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Plan Your Trip to Queenstown: Best of Queenstown Tourism

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Queenstown, New Zealand

Situated between Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountains, Queenstown is all about the outdoors. Extreme sports are one of the main draws, from bungee jumping off the Kawarau Bridge to white-water rafting in the Shotover River. There’s endless trails to hike, runs to ski, and planes to jump out of (the views are worth it). But if that’s not quite your speed, you can experience it all at a slower pace, too—take a boat ride through the Milford Sound, or go on a wine tasting tour in Gibbston (get a glass of their famous pinot noir). You can also live out your full Lord of the Rings fantasy with a themed tour: See some of the most iconic scenery from the trilogy, which also happens to be some of Queenstown’s best sights.

Travel Advice

Essential Queenstown

How to do Queenstown in 2 days

Heart-pumping adventure, local wines, and dramatic scenery
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The most jaw-dropping views in Queenstown

No matter how long I spend in Queenstown, I’m still astounded by the stunning scenery every time I venture outside. I’m in awe at the sheer size of the mountains on New Zealand’s South Island, especially when their snowy peaks are mirrored in the lakes as I drive past. Here are some of my favourite views that don’t require a long hike through the wilderness.
Roxanne de Bruyn, Queenstown, New Zealand
  • Skyline Queenstown
    Heading up Bob’s Peak on the Queenstown Gondola is one of the most popular activities in Queenstown—and for good reason. First of all, the lower station is a five-minute walk from downtown, so you can soar to the top with barely any effort at all. (For more of a challenge, hike up along the Tiki Trail.) At the top, try one of the many activities—parasailing, ziplining, or bungee jumping—or ride down on the luge track.
  • Moke Lake
    Tucked between two mountains, horseshoe-shaped Moke Lake is easily my favourite spot in Queenstown. If you feel like staying put, this is the perfect place for a peaceful picnic. When you want to keep moving, set off on the fairly easy two-hour hike around the lake. On days when the winds are calm, keep an eye out for the reflection of the Southern Alps. From Queenstown, it’s a half-hour drive to the lake.
  • Queenstown Hill
    It takes a while to conquer Queenstown Hill—expect the roundtrip journey to take a minimum of two or three hours—but the route through a pine forest makes the time go quickly. If you find yourself running out of steam, reaching the intriguing Basket of Dreams sculpture is a sign that you’re almost at the top. Keep going for panoramic views over Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, and the mountains in the distance.
  • Nest Kitchen + Bar
    With sweeping views across Lake Wakatipu, Nest Kitchen+Bar is a favourite dinner destination in Queensland. In a modern building with towering windows, the dining room is open and airy. Linger over drinks on the deck while enjoying the sunset, then venture inside for a beautifully presented meal focussing on local ingredients like Bluff oysters and Southland lamb. The restaurant is in Kamana Lakehouse, a five-minute drive from the centre of Queenstown.
  • Onsen Hot Pools Retreat & Day Spa
    For the most relaxing experience imaginable, soak in a cedar-lined bath while you gaze out over the jet boats navigating the canyon in Shotover River. The views are incredible all year round, but autumn is particularly lovely. You’ll see some colourful foliage late into the season and a light dusting of snow on the mountain peaks. Better yet, come in the evening so that you can marvel at how bright the stars appear.
  • Lake Alta Track
    A surprisingly short hike takes you to Lake Alta, a picture-perfect alpine lake hidden in the mountain range called the Remarkables. There’s a great view of Mount Aspiring, one of New Zealand's highest peaks, and the Southern Alps. If you’re brave, you can take a dip in the lake in summer. (Locals says the icy water is “refreshing.”) You can access the trail from the car park at the Remarkables Ski Lodge.
  • 35-Minute Alpine Scenic Flight from Queenstown
    Queenstown is absolutely magnificent from the air. Take a 30-minute helicopter ride to see the sheer drop of Skippers Canyon, the braided streams of Shotover Delta, and the tiny glacial lakes hidden in the mountains. You can even enjoy a snow landing on the Remarkables. If it’s in your budget, a longer trip to Milford Sound is even more memorable.