With mountains, lakes, and glaciers right on the city’s doorstep, Queenstown is New Zealand’s reigning capital of adventure sports. Whether you want to go hiking and climbing in the Southern Alps, test your nerves on a daring bungy jump, or venture off-road, here are your options for outdoor adventures in Queenstown.
Tackle the thrilling rapids of the Kawarau River or Shotover River on a white-water rafting, canyoning, or white-water sledging excursion; take a high-speed jet boat ride along the Shotover River; or kayak through Mount Aspiring National Park. Alternatively, head to Lake Wakatipu to enjoy activities including stand-up paddleboarding, flyboarding, catamaran cruises, and fishing.
Check a few items off your bucket list while you’re in Queenstown, starting with a jump from the Nevis Highwire bungy platform, the third-highest in the world at a terrifying 440 feet (134 meters). Adrenaline junkies can also soar over Lake Wakatipu on the Sky Swing at the Ledge, enjoy hang gliding or paragliding from Coronet Peak, go ziplining at Kawarau Bridge, or try skydiving.
Set off to explore Skippers Canyon or Mt. Nicholas high country by 4WD on a fun off-road safari, or take the wheel yourself with an ATV ride around Queenstown Hill or an exhilarating buggy ride around Lake Wakatipu.
Hiking and Biking
There are endless options for hiking and mountain biking in the mountains and valleys between Queenstown, Wanaka, and Glenorchy. Take a day hike through the Remarkables mountain range, climb to the summit of Ben Lomond for a spectacular view over the Southern Alps, or tackle the famous 3-day Routeburn Track. Cyclists can opt for a leisurely bike ride around the wineries of the Gibbston Valley or challenge themselves on the Otago Central Rail Trail or Arrow River Bridges Trail.
Queenstown offers easy access to some of the best ski resorts on the South Island, including Cardrona, Treble Cone, Coronet Peak, and the Remarkables Ski Field. There are skiing and snowboarding options to suit all abilities, as well as heli-skiing, night skiing, and backcountry skiing. Other popular winter activities include snowshoeing, glacier hiking, and snowmobiling.