Welcome to the adventure capital of the world! Queenstown is tons of fun, but all those epic bungees, white water rafting trips and jet boat tours can add up.
Here are 7 free activities to enjoy between each adrenaline rush. They’ll give your wallet a break and will mean you’ll be able to afford your next Fergburger no questions asked!
1. Head to the beach
That’s right, Queenstown has a beach! Located at the edge of the town centre, this gorgeous spot sits right on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. A short strip of sand framed by green lawn, it’s perfect for a relaxing afternoon.
You might be able to squeeze in a swim in the summer months, or just spend the long days lounging in the sun and enjoying the views of Mount Nicholas and Walter Peak. It’s not only for warm weather though, these views are even more spectacular in winter. Heavy snowfall decorates the peaks making for a great photo op… you’ll just have to rug up if you want to take a dip!
2. Go hiking
There are plenty of beautiful nature hikes surrounds Queenstown, so it’s really just a matter of choosing a track.
Queenstown Hill is a good choice for epic lake and mountain views, best enjoyed with a picnic. After just a short 1.5km followed by a 500m climb you’re rewarded with glimpses of The Remarkables, Cecil Peak, Lake Wakatipu and the Kawarau River.
If it’s an easy afternoon stroll you’re after, then head to Bob’s Cove. The path follows the shoreline of Lake Wakatipu, so you’re guaranteed some stunning views. It’s an easy 30-45 minute walk along flat terrain, and there are plenty of places to jump in for a dip if you get warm.
3. Check out Lake Hayes
This is one of Queenstown’s most striking spots. It’s shimmering water and beautiful surrounds have earned it the title of ‘the most photographed lake in New Zealand’. A great place to come for a hike, a picnic or just to sightsee, there’s no shortage of activities here to help you while away an afternoon.
There are great strolls to enjoy around the water, or you can choose to explore the historic cottages and boardwalk. Once you’ve finished, tuck into some nibbles on the lake’s banks and soak up the views of Wakatipu Basin.
4. Cycle the Queenstown trail
Winding through some of New Zealand’s most breathtaking scenery, this 120km track is truly epic. But don’t worry; you don’t need to ride it all – there are plenty of sections to choose from depending on your fitness level.
No matter which trail you choose, you can bet there’ll be views of clear lakes, stunning river gorges and snow-capped mountains to enjoy. Depending on your route, you’ll cruise by the Gibbston wine area, the historic gold-mining town of Arrowtown and even the stunning Lake Hayes and Frankton.
5. Sunsets, sunsets, sunsets
Queenstown knows how to do a sunset. With Lake Wakatipu and the striking Remarkables as an already stunning backdrop, the views just get better as night falls!
You’ll catch a decent glimpse of the magic anywhere in town, but for the best views, head up to Queenstown Hill or Bob’s Peak.
6. Conquer Ben Lomond
Sure, this could count as hiking, but Ben Lomond is so epic it really needs a category if its own. Towering over Queenstown at 1748 metres, the mountain boasts panoramic views over the Queenstown area, Moke Lake and the Southern Alps.
It’s a demanding whole day climb, about 3-4 hr to Ben Lomond Saddle and 6-8 hr to Ben Lomond Summit, but you can opt for a gentler option on the scenic Skyline Gondola. You’ll have to shell out for the ticket, but you’ll be saving yourself a 450-metre climb to the summit. Then again… somehow those epic views seem even better when you’ve worked for it!
7. Visit the Queenstown Gardens
The perfect spot for a game of Frisbee or soccer, these gardens are a favourite among locals and travellers alike.
It’s a beautiful, tranquil setting away from the busy city and can be the ideal break from all the jumping, zooming and speeding you’ve been doing on your other tours. Take a book and relax under a tree or wander through the gardens and discover the rose garden, water features and giant Douglas Fir tree.