New Zealand is one of the most beautiful country in the world. I was lucky enough to spend 15 days amidst a surreal set up while on my Honeymoon.
We started our New Zealand trip by landing into Auckland. We had opted for a shorter flight by Singapore Airlines. The wedding festivities had definitely left us tired, but we were really exited to start exploring New Zealand.
After reaching Auckland, we rested for the first night.
Next morning, I woke up as an enthusiastic soul and wanted to cover everything around! We decided to visit Coramandel Peninsula & Muriwai Beach in the same day! In hindsight, that was a mistake. It turned out to be too hectic.
Anyway, after that we left for Fiji, only to return back to New Zealand, starting from Rotorua. It was our last destination in the North Island of New Zealand.
After spending 3 days in Rotorua, we flew to Christchurch and with that we started our journey to Queenstown via Fox Glacier and Arthur’s pass!
We were not sure what impressed us more. The journey to Queenstown via Crown Range Road or the destination of Queenstown itself. In the next 4 days, we came to know why is Queenstown the adventure capital of the world!
Here, I talk about our explorations, activities and memories while spending town in Queenstown.
Are you looking for a vacation destination that offers a blend of adventure and beautiful landscapes? If yes, then Queenstown in New Zealand is definitely THE place for you!
This place is all about thrilling activities, and unexplored natural beauty. From a super luxurious trip to a shoestring budget trip, you can have it all in the land of “Middle Earth”.
A trip to Queenstown becomes even more delightful when you club the memorable experiences with the delectable food across the best restaurants in the city.
Planning your Queenstown days can be overwhelming. Don’t worry, I have compiled this brief Queenstown Guide to help you to plan a perfect 2 to 5 days itinerary covering the best attractions, activities, and food of Queenstown.
At the end of this guide, if you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments section.
Adventure Activities in Queenstown
The wide range of adventure activities define Queenstown! Right from skydiving to canyoning, Bungy jump to Luge rides, this is
For all the adrenaline seekers, Queenstown is an ideal place to enjoy skydiving. With the help of a skydiving instructor, you can enjoy the most scenic beauty from 15000 feet that would blow your mind. At Queenstown, N-zone Sky diving offers an amazing opportunity to experience freefall from 9000ft, 12000 ft, and 15000 ft.
You can also consider skydiving above Glenorchy. Freefalling above a spectacular view will create a memorable experience! Check out Southern Alps skydiving for more details. We did our Glenorchy skydiving through them. Make sure you check the weather conditions. We were able to jump after waiting for 2 days for 15,000 feet.
The Wanaka skydive zone is also a good option if you are considering skydiving around Queenstown. The view would be somewhat similar to Glenorchy, but you’d not jump right above the lake.
Check out my Skydiving video here
My personal recommendation would be skydiving above Glenorchy.
Bungy Jumping & Giant Swing
The best bungy jumping site in New Zealand is at Nevis. Operated by AJ Hackett, the 134 metres fall will send chills through your body. At the same site, you can opt for their Swing as well. It is world’s biggest swing and definitely worth a try. They offer Catapult experience also, but I’d suggest to skip it.
Adventure lovers can also get their adrenaline rush at 43 meter Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown by bungy jumping off the bridges. AJ Hackett’s oldest bungy jumping company gives you the best experience at the Kawarau River by raising your pulses when you jump off the bridge.
Luge is a must-do activity for all ages. You would enjoy a thrilling downhill ride on your luge cart increasing your heartbeats. The luge cart passes through the blue and red tracks with curves and bumps located at the top of Gondola.
Apart from these top 3 adventure activities, there are many other options. The river and lakes of Queenstown are ideal for kayaking. Paddle Queenstown offers unlimited adventure at Moke Lake where adventure junkies enjoy kayaking in peaceful and calm waters ensuing 100% safety.
You can also enjoy a lot of hiking, canyoning, jet boating, river rafting and more more around Queenstown. The Shotover street has a lot of travel agents who can help you select the best suited adventures according to your preferences.
Where to Eat in Queenstown – Best Restaurants!
