In heart of the South Island’s Central Otago region sits Queenstown, a popular vacation hot spot that boasts a lifetime of experiences in one location. A combination of world class tourist facilities and rugged unspoiled New Zealand landscapes, Queenstown is widely regarded as one of the top vacation destinations in the Southern hemisphere. An all-year resort, Queenstown has plenty to offer guests in both the peak summer and winter seasons. Here we will look at some of the more popular activities Queenstown has to offer in the summer.
A mecca for adventure tourism, Queenstown offers endless diversions for anyone looking to enjoy thrills, chills and spills on their summer holidays. Whether you are in the market for white water rafting, bungy jumping, off-road BMXing, jeboating, ziplining or more, Queenstown has you covered.
Looking for something a little less death-defying and a little more relaxing-in-the-sun on your Queenstown summer vacation? Not to worry! The more sedate pleasures of hiking across the stunning backcountry, leisurely tours of local wineries or long boat rides on Lake Wakatipu are all available.
Queenstown Summer Nature Hikes
Lovers of the great outdoors will love Queenstown – a resort town custom made for ramblers, outdoor explorers and off-road cyclists. There are spectacular hiking and biking trails throughout the region, and plenty of operators that provide guided tours and rent equipment to visitors looking to make the long trek into the wild backwoods of the South Island. One of the more popular trails, the Routeburn Track, requires a multi-day hike to conquer and highlights the moss-covered forests and towering mountain ranges that made Queenstown famous. A shorter trek on the same trail is the Routeburn Encounter, a 13-kilometre hike on some of the most scenic parts of the trail. Milford Sound, once called the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’ by Rudyard Kipling, is another popular destination for nature lovers in Queenstown. The site is accessible via an overnight cruise with an overnight stay in a private cabin.
Summer Water Fun
Jet boating is another fun activity many enjoy during summer. The biggest jetboating operators in Queenstown are Shotover Jet and the Kawarau Jet, operating on the Shotover and Kawarau Rivers. Kawarau Jet will thrill passengers as their turbo charged boats zoom over shallow riverbeds at breakneck speeds, while Shotover Jet sends riders deep into steep canyons and imposing rock faces of the Shotover Gorge. Riders will be on the edge of their seats (literally!) as jetboat drivers skilfully manoeuvre the speeding craft through the raging waters and jagged rock-face of the gorge. Whichever jet boat ride you choose, you are guaranteed the white-knuckle adventure of a lifetime.
Lovers of Food & Wine
The Gibbston Valley and Bannockburn vineyards produce some of the best Pinot Noirs and Rieslings in the world, and open their doors to food and wine aficionados during the summer. A wine tasting tour followed by a gourmet lunch featuring local seasonal specialties among the vines is an unforgettable experience everyone should try at least once. That being said, one does not need to travel to distant vineyards to enjoy some fine dining – there many excellent restaurants in Queenstown itself, mostly along the lakefront.
The sky is the limit with it comes to summertime activities in Queenstown. Treat yourself to a luxurious ‘pamper package’ at The Spa in Millbrook Resort, take a leisurely cruise on board vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw on Lake Wakatipu, enjoy a sumptuous Kiwi barbeque by the lake, or simply stroll the lakeside gardens. Summer is the perfect time to experience the best Queenstown has to offer.