Thrill seekers, Queenstown is the place for you.
From jet boating and giant swings to skydiving, there will be something for you. There is also a huge range of restaurants and stores for you to spend hours eating and browsing your way through. Check out our top 10 picks for the adventure capital.
Oh, did we mention you could win your trip to Queenstown on us? Subscribe to Hunter and Bligh for the chance to win our $5,000 escape to New Zealand!
1. Milford Sound
To put it simply, Milford Sound is gorgeous. Whether your choice of camera is a phone or DSLR, it’s hard to take a bad photograph. The view easily keeps people occupied for hours, and the tour guides and operators provide a wealth of information about the wildlife and the area that the entire experience is worth so much more than the price tag. It’s worth booking an extra night if there isn’t enough time to get to Milford, the experience is one you’ll always remember.
2. Winnies Gourmet Pizza Bar
Winnies is a popular restaurant famous for their range of gourmet pizzas. Their pizzas are simply amazing, and when you’re finished with their savoury ones you can try their dessert pizza (one of the best things you will ever taste, not over-promising). The staff are incredibly helpful if you have any allergies, and will endear you with how quickly they can offer a solution. Special mention to their carbonara, one of the best you will ever try. They also frequently have events and specials on offer, truly making Winnies the place to be if you want a delicious and good time! The atmosphere is laid back, the drinks are cheap, the food is great, and the name is one to drop around any Queenstown lover.
3. Jet Boating
Pack gloves, a beanie and sunglasses and prepare yourself to fly through gorgeous scenery at incredible speeds. The original is the Shotover Jet in Shotover Valley/Shotover River Canyons, where there are a range of intense activities, as well as some restaurants and places to catch your breath. These jet boats can go up to 85kph, although on your 25 minute ride through the breathtaking canyons you’ll want them to slow down so you can take it all in. Shotover has been taking people for exhilarating rides since 1965, thrilling well over 3 million people in their time so far.
Fergburger is famous among burger lovers, and their burgers are definitely a must if you’re in Queenstown. There is usually a line stretching down the street, but the burgers are definitely worth the wait. Mrs Ferg’s Bakery and Gelateria are also next door (as well as another Mrs Ferg store closer to the waterfront), and they always have delicious savoury and sweet treats available (special mention for the Veggie Pies and Boston Cream Donuts, both amazing experiences on their own). If the lines look too long for your stomach to bear, head over to DevilBurger. It’s not quite as famous, but it is equally as delicious.
5. Doubtful Sound
While nearly 1 million people visit Milford Sound each year, only 60,000 visit Doubtful Sound. It’s the lesser known, but equally as breathtaking, fiord that bears its name thanks to James Cook sailing past and thinking it was ‘doubtful’ he’d find a way out. If you’re after a quieter experience, and don’t mind a longer journey, this day is a little longer than the way to Milford, but is just as incredible. They each have their own unique qualities, however the Doubtful cruise feels much more personal, and you gain more insight conservation efforts that are being undertaken. If you’re lucky, the Captain will stop the boat in the middle of the fiord and cut the engines, giving you a minute or two to just take in the sight and sound of the scene.
The Gondola runs from early till late, allowing you to get high above Queenstown and away from the crowds for a moment. The gondola carries you 450 metres high, giving you a new perspective on Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. From the top (called Bob’s Peak), you can see ski fields Coronet Peak and The Remarkables, as well as Walter and Cecil Peak. There are dining options and a luge ride at the top and you have the option to go stargazing at night. The gondola operates every day, so no matter when you’re around, you’ll have the opportunity to gaze over Queenstown.
7. Cookie Time Bar
Cookie Time cookies are a favourite in New Zealand, and are found all around the country. In Queenstown however, the Cookie Time Bar serves hot and cold drinks, a range of (warm) cookies, and gift options. The store is a cross between a cookie and rainbow explosion, perfect for both kids and adults. Cookie Time has been creating their Original Chocolate Chunk cookies since 1983, and although their treats are a New Zealand staple, their Cookie Bars are only located in Queenstown and Tokyo – so if you happen to be in the area craving something sweet? This is the place to go.
8. Canyon Swing
The Shotover Canyon Swing and Canyon Fox are adrenaline inducing jumps that launch you over the Shotover Valley River, and word of warning, you might want to pack a second pair of pants. The Canyon Swing gives you a 60m freefall off a cliff, before swinging for 200m, 109m above the river. The Canyon Fox carries you 445m across the valley and back, 182m high off the ground. Both are incredible experiences, and enable you to see more of the valley in a way you won’t be able to on our own.
If you are a serious thrill seeker, skydiving in Queenstown is for you. There are several companies that offer skydiving experiences in Queenstown and Wanaka, and allow you to free fall for 200kph while taking in the scenery bellow you. Though the experience is thrilling, if plummeting from a plane at 15,000 feet isn’t your thing, there is an indoor skydiving experience where you can feel a similar rush of adrenaline without all the fear.
10. Walk around the town
Queenstown is a place that is built for walking and taking in the sights. Wander over to the waterfront in a few minutes, and spend hours walking around the beach and parks, finding new and beautiful things around each bend. Even if the weather isn’t on your side for your visit – be sure to walk around. Just remember to pack a versatile raincoat rather than an umbrella, and you’ll have a great time regardless of what the sky is doing.