There are few tourism destinations in New Zealand that can boast the reputation that Queenstown has built for itself. People both here in NZ and around the globe know of the town and its many exciting adventure activities.
Here is what you need to know to enjoy NZ’s ‘home of adventure’.
Winter weather here is beautifully crisp, with temperatures varying between 0 and 18 degrees Celsius. Overnight, it can get a little colder – perfect for snuggling up by a nice hotel or restaurant fireplace. Summer temperatures are blissfully warm, though far from swelteringly so. They can vary during the daytime between 21 and 23 degrees Celsius, though higher numbers aren’t uncommon.
Queenstown Winter Activities
One of the most exciting parts of Queenstown is its location, as it’s nestled right among the spectacular Southern Alps. With such easy access to the snowy peaks, skiing and snowboarding is huge down here, with numerous resorts and tracks a short drive away. In fact, two of the most popular are less than an hour away: The Remarkables and Coronet Peak.
One word sums up this mountainscape above all others (even if it’s a little obvious) – remarkable. Like something straight out of Lord Of The Rings, this range stands proudly above the international airport, with jagged peaks that look as sharp as a knife. However, the mountainside that faces away from the town is far gentler, with a six-person chairlift and three quads.
The Remarkables’ slopes are 30 per cent beginner, 40 per cent intermediate and 30 per cent expert, with its longest run spanning 1.5 kilometres, according to NZSki. There are also three terrain parks if you feel like busting out your best moves, as well as three restaurants/cafes to boost your energy levels back up!
-Distance from Queenstown: 35 minutes.
For something a little closer, choose Coronet Peak. This mountain is a little gentler than its neighbour, with far more intermediate (blue square) slopes – ideal for anyone looking to up their skills without stressing out too much.
One of the major drawcards of Coronet Peak is its night skiing. Every Friday and Saturday you can enjoy the park evening in the dark, as hundreds of lights keep things sparkling from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m.
-Distance from Queenstown: 20 minutes.
Remember, when you’re driving up a mountain or over the Crown Range, make sure to carry snow chains at all times.
Queenstown Summer Activities
When things heat up during the Christmas summer months, so too does your adventure holiday in Queenstown. There are countless attractions around the region, ranging from relaxing nature cruises to adrenalin-pumping fun.
There are plenty of places to bungy jump around the Queenstown Lakes District, but a must visit is the very first commercial bungy jumping location in the world: A.J. Hackett Kawarau Bridge Bungy. Located around 20 minutes east of town, this breathtaking bridge extends across the Kawarau River and offers a 43-metre jump (with optional ‘water touch’, where they dip your head in the river).
If you feel like going fast, but without the falling sensation inherent with bungy jumping, head out jet boating. These boats race up to 85 kph, and can glide over water as shallow as 10 centimetres! Make sure you come and see why 3 million people have chosen the Shotover Jet since it opened in 1965.
The TSS Earnslaw is a famous early 1900s steamship, take photos of it on Lake Wakatipu or even head out for a tour showcasing a range of mountain and lakeside scenery, as well as the fascinating insights you can glimpse within the ship itself, where you can watch the boat’s steam technology at work in the engine room.