Since 2001, it has been the favorite brand of the locals. Located at the Shotover Street, Fergburger must top on your itinerary as you reach Queenstown. Open for 21 hours a day, Fergburger offers amazing & legendary burgers in different flavors. The delectable menu includes beef burger, chicken burger to lamb burger, falafel, and cod. There are a couple of vegetarian options as well. Fergberger is definitely one of the best restaurants in Queenstown.
The fergberger is so good that the queue spills out of the restaurant to the streets!
One of the most sought after burgers are Little Lamby made with red onion, tomato, mint jelly, and lamb, another is Sweet Bambi made of deer, tomato, and Thai plum chutney.
2. The Cow Restaurant
The Cow is a famous restaurant in Queenstown, known for delectable pizza & spaghetti. We tried the pizza here along with a scrumptious garlic bread. This was the biggest garlic bread we ever had and it was worth every NZD spent! The subsequent pizza was also quite delectable.
The COW was not that expensive and really value for money. It is tucked away in a silent street, off the main shotover street.
Locals describe the restaurant as the best in the town. The restaurant is the baby of Michelin-starred, celebrity chef, Josh Emett Rata. It is situated at the Ballarat Street of Queenstown offering genuine hospitality to the guests.
The menu defines New Zealand offering food from diverse cultures added with the best organic ingredients and fresh produce. The guests enjoy the fresh wine of the Otago region. Honest sustainable practices are followed to preserve, ferment, and dehydrate to cook outstanding recipes.
4. The Bunker Restaurant and Bar
To explore the bustling nightlife, The Bunker Restaurant and Bar is the best venue. With a rustic old wooden door, rooftop deck, private dining room cocktail, and late-night bar, the Bunker specializes in red meat and local recipes. The guests enjoy unparalleled European and Kiwi flavors with meat, duck, and Gnocchi.
It is a perfect place for a romantic dinner with your partner with dim lights, fire lighting, exquisite menu, and melodious music.
5. Cookie Time
Cookie time is a small eatery tucked in a Queenstown street. When we returned after enjoying the unmatched thrill of bungy jumping at Nevis, we treated ourselves here. The cookie shakes are to die for!
The cookies here are known to be soft and crunchy at the same time. In addition to the shake, we also picked up a lot of cookies from here to take back home. Here, you can enjoy a coffee as well.
Where to enjoy coffee? – Best cafes in Queenstown
Queenstown is home to a lot of interesting cafes where you can just chill and sip coffee or plan your next adventure. Of course, if you are a starbucks fan, you will find those as well in this city.
1. Bespoke Kitchen
For a perfect morning breakfast at Queenstown, Bespoke Kitchen would mesmerize you with perfect smoothies with banana, mango, pineapple, and pepita seeds, maca and blackberries. You can enjoy egg benedict with salmon, bacon, or mushrooms. The ambiance of the café allures the guests with wooden and green forest accessories resembling a summer camp.
2. The Chop Shop Merchants
A visit to Arrowtown compels you to visit the famous café, The Chop Shop Merchants set amongst the lane of historic stone cottages. With a vintage industrial look, the travelers unwind at the café and explore Ricotta hotcakes served with tamarillo, purple kumara waffles, and huevos rancheros with a classic cup of fresh coffee.
3. The Exchange
Located at Ballarat Street, the Exchange café is an apt venue for a brunch. The morning meals of toasted crumpets, gluten-free and dairy-free products, pancakes, eggs, served with rosti, bread and much more to spice up your day. If you love coffee, it is the best place to unwind with a classic cup of coffee made of fresh coffee beans.
Where to stay in Queenstown! – Best Hotels & Resorts
1. Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa
This is where we stayed. Our entire time here was very comfortable and the view of the lake right outside our balcony was flattering. The orange hues in the sky wrapped up the day perfectly for us. It’s a good thing that the sunset in New Zealand happens around 8:30 PM in the summers. So we caught this beautiful sky every time. The ducks in the lake side were a great sight to behold before calling it a day. There was a minor issue though. We had booked a different room category form Makemytrip. But upon reaching the resort, we were given a lower category. It was a miss from Makemytrip’s side but they promptly refunded the difference in Tariff. Apart from this, it was a very pleasant experience.
