The South Island New Zealand hosts simply pure natural landscapes that take your breath away. Queenstown is the heart, and expect plenty of adventure packed things to do in Queenstown. As you journey beyond, expect wildlife and wineries, glacial valleys and star-filled skies, breathtaking drives and majestic national parks.

Queenstown is not-to-be-missed. A very pretty city based on the shores of Lake Wakatipu with the Southern Alps in the backdrop. This is your adventure capital, has great food & wine, and is in close proximity to Wanaka, Glenorchy, Arrowtown, and of course, the World Heritage area of Fiordland National Park with Milford & Doubtful Sounds as its star attractions.

Beyond Queenstown and its close neighbours there are many stunning destinations to choose from. Heading north on the west coast are the Franz Josef & Fox Glaciers. These are accessible glaciers that you can ice hike, valley walk or take a flight to enjoy the grandeur. You can then head further north up the wild west coast, and consider catching the world famous Tranzalpine train journey which traverses the Southern Alps through to Christchurch. Other locations to consider are: Abel Tasman National Park, Marlborough Sounds, Kaikoura, Hanmer Springs, Akaroa and of course the night sky journey to be had in Lake Tekapo.

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Marlbrough Sounds

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Nelson

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Glaciers

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Christchurch

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Queenstown

things to do in queenstown

In the heart of the South Island New Zealand, Queenstown sits on the banks of Lake Wakatipu in a beautiful alpine setting. Well known as the adventure capital of New Zealand, Queenstown boasts endless activities on offer, as well as a huge range of excellent restaurants, cafes and a lively nightlife no matter what time of year you visit.

Top 4 Highlights for Queenstown:

  • Adventure Activities

    Try some of the fun activities on offer: white-water rafting, Gondola & Luge rides, Shotover Jet ride, Kayaking, Mountain Biking, Bungy Jump, or Skydive.

  • Walking Trails

    Enjoy clear mountain air and stunning vistas on the many trails around Queenstown.

  • Retail & Restaurant Therapy

    Enjoy the unique fresh NZ cuisine & exciting retail experiences.

  • Visit nearby Towns

    Well worth a visit are Wanaka, Glenorchy, Arrowtown and of course, Milford Sound.

Climate Averages for Queenstown and South Island:
Max CMax FMax CMax FAvg # rainy days
Dec/Jan/Feb22 72 10 50 8
Jun/Jul/Aug10 50 1 34 7

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things to do in queenstown

Following the 2010/11 earthquakes, Christchurch has re-emerged as a vibrant, ever-changing city. Gateway to the famous Tranzalpine Train Journey that traverses the Southern Alps from East to West Coasts, Christchurch is also a short drive to Kaikoura, Lake Tekapo & Akaroa.

Top 4 Highlights for Christchurch & Canterbury Region:

  • Tranzalpine Train

    Coast to coast across the Southern Alps in 5 hours.

  • Wildlife Parks

    Meet the unique wildlife at Orana or Willowbank Wildlife Parks.

  • Sightseeing

    Well worth a visit is the Canterbury Museum & the International Antarctic Centre.

  • Visit nearby Towns

    Kaikoura where you can see whales/seals & dolphins in the marine sanctuary and Akaroa, a historic French village.

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things to do in queenstown

Marlborough basks in year-round sunshine, providing perfect conditions for walking, mountain biking, sea kayaking and vineyard explorations. Marlborough is New Zealand’s largest wine growing region and the home of world-renowned Sauvignon Blanc. The Marlborough Sounds are a picturesque collection of bays, inlets, islands and peninsulas. Famous for both mussels and views. Picton is the gateway town to the Sounds, and also the main ferry port for connecting North and South Islands.

Top 4 Highlights for Marlborough:

  • Mail Boat

    Take the mail boat trip through the Sounds to deliver mail and groceries to the isolated homesteads.

  • Wineries

    Enjoy a winery tour by bike/car or bus.

  • Hiking

    Consider doing the 4 day Queen Charlotte Track or a smaller walk through and around the Sounds.

  • Watersports

    Enjoy a boat cruise, jetski or kayaking around the Sounds.

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things to do in queenstown

A pocket of paradise in the top north-west corner of the South Island New Zealand, Nelson has blue skies and wide open spaces. The area has a wealth of golden beaches and lakes, the Abel Tasman National Park and plenty of gourmet cafes, artists, galleries and boutique shopping experiences.

Top 4 Highlights for Nelson Region:

  • National Parks

    Explore the three spectacular national parks in the region: Abel Tasman, Kahurangi, and Nelson Lakes.

  • Craft

    Explore the artisan’s galleries and workshops.

  • Saturday Market

    Enjoy the colour and fun of the famous Nelson Saturday Market.

  • Outdoor Activities

    Enjoy a boat cruise, or go fishing, diving, sailing, mountain biking, horse-riding.

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things to do in queenstown

One of only two places in the world where you can view glaciers descending into temperate rainforest and close to the sea. It is a must do. The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers are unique relics of the last ice age. Rivers of solid white, tumbling down ice-hewn rock valleys, they are beautiful and mighty. There is a wide range of adventure activities around the Glaciers.

Top 4 Highlights for Glacier:

  • Guided Tour

    Enjoy a guided walk amongst the ice caves and pinnacles of the glaciers.

  • Glacier Valley Walk

    You can view the front of the glaciers on this walk.

  • Helicopter Ride

    Get great views over the Glaciers and Westland National Park.

  • Glacier Hot Pools

    Enjoy the hot pools nestled in lush rainforest.

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