Queenstown Destination Guide
Queenstown’s great holiday vibe is apparent from the minute you step off the plane, inhale fresh mountain air and see snow-capped peaks on the horizon. Superbly located on Lake Wakatipu in the heart of the South Island, this is New Zealand’s foremost tourist town, made famous by backpackers, skiers and those looking for high-adrenaline adventures such as bungy-jumping and jet-boating.
The town remains famous for its many outdoor activities both in summer and winter, but has also recently become more sophisticated, acquiring more sedate pleasures, luxury accommodation and a notable restaurant and wine scene. You can be sure of this: it’s almost impossible to run out of things to do in Queenstown and, however long you stay, you’ll want to return.
- Country: New Zealand
- Currency: New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
- Offical Language: English, Maori
- Visas: Australians travelling to New Zealand as tourists do not require a visa
- Tipping: Voluntary, tips of around 10 per cent are optional for good service
- Electricity: New Zealand outlets run on an average 230 volts and use Type I plugs
Temperature (max C)
J 16, F 16, M 13, A 10, M 7, J 4, J 3, A 5, S 8, O 10, N 12, D 14
Rainfall (max mm)
J 65, F 50, M 53, A 56, M 68, J 17, J 50, A 66, S 62, O 66, N 64, D 75
Marvel at the scenery from...
- The edge of Lake Wakatipu
- The top of Bob’s Peak
- The Remarkables skifields
Renowned for its spectacular scenery, extreme sports and vibrant nightlife, this year-round destination is sure to get pulses racing.
Set your pulse racing with...
- A bungee jump off Kawarau Bridge
- A jet boat ride on the Shotover Jet
- A zip line ride through the forest
Scores of restaurants and bars fill Queenstown; some come and go, others have a deserved reputation for burgers, pizzas or fine dining, with ingredients and dishes spanning the globe.
Grab a bite to eat at…
- Fishbone (freshly shucked oysters)
- Vknow (a suburban family favourite)
- Botswana Butchery (carnivore mecca)
Queenstown is a small town, but packed with a huge variety of accommodation, from petite luxury hotels to backpacker joints, self-catering apartments and luxury ski lodges. International hotel chains are also represented.
Queenstown is an easy place to shop, since most stores are concentrated in the compact, pedestrian-friendly town centre. The variety is impressive, with everything from international luxury brands to clothing and souvenir stores. Art galleries and design shops showcase New Zealand arts, fashion and handicrafts.
Queenstown like a Local
The newly opened Queenstown Trail features 110 kilometres of mountain-bike tracks with stunning scenery that takes you along lakes, across rivers and into Lord of the Rings movie scenery. You can ride the whole trail in four days, or do sections suitable for all levels of experience and fitness.
1. Easy access to the slopes: Mountain shuttles to nearby ski resorts in winter, and a good public bus service year-round, mean you don’t have to rent a car to see the sights. A day travel pass will take you about, including as far out as Arrowtown.
2. Night skiing: Coronet Peak ski field is open for night skiing and snowboarding on Friday and Saturday nights, with over four kilometres of floodlit terrain for all levels of ability. It’s great family fun, complete with twinkling lights from Queenstown far below.
Explore the Otago region on…
- A trip to historic Arrowtown
- An excursion to nearby Wanaka
- A half-day drive to Dunedin
Did you know...? Queenstown is New Zealand’s adrenaline adventure capital, but don’t miss a more tranquil round of frisbee golf. An 18-basket tournament course in Queenstown Gardens is free if you BYO frisbee. You can also join a tournament at 3pm on the first Sunday of the month.