Travel Articles

Queenstown City Guide

Overlooking beautiful Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by the rugged peaks of the Remarkables, sophisticated Queenstown is one of New Zealand's premier resorts and a great base for exploring the magnificent Southern Lakes and Fiordland regions.

Queenstown's compact centre makes it easy to explore on foot, with great shopping, award-winning vineyards, a lively café scene, a casino, live jazz, bars and plenty of events to keep you entertained. 

Get Your Bearings
It's easy to find your way around Queenstown. The downtown area covers only 1.5sq km and is easy to walk on foot. The main business and retail centre is on the edge of Lake Wakatipu. The centre of activity is The Mall along with nearby roads Camp Street, Beach Street, Rees Street. There are a number of hotels on Beach Street, which turns into Lake Esplanade approaching Glenorchy.

Queenstown: Star of the Big (and small) Screen - You may recognise her from such productions as Lord of The Rings, The Hobbit, The  Chronicles of Narnia, Willow, X Men Origins:The Wolverine, The Rescue, Vertical Limit, Top of the Lake, America's Next Top Model, The Bachelorette and several visits by The Amazing Race. 

One of the most romantic places in Queenstown  - so many people pop the question here! 

Winter sees the arrival of Queenstown’s famous Winter Festival – 10 days of outrageous events that welcome the start of winter with mountain races, wacky competitions, street parties, fireworks, live concerts, comedy, theatre and loads of family fun.

The Great Outdoors

Famous as New Zealand's"Adventure Capital," Queenstown offers a raft of year-round activities to set your pulses racing. From bungy jumping and skydiving to jetboating, mountain biking, horseriding, rafting and canyoning - you're sure to find something to bring out the adventurer in you. But you don't have to get all adrenalin crazed if you don't want to. The beauty of Queenstown is that there's a superb range of less hectic activities on offer too. Golf is a brilliant option with some superbly designed courses to choose from as well as plenty of walks suitable for all fitness fitness levels meaning families can enjoy them as well as serious hikers. Don't forget the nearby National Parks - the Department of Conservation is the best place to check for information on their myriad of options.  Top 5 Places to Swing a Club in Queenstown
Top 5 Ways to Bike Queenstown Top 5 Ways to Get Out of your Comfort Zone
* A beginners guide to glamping in Queenstown... 
  Glamour + Camping  = Glamping. a.k.a When you want to camp but you don't want to    leave civilisation completely behind.

Things To Do
  • Wineries 
    The region's wineries enjoy a growing international reputation and there are opportunities for guided winemaking tours at Gibbston Valley, which has the country's largest wine cave. Other local wineries to visit include Black Ridge,Chard Farm and Kawarau Estate.
  • Kiwi & Birdlife Park
    A landscaped park with two nocturnal kiwi houses, keas and black stilts.
  • Deer Park Heights
    Queenstown's famous Lord of the Rings film location. Take the Scenic Wildlife Adventure; an exciting safari where you can hand feed exotic animals amongst spectacular scenery.
  • Skyline Gondola, Restaurant & Luge
    Take a gondola ride up Bob's Peak for magnificent views over Queenstown and The Remarkables. Other attractions include a luge and restaurant.
  • Queenstown Motor Museum 
    A collection of vintage vehicles and motorcycles, located below the gondola terminal.
  • Millbrook Golf Resort
    Designed by Sir Bob Charles, and one of the finest alpine golf courses in the world and has stunning scenery.
  • Lake Wakatipu
    The longest of the South Island's lakes, Wakatipu is popular with watersports enthusiasts, offering yachting, windsurfing, waterskiing, cruises and fishing. A submerged observation gallery on the pier allows visitors to watch eels and trout in the lake.
  • Lake cruises 
    The vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw, fondly known as the Lady of the Lake, has been transporting passengers and goods around Lake Wakatipu since 1912. There are day and evening cruises, with horse riding options on Walter Peak Farm.
  • Walter Peak and Cecil Peak
    These historic high country sheep stations can be visited by launch from Queenstown.
  • Lakes District Museum
    Set in the historic goldmining town of Arrowtown this museum has displays on Maori, European and Chinese settlement and goldmining, as well as an art gallery.
  • Adventure activities 
    The town's vast range of activities includes bungy jumping, whitewater rafting, tandem parapenting and skydiving, river surfing, heli-skiing, jetboating and flightseeing. Most activities can be booked at the Queenstown Travel & Visitor Centre or at Destination Queenstown.
  • Bungy jumping 
    Adrenalin-pumping bungy jumps are available from AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand at the Queenstown Bungy Centre, the Kawerau Suspension Bridge (the world’s first commercial site), Nevis Valley, Skippers Canyon Bridge and the Ledge at Bob's Peak.
  • Jetboating 
    The world famous Shotover Jet rides the Shotover River Canyons, travelling at high speed down dramatic canyons and undertaking a 360-degree spin. There are also excursions on the Kawarau and Dart rivers by various operators.
  • Whitewater sports 
    Rafting is excellent on the Shotover (rated Grade III-V) and Kawarau rivers (Grade IV), with river surfing and whitewater sledging also popular. Canyoning, a combination of waterslides, abseiling and swimming, is another daredevil option.
Famous as the nation's adrenalin capital, beautiful Queenstown offers ahuge variety of adventure activities and natural attractions. In winter,the Cardrona Alpine Resort andThe Remarkables Ski Area draw the crowds, while the popular Queenstown Winter Festival in June and July adds to the fun. 

An early start rewards visitors with an action-packed day. Forthrillseekers, tour options include jetboating or rafting on the Kawarauand Shotover rivers, horse trekking, a bird's eye view with SunriseBalloons or the Helicopter Line and, of course, bungy jumping withKawarau Bridge Bungy.

Skiing & Snowboarding

There are several resorts offering superb skiing and snowboarding within an hour's drive of Queenstown. Coronet Peak Ski Area and The Remarkables Ski Area are the closest and ideal for visitors wanting to enjoy Queenstown's excellent range of accommodationand activities. Slightly further afield, Cardrona Alpine Resort is handy to both Queenstown and nearby Wanaka

* Skiing & Boarding in Queenstown

Coronet Peak Ski Area

One of NZ's most popular skifields, Coronet Peak Ski Area has varied natural terrain combined with spectacular views over Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. There are two half-pipes for snowboarders and dedicated slopes for first-time skiers at the 'Big Easy' novice area. Night skiing is available during the peak season throughout July and August. Trails are groomed regularly and there are extensive snowmaking facilities, with snow-making cover on all the mountain runs. For kids, there's a fully licensed Skiwi and Early Learning Centre for children aged 3 months to 5 years. During late June and early July, Coronet Peak's slopes play host to some a variety of snow sports and races as part of the annual Queenstown Winter Festival. There are daily shuttle services to/fromQueenstown.

Vital Statistics

  • Season: early June to early October 
  • Open: 9am-4pm daily
  • Skiable area: 280ha
  • Highest Lift: 1649m 
  • Longest Run: 2.4km
  • Terrain: Beginner 20%; Intermediate 45%, Advanced 35%
  • Night Skiing: Fri-Sat nights to 9pm, July-Sept (weather permitting)
  • Snowmaking: Yes
  • Mountain Statistics
  • