have some fun on the water?

From speed boats to a massive steam engine, there are a range of ways to get out onto Lake Wakatipu. You can even jump in a replica shark and fly around in the hydro attack boat.

This the best way to see Queenstown from a different angle, and cruising on the water will give you an idea for how massive it really is. Also, head out around sunset to see the sky light up in all its glory.

Queenstown Lake Wakatipu

8. Enjoy the Famous Fergburger 

Eating this giant hamburger has become a right of passage for many travelers visiting Queenstown New Zealand. Don’t be surprised to see the restaurant slammed from morning to night, and the line around the block in peak season.

Our tip is to call your order in before arriving and bring it to the Queenstown beach to eat. Check out our post below to see what we order at Fergburger!

Queenstown Fergburger: Best of the Menu & Is it Worth the Hype?

Queenstown Fergburger

9. Hit the Slopes in Wintertime

Another thing that makes Queenstown so popular is that it’s just as much a winter destination as summer. When the snow hits the ground everyone makes the switch from hiking boots to skis. You can hit the slopes at nearby Coronet Peak as well as at the Remarkables Ski Area.  

Queenstown New Zealand Winter

10. Sip Wine in the Gibbston Valley 

Gibbston Valley isn’t New Zealand’s largest wine region, but it fast tracked its way onto the scene. Over the past few years it’s even gained global recognition for producing some of the best Pinot Noir in the world! Hop on a tour or even rent a bicycle, and spend an afternoon sipping your way through the wineries. 

Queenstown New Zealand Wine

11. Shop at the Queenstown Mall

Something you might not have realized is that Queenstown has some of the best shopping in New Zealand! You’ll find everything from high end luxury brands like Louis Vuitton to small outdoor adventure shops, and everything in between.

Queenstown Mall is actually a pedestrian only walking street in the center of town that cuts down to the water. So you can pass through here easily on your way to more fun Queenstown activities.

Things to do in Queenstown NZ

12. Sample the Local Breweries

We talked about the wine, but did you know New Zealand makes some amazing craft beer as well? After a day of hiking, visiting the many breweries makes for one of the top things to do in in Queenstown. You can even take a Queenstown brewery tour

For your first pint head to Atlas Beer Cafe set right on the lake. Here you can sample local beers as well as more from around the country. Some of our other favorite Breweries include Smiths Craft Beer House, Searchlight Brewery (20 min walk from town), and Altitude Brewing in Frankton. 

Queenstown New Zealand Breweries

13. Adventurous Queenstown Activities 

It won’t take long on your trip to Queenstown to see why it’s named the adventure capital of the world. Whether you’re looking for a quick thrill or you’re a hardcore adrenaline junkie, you came to the right place! Bungee jumping, sky diving, and paragliding are just a few of the best things to do in Queenstown New Zealand.

There are an endless amount of activities to get your heart racing and you can even go mountain biking from the top of the Skyline Gondola. Inquire at your hotel or head to one of the information centers in town to figure out your options. 

Fun Queenstown Activities 

14. Visit the Remarkables Market

Every Saturday from April to October the Remarkables Market is the place to be! With dozens of food and craft vendors, there is truly something for everyone here. Grab a fresh juice and stroll the stalls for gifts and locally made souvenirs. When you’re hungry grab something from the grill or even go for an ice cream.

Another vendor not to miss? How about the Cheesemonger! We loved tasting all the local cheeses as fresh as can be. Get there early as many of the stalls sell out fast and bring cash for the local market. There is one ATM, but the fee is very high and not all vendors take cards. 

Queenstown Remarkables Market

15. Eat Your Heart Out

While we’re on the topic… Eating is seriously one of the best Queenstown things to do! Between all the hiking, biking, and adventure activities you’re going to get hungry.

When you do there’s an endless amount of great restaurants and cafes to enjoy. Check out the high end steakhouses on the water, funky craft beer bars, and cute cafes on your visit.

→ Best Queenstown Restaurants: The Ultimate Food Lovers Day

Best Queenstown things to do

16. Soak At the Queenstown Spa

How does a warm soak after your days exploring Queenstown? There are multiple spas around the area, but the most famous is the Onsen Hot Pools.

Enjoy your own private pool here as you overlook the tremendous mountains. We recommend booking at Onsen in advance especially if you want one of the sunset slots! 

Queenstown New Zealand Spa

17. Explore Arrowtown 

Just a quick 20 minute drive from Queenstown is historic Arrowtown. What was once a gold mining village has now become one of the most beautiful small towns in New Zealand.

If you don’t have a car you can catch the local bus from Queenstown center. Spend a few hours strolling through the shops, grab lunch, and take in the small town charm. 

→ Arrowtown NZ: Queenstown Day Trip to the Gold Mining Village

Queenstown New Zealand Day Trip

18. Longer Day Trip From Queenstown

Centrally located on New Zealand’s South Island, there are a wide range of full day trips from Queenstown. Even though these destinations are offered as day trips, you could easily spend one night or several days exploring the area.

Some of the most popular destinations from Queenstown are to Lake Wanaka, Milford Sound, Glenorchy, and Doubtful Sound. Check out these places if you have the time after all the amazing things to do in Queenstown!

If you’re looking for a unique day trip one of the most popular experiences is to take a scenic flight to Milford sound! Also, make sure to check out our tips for renting a car in Queenstown before your first road trip.

Milford Sound Guide

Where To Stay In Queenstown New Zealand

Ultra Luxury – Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel – Looking for a little luxury in between all your Queenstown hikes? This beautiful boutique hotel has panoramic views of Southern Alps, a restaurant on-site, and is close to all the best ski resorts.

Fun Vacation – Kamana Lakehouse – Just 5 minutes drive from the center of Queenstown is this amazing accommodation right on Lake Wakatipu. Enjoy rooms with balconies and stunning views of the lake, and an art-deco style restaurant and bar.  

Travel Couple – Mi-pad Smart Hotel – This high end, but budget friendly hotel is the perfect location near all the cities attractions. It’s just a short walk from start of the Tiki Trail, and great places to eat on your trip to Queenstown.

Hostel Life – Tahuna Pod Hostel – This fun hostel is in the heart of Queenstown, and incorporates traditional Maori designs into its build. Choose from a multitude of pod rooms, or book a private room.

For more places to stay during your trip to Queenstown New Zealand you can explore the latest prices here!

Where to Stay Queenstown New Zealand

Have any questions about this article or want to share your own favorite Queenstown things to do? Let us know in the comments below!

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar



New Zealand Travel Planning 

Jucy Van: The best way to explore New Zealand is with a Jucy camper! We spent over six weeks driving around the North and South Islands in a van and loved every moment.

 Rental Car: If you’re not renting a van you’ll still need a vehicle to get around. We use Discover Cars when traveling and enjoy having the freedom to get around.

 Flights: It’s easy to find cheap flight deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. That’s how we got flights from Auckland to Queenstown for $40 USD, and New Zealand to Fiji for less than $150! 

 Accommodation: Compare multiple sites for the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also,  Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget. 

 Tours: Check out Get Your Guide to find activities all over New Zealand! They have everything from a Milford Sound cruise with underwater observatory, to a Otago wine tour with gourmet wine & lunch, and even a Kaikoura whale watching cruise

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered. We’ve been using SafetyWing for insurance the last few years and they are always there when we need them.

 Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials


South Island New Zealand

Travel Tips & Guides:  10 Helpful NZ Travel TipsNorth Island ItinerarySouth Island Itinerary25 Beautiful BeachesWellington to Picton Ferry15 Freedom Camping Tips27 Delicious Food & Drinks 

North Coast: Abel Tasman Day HikeWharariki Beach & Archway Islands6 Picton Things to Do 

East Coast: Banks PeninsulaFrench Town of AkaroaTunnel Beach DunedinHanmer SpringsKaikoura

Mt. Cook & Tekapo: 10 Mount Cook TipsHooker Valley Track5 Can’t Miss Lake Tekapo 

Explore all our North Island New Zealand Travel Tips & Guides

South Island New Zealand

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