Best Things To Do in Queenstown

Queenstown is one of the most popular tourist cities in New Zealand, largely because of the number of attractions it offers. From adventure circuits to vineyards, in this destination you will find alternatives for everyone.

Matías Rodríguez

Matías Rodríguez

10 min read

Best Things To Do in Queenstown

Queenstown | ©whidom88

If you are planning to visit New Zealand and want to see one of the most renowned cities in the country, you can't miss Queenstown. This destination, located next to the Southern Alps, offers adventure circuits, some of the most outstanding panoramic views of the region and the most famous vineyards in Oceania.

Some of the best things to do in Queenstown include taking a Lord of the Rings tour, discovering local wineries, visiting the spooky Fear Factory haunted house, touring The Remarkables mountain by helicopter, taking a cruise to Walter Peak, touring Lake Wakatipu and discovering the Hensman Road lookout.

1. Take a Lord of the Rings Tour

Queenstown Tour| ©Jocelyn Kinghorn
Queenstown Tour| ©Jocelyn Kinghorn

Queenstown, located in the heart of New Zealand, is a magical place that has captured the attention of Lord of the Rings story lovers around the world. Taking a tour of the saga in this destination is an unforgettable experience that will transport fans to the majestic landscapes of Middle-earth created by J.R.R. Tolkien.

The tour begins with a bus ride around the city, taking in the New Zealand landscapes that were used as the natural film sets for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Expert guides will share fascinating stories about the production of the films and reveal the secrets behind the most iconic shots on some of Queenstown's best excursions.

The highlight of the tour is a visit to the spectacular Fiordland National Park, home to the famous Milford Sound. This mysterious site served as the inspiration for the creation of Rivendell in the movies. Visitors can marvel at the beauty of the fjord, surrounded by towering mountain peaks and lush waterfalls, while immersing themselves in the atmosphere of Middle-earth.

In addition to the natural scenery, Queenstown is also home to the famous Weta Workshop film studio, where the special effects and replicas of the characters and sets from The Lord of the Rings were created. During the tour, you'll get to explore the complex and have the opportunity to see artifacts used in the films up close, including iconic costumes, weapons and props.

Book the Lord of the Rings tour in Queenstown

2. Discover the Queenstown wine cellars

Wine tasting| ©Islas para naufragar
Wine tasting| ©Islas para naufragar

Discovering the Queenstown wineries is a delight for lovers of wine and exquisite flavors. Located in the heart of the Central Otago wine region, Queenstown offers a unique experience for wine enthusiasts and offers some of the best vines in Oceania.

The Central New Zealand winery tour allows you to explore the beauty of the vineyards, surrounded by majestic mountains and crystal clear lakes. You'll have the opportunity to learn about the winemaking process, from harvesting the grapes to bottling, with guided tours by expert winemakers who share their passion and knowledge.

During the tour, you'll taste a variety of award-winning wines, including the renowned Pinot Noir, a specialty of the region. If you consider yourself a wine taster, you will enjoy a unique sensory experience, exploring the complex flavors and aromas of local wines while learning about the distinctive characteristics of each grape variety.

In addition to tastings, local wineries offer unique gastronomic experiences, such as wine and gourmet food pairings. You can also sample dishes that highlight the flavors of local wines, creating perfect combinations for the palate on the best full-day tours from Queenstown.

Join a tour of Queenstown's wineries

3. Visit Glenorchy

Glenorchy| ©Jocelyn Kinghorn
Glenorchy| ©Jocelyn Kinghorn

Visiting Glenorchy from Queenstown will allow you to discover a world of stunning natural beauty. Situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by majestic mountains, Glenorchy is a picturesque destination that captivates all who visit.

The journey from Queenstown to Glenorchy is an experience in itself, as you will traverse a scenic road that winds along the lake, offering postcard-perfect panoramic views. As you approach Glenorchy, the scenery will become even more breathtaking, with lush forests, snow-capped peaks and crystal clear rivers surrounding you at every turn.

Once in Glenorchy, you'll have the opportunity to explore its rustic, laid-back charm. The small town boasts quaint architecture and cozy cafes and local craft stores. In addition, from there you can also visit Paradise, another colonial town with quiet streets that will transport you to the region's historic past.

The real jewel of Glenorchy is its natural environment. The region is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise, with a wide range of outdoor activities available. From scenic walks to horseback riding, kayaking on Lake Wakatipu or just relaxing on the beach, Glenorchy offers options for all tastes and levels of adventure, making it an ideal plan if you plan to visit Queenstown with children.

