Whether you are a lover of the great outdoors, an extreme sports junky, or simply an adventurous traveller, any time of year is the perfect time to visit Queenstown. In the summer, the weather allows for countless outdoor sports and the most extreme thrills you could ever dream of. But wintertime in Queenstown offers its own unique and enjoyable selection of adventures and experiences. Below, we have compiled some of the top things to do, see, and eat for your enjoyment. An added bonus for backpackers and frugal travellers: most of them are either cheap or free!
In order to take full advantage of Queenstown’s incredible views, hiking is an absolute must. If you are short on time, hike up Queenstown Hill for a panoramic perspective of the town. Hike Tiki trail to Bob’s Peak for a relatively challenging hike with unbelievable scenery. Challenge yourself by completing the intermediate level Ben Lomond hike, then returning on One Mile Creek track. One of the most beautiful parts of Queenstown is Lake Wakatipu. Visit the Queenstown Gardens and Frankton Track in order to access the walk around the lake for an enjoyable mountain lake stroll.
Skiiing & Cross Training
There are many ski season options to choose from during the winter. Both NZ Ski and Kiwi Discovery offer transport services from downtown Queenstown up to the ski slopes, if you are not travelling with a vehicle. And there is no shortage of powder (or slush) – Queenstown has several ski fields and resorts to choose from. The Remarkables and Coronet Peak are particular favorites for avid skiers.
During rest days, Site Trampoline is an excellent and relatively inexpensive place to crosstrain for future days on the slopes. They offer a facility full of equipment meant to increase agility, reaction time, balance, and stability. It’s the perfect pre- or post-ski workout! Queenstown also maintains an ice skating rink during the winter months, an enjoyable and affordable alternative winter sport for those looking for outdoor sports alternatives during the winter months.
All that time skiing, skating and bouncing can definitely work up an appetite. If you are a traveller on a budget, you’ll be happy to know that there are many wonderful options to choose from right in downtown Queenstown. No visit to Queenstown is complete without a trip to Fergburger, a beloved burger spot with reasonably priced and delicious burgers for every diet. Its sister shop, Fergbaker Pie, offers incredible baked goods, both savory and sweet. The first meal of the day is more important than ever for the active traveller, and Red Rock understands this – they serve breakfast all day for just $NZ10. For lunch, try one of the excellent lunch specials at Loco Cantina, the $10 lunch at Flame, or splurge a bit on the $12 takeaway box lunch from @thai. If you’re craving some traditional pub fare to keep you going well into the evening, check out the $9.50 bangers and mash at Pig & Whistle. Headed out for the night? Fat Badgers offers an entire Happy Hour appetizer menu at reduced prices. Several other great deals include $4 pizzas at Searle Lane, or giant $2 slices at Slice Pizza. Empanada Kitchen sells their namesake handheld treats for $5.50 a piece.
If you have the time, there are many other things to see and do in Queenstown besides extreme and outdoor sports. Hit up the underwater observatory to see the daily goings on of the underwater wildlife of Lake Wakatipu. Lastly, if you’re in need of some retail therapy, there’s no need to gawk at the prices downtown. For shopping that is more affordable, our recommendation is Remarkables Park. Lastly, for a sweet treat that won’t break the bank, visit The Remarkable Sweet Shop. They have an overwhelming number of fudge flavors to try, and are happy to offer samples for free.
Whether Queenstown is your ultimate destination, or one of many stops on the beautiful south island of New Zealand, there is certainly something for everyone no matter the budget, and we recommend at least 2-3 days to get a taste of what Queenstown has to offer.