Ultimate Travel Guide Queenstown

Queenstown Travel Guide for First-Time Visitors

Thrills, nature, and endless excitement can all be found in Queenstown. Nestled in New Zealand’s South Island, this adrenaline-fueled paradise is a playground like no other. 

Interested in learning why? Well, you can discover our favorite must-try adventures, local treasures, hidden gems, and more as we take you on an unforgettable journey through this remarkable city!

Time Zone

New Zealand Standard Time (GMT+12)

Best Time to Go

If you want long, sunny days stretching out before you like a red carpet, the best time to go is during the summer months (December through February).

But hold onto your hats, because with great weather comes great popularity. You might encounter a few fellow adventurers on your journey, as the summer season attracts moderate crowds and bustling hotels. 

So, be prepared to share the stunning landscapes and thrilling activities with fellow explorers. It’s all part of the Queenstown experience!

Things to Know

Currency: New Zealand Dollar
(Check the current exchange rate)

Language: English

Calling Code: +64

How to Get Around 

Public buses:  Queenstown offers a reliable and convenient public transportation system. Buses are a popular choice, with routes connecting key areas within the city and surrounding regions.

Ferries: If you feel like taking in a scenic way of getting around the city, then hop on the Queenstown ferry network from Frankton Arm to Queenstown. You can check out the ferry timetable here.

Taxis: Taxis are readily available, providing a convenient way to get around. There are a lot of companies in the city that operate taxis, including Yellow Cab and Blue Cab. You can hail a taxi on the street or call a company to book one. 

Shuttle: Queenstown has a range of shuttle services available, catering to specific destinations or activities. However, they can be more expensive than public transportation.

Biking: Pedal your way through Queenstown’s beauty with bike rentals, a popular choice for active exploration. Traverse a network of scenic paths, including the renowned 42-kilometer Queenstown Trail connecting Queenstown to Arrowtown.

Where to Stay in Queenstown

1. Novotel Queenstown Lakeside

Address: Cnr Earl St, Marine Parade, And, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand

Phone: +64 3 442 7750

Pricing: $$

Book Now

With its prime location on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Novotel Queenstown Lakeside is an ideal choice for those seeking convenience and comfort. Unwinding in style and soaking up the lively atmosphere of Queenstown’s vibrant waterfront is what this place offers.

The hotel’s contemporary rooms offer stunning lake or mountain views. Its central position allows easy access to Queenstown’s shopping, dining, and adventure activities.

2. Sherwood Queenstown

Address: 554 Frankton Road, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand

Phone: +64 3 450 1090

Pricing: $$

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Sherwood Queenstown is a unique eco-friendly hotel that seamlessly blends contemporary style with sustainability. Surrounded by lush nature, it offers a refreshing escape from the ordinary. 

Enjoy comfortable rooms, organic dining experiences, and a range of wellness activities, including yoga classes and an outdoor hot tub. Staying here will surely make you embrace the holistic experience while being just minutes away from Queenstown’s bustling attractions.

3. Azur Luxury Lodge

Address: 23 MacKinnon Terrace, Sunshine Bay, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand

Phone: +64 3 409 0588

Pricing: $$$

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Azur Lodge seems to embody the very essence of Queenstown: perched on a hill, it showcases awe-inspiring panoramic views of Lake Wakatipu and the majestic mountains. 

Travelers staying at Azur Lodge can expect an immersive luxury experience. Each villa entices with floor-to-ceiling windows, private decks, and spacious interiors, creating a serene and indulgent retreat. 

4. Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel

Address: 21 Robins Road, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand

Phone: +64 3 441 8441

Pricing: $$

Book Now

Expect a stylish and intimate stay at Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel, located mere moments from the lively town center. 

With its contemporary design and welcoming hospitality, this hotel strikes the perfect balance of comfort and convenience. Delight in the serene ambiance of Queenstown’s gardens, all while enjoying easy access to the bustling attractions and dining options the town has to offer. 

5. The Remarkables Lodge

Address: 595 Kingston Road, Queenstown 9349, New Zealand

Phone: +64 3 442 2720

Pricing: $$$

Book Now

At the Remarkables Lodge, what awaits travelers and visitors is an unforgettable stay in a serene and elegant setting. 

Surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, this luxurious boutique lodge offers stunning alpine views and personalized service. Immerse yourself in sumptuous accommodations, savor fine dining experiences, and enjoy access to a range of outdoor activities. 

Where to Eat in Queenstown

1. Fergburger

Address: 42 Shotover Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand

Phone: +64 3 441 1232

Pricing: $

Website

If you’re craving a mouthwatering burger that will make your taste buds do a happy dance, Fergburger is the place to be. This legendary joint is always bustling with hungry locals and tourists alike. From classic beef burgers to creative vegetarian options, Fergburger caters to everyone’s cravings. 

The portions are generous, the flavors are out of this world, and the prices won’t break the bank. Just be prepared to queue up, but trust us, it’s worth the wait. 

2. Botswana Butchery

Address: 17 Marine Parade, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand

Phone: +64 3 442 6994

Pricing: $$$

Website

For an upscale dining experience that will leave you feeling pampered and satisfied, look no further than Botswana Butchery. This elegant restaurant boasts a refined atmosphere with stunning waterfront views. 

Their menu is a celebration of top-quality meats and indulgent dishes that will impress even the most discerning food connoisseurs. From perfectly cooked steaks to delicate seafood creations, their culinary expertise shines through every dish.

3. The Cow

Address: Cow Lane, Queenstown, Otago 9300, New Zealand

Phone: +64 3 442 8588

Pricing: $$

Website

Tucked away in the heart of Queenstown, The Cow is a rustic gem that captures the essence of comfort food. This cozy Italian-inspired eatery welcomes you with warm vibes and hearty dishes that will make you feel like you’re dining in a Tuscan trattoria. 

Their handcrafted pizzas, mouthwatering pasta, and delectable desserts will transport you to a culinary haven. Plus, the laid-back and friendly staff adds a personal touch to your dining experience, ensuring you leave with a satisfied belly and a big smile.

4. Rata Dining

Address: 43 Ballarat Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand

Phone: +64 3 442 9393

Pricing: $$$

Website

For a dining experience that harmonizes nature with gastronomy, Rata Dining is a must-visit. This contemporary restaurant, created by Michelin-starred chef Josh Emett, showcases New Zealand’s finest ingredients in innovative and exquisite ways. 

From the elegantly plated dishes to the thoughtfully curated wine list, Rata Dining offers a sensory journey for your taste buds. When in here, prepare to be wowed by their artistry and attention to detail.

5. Bespoke Kitchen

Address: 9 Isle Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand

Phone: 64 3 409 0552

Pricing: $$

Website

Whether you’re a health-conscious foodie or simply looking for a guilt-free indulgence, Bespoke Kitchen delivers with its flavorful creations. The friendly staff completes the experience with their genuine smiles and efficient service. 

This trendy spot combines nourishing food with an inviting atmosphere. Their popular dishes range from colorful açai bowls to stacked sandwiches and nourishing salads—truly, their menu showcases the best of locally sourced ingredients.

What to Do in Queenstown

1. Explore the Remarkables

Address: Remarkables Mountain Range, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand

Phone: +64 3-442 4615

Website

Embark on an epic adventure and conquer the Remarkables! Towering over Queenstown, this majestic mountain range offers breathtaking views and thrilling activities for outdoor enthusiasts. 

Whether you’re an avid skier or a summer adventurer, the Remarkables have something for everyone. Strap on your skis or snowboard during the winter months, or hike the scenic trails during the warmer seasons.

2. Cruise on Lake Wakatipu

Address: Queenstown, New Zealand

Phone: +64 3-441 1137

Website

Set sail on an unforgettable journey across the shimmering waters of Lake Wakatipu. Hop aboard a scenic cruise and immerse yourself in the beauty of Queenstown’s iconic lake.

Snap envy-inducing photos, breathe in the fresh alpine air, and let the tranquility of the surroundings wash over you. It’s the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind, and soak up the natural wonders that make Queenstown truly magical.

