The South Island of New Zealand is famous for its dramatic landscapes and adventure sports, and the hub for outdoor activity in the region is Queenstown. Nestled between the longest lake in the country, Lake Wakatipu, and the mountain Ben Lomond, Queenstown is one of the most popular tourist towns in New Zealand. The town attracts hikers, campers, mountain bikers, skiers and those who simply want to immerse themselves in the incredible natural beauty of New Zealand.
The town’s southern location means it has an oceanic climate. From May through to August snow-capped peaks surround the city. Skiers, snowboarders and wintersports enthusiasts flock to the town as the region offers some of the best slopes in the country. In summer Queenstown enjoys an average temperature of 77 F (25 C). While the nights are chilly, the days are long, allowing you to make the most of the region’s stunning sights in hiking boots or by mountain bike.
Outdoor activities can be found right on the edge of town, and many can be reached by foot. Cruise Lake Wakatipu aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw Steamship, then hop off at Walter Peak High Country Farm for a traditional farm experience. Take the Skyline Gondola up Bob’s Peak for stunning views across town and some of the best hiking in the Lake Wakatipu area.
Queenstown’s adventure-sport industry is world-class, and the area is known for pioneering many popular sports. Plunge 141 feet (43 meters) from the Kawarau Suspension Bridge at the first commercial bungee jumping platform in the world, or take a spin down the Shotover River aboard the Shotover Jet, the iconic jet-boat experience.
Central Queenstown has a youthful and energetic resort-town culture and is home to many bars, restaurants and hotels. Enjoy an evening of local food and wine at the Steamer Wharf entertainment precinct, or pack your own picnic and head to the sprawling Queenstown Gardens.
Queenstown has plenty of outfitters and rental companies that will help you with gear for the slopes or trails. Located in the southwest of New Zealand’s South Island, the town can be reached by plane, bus or car, and car rental is widely available. While Queenstown is popular year-round, the snow season brings an influx of visitors and accommodation can be booked out well in advance during this time