City Guide: Queenstown

It’s been nicknamed the adrenaline capital of the world but Queenstown is more than just high-energy activities.

It’s been nicknamed the adrenaline capital of the world but Queenstown is more than just high-energy activities.


Curl up with a glass of Pinot Noir by a log fire, cruise along the undulating bike trails, relax in a hot water pool or simply sit back lakeside and soak up the breathtaking scenery at the year-round alpine resort.


Take a scenic flight


Fly over mountains, stunning fjords, glaciers and turquoise-blue lakes as your soar above the city. Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters offers a daily selection of tours and their pilots will share their extensive knowledge of the area. If you’re an early riser take a magical hot air balloon trip with Sunrise Balloons where you’ll depart at dawn, rise to around 2000 metres and then top of your experience with a glass of bubbles. For a more sedate ride above the clouds take the Skyline Gondola and marvel at the stunning views as you’re carried 450m above Lake Wakatipu to the top of Bob’s Peak.


Pedal power


Whether you’re into easy, undulating tracks or thrilling off-road experiences, Queenstown has established itself as a renowned cycling destination. Explore wineries by bike along the Gibbston back roads as you cycle amongst the vines on a cruiser style bike with Cycle De Vine. Rent your own from Vertigo Bikes and plan your own adventure or ride along spectacular remote mountains with Fat Tyre Adventures.


Sample the region’s best wines 


The most discerning of wine connoisseurs will be impressed with Central Otago wineries. Sample the region’s top drops on the Queenstown Wine Trail where you’ll try a variety of wines and local cheeses on a fun, personalised and friendly tour. If you like aromatic wines head 15 minutes out of town to Amisfield, which hosted the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their royal visit last year. Enjoy their spicy Pinot Noir and signature canapes overlooking Lake Hayes and surrounded by the Remarkables Mountain range. For Sydneysiders check out Urban Vineyard a week of must-taste activity showcasing Queenstown’s premium wine and food.


Relax in a hot pool


Unwind in your own private indoor or outdoor pool high on the cliffs overlooking the Shotover River Canyon. Relax and reinvigorate as you immerse yourself in the pure waters and surrender to the deep penetrating warmth and gentle massage of the Onsen Hot Pools. Book ahead for the popular twilight time slot.


Get creative 


Unleash your inner artist in spectacular surroundings on an Art Adventure. Visit artists’ studios and dealer art galleries or discover your own artistic skills with professional tutors who will be on hand to offer expert tuition in how to paint and sketch with different watercolours and oils.


Do something crazy


If you do want to experience the adrenaline-fuelled activities Queenstown offers then make the most of the adventure tourism hotspot with everything from bungy jumping to whitewater rafting and jetboating. If you want to start your day revving up hills on a quad bike and end with a spine-tingling trip rafting down grade 3-5 rapids, Ultimate Queenstown will make it possible with their reasonably priced Thrill Combo packages.


Experience a winter wonderland 


If you’re travelling to Queenstown in winter it’s an epic destination for skiers or snowboarders with four ski resorts on our doorstep. Hire made to measure boots and skis from the highly-efficient One Stop Snow Shop. Not a ski bunny? The popular Snowshoeing offers a peaceful, harmonious exploration of the wilderness where you make your own powder trail across the untouched mountains of Wakatipu. For apres-ski Big Night Out Pub Crawl is popular with backpackers for its $5 drinks and free food or for fair-dinkum Texan style knees up Cowboy’s Queenstown has a family-friendly, fun atmosphere. The upcoming Winter Festival in late June also has a diverse range of events from frisbee golf to ice skating.

What’s your ultimate NZ adventure? Are you an adventure junkie or do you prefer a more sedate adventure?