So many travel to Queenstown now as a ‘must do’ destination in New Zealand and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of things to do here. Spending money and what to spend it on is key if you want to get the most out of the place but also seeing it like a local is so important too. Queenstown has so many layers and I want you to see them whether you’re jetting in for the day or staying for a while. I get emails all the time with people asking what they should do, so I thought I’d get them all down for you. You can also see all the free stuff you can do if you have kids (but you as an adult can do them too)!
One day in Queenstown with a car
Grab coffee and some breakfast at Yonder then get in your car and head out to Kelvin Heights for a wander around the peninsula (drive right to the end car park) and an amazing sculpture walk. Then head back into town for ice cream at Patagonia and a wander of The Gardens. Head out to QLDC’s new Library in Frankton.
Night time you must get yourself to The Sherwood for some beautiful dinner using the freshest local ingredients.
Or in the evening head to Arrowtown for some Blue Door cocktails action.
If you don’t have yourself a trusty steed (car, truck, $2 Orbus bus) get yourself a heady dose of coffee in the morning in town in Bespoke. A gorgeous array of breakfast dishes, good coffee and excellent raw cakes.
Head out to The Gardens to wander round and work off some those sweet treats you had for breakfast. Discover it’s secret spots and maybe a game of frisbee golf.
If you like taking photographs you can see all the secret spots here but also you can walk up Queenstown Hill from town. A mighty steep walk to start and then enjoy views of town. Mountain biking a plenty up the tiki trail from town (under the gondola), shopping in town (Angel Divine, Taco Medic for erm tacos and Milford Gallery) and Atlas for steak in the evening.
See day one then head out to Arrowtown (and on the way stop for a massage at Nugget Point) for day two and eat at Chop Shop Merchants, bikes for the trails, or wander the streets, Dorothy Browns Cinema (a beautiful boutique cinema) and Blue Door bar for cocktails (below Dorothy Browns, door hidden in the wall). Or don’t miss booking out on Chantecler Gardens (it’s mind blowing).
No car? Head out on Real Journeys TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak station for the world’s best BBQ, sheep sheering and mountain biking. A gorgeous trip over Lake Wakatipu with singing from the piano and hot mulled wine (Winter).
See day one and two and then head out to the beaches along the road to Invercargill, stopping at Jacks Point for a knock-your-socks-off breakfast and a wander (kids playground alert).
Or head out to Glenorchy (and stop at Bennett’s Bluff for the photo everyone gets), Bobs Cove for water so blue you’d think it wasn’t real. The Glenorchy Store has everything you could ever need (including gelato and coffee). Then onto Kinloch, Paradise or a wee meander on the Routeburn (a three-four day hike).
No car? Wander the Frankton Track (you can start from town), head into town for some shopping, ice-cream at Mrs Ferg, The Library on Gorge Road (honestly one of the best small town libraries I’ve been in), Bound Bookstore if you’re an avid reader and there’s always the lake front to just sit. And stare. Ziptrek Ecotours to go zooming through the trees (and currently in Winter, a twilight tour).
Have some breakfast with a view out at The Boatshed (Frankton Road)
Odelay cafe (The Landing, Frankton) for great coffee and cinammon scrolls
All the trails here for walking and running
If it’s a Friday head to Joes Garage (new!) out at Five Mile.
Good Japanese? Tanoshi in the little laneway off Cow Lane is excellent.
This is an ever growing list of all my favourites and I’ve probably missed 19283 things off it so if you can remind me of yours I’d love to know.
Give me a heads up in the comments or come visit me on social media!
Love your column… tho I guess that’s old fashioned language now…. maybe should be .. post…
Another thought if your visit to Queenstown falls on a Saturday are the Creative Queenstown Arts and Crafts markets….
all goods sold are made by the person selling them… a rule of the market so you get a truely New Zealand handmade present either for yourself or to take home…
My husband and I are from Gore and travel up most Saturday’s to attend the market.
If you get the chance, come and say hi…. I’m the one with the spinning wheel.
Absolutely!!! I love the markets too and completely forgot…theres just too many things to do! I will come say hello and thank you so much for reading along. Makes me smile so much
Hi, thanks so much for writing this post. I love how local it is and it really gives a different perspective to Queenstown. I’m going to be only traveling in to Queenstown on a Sunday but am tempted to come in from Wanaka just for the Saturday market. What time do these run from?
You’re welcome!They are all day saturday and are down by steamer wharf in town 🙂