Book the Glenorchy and Paradise Tour from Queenstown

4. Take a helicopter tour over The Remarkables Mountain

Helicopter Tour| ©Jocelyn Kinghorn
Helicopter Tour| ©Jocelyn Kinghorn

Taking a helicopter tour of The Remarkables Mountain in Queenstown is an experience that will transport you to new heights and allow you to enjoy breathtaking panoramic views. Known for its rugged peaks and natural beauty, The Remarkables mountain offers a unique opportunity for adventurers in search of thrills and spectacular scenery.

The helicopter tour begins in Queenstown, where passengers are taken to the heights on a thrilling aerial tour. As the helicopter soars over the towering peaks of The Remarkables, a panorama of snow-capped mountains, lush valleys and crystal clear lakes will be revealed before you , creating an unforgettable visual spectacle.

During the tour, you will have the opportunity to land at strategic points and enjoy open views. Whether exploring glaciers, hiking scenic trails or simply enjoying the fresh mountain air, each moment offers a unique connection to Queenstown's wilderness.

In addition to the breathtaking views, taking a helicopter tour of The Remarkables Mountain will also give you the opportunity to experience the thrill of helicopter flying. The sensation of floating in the air and getting a unique perspective of the natural beauty that surrounds this destination is truly electrifying, especially if you plan to visit Queenstown in the summer when the weather is ideal for these experiences.

Book a helicopter flight over The Remarkables

5. Visit the Fear Factory haunted house

Lord of the Rings Tour| ©Jan Helebrant
Lord of the Rings Tour| ©Jan Helebrant

If you want to live an alternative experience during your visit to Queenstown, you can opt for a visit to the Fear Factory haunted house. Located in the center of town, this attraction summons those looking for a dose of adrenaline and excitement in a sinister and mysterious environment.

At Fear Factory you will be greeted by a creepy atmosphere and an ambiance that will make your hair stand on end. The tour will take you through dark corridors and spooky rooms, where you will encounter terrifying characters and disturbing situations that will keep you on edge, especially if you plan to visit Queenstown in winter, when the temperature drops and the cold adds its share of terror.

The Fear Factory haunted house is known for its interactive approach, where visitors can choose to participate in even more terrifying experiences. From dark mazes to encounters with supernatural creatures, every step at this site challenges the limits of fear and mental endurance.

And if you're looking for an extra dose of adrenaline, Fear Factory also offers live escape experiences, where visitors must solve puzzles and challenges to escape fictional situations of danger. These experiences provide an even greater level of immersion, where the clock is ticking and the pressure is on. Are you up for the spooky challenge?

Buy tickets for Fear Factory Haunted House

6. Marvel at Time Tripper's underwater experience

Time Tripper| ©Viator
Time Tripper| ©Viator

Experience the Time Tripper underwater experience in Queenstown and immerse yourself in a fascinating world full of surprises. This unique attraction combines cutting-edge technology and immersive storytelling to transport you to the depths of Lake Wakatipu and explore the region's underwater history.

During the journey you will be able to equip yourself with virtual reality goggles and immerse yourself in an alternative underwater adventure. As you venture into the waters of the lake, you will experience the sensation of swimming alongside ancient sea monsters and discovering hidden shipwrecks.

Time Tripper uses special effects and holographic projections to create an immersive environment that will make you feel as if you are actually at the bottom of the lake. Along the way, you'll encounter prehistoric creatures, explore sunken shipwrecks and marvel at the region's rich marine history.

This underwater experience is a unique way to learn about the geology and aquatic life of Lake Wakatipu. Experts at the visitor center will provide you with additional information about scientific and archaeological discoveries made in the area, adding an educational tinge to the experience.

Buy tickets for the Time Tripper Underwater Experience

7. Tour Lake Wakatipu

Lake Wakatipu| ©Paula W
Lake Wakatipu| ©Paula W

Touring Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown will allow you to embark on a journey of beauty and serenity. With its crystal clear waters surrounded by majestic mountains, Lake Wakatipu is an iconic place that captivates visitors with its natural charm.

One of the most popular ways to tour the lake is through a scenic cruise. Aboard a boat, you can enjoy the spectacular views as you cruise the calm waters. During the tour, you will have the opportunity to admire the breathtaking scenery, including The Remarkables Mountains and the picturesque shores of the lake, in an activity that is ideal to do with family or children in Queenstown.