3. Bungee Jump off Kawarau Bridge

Address: Kawarau Bridge, Gibbston Valley, Queenstown 9371, New Zealand

Phone: +64 3-450 1300

Website

Get your heart racing and unleash your inner daredevil by taking the plunge off the historic Kawarau Bridge. Queenstown is the birthplace of bungee jumping, and this is where it all began. 

Take a leap of faith into the abyss with the turquoise waters of the Kawarau River rushing towards you. Feel the exhilaration and the rush of adrenaline as you conquer your fears and experience the ultimate thrill. 

4. Skyline Queenstown

Address: Brecon Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand

Phone: +64 3 441 0101

Website

Ascend to new heights and witness Queenstown’s beauty from a different perspective at Skyline Queenstown. 

As you soar above the treetops, feast your eyes on panoramic views of the town, Lake Wakatipu, and the surrounding mountains. Once you reach the summit, indulge in delicious dining options or experience the thrill of luge rides. 

Whether you’re a nature lover, a foodie, or an adrenaline junkie, Skyline Queenstown has something for everyone.

5. Hike the Ben Lomond Track

Address: Ben Lomond Track, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand

Phone: +64 3-442 7933

Website

Strap on your hiking boots and conquer the iconic Ben Lomond Track for an unforgettable outdoor adventure. This challenging yet rewarding trail takes you high above Queenstown, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Wakatipu. 

As you ascend, you’ll witness the changing landscapes, from lush forests to alpine meadows. Feel a sense of accomplishment as you reach the summit and soak in the awe-inspiring vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see. 

6. Jet Boat through the Shotover Canyon

Address: 34 Shotover Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand

Phone: +64 3 442 6990

Website

Hold on tight and prepare for an adrenaline-fueled adventure as you jet boat through the legendary Shotover Canyon. 

Climb aboard the iconic red jet boat and feel the rush as it speeds through narrow canyons and performs thrilling spins. Zoom across turquoise waters, surrounded by towering cliffs that will leave you in awe. 

Brace yourself for 360-degree spins and heart-pounding excitement as you immerse yourself in Queenstown’s stunning natural playground. It’s a wild ride that will leave you grinning from ear to ear.

Where to Shop in Queenstown

1. Queenstown Market

Address: Beach Street, Earnslaw Park, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand

Phone: +64 27-443 6667

Website

This vibrant marketplace showcases the works of talented local artists and artisans. From unique jewelry to handcrafted pottery and intricate woodwork, you’ll find a treasure trove of one-of-a-kind creations. 

Browse through the stalls, meet the passionate artists behind the masterpieces, and take home a piece of Queenstown’s creativity. With its lively atmosphere and friendly vendors, this market is a must-visit for art enthusiasts and those seeking unique souvenirs.

2. Remarkables Park Town Centre

Address: Suite 305, Building 7, Remarkables Park Town Centre, Hawthorne Drive, Frankton, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand

Phone: +64 3 451 0440

Website

Experience the ultimate shopping destination at Remarkables Park Town Centre. This sprawling complex is home to a wide array of stores, from fashion boutiques to electronics, home decor, and more. 

Whether you’re in search of the latest fashion trends or want to pick up some local specialties, Remarkables Park has you covered. With ample parking, convenient amenities, and a variety of dining options, it’s a shopper’s paradise.

3. Outside Sports

Address: 9 Shotover Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand

Phone: +64 3 441 0074

Website

Gear up in style at Outside Sports and embark on your next thrilling expedition in the city. Browse through their extensive collection of top-quality equipment, apparel, and accessories from renowned brands. 

But that’s not all. Their knowledgeable and passionate staff are outdoor enthusiasts themselves, so you can expect expert advice and personalized recommendations.

4. BaseNZ Queenstown

Address: 19 Grant Road, Frankton, Queenstown 9371, New Zealand

Phone: +64 3 442 6651

Website

Shop til you drop at BaseNZ Queenstown, the largest shopping center in the region. With over 50 stores under one roof, this retail haven caters to all your shopping desires. 

They have it all: from fashion-forward clothing stores to popular beauty brands, electronics, and entertainment options. And besides exploring their diverse range of shops, you can also enjoy a leisurely meal at one of the many eateries.

Address: 61 Beach Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand

Phone: +64 3 441 1366

Website

This elegant gallery showcases a diverse collection of contemporary and traditional artworks by local and international artists. 