2. The Rees Hotel
A luxury 5-start hotel situated at the shores of the Lake Wakatipu attracts international travelers. It is known for its beach, sumptuous amenities, and unparalleled hospitality. With splendid views of mountain ranges and the lake, the Rees Hotel renders remarkable services of award-winning chefs and trained staff.
3. Millbrook Resort
This elite golf and lifestyle resort circumscribes luxurious accommodation, a vast golf course, spa, health and fitness center, and five restaurants. A perfect weekend with your family would make you feel at peace and relaxed at the Millbrook Resort located on Malaghans Road. With complimentary shuttle services to Arrowtown, you can plan your next destination.
4. Novotel Queenstown Lakeside
Located centrally, the Novotel Queenstown Lakeside allures tourists with its perfect lakefront stay. The premium hotel has 273 rooms that include garden rooms, lakeside rooms, and alpine rooms. With innumerable facilities of Wi-Fi, mini bar, private balconies, 24-hour room services at the hotel, the travelers enjoy the best stay at Queenstown.
Non adventure activities in Queenstown
1. Admire the stunning Golf Courses
Queenstown is a perfect destination for golfing. There are several golf courses located within 45 minutes with mountain ranges as a perfect backdrop. In March, the golfers can experience amazing tournaments played by one of the best golfers in the world.
2. Go Shopping across Queenstown
Crazy shoppers would never want to leave Queenstown after visiting attractive markets for everyday basics, unique souvenirs, handicrafts, and big labels. To collect unique items, you would enjoy the art galleries, museums, and art and craft markets of Queenstown. For fresh produce, visit the Central Otago Farmers’ market where you would love to buy seasonal fruits and veggies.
3. Cycling around Queenstown city
The cycling tours in Queenstown Guide give you an access to amazing trails and breathtaking views of the town. The 130 kilometers Queenstown trail that covers the amazing attractions of Queenstown would win your hearts as well as keep you fit.
Top Attractions in Queenstown
If you are not really into going for adventure or non-adventure activities, you can just visit these points. They are home to gorgeous landscapes and will surely leave you enchanted by the sheer beauty.
Queenstown is embraced with the beauty of 80 kilometers long Lake Wakatipu. The heritage pedestrian lanes, cafes, bars, restaurants, and hotels are located beside the lake where travelers enjoy strolling and zestful nightlife.
Bob’s Peak Skyline Gondola
To have a bird’s eye view of Queenstown, you can go on a trek to the highest peak, Bob’s peak, to experience magnificent landscape views. If you don’t want to hike all the way to the peak’s top, you can opt for the Gondola ride. By opting Gondola, you can witness the breathtakingly scenic and natural beauty of Queenstown without breaking a sweat.
This Gondola will take you to the same place where you can try Luge rides as well.
Located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, the Remarkables Mountain range justifies its name with mesmerizing beauty. A famous destination for snowboarders and skiers, the Remarkables is a picturesque destination with clear waters and the unimaginable backdrop of mountain ranges.
Recommended 1 or 2 Day trips around Queenstown
45 minutes from Queenstown, Glenorchy is a beautiful and peaceful small village with spectacular scenic roads. Surrounded by the Dart Lake and Lake Wakatipu in the north, Glenorchy is a favorite place for jet boarding and kayaking lovers.
Here, the travelers explore the best hiking trails and horse trekking on a day trip from Queenstown. A bus ride from Queenstown is a memorable experience for travelers passing through the lush green forests and stunning natural beauty of the mountain ranges.
Hollywood is fond of Glenorchy. It is renowned for its film shooting locations. Movies like the Lord of the Rings, the Two Towers, and The Return of Narnia have mirrored the amazing valleys, mountain ranges, and deep forests of Glenorchy.
