A Guide to Exploring Queenstown New Zealand

As one of the best adventure hotspots in the world, Queenstown is on many a traveller’s bucket list. Packed full of world-class restaurants, adrenaline-pumping activities, and scenic walking trails, Queenstown is worth visiting whether you’re looking for a quiet retreat or a few weeks of thrilling adventure.


Queenstown from Bob’s Peak. Photo Credit: Lawrence Murrain Flickr under License


Stay Eco-Friendly:

Recycle, Reuse, and Keep New Zealand Clean

Eco-friendly travel is also strongly encouraged by the New Zealand Government. Qualmark is the official system for rating the eco-friendly qualities of New Zealand tourism businesses, including hotels and attraction providers.  Qualmark measures the sustainability of each tourism business over 40 key components within four areas of responsibility: Economic, Social & People, Environment & Culture, and Health, Safety, & Wellness. 

You can check whether a New Zealand tourism business has received a Bronze (good – meets minimum standards), Silver (excellent – exceeds visitor expectations), or Gold Qualmark sustainability rating (among the best sustainable tourism businesses in New Zealand), and make your decisions accordingly.

Wherever you go in Queenstown, the lure of beautiful, lush natural landscapes, stunning water, wildlife parks, and walk tracks will call you.  However, make sure you respect the local wildlife and stay a safe distance away from any birds or animals you encounter, and remember to stow any rubbish safely in your bag or dispose of it responsibly in an appropriate bin.


Scrumptious Local Food:

Carib Latin Kitchen

Perhaps due to Queenstown’s expat population, members of which hail from all corners of the world, the Latin flavours and ingredients at Carib Latin Kitchen are authentic – and that means you can try some serious spice if you’re keen! The sizeable menu includes classics like quesadillas, tacos, and extra-large burritos. Just make sure you save room for yummy churros at the end!


Taste & Savour

Somewhat of a hidden gem due to its location outside of Queenstown’s city centre, this café is worth a visit for its friendly service and excellent coffee. Have a hearty breakfast of eggs benedict outside in their courtyard and gaze upon the mountains of Queenstown!


A burger with lets, tomato and onion is held next to a cardboard holder of french fries.

Fergberger, Queenstown. Photo Credit: masa osadaon Flickr under License



The world-famous Fergburger is popular for a reason – its burgers really are exceptional! However, be prepared for a long wait time, which can exceed an hour at busy times of the day. Why not try one of Queenstown’s other worthy restaurants, enjoyed by tourists and locals alike, instead?


Madame Woo

Fusion restaurant Madame Woo combines traditional Malaysian street food with a modern twist. Impeccable service, a diverse, exciting menu, and strong cocktails make this restaurant a must-visit.



If you fancy splashing out on a bit of fine-dining on your trip, don’t look past Rata. An innovative menu created by top New Zealand chefs offers delectable mains from duck breast to ricotta gnocchi, as well as a variety of unique starters and sides and a carefully curated wine list. Perfect for a romantic evening out, Rata also offers a kids menu if you’re travelling as a family!


Amazing Accommodation Options:

The Swiss-Belsuites Pounamu offers apartments complete with the option of stunning lake viewsand caters to families of all sizes. An outdoor spa and the option of a tasty breakfast make staying in an apartment here guaranteed to be one of the highlights of your trip.


Sunrise over Queenstown, Hilton. Photo Credits: Andy Smith on Flickr under License


If you’re looking for a touch of luxury in your visit to Queenstown, you might like to try the Hilton Queenstown. Located a little outside of the city centre, The Hilton is popular with honeymooning couples and is accessible by shuttle or water taxi. All guests are sure to be relaxed with the heated pool and onsite restaurants.

If you’d prefer to stay somewhere a little further from the crowds of the city centre and save a bit of money, you might like to stay in a nearby town and make the drive into Queenstown each day. Glenorchy, a small town about an hour’s drive from Queenstown, is a quiet oasis from the bustling crowds of Queenstown – and the incredible views from the Glenorchy-Queenstown Road will make the drive enjoyable rather than tedious. Don’t forget to check for Qualmark star-ratings (1 to 5, referring to accommodation experience) as well as Qualmark sustainability ratings.


Heart-pounding, Mood-lifting Activities:


If leaping out of a plane (with a parachute) sounds awesome to you, you can hardly pick a more scenic place to do just that than picturesque Queenstown. With NZONE Skydive, adrenaline junkies can choose to jump from 9,000ft, 12,000 ft or 15,000ft – depending on how brave they feel.


Photo credit: Martin on Flickr under License


Bungy jumping

What better country to try bungy jumping in than the country of its inventor? You can choose to jump into a river with the 43m high Kawarau Bridge Bungy, or if you’re ultra-daring, try the Nevis Bungy – at 134m high, this jump is the highest in the Southern Hemisphere. If you’re not quite up to a bungee jump, try the Nevis Swing – you can pair up with a friend, which might calm your nerves!


Take a walk                                                                                                  

Queenstown is abundant with incredible natural scenery. Try a relaxing walk around Lake Wakatipu, or, if you want to get a bit more exercise, climb up to Bob’s Peak through Ben Lomond Reserve; the views of the lake and surrounding mountains are second to none. You might like to try the Queenstown Luge when you make it to the top – with both an adventure track and a scenic track, the Luge has amazing options for anybody seeking an adrenaline rush and those who would prefer a more relaxing ride.


Queenstown continues to live up to its reputation as one of the most stunning parts of New Zealand, and with so many unmissable things to do and sights to see, the only problem you’ll have will be fitting in all the things you want to do!


About the Author

Cloe was born into a family of active travellers, so exploring and learning about the globe is second nature to her. She loves penning stories about her adventures in new places. Regardless, wherever she’s been, Cloe’s never found a place quite like home – New Zealand. Discover more of her work on Tumblr.


Looking for more on travel and sustainability? Try these next:

Sustainable Travel and Responsible Tourism: Your Guide to Eco-Friendly Adventure

20 Tips for Sustainable Travel 

8 Environmentally Friendly to Discover Around the World

I’ve also created three freebies to help you plan your next adventure:

  • 50 Practical Travel Tips from Solo Lady Backpackers (a 6-page PDF)
  • 20 Tips for Sustainable Travel (a checklist)
  • and 30 Jobs to See the World.

Sign up for the mailing list and get them all sent to your inbox so you can start your trip planning right away.

A Guide to Exploring Queenstown New Zealand