Things to do in
Queenstown

A resort town so resplendent with natural beauty and outdoor fun there’s never a bad time to visit.

Enter your dates to find available activities

Our most recommended things to do in Queenstown

TSS Earnslaw: 1.5-Hour Cruise From Queenstown

1. TSS Earnslaw: 1.5-Hour Cruise From Queenstown

Join the TSS Earnslaw for a 1.5-hour cruise across Lake Wakatipu. Admire spectacular alpine scenery and enjoy plenty of time to explore a piece of living history. Listen to engaging commentary from your experienced captain who will highlight points of interest throughout your cruise. Make your way to Steamer Wharf at Queenstown’s waterfront. Climb aboard the oldest working coal-fired passenger steamship in the southern hemisphere and feel free to explore! View the collection of historical photos in the small onboard museum and check out the skipper’s wheelhouse. Visit the engine room to feel the heat of the giant steam engines at work and see the stokers shovel coal into the glowing fireboxes.  Soak in the dramatic mountain views surrounding Lake Wakatipu and relax at the cafe where you can enjoy a wine or beer and snacks are also available for purchase. 

TSS Earnslaw: Queenstown Cruise & Walter Peak Gourmet BBQ

2. TSS Earnslaw: Queenstown Cruise & Walter Peak Gourmet BBQ

This half-day activity begins and concludes with a 45-minute cruise across Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu onboard the historic TSS Earnslaw. Spend a few hours enjoying the culinary delights at Walter Peak High Country Station, including an entertaining farm demonstration the whole family will enjoy. Feel free to take advantage of the extensive lay-out of this incredible steamship – she is a floating museum of her own history, and you are more than welcome to enter the engine room where you can watch our hardy coal-stokers as they keep this beautiful lady of the lake gliding across the waters of Lake Wakatipu. Overlooking Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown’s incredible alpine scenery, the Colonel’s Homestead at Walter Peak is the perfect place to spend a beautiful day in Central Otago. Its colonial architecture and sweeping grounds evoke the elegance of a bygone era. Spend your time wandering the award-winning gardens, or saying hello to the animals that call the station home. The BBQ Buffet includes salads, vegetables, and succulent local meats cooked on the outdoor rotisserie or grill. There is a wide range of desserts on offer, including a vast array of fresh bread and cheese. If you have any dietary restrictions, please let the supplier know directly so we can safely accommodate your requests.

From Queenstown: Milford Sound Full-Day Trip by Bus & Boat

3. From Queenstown: Milford Sound Full-Day Trip by Bus & Boat

Take the hassle out of driving to Milford Sound and join a guided coach tour from Queenstown. Sit back, relax and enjoy magnificent scenery and informative commentary. Your experienced local coach driver will show you the best views along the Milford Road and connect you seamlessly with a 2-hour nature cruise. Travel in a spacious coach with USB charging ports. Marvel at the native rainforest, spectacular waterfalls and glacial lakes. Pause briefly in Te Anau before continuing along the spectacular alpine Milford Road. Admire incredible views at Eglinton Valley, Mirror Lakes, Knobbs Flat or Monkey Creek and pose for photos. Be wowed by the glaciar-carved Milford Sound as you approach the visitor terminal. Seize your cruise and lunch passes from the driver who’ll help you find your cruise departure gate.  Climb aboard a purpose-built catamaran for a nature cruise along the fiord’s deep blue waters. Savor a freshly prepared picnic lunch. Marvel at the impressive natural landscape and keep a lookout for native wildlife like dolphins, seals and penguins. Be fascinated by live commentary from your skipper in the open wheelhouse. Get within touching distance of impressive glaciar-carved rock walls and feel the full force of the powerful 15,000-year-old Stirling Falls on your face. Awed and satisfied, rejoin your driver for the scenic return journey to Queenstown. 

Queenstown: Pilot's Choice Helicopter Tour & Alpine Landing

4. Queenstown: Pilot's Choice Helicopter Tour & Alpine Landing

Enjoy a 20-minute scenic helicopter tour and alpine landing for incredible views of Queenstown from above. Your pilot will choose your flight path and landing location for the best possible experience on the day. After pickup from your central Queenstown hotel, enjoy the short drive to the helicopter base at the airport. Meet the friendly crew and check in for your flight. Then, take to the skies to marvel at Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown from above. Your experienced pilot will share local insights with you and point out areas of interest. Your pilot will choose the best location on the day for your alpine landing. Only a helicopter will be able to land in the remote spot. In winter, you’ll have snow at your feet, and during summer expect stunningly rugged terrain. Fly back to the helicopter base where your tour will conclude with a transfer back to your hotel.

From Queenstown: Milford Sound Full-Day Trip by Plane & Boat

5. From Queenstown: Milford Sound Full-Day Trip by Plane & Boat

Combine a flight and a cruise on Milford Sound on this excursion from Queensland. Take in the area's outstanding natural beauty as you savor the sights from both air and water. Enjoy a pickup and transfer to the air hanger in Queenstown. Listen to informative commentary in English and marvel at the stunning views of lakes, mountains, and waterfalls on the 40-minute flight. Upon landing, transfer to the Milford Sound Boat Terminal. Board in Milford Sound and experience 2 hours onboard an intimate vessel with English commentary by your skipper, and complimentary tea and coffee. Cruise to the mouth of the Tasman Sea, while enjoying views of waterfalls and marine life like fur seals, dolphins, and penguins. Next, board your scenic flight back to Queenstown. Take a different flight path from your outbound flight as you admire the spectacular views of Fiordland National Park. After the 40-minute journey back to Queenstown, enjoy complimentary transfer back to your accommodation.

