Queenstown, you beautiful thing! This epic town has earned the title of 'Adventure Capital of the World' for good reason. There are dozens of things to see and do around Queenstown, many of them involving gorgeous scenery and high levels of adrenaline that'll have your heart pumping. There are also plenty of chill Queenstown activities for low-key or more relaxed travellers!
Hitting the slopes is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Queenstown. There are ski fields aplenty, with the beginners level Cardrona, or the aptly-named Remarkables and Coronet Peak is for mid to advanced peeps.
2. GO UP THE GONDOLA
Now this one's definitely not to be missed! The view from up top will put little heart emojis in your eyes. Admire views of the Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu on your way up in the gondola car and enjoy the balcony views and cafe at the top. Grab a coffee from the cosy cafe in the Skyline Centre at the top or treat yourself to a deluxe dining experience at the Stratosfare Restaurant where you can have dinner as the sun sets. Of course, there's also the kiwi-classic luge! Whizz down the hill in your go-kart style cart where you'll be saying 'can I go again' at the end of round one!
3. Wine yourself silly
The Otago Region is wine country and Queenstown is right in the thick of it, with over 200 wineries within a 40 minute drive! If you don't love wine, you might be converted with a visit to any one of these beautiful vineyards. The Otago Region specializes in its Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon-Blanc varieties. Some of the top vineyards to visit are Amisfield, Chard Farm Winery, and Gibbston Valley Wines.
4. Cycle the Frankton Track
If you're a cycling fiend, the Frankton Track is where it's at for you. Get your lycra pants on and go exploring. The track begins near Queenstown Airport and finishes right near the shores of Lake Wakatipu. It's an easy ride and not so hilly, which is unusual for Queenstown.
5. Hike the Ben Lomond Track
The Ben Lomond summit sits right next to Lake Wakitipu, overlooking Queenstown. This hike is pretty demanding and takes a full day. Pack plenty of water and plan your trip so you have enough daylight hours to complete the trek (plan for 8 hours). With a summit of 1,750 metres, you'll be rewarded on a clear day with spectacular vistas across Lake Wakatipu!
6. Go bar hopping
A trip to Queenstown isn't complete without visiting the lively bars around town. Visit the Ballarat Trading Company in the centre of town for an old-western style cowboy feel. Threesixty Restaurant & Bar also has a happy hour from 4-6pm and also boasts an alcoholic hot chocolate, while 1876 is another cosy bar with its happy hour running from 10-11pm. Miss Lucy's, perched on top of Snooze Queenstown, has gorgeous lake views and a stylish interior where you can enjoy cold bevvies and hot pizzas.
7. The CookieTime Store
If you're a cookie monster (which you should be) then this is a must. You'll be like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory, in awe of the art of biscuit-making. They also do happy hour which lasts between 6-7pm, where you can grab two biscuits for $3! How can you say no?
8. TAKE A DAY TRIP TO MILFORD SOUND
You'll be mind-blown how beautiful this place is - it's definitely one of the top things to see in Queenstown. Majestic waterfalls and jet-dark water give this place an ethereal feel. It rains often in Milford Sound, so be prepared to get soaked and make sure your camera battery's fully charged! When we say day trip, prepare for a full day (12/13 hours), but with incredible views on the way out, time flies by! JUCY Cruise is your go-to for a great Milford Sound experience, with transport to and from Queenstown also available to book in your cruise package.
9. Skydive or Bungy
Get your adrenaline pumping and be brave because this ain't for the faint-hearted! There are numerous places you can skydive or bungy around Queenstown. The Kawerau bungy run by AJ Hackett is one of the most famous jumps in Queenstown, with epic views! If you're after more extreme jumps, visit the Gondola bungy, at the Skyline up on Bobs Peak, or alternatively go and scream your pants off at The Nevis, this one is a big mumma at 134 metres!
10. Onsen Hot Pools
This is for those seeking inner peace and complete relaxation. You'll need to be organised to visit as bookings need to be made in advance. Kick back and relax in your private onsen room, or splurge on one of their packages and add on a massage too! Prices vary depending on the season, but this one is well worth the spend. Did I mention the epic views over the mountains?