I could happily say right now that Queenstown is my all time favourite destination in New Zealand (pushing, the world!) It really is the place you imagine New Zealand to be. Roaring snow-capped mountains, turquoise waters and a photo opportunity at every turn.
Yes – Queenstown is one of the most magical places in the world, but with such beauty comes many tourists, and with that comes REALLY HIGH PRICES! You could literally spend months here and not see and do everything. It is the place to go where you don’t want to get board! Adrenaline junkie? YOU my friend are in the right place. So, here are free, cheap and splurgy activities that you can do to fill your time!
Hike the tiki trail
It may seem steep from the bottom and you would be right, climbing up to the Sky Line is tough with a rough terrain but you really don’t need to be a mountaineer to reach the top! The half way point will reward you with exceptional views which look like something from a movie!
Keep on walking and you will not be sorry as the top looks out over Queenstown in all it’s glory! We decided to walk the 1 hour track simply because the Gondola (not great for those who hate heights) was far too expensive!
When you reach the top of the Tiki Trail, treat yourself to a couple of rides on the Luge! Rather pricey, coming in at $22 for two rides, it’s a great deal of fun! Make sure you do two rides as then you get to ride down both tracks, one much more fun and fast than the other!
Drive up The Remarkables
The Remarkables; an incredible sight of incomprehensible beauty right on your door step. A drive to the top is a must for incredible views but be warned, THE DRIVE IS NOT EASY. During summer the road up is free of snow however it’s a very windy gravel track with VERY steep drop offs! Please do not attempt this if you are a nervous driver, even in summer!
In winter a thick layer of snow covers Queenstown making it the ultimate skiing destination. Attach your snow chains before attempting the drive and be extremely careful!
Drive along Lake Wakatipu
Guaranteed to make you believe as though Queenstown is just one big green screen, make sure you have your camera permanently on as you take a drive along Lake Wakatipu. About a 45 minute drive each way you will be left gawping at the views for days to come!
Below Zero Ice bar
A novelty, sure. But how often can you say you sipped on a cocktail in a glass made of ice and sat on an ice thrown? Rather pricey to get in but if you book a trip through Happy travels, I believe they may give you a voucher for free entry so long as you buy a cocktail!
Not as big as the website makes you believe, it is still the biggest of it’s kind in these areas and even has a fireplace. Yes, a fireplace in an ice bar. They get you all suited and booted with gloves and a big fluffy coat so don’t worry about that!
Once you are ready to leave you can actually go and smash your ice glass! Nice!
Walk through Queenstown Gardens
On a sunny or snowy day a walk through X gardens is a must! The views just never stop as your stroll along the waters edge before making your way into the heart of the gardens. The roses bloom bright in Spring offering visitors an overwhelming aroma of sweet nectar.
Try a Fergburger
This is a right of passage in Queenstown. You CANNOT leave without trying your hand at what could possibly be the best burger you have ever had! The queues are long. All the time! Day and night it is packed! Do not let that put you off. You won’t want to eat for a week!
Whilst you are in the gardens, why not have a round of Frisbee golf? Yes, seriously! Head to the Ice Rink and hand over $5 in return for a frisbee and score card and have a go! It has 18 holes and is a great few hours of laughs, running after rogue frisbees and maybe even a victory!
Pan for gold
Arrowtown is situated just a short drive from Queenstown and will make you feel as though you have stepped back in time! A quaint little village with old time looking stores and cafe’s makes for a great wander, whatever the weather!
Queenstown is a gold mine. With tonnes of gold just waiting to be found. Seriously, give it a try whilst you’re there!
Explore the Chinese Settlement in Arrowtown
Whilst you are there, make sure to check out the Chinese Settlement. It’s completely free and only takes about 40 minutes to walk around. You get to learn about how the settlers were treated and how their hunt for gold tested them.
Drive up Mt Coronet
Views, views, everywhere! Queenstown never disappoints when it comes to unbelievable scenery and a drive up Mt Coronet will leave you in awe. There are a few drive-in bays for you to get out and snap some shots!
Feed/Watch the ducks and birds
If you have a phobia of birds, then sitting down by Lake X in the centre of Queenstown may not be for you! However, if you are fond of a few million ducks and seagulls then take a seat on the waters edge and watch the beautiful birds do their thing which includes fighting, mating and generally being cute! You might be lucky enough to see some ducklings! Be warned, if you decide to feed them, you WILL BE overtaken by birds. EVERYWHERE! Flying in your face etc.
If you are up for a wild ride through the gorges at 85km/ph coming just inches from the jaggered rocks then you must take a ride on the Shotover Jet!
Like with most activities in Queenstown, you will check in at “The Station” and get picked up by a friendly bus driver! The ride lasts about 25 minutes and is so much fun! The drivers do full 360 spins and plows through the narrow gorges like a pro! It’s not your average jet boat ride, trust me!
POV Video of the Shotover Jet here.
After you have spent some time being in awe of the stunning scenery, get yourself to the jetty and book yourself on to go Parasailing with Paraflights! If you thought the views were good from the ground, you just wait till you see them from up in the sky! You won’t get wet and you can take your cameras up there too!
Don’t believe me? Check out the views in this vlog.
Now, this really is for the true adrenaline junkie. One of the most well known and famous activities in New Zealand; The Nevis Bungee. The highest jump in Australasia. There are lots of different options, you can do the straight bungee or you can opt for the swing! Get extended in your harness (you can do this with a friend too!) over a X drop before the guys release the clip and let you free fall FOR 8 SECONDS straight before you bounce back!
If you want to watch Kat and Scott do the Nevis Swing and see Kat FREAK OUT then click here for the full video!
What did I miss out? What should I add to my bucket list for my next visit?
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