TSS Earnslaw: Cruise and Walter Peak Farm Tour

6. TSS Earnslaw: Cruise and Walter Peak Farm Tour

Start with a scenic cruise, crossing Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak High Country Farm. Explore the decks, visit the steam room, or chat with the captain in the wheelhouse. You’ll find a licensed cafe on board. Disembark at Walter Peak and join the host for a farmyard tour. Get up close to sheep, deer, and highland cattle. Help feed the farm animals, watch a farm demonstration, and explore the lakeside gardens. Enjoy a morning or afternoon tea including scones, muffins, coffee, and tea. The Walter Peak Farm tour is the perfect way to get a taste of New Zealand's farming lifestyle in an interactive way. This 3.5-hour tour is suitable for all ages.

Queenstown: Spirit of Queenstown Lake Wakatipu Scenic Cruise

7. Queenstown: Spirit of Queenstown Lake Wakatipu Scenic Cruise

Cruise farther and see more on this 1.5-hour Queenstown scenic cruise. Sit back, relax and enjoy spectacular views of the Remarkables, Bob’s Cove, Cecil Peak and Mt. Earnslaw from the comfort of the Spirit of Queenstown – an environmentally friendly and luxurious cruise boat. Take in panoramic views from the open top deck. Enjoy refreshments, snacks and lunch served in the café on board. Cruise across spectacular Lake Wakatipu as you enjoy entertaining commentary provided by the local skipper.

Queenstown: Shotover River and Kawarau River Jet Boat Ride

8. Queenstown: Shotover River and Kawarau River Jet Boat Ride

Get an adrenaline rush on a 1-hour jet boat ride, operated by the world’s first commercial jet boat company. Take in stunning views of the Remarkable Mountains and journey up 2 of South Island’s most iconic rivers.  Depart from the heart of Queenstown, and climb aboard the big yellow jet boat at the Main Town Pier. Hold on tight as you accelerate across the water and feel the exhilaration of a high-powered twin-engine boat that powers across Lake Wakatipu. Experience the twists and spins as you enter the Kawarau River and race past rocks and under bridges at speeds of up to 95 kilometers per hour.  Grip the heated handrails and experience 360° spins while you speed up the shallow channels of the Shotover River. After 45 kilometers of pure adrenaline, return to the pier and see photos and videos from your trip.

Queenstown: 3.5-Hour Quad Biking Experience

9. Queenstown: 3.5-Hour Quad Biking Experience

Experience a unique quad bike tour on a fully automatic 400cc quad bikes with 4WD, ensuring an experience that is adventurous yet safe. Full training on the quad bike ensures that all levels are catered for. All weatherproof and waterproof clothing is provided along with all safety gear. The tour operator has exclusive use of Queenstown Hill ensuring that you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views that are exclusively yours. Don’t forget your camera as the viewpoints provide stunning photo opportunities. Access a wealth of off-road trails covering different types of terrain allowing a tour that is tailored to the ability of the group. The tour is 3.5 hours in duration and all riders must be over 16 with a good command of the English language. A credit card bond is taken similar to a car hire procedure.

Queenstown: Fear Factory Haunted House Admission Ticket

10. Queenstown: Fear Factory Haunted House Admission Ticket

Brave the terror that lies within the haunted hallways of the Old Lockhart Hotel. Make your way through the rooms packed with live actors and impressive special effects.  Be terrified with your group and see who can last the longest! If you decide you’ve had enough, scream ‘I Chicken Out’ and be added to the ever-growing Chicken Counter, which has more than 20,000 people listed.

Frequently asked questions about Queenstown

What top attractions are a must-see in Queenstown?

Planning Your Visit

  • When to visit?

    A difficult question to answer, as Queenstown has 5 different climate zones! To be safe however, the dry season is May to October, but you can visit all year-round.

  • How long to visit?

    It all depends on what you're planning - if you want to go backpacking, visit the mountains, and see the beautiful countryside, then one to two weeks will satisfy any happy campers.

Good to know

  • Language
    English
  • Currency
    NZD ($)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+12:00)
  • Country Code
    +64
  • Best time to visit
    Each season has something to offer, so plan according to what you want to do. Skiing in the winter, milder temperatures and rejuvenation in the spring, warm weather and hiking in the summer, and the beautiful foliage in the fall.

Other Sightseeing Options in Queenstown

Want to discover all there is to do in Queenstown? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Queenstown

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 3,784 reviews

Best way to see it all in a short space of time! No words can explain what you will see from the plane and the history on the cruise was incredible. The seals an dolphins were an added bonus!!! Would do it again in a heartbeat! Absolutely loved it!

Absolutely fantastic, especially the scenic flights. Only change I would suggest is to allow time between the cruise and flight to walk around or sit and enjoy.

Good onboard entertainment, coffee and craft beer sources and GF food options. The autumnal views in the sunshine was not too bad either!

Gourmet bbq was fantastic Watching the ernslaw steam drive operating was very interestng Great trip

Great trip over then lunch, on way back listened to piano. GREAT!