The towering peaks of the Southern Alps would impress you with a glance of unseen beauty. A day trip to Glenorchy may include hiking to the Mt. Aspiring.
The travelers love both short and long hikes through the mountain valleys and walk tracks. Walking through the tracks, travelers experience an amazing panoramic view of the forests, mountain ranges, and valleys.
For longer hikes, travelers go to Routeburn, Wilkin Valley, Greenstone/Caples, and the Dart/Rees River Circuit. Known for the adventure activities, at Glenorchy, water sports lovers would enjoy adventure activities at the Dart River that includes the Jet Boat tour and ‘Funyak Canoe’.
2. Milford Sound
Milford Sound is a pristine location in Fiordland National Park with the finest natural and picturesque landscapes. It witnesses rainfall round the year that enriches the flora and fauna and accentuates its real beauty. This is both good and bad.
Good because the rains create these beautiful waterfalls, bad because the rains make the weather unpredictable. The road connecting Queenstown to Milford Sound keeps getting washed away. Luckily, there is an option to take a charter flight to Milford sound and back.
The peak season from December to February is an ideal season for hiking or cruising around in Milford Sound. In March and April, travelers visit Milford Sound to avoid the rush.
Another alternative to Milford Sound is Doubtful sound. More or less similar, but Doubtful Sound is lesser known.
A hidden beauty of New Zealand, Arrowtown is a 20 minutes drive from Queenstown. A small and peaceful village in the Otago region, Arrowtown has a history of gold mining. Located at the edge of Arrow River, Arrowtown charms you with its heritage buildings, narrow lanes, walkways, old wineries, flora, eateries, and shopping streets.
The famous Buckingham Street is where sit, relax, and have a cup of coffee at a café. Provisions of Arrowtown, Unwind Café and Bar, Taste and Savour and Patagonia Chocolates are some of the cafes where you can spend some quality time near the flowing river.
Arrowtown is an enigmatic blend of history and nature. Maori Jack and William Fox are remembered as the founders of gold in the town.
Many Chinese workers used to work here and mine the gold in the 1860s. They build their settlement which is now a tourist attraction. Old heritage huts made of mud bricks, iron, and stone remind of the historic period of the 18th and 19th centuries.
A stroll in the historic lanes of Arrowtown is a memorable experience. The best way to discover the unearthed beautiful trails of Arrowtown is by cycling. Strolling by the lanes to Lake District Museum is captivating. In the museum, travelers learn more about the historic town, a history of gold mining, and the unknown artistic history of New Zealand.
Arrowtown’s beauty is veiled unless you visit the Sawpit Gully Trail. A 3-hour to-fro journey that takes you to landscapes with the eternal and magical beauty of nature. Green lands, thick forests, blue waters, and colorful sky captivate you.
Exploring Arrowtown via the Crown Range Road is an amazing idea. The Crown Range Road is the highest in New Zealand at a height of 1121 meters.
A one hour drive from Queenstown to Wanaka makes travelers fall in love with this town. Wanaka is enveloped with snow-capped mountains the winters. You can either just spend a day at Wanaka or consider staying overnight at one of the lakeside Airbnbs.
In winter, the travelers enjoy the best skiing in world-class ski fields Cardona, Snow-Farm, Treble Cone. In Wanaka, travelers can explore 750 kilometers of the trail made for walking, mountain biking, and hiking.
Nearby Wanaka is the Mt. National Aspiring Park where you can discover pristine waterfalls, green forests, amazing mountain ranges, crystal clear rivers, and much more.
Wanaka is known for adventure-seeking activities that raise your adrenaline. The thrilling activities jet-boating, sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, sky-diving, and airborne adventures would drive you crazy.
If you are fond of adventure, a climb alongside the Twin Falls would surely excite you. From the Treble Cone Mountain, a breathtaking paragliding flight would blow your mind.
At Wanaka, you would wish the day never ends. There is so much to explore at Wanaka; after the adrenaline rush, relax a bit and relish gourmet at amazing restaurants and cafes.