Take your time to appreciate the talent and creativity on display, and perhaps find a masterpiece to adorn your walls. It is best to note that the gallery’s welcoming atmosphere and knowledgeable staff make it a haven for art enthusiasts and collectors alike.

Which Neighborhoods to Visit in Queenstown

1. Arrowtown

Directions 

Step into the past in this charming historic neighborhood just a short drive from Queenstown. Wander through its quaint streets lined with preserved gold rush-era buildings, browse unique shops, and indulge in delicious local treats. 

Don’t forget to explore the beautiful Arrow River and try your luck at gold panning. Arrowtown offers a delightful blend of history, natural beauty, and small-town charm.

2. Frankton

Directions

The gateway to adventure! This bustling neighborhood is home to Queenstown’s airport and a hub for outdoor activities. Explore the Remarkables Park Shopping Centre, where you’ll find a variety of shops, eateries, and entertainment options.

With its convenient location and buzzing atmosphere, Frankton is a must-visit for adventure seekers and those looking to soak up the lively Queenstown vibe.

3. Kelvin Heights

Directions

Escape to tranquility in this idyllic lakeside neighborhood. Located on a peninsula, Kelvin Heights offers breathtaking views of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountains. 

Take a leisurely stroll along the Kelvin Heights Golf Course or enjoy a picnic in one of the scenic parks. For thrill-seekers, the Shotover Jet operates nearby, providing an exhilarating ride on the river. 

4. Fernhill

Directions

Nestled on the hillside above Queenstown, Fernhill rewards visitors with stunning panoramic views. This residential neighborhood offers a range of accommodation options, from cozy bed and breakfasts to luxury lodges. 

Enjoy leisurely walks along Fernhill Loop Track, soak in the sweeping vistas, and capture Instagram-worthy photos. With its peaceful ambiance and proximity to Queenstown’s attractions, Fernhill is a hidden gem for those seeking a more relaxed and scenic experience.

5. Queenstown Hill

Directions

Rise above it all and experience the awe-inspiring views from Queenstown Hill. A short hike will take you to the iconic Basket of Dreams sculpture, where you can marvel at the panoramic vista of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountains. 

The trail is well-maintained and offers a rewarding and invigorating adventure for outdoor enthusiasts. And that is why Queenstown Hill is the perfect spot to witness the beauty of the region and soak in the grandeur of nature.

What to Expect from Queenstown Weather

Spring: As spring arrives in Queenstown, usually between September and November, the landscape transforms into a colorful tapestry. Expect crisp mornings and mild afternoons, with temperatures ranging from the low 40s to the high 60s. 

Summer: From December to February, Queenstown experiences its vibrant summer season. The days are long, with ample sunshine and temperatures ranging from the high 60s to the low 80s. These months, which are peak summer in Queenstown, provide the perfect opportunity to indulge in thrilling outdoor activities and bask in the stunning landscapes of the region.

Fall: As March rolls in, Queenstown enters its enchanting autumn season, which lasts through May. During this time, temperatures gradually transition from the low 40s to the high 60s. The foliage transforms into a breathtaking display of golden hues, making it a picturesque time to explore Queenstown’s scenic trails and witness the stunning fall colors. 

Winter: Queenstown transforms into a winter wonderland from June to August. Temperatures range from the 20s to the 40s, and snowfall is common, especially in higher elevations. It’s the ideal time for winter sports enthusiasts, with skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating opportunities abounding. 

Apps to Download for a Trip to Queenstown

The Queenstown App: Provides detailed information about local attractions, events, dining options, and maps. 

iOs | Android

First Table: Queenstown is renowned for its fantastic dining scene, and the First Table app can help you secure great restaurant deals.

iOs | Android

Grab: Allows you to easily book and pay for taxis or private cars, ensuring convenient and reliable transportation around the city.

iOs | Android

Bookme: It offers exclusive deals and last-minute discounts on a wide range of experiences, from adventure sports to scenic tours.

iOs | Android

CamperMate: Helps you find campsites, dump stations, petrol stations, and other essential facilities.

iOs | Android