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Top 10 Things To Do in Queenstown, New Zealand

Rowing in Moke Lake Queenstown, NZ. Photography by Graeme Murray. Image via Tourism New Zealand

With kids or an adults-only adventure explore what Queenstown has to offer with these epic things to do!

Right at the bottom of New Zealand’s South Island is one of the most action-packed destinations on our blue planet: Queenstown. Bungee jumping, paragliding and, of course, sky diving have made Queenstown a thrill-seeker’s dream destination. Yet with so many high-octane adventures to be had, it can be hard to know where to have the greatest thrills.

This is where we come in. Whether you’re looked for free activities or something fun to do, we’ve come up with a list of the best experiences in Queenstown. A mix of adventures and relaxing recreations, prepare yourself for a one-of-a-kind trip with our list of the top things to do in Queenstown, New Zealand!

<strong>Milford Sound</strong>
Image via Tourism New Zealand.

Milford Sound

To put it simply, Milford Sound is gorgeous. A short bus ride from Queenstown, this stunning fjord – with its sharp cliffs and untouched water – has cemented its place as one of the most beautiful natural attractions in New Zealand. Carved by glaciers during the ice ages, travelling through its narrow passageway and thick mist feels like going back to a prehistoric time. The very best way to enjoy this slice of nature is through an awe-inspiring boat ride through this wonder of the world. Whether by yourself or with friends, you’ll be breathless as you sound off on Milford Sound.

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<strong>Skydiving</strong>
Image via Tourism New Zealand.

Skydiving

Attention all thrill seekers: Queenstown’s skydiving is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! If you’re looking for epic things to do in Queenstown, this is it. Freefall from 15,000 feet in the air at speeds of 200kph, all the while taking in the stunning mountain range and lakes of Queenstown. Impeccable staff and training mean you’re in safe hands as you tandem skydive. And for those wanting to whet their toes into the adrenaline lifestyle, indoor skydiving experiences are a great way to feel a rush without the fear.

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<strong>Skyline Queenstown</strong>
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Skyline Queenstown

No matter your interests, Skyline Queenstown should be your first destination when you arrive in this action-packed town. A relaxing gondola trip up to Bob’s Peak will give you the perfect view of Queenstown and the vast landscape below. Once up, there is plenty to do: enjoy a great meal, race against friends on a luge ride, or even look out at the adventures you’ll have on your trip. The gondola operates every day, so no matter when you’re around, you’ll have the opportunity to gaze over Queenstown.

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<strong>Onsen Hot Pool</strong>
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Onsen Hot Pool

After a long day of extreme sports and adrenaline-pumping activities, take some time out to unwind at the Onsen Hot Pools. A short trip from central Queenstown, the Onsen baths feel like a slice of Japanese countryside plonked in the middle of New Zealand. One of the most relaxing things to do in Queenstown, here this tranquil and meditative experience will having you soaking up some much-needed down town as you look out onto Queenstown. Ranking among the best natural hot springs and pools in New Zealand, do your body a favour and rejuvenate at the Onsen Hot Pools.

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<strong>Walking Trails</strong>
Image via Tourism New Zealand.

Walking Trails

Those who love to explore by foot will be treated to some truly stunning hikes throughout Queenstown. There’s always something stunning to see any direction you head: rich forests, vast and empty tundra, Lake Wakatipu, and surrounded by The Remarkables mountain range make every step a joy. There are plenty of tracks to follow, with the Queenstown Hill Time walk being one of the best walking tracks in New Zealand. For budget travelers, taking a trek is a great way to make this most of your time in this one-of-a-kind destination. Good thing it’s one of the best things to do in Queenstown for free!

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<strong>Lord of the Rings Tour</strong>
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Lord of the Rings Tour

New Zealand is paradise for Lord of the Rings fans, and Queenstown is no exception. Those wanting to be transported to Middle-Earth should strap in for a ride on the Lord of the Rings 4WD Queenstown Trek. This guided tour will have you scouring the Queenstown countryside for the many filming locations used in the fantasy epics. The occasional stop-off gives you a chance to walk the same path of Frodo and company, even wearing props from the films. Don’t miss out on the one tour to rule them all!

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<strong>Jet Boat Ride</strong>
Image via Tourism New Zealand

Jet Boat Ride

Strap in, dress warm and prepare for one of the best water activities in Queenstown. The Shotover Jet lets you zoom through the Shotover River through gorgeous scenery at incredible speeds. Since setting up in 1965, millions have had the chance to fly through Queenstown’s waterways, open lakes and secret canyons at up to 85kpm. A hallmark of Queenstown, adventure around New Zealand’s breathtaking landscape at blazing speeds in the world’s most exciting jet boat ride!

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<strong>Bungy Jumping</strong>
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Bungy Jumping

More than almost any other adrenaline-fueled adventure, bungy jumping is one of the best Queenstown adventure activities to experience. Since Queenstown is the home of bungy jumping, there’s no better place to tie your legs and leap forward as your heart is pumping as you fly through the air in a narrow canyon. Take a leap of faith with a Queenstown’s bungy jump!

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<strong>White Water Rafting</strong>
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White Water Rafting

Thrash and splash with some friends in one of the most fun and thrilling water activities in Queenstown. White water rafting has you racing down a narrow cavern, battling the rapid waters with a squad of people in an action-packed adventure. There are a few experience levels to choose from so you can join in regardless of your paddling speed, pace and strength. Skilled or not, this is by far one of the best adrenaline-packed and epic things to do in Queenstown!

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<strong>Self-Guided Bike Tour</strong>
Image via Tourism New Zealand.

Self-Guided Bike Tour

While Queenstown is known for their high-octane adventures, there’s still plenty of ways to chill out and relax. For those wanting to keep it calm, hiring a bike and adventuring through the local countryside is a great way to see a different side of Queenstown. Tours vary in length, giving you a chance to explore the regions many wineries, open fields, and mountainsides at your own pace. One standout is the self-guided bike tour to the picturesque Arrowtown, a goldrush village sandwiched between the Arrow River and majestic mountain peaks. Explore the delightful side of Queenstown with a bike tour!

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After you’ve ticked off all of the best things to do in Queenstown, unwind at the 10 Best Luxury Hotels and Resorts around New Zealand. For something beyond Queenstown, here are 10 Lesser Known New Zealand Travel Destinations that you must visit in 2022!

Feature image: Photographed by Graeme Murray. Image via Tourism New Zealand.
This article was first published on September 11 2018. It was updated and edited by Hunter and Bligh on June 20 2022.
Editor’s Note: Our writers and contributors have independently selected and curated this article, and all opinions are their own. This article does contain affiliate links which allow us to make revenue off some purchases made by our readers.
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