You can also add on your itinerary a visit to famous lavender farms, authentic Maori, toy museum, puzzling world, distilleries, vineyards, and wineries. A delectable brunch at the Big Fig, lunch at Bistro Gentil, dinner at Kika, or the Wanaka Gourmet Kitchen would surely mesmerize you.
A two day trip to the Otago region in New Zealand would interest you with amazing sights and landscapes. The Otago region’s major attractions include Lake Wanaka, Otago Central Rail Trail, Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula. You can also consider Nugget Point, Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, The Otago Farmer’s Market, Steampunk HQ and The Central Otago Vineyards.
Start your day with a visit to Lake Wanaka which is the fourth largest lake in New Zealand. As a result of its size, the lake looks simply gorgeous. Take a stroll by the lake and experience the natural beauty of the lake. You can even hire a cycle to explore the beauty of the lake, relax at nearby cafes and restaurants.
If you love adventure, the spectacular ski fields of Mt Aspiring National Park are breathtaking. Travelers enjoy cycling at the Otago Central Trail, the country’s first great ride that is open all year round.
A trip to a cultural city Dunedin is a must in the Otago region due to its historic Scottish and Victorian architecture. With amazing scenic beauty, at Dunedin it is worth spending a day close to nature.
If you are a wildlife lover, the Otago Peninsula would always be on your list. This coastal area on the South Island is one of the best places to experience the native birdlife.
The Royal Albatross Center is the famous breeding colony of birds where you can unleash the beauty of nature. Here, you can find the world’s rarest yellow-eyed penguin and blue penguins.
Many Queenstown guides highlights Nugget Point as one of the wonders of the world. A sequence of eroded rocks that resemble like nuggets can be observed from the Tokata Lighthouse in the coastal area of Catlins. You would be delighted to see some native species such as penguins and seals.
Also Read: 10 Amazing Facts about New Zealand
Recommended 5 Day Queenstown Itinerary
Day 1: Just chill
Day 1 is about just taking in the vibe of the city. Roam around in Shotover street where you can try some of the above recommended restaurants & cafes. While you are at it, collect some adventure activities brochures. Try to book them for Day 2 today only. The weather conditions can change and 1 day in advance is decent enough if you want a preferable time slot.
Day 2: Revel in Milford Sound’s beauty
Today, you dedicate to Milford Sound. Try and book an early slot in the day as the weather is more stable in the morning as compared to the later half of the day. Take the flight – cruise – flight option instead of the coach – flight – coach option. You will pay more than double amount, but will not be exhausted for the next day.
The entire Milford tour will take 4-5 hours. As a result, you may have time to enjoy the rest of the day at a leisurely pace and go cycling around the lake.
Day 3: Jump from a plane!
Today you can consider Skydiving. The skydive zones at Wanaka & Glenorchy are considered to be the best around Queenstown. We opted for Glenorchy as we were just coming from Wanaka. Also, in my opinion, jumping over Glenorchy lake offers better view as compared to Wanaka.
But on second thoughts, you can go to Wanaka. The view that you will see after jumping over Glenorchy will be the same while flying to Milford Sound.
In the 2nd half, you can consider experiencing the Skyline Gondola ride along with Luge rides at the mountain top. Indulge in the beautiful vistas around.
Day 4: Road trip to Arrowtown
Today, you can visit the close by town of Arrowtown. Chill at some cafes or visit a vineyard. Amidst all the adventures, today is only for relaxation. Once you are back to Queenstown center, you can consider going shopping.
Day 5: Bungy Jump & Giant Swing
Keep the most epic stuff for the final day. Bungy jump at Nevis is both unnerving and memorable. Maybe it is memorable because it’s unnerving. Either way, you will not forget jumping off a height of 134 metres soon. This bungy jump was the highlight of our Queenstown visit. No, it was our entire New Zealand trip’s highlight!
Follow up the Bungy jump by the Swing at Nevis only. It is the biggest swing in the world! Definitely worth a try. It is not as nerve wracking as Bungy Jumping, but the thrill is definitely unmatched.
