Travel Guides

Queenstown | Adventure Destination Guide

In search of an adrenaline fix? Queenstown has got the lot

If you were to choose, from scratch, the ideal surroundings for an adventure and adrenalin-junkie activity town, you’d most likely end up sketching out something very similar to what’s on offer in Queenstown. Located just off the shores of Lake Wakatipu, this town has got the lot; alpine peaks, glacial peaks, and proper wilderness. No matter the season, there’s something for everyone here.

Product of the rise in adventure travel holidays around the world, Queenstown has quickly grown into a thriving town that’s main purpose is to entertain, recharge the batteries of, and feed the masses of travelling tourists which visit it from around the world. The huge influx of international visitors it gets means Queenstown has a vibrant and diverse feel to it. Bursting full of cafes, bars, clubs and pubs, the town is as much a food and drink lover’s town as it is one of the top adventure sports destinations in the world.

“There’s something for everyone here”

How To Get There

This’ll be the crux for most looking to visit Queenstown, as there’s no real ‘easy’ way to break down the mammoth journey to this little island located off the South Pacific. This remoteness is enhanced for those traveling from essentially anywhere in the Western Hemisphere. Shoutout to our Australian readership though, you’ve got it relatively easy for once.

There are a range of options to fly down from London – usually varying from two or three connecting flights. If you’re looking to fly to Queenstown, then this can be done via Abu Dhabi and Sydney, although we’d say it’s definitely worth considering flying to Auckland instead of Queenstown and to then make your own way down the north and south island towards it. It’ll make for one hell of a road trip, after all.

Pictured: Nearby Remarkable Mountain Range

Things To Do In Queenstown

Queenstown might not be the most picturesque town in the world, with a distinct ‘resort’ feel to the town. But while the town falls short on its aesthetics, it more than makes up for this with the breathtaking scenery that surrounds it. When you take a look around you from the town centre, you’ll see that you’re flanked by some of the most epic terrain in Central Otago, with peaks rising straight up from the lake.

On top of this, Queenstown has been dubbed the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’. For this very reason, you’d be a fool to head down to the place without getting a shot or two of adrenalin while you’re there. From the high-octane stuff to something your nan would be comfortable doing, there’s an activity to suit everyone here. Bungee jumping, rafting, skydiving jet boating or 4×4 tours are all accessible from Queenstown. Also worth us pointing out, before we forget, that these activities can all be mixed in between a solid ski season during the winter months – which is in the northern hemisphere summer season, mind.

“You’d be a fool to head down to the place without getting a shot or two of adrenalin while you’re there”

So let’s get into these adventure activities. It’s logical to start with the infamous bungee jump locations of Queenstown – New Zealand is home of the bungee jump after. The world’s first permanent bungee was set up in the late ‘80s just down the road from Queenstown at the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge, which is still run (albeit, refurbished) by OG bungee masters AJ Hackett. Hackett also offer the Nevis Bungee – the world’s highest bungee jump at 134 metres and a slightly more tame Ledge Bungee, accessible from the top of the Skyline Gondola.

Pictured: Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge bungee jump, Queenstown

More on the adrenalin actives front – we’re in Queenstown, after all. Another top ’to-do’ activity is skydiving. It’s simple, really – all starting at Queenstown airport, hop in a plane, before flying up to a height of 4.5 kilometres, jump out of said plane for the ultimate view above the Queenstown area. No experience skydiving? No? Me neither – Nzone Skydive run tandem skydives where a qualified instructor does all the hard bits and you just enjoy the 60 second free-fall to terminal velocity (which is 200 km/h, if you didn’t know).

Speaking about it as a winter sports destination, jumping on a heliskiing trip from Queenstown can be one of the best ways to find the best snow conditions in the area. Heads up, the local ski resorts can sometimes have quite an overcrowded vibe to them (especially if you’re coming from the space found in traditional alpine resorts). Booking yourself on a heliski trip can be the best way of escaping thsee crowds – and it’s not quite as much money as you’d imagine, with three helicopter drops on a remote backcountry peak costing just $975 NZD with local heliski provider Southern Lakes Heliski. To put that into perspective, Canadian heliski trips will sting you upwards of $2,000 CAD per day.

Pictured: Skydiving is easily accesible straight from Queenstown

Where To Stay

There are many epic places to stay in Queenstown, given the bustling tourism industry in the town. But you’d be foolish to pick somewhere that doesn’t offer a view over the breathtaking mountain range ‘The Remarkables’ (in name, and nature). For this reason, we’d recommend the QT Queenstown, from $350 NZD per night. Saying that, there’s also a thriving AirBnB scene in Queenstown, which is always worth a visit to see if there’s any deals to be had.

If you’re looking to stay outside of Queenstown itself, then there are also a huge range of place to stay a little more out there. Look towards Nugget Point hotel for this, which offers peace from the hustle of the town centre. Thanks to a big backpacker community frequently passing through Queenstown, those on a bit more of a budget won’t find it hard finding a hostel under $70 NZD per night.

Eating And Drinking

It’s no real surprise that there’s an impressive range of eateries in Queenstown – you’ve got to feed all those visiting tourists, after all. First things first, get yourself over to locals’ favourite Fergburger. They do the finest burgers, packed full of flavour, in buns that feels like their melting in your mouth. Vegetarian, gluten-free person, or just full-on carnivore – the Ferg has it all.

If it’s too early for a burger then get yourself over to Fergbaker, where you’ll get mouthwatering tasty pastries to go (you can also eat in).

“They do the finest burgers, packed full of flavour, in buns that feels like their melting in your mouth”

Another Queenstown locals favourite has to be Fat Badgers Pizza – the home of some of the finest hand-rolled New York style pizzas; coming in sizes of up to 20”.

New Zealand is known around the world for its wine. At a latitude of 45˚ south, it’s the most southern wine-growing region of the world and the Central Otago wineries / vineyards near to Queenstown are partly to thank for this.

It’s in this Central Otago region where you’ll find the sub-region of the Gibbston Valley, known locally as the ‘Valley of Vine’, but known worldwide for producing some of the world’s best Pinot Noir. It’s not just enough to limit yourself to one wine valley of Central Otago. Get yourself on a wine tour to explore the wineries that make the region so famous. Just make sure someone else is driving.

Check out our other adventure travel destinations for 2020.

This destination guide was brought to you in association with outdoor fashion retailer Blackleaf.

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