Does a destination with amazing scenery, adrenaline-pumping activities, and fantastic food and wine tick all your boxes? Look no further than Queenstown, New Zealand! Here are The Global Couple’s top 10 adventures in Queenstown. I mean, who wouldn’t want to visit New Zealand?!
1. Bungy jump
Queenstown is the home of that crazy idea of flinging yourself off a bridge with your feet attached to a rubber band – bungy jumping. AJ Hackett set up the world’s first commercial bungy jump over Queenstown’s Kawerau River, and you can jump off and be dunked in the cold river!
2. Shotover Jet
How do they get so close to the rock walls of the Kawerau Gorge without smashing the jetboat into smithereens? The Shotover Jet, 10 minutes from Queenstown, is one heck of an adrenaline rush when you’re careening around river bends at high speed, turning centimetres away from rocks, and blasting along with only a few inches of water below the boat.
3. Drive over the Crown Range to Cardrona Pub
The Crown Range is New Zealand’s highest public road, and is frequently closed due to snow in winter. The road makes for exciting driving – hairpin bends and steep drop-offs on the southern side of the range, and the view from the top towards Queenstown is incredible. Follow the Cardrona River down the northern side, and pull in at the historic Cardrona Hotel for a beverage.
4. Winery tour
Queenstown and the surrounding region are well known around the world for making phenomenal wine, especially Pinot Noir. Tastings are generally free (or free if you purchase a bottle). We recommend visiting Chard Farm, Amisfield Winery, Northburn Station Vineyard, and Mt Difficulty Wines.
5. Trust the Chef lunch at Amisfield Winery
Let the Chef have his way and serve you what he wants to at Amisfield Winery in Arrowtown, only 10 minutes from Queenstown. You’ll be stuffed full of five scrumptious courses that emphasise local ingredients, and of course it’s accompanied by Amisfield’s delicious vino.
6. Drive to Glenorchy and Moke Lake
Glenorchy, at the head of Lake Wakatipu, is about 45 minutes’ drive from Queenstown. It’s a sleepy town smack bang in the middle of an amazing landscape – mountains all around and the blue lake right there. On the way back to Queenstown you can visit Moke Lake via a small detour on a gravel road. There’s nothing at the lake besides a basic campground, some native birds, and you. Bliss!
7. Ski at Coronet Peak
If you’re visiting Queenstown in the winter months, you’ll be treated to a winter wonderland with snow dusting the surrounding mountains like icing sugar. Snow sport is the favoured activity of the season here, so strap on some skis at one of the many ski resorts around – Coronet Peak in particular has amazing views over Queenstown!
8. Visit quaint Arrowtown (and indulge in sticky buns!)
Arrowtown, only 15 minutes away from Queenstown, is a delightful place to spend a few hours. It’s a quaint old gold mining town, and its history is front and centre in the old gold miners cottages along the Arrow River. A visit here would be lacking without getting a sticky bun from Provisions Café – it’s a sweet pastry with sliced almonds, currants, and caramel sauce – amazing!
9. Spend a day in Wanaka
Wanaka is a quieter version of Queenstown and is only an hour’s drive away. Set on the shores of picturesque Lake Wanaka and surrounded by mountains, the town has lovely cafes and is close to lots of great walking tracks. Head west of the lake into the Matukituki Valley for views of some amazing landscapes.
10. Gondola and luge
The best view in Queenstown is to be had from the top of the Skyline Gondola, five minute’s walk from central Queenstown. You can see over the town and Lake Wakatipu – it’s stunning! Race down the hill on a plastic luge with wheels and then catch the chairlift back up, and do it all over again!
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Petra and Shaun of The Global Couple are two mid-20s New Zealanders who are currently based in Vancouver, Canada. They love road trips, street food, and wandering with no destination in mind. On their travels they aim to embrace and understand different cultures, customs, histories, foods, and landscapes.