After spending these 5 days in Queenstown, collect all your memories and head home or to your next destination. You would have created some really epic memories in these 5 days.
Queenstown related Tips & FAQs
I hope you liked the itinerary. If you have any questions, read through the FAQs below. In case of additional questions, feel free to comment below.
How to reach Queenstown?
The Queenstown airport is located at Frankton of Otago region of New Zealand. Being one of the busiest airports, all domestic and international flights are connected to the Queenstown airport. Due to this, regular flights are available connected to Australia.
Major attractions are directly connected to Queenstown such as Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Queenstown is known for its helicopter ports where travelers enjoy Ariel sightseeing.
Best time to visit
Travelers prefer to visit Queenstown during the summer season (December to February) due to the clear weather and vivid colors. The long sunny days are perfect for adventurous activities. The peak season months of January and February witness a large crowd of travelers from different countries.
During the spring (September to November) and autumn season (March and May), Queenstown experience unpredictable weather conditions. If you do not like to visit the crowded streets, you can plan a trip to Queenstown. Due to erratic weather from September to November, adventure activities such as skydiving, bungy jumping, etc. get canceled annoying adventure seekers.
Recommended days to spend
Due to the picturesque beauty, adventure activities, bustling nightlife and pristine lakes that Queenstown can offer, any number of days allocated will always seem less.
If you have little time, plan a 2-day itinerary including one of the best places to get the spice of Queenstown.
Otherwise, you can spend a good time in Queenstown for up to 5 days. In a well planned 5-day itinerary, travelers can comfortably discover everything that Queenstown has to offer. Some never want to leave Queenstown due to the wide range of experiences available.
There are several places near Queenstown where you can visit a day and create memories. Hence, a 5 day trip in Queenstown covers the nearby unparalleled beauty of towns and villages.
Cost overview of the trip
Traveling comes with a cost. To experience a paradise on earth, you need to open your pocket a bit. The typical cost for a trip to Queenstown includes hostel or hotel prices, the average cost of food, transportation costs, and miscellaneous.
If you book a hostel, the cost would range between 27NZD -40NZD per night. A high-end hostel may range up to 75 NZD. In hostel dorms, you get a variety of facilities such as free Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast, etc. Some budget hostels may charge from 13NZD to 23NZD.
If you want to stay at a hotel, you can select from a range of options. There are a variety of budget hotels, 3-star, 4-star, and 5-star hotels charging as per the amenities offered to the travelers. As a result of many 3 star hotels, you can easily bring down your average cost of hotel stay at around 150 NZD per night.
For a stay at 4-star, you have to spend 220NZD, and for 5-star, you may have to pay on an average 454NZD per night. If you have a strict budget, you can go for budget hotels. An average cost per night for a budget hotel is 80NZD.
Average cost of food
The flavors and gourmet of Queenstown are delightful to sensitize your taste buds. An average meal in Queenstown would cost a minimum of 23NZD. Every tourist pays a visit to the local favorite Fergburger, where an average burger costs higher than others around 12-15 NZD.
Picking snacks like Burger King and Mc Donald’s would cost around 11NZD. A classic sandwich’s average cost at a local café is around 8NZD.
With a population of 15000, Queenstown is a small town attracting tourists around the year. Due to this, traffic is not an issue. But sill, the best way to commute is to hire a bicycle. if you want to catch the vibe of Queenstown.
The average rental cost is around 35 NZD per day. For intercity travel, buses are the cheapest option for travelers and hence can be preferred. If you are traveling to Wanaka from Queenstown, it may cost you up to 24 NZD. For longer distances like Queenstown to Christchurch, you may take a flight.
In order to enjoy a comfortable trip of 2-5 days, you can enjoy Queenstown with interesting budget travel tips. You can explore the town of Queenstown with a bike or by stroll. Plan a stay at budget hostels/hotels located in the center offering good amenities at an affordable price. As a result, you can save some money.
I hope you like this Queenstown Guide & mentioned recommendations due to which you now have all the necessary information. In case you have more questions, feel free to ask them in the comment section below.