We arrived in Queenstown at the start of our trip, but didn’t end up spending too much time there. It’s a small city, but there’s plenty to see and do. We made sure to hit up the top spots, but other than that, we were in and out of the city on our way to other destinations. After spending a couple days in Fiordland National Park, we made the long drive back to Queenstown where we spent the second half of the day.
If you’re like me and you love thrilling adventures, you must go on “The World’s Most Exciting Jet Boat Ride” with Shotover Jet. It was so much fun! The boat ride is unique in that it spins 360 degrees, goes extremely fast, and gets really close to the canyon walls–making you think you’re going to hit. But it never does! You’ll scream, laugh, get splashed, and get your breathe taken away on the most exhilarating boat ride you’ll ever take. I highly recommend it!
There are shuttles that can pick up/drop off in the center of town, or if you have your own car, it’s about a 10-minute drive outside the city center.
Skyline Gondola & Luge
A must-do and a great introduction to the city is taking the skyline gondola up to the top of Bob’s Peak for amazing views of the city, Lake Wakatipu, and the Remarkables mountain range. At the top, there’s a restaurant, gift shop, viewpoint for pictures, and lots of activites like a Maori cultural show, bungy jumping (of course) and the luge! There’s something for everyone and you can spend as little or as much time as you want up there all while enjoying fabulous views.
When you’re feeling hungry, don’t miss the best burgers in New Zealand at Fergburger. Order the “Tropical Swine” and you will not be disappointed! There will most likely be a long line (because it’s super popular), but it’s totally worth it. Or, you can do what the locals do and order ahead over the phone and bypass the line to pickup your food.
Explore the City Center
There are a lot of boutique shops and restaurants to explore in the city center. You can find anything you need including gear, groceries, souvenirs, and ice cream! After dinner, grab a Goody Good Gum Drop or Hokey Pokey ice cream cone and head over to the Lake Wakatipu waterfront for some people watching and to talk about how amazing New Zealand is as you watch the sun set behind the Remarkables mountains.
Haka Lodge Queenstown
We stayed 1 night at Haka Lodge Queenstown. The main reason we stayed here is because we were joining up a few days later with a Haka Tours group and this location came highly recommended by their staff. It was in an ideal location – a few blocks from the city center and within walking distance to the Skyline Gondola. It’s in a great central location, yet it’s on a quiet residential street. They have dorm share and private rooms. It’s small, but very modern and comfortable. We had a private room and a shared bathroom, kitchen, and large balcony. I enjoyed meeting other travelers from all over the world in the shared lounge spaces. I highly recommend it if you’re on a budget and want a clean, safe place to stay.
If I had the time, I would have stayed another day or two in Queenstown. There’s just so much to do! There are a lot of amazing hikes, or you can go skydiving, parasailing, or go canyoning. It’s definitely a great spot for adventure seekers like me!