Another option to explore Lake Wakatipu is through water activities, such as kayaking or paddleboarding. Paddling on the lake will allow you to immerse yourself in the tranquility of this site and get a closer perspective of the beauty that surrounds it. In addition, you can enjoy the feeling of freedom and connection with nature as you glide gently over the waters.

If you prefer a more exciting experience, you can also opt for a speedboat ride. These exciting excursions take you at full speed on the lake, giving you a dose of adrenaline and the opportunity to enjoy the panoramic views in a thrilling way.

Hire a speedboat ride

8. Take a cruise excursion to Walter Peak

Walter Peak| ©Joe Jiang
Walter Peak| ©Joe Jiang

Taking a cruise excursion to Walter Peak in Queenstown is an experience that combines the scenic beauty of Lake Wakatipu with rural New Zealand hospitality, but will take you beyond that to discover one of the region's most famous peaks. Walter Peak, located on the southern shore of the lake, is a historic farm that offers visitors the opportunity to explore the countryside and enjoy authentic farm experiences.

The Walter Peak cruise begins in Queenstown, where you will board a traditionally restored steamboat. As this cruise navigates the waters of the lake, you can relax and enjoy panoramic views of the mountains and scenic shorelines.

Once you arrive at Walter Peak, you can immerse yourself in the rural atmosphere of the farm. You will have the opportunity to walk around the grounds, interact with the animals and learn about farming life in New Zealand. You will also enjoy sheep shearing demonstrations and feed the cattle and deer. In the afternoon, finally, if you wish, you can climb to the top of this snow-capped mountain, especially if you visit Queenstown in winter.

The culinary experience at Walter Peak is another highlight of the tour. You can enjoy a delicious buffet lunch, with farm-fresh produce and traditional Kiwi dishes. In addition, you can complement your experience with a local wine tasting to sample the flavors of the region.

Book a cruise to Walter Peak from Queenstown

9. Discover the gold rush times in Arrowtown

Arrowtown| ©Piero Damiani
Arrowtown| ©Piero Damiani

Exploring the gold rush times in Arrowtown is a fascinating journey into the past that will transport you back to a time full of adventure and excitement. Located in the vicinity of Queenstown, Arrowtown is a charming historic town that preserves its mining heritage in every corner.

In Arrowtown you can immerse yourself in an atmosphere reminiscent of the gold rush era. The restored wooden buildings and old stores recreate the atmosphere of those times when fortune hunters came to the region in search of precious metals. It's as if time has stood still, allowing visitors to experience a true immersion in history that you won't want to miss, even if you plan to visit Queenstown in 3 days or even less.

The Arrow River walk is a must-do experience for those who wish to explore the traces of the gold rush. There you can pan for gold on the banks of the river, reliving the excitement of those adventurers who tried it more than a century ago. It's a reminder of the tenacity and determination of the pioneers who fought for their fortune in this challenging environment.

In addition to gold history, Arrowtown also offers a variety of modern attractions. You can enjoy delicious meals at renowned restaurants, visit art galleries and boutique stores, or simply stroll through the beautiful gardens and parks. It is a place where past and present intertwine, providing a unique experience for those looking to immerse themselves in the region's history.

10. Take in panoramic views of the city from the Hensman Road observation deck

Queenstown Skyline| ©andy
Queenstown Skyline| ©andy

Queenstown, primarily, is famous for its breathtaking scenery and exciting activities. Taking in the panoramic views of the city from the Hensman Road Lookout is an unforgettable experience that will be no exception and will leave you breathless.

The Hensman Road Lookout is strategically located on an elevated point that offers a panoramic view of the city and its surroundings. Upon arrival, you will be greeted by a dreamlike setting: majestic mountains, a crystal clear lake and the enchanting city in the valley. It's as if nature and civilization merge in perfect harmony, especially if you plan to visit Queenstown during the summer.

Snow-capped mountains will frame the landscape, while the omnipresent Lake Wakatipu, one of the largest in New Zealand, will sparkle under the sun's rays. The changing colors of the water, from deep blues to turquoise greens, will add a tinge of magic to the scene. In addition, from there you will be able to contemplate the horizon and participate in zip-line experiences, one of the most common activities in the region.

The view from the Hensman Road overlook is especially impressive at sunset, when the sun tints the sky with shades of gold and pink. The city comes alive with the lights slowly turning on, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere. At that precise moment you can fully appreciate the beauty of Queenstown and understand why it is considered one of the most beautiful destinations in the world.

Book a Queenstown zip line experience