It’s no secret that Queenstown is the adventure capital of the world. The birthplace of commercial bungy jumping and jet boating, it’s a mecca for adrenaline junkies.
The astonishing range of heart thumping pursuits sees more than two million tourists flock there every year.
But what if the mere thought of jumping off a bridge or out of a plane makes you go weak at the knees?
Queenstown’s exceptional mix of activities and attractions ensures there’s still plenty on offer for the more cautious. Here are five things to do in and around Queenstown that won’t scare the pants off you.
1. Visit Arrowtown
A 25 minute drive from Queenstown this 1860’s gold rush town has one of the best-preserved collections of goldfield heritage buildings in New Zealand.
Take a stroll down Buckingham Street, the working heart of Arrowtown. Explore the string of historic commercial buildings now transformed into swanky shops and cafes and wander the tranquil tree-lined boulevard of miners’ cottages, immersing yourself in times gone by.
The partially restored Chinese Settlement should also not be missed. This collection of original dwellings provides a rare glimpse into the simplistic life and times of New Zealand’s first Chinese immigrants.
2. Cruise on Lake Wakatipu
The TSS Earnslaw or ‘Lady of the Lake’ as she is fondly known, is the last remaining coal-fired passenger vessel operating in the Southern hemisphere.
Explore the vessel’s history and workings as you cruise across the pure waters of Lake Wakatipu.
Feel the searing heat from the boilers and the whir and chug of the engines in the steam room, or simply sit back and enjoy the fresh alpine air and spectacular scenery from the Kauri timber deck.
Combine a cruise with Walter Peak Farm for a half-day excursion. The farm provides an insight into country life in New Zealand, offering sheep shearing displays, horse trekking, farm tours and a traditional country high tea and a hearty BBQ lunch.
3. Play Frisbee Golf in Queenstown Gardens
With similar rules (and frustrations) to traditional golf, including tee off areas and holes or targets, it’s a whole lot of fun and a great way to spend a sunny afternoon with family or friends exploring the picturesque gardens.
Frisbee or Disc Golf has been played in New Zealand since the early 1980s and the permanently marked course in Queenstown was the first of it’s kind in the country.
4. Go hiking or walking
‘Tramping’, as its known to the Kiwis is one of the best ways to discover the astounding natural beauty of New Zealand.
The plethora of walking tracks in and around Queenstown provides ample opportunity to breathe in the crisp mountain air, gawp at the jaw-dropping scenery and discover the rich flora and fauna of the area.
The three hour Queenstown Hill Time Walk, from the centre of town, climbs 500 meters to offer sensational 360 degree views over Queenstown and the surrounding Remarkables Mountains.
The one hour peaceful Routeburn Nature Walk loop – at the start of one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, the Routeburn Track – is ideal for families or those who prefer a light stroll. And for hardcore trampers, the complete 2-4 day Routeburn Track is arguably one of the most popular rainforest, subalpine tracks in New Zealand.
5. Eat, drink and be merry
With more than 150 bars, restaurants and cafes there’s no shortage of places to fill your belly and quench your thirst.
There’s something for every taste and occasion, from fine dining at Rata, owned by Michelin-starred chef Josh Emett to the world famous Fergberger – which has become a tourist attraction in its own right thanks to it’s giant juicy burgers stuffed with gourmet delights.
Some standouts include:
- The sophisticated and intimate Eichardt’s Bar serving up mouth-watering tapas, a sensational wine list and even Bollinger by the glass.
- The Steamer Wharf Precinct consists of an array of award winning bars and restaurants including Queenstown’s home of craft beer, Atlas Beer Café and Public Kitchen & Bar, known for it’s grass roots style of cooking featuring all locally caught and grown produce.
- For live music head to The Ballarat Trading Company and belt out some classic old school rock and pop anthems after feasting on hearty gastro pub fare.
- Or pick up a collection of goodies from Raeward Fresh on Robins Road (formerly the Mediterranean Market) for a beach picnic, before grabbing an ice cream from Patagonia Chocolates on the waterfront and watching the sun go down.
Queenstown is a year round destination and there is far more to this bustling town than thrill seeking adventure.
From biking, golf and tennis to wine tasting, art galleries, museums and indulgent spa experiences there’s an abundance of options for everyone, including those who prefer to keep both feet firmly on the ground.
Have you been to Queenstown? Share your travel experience with us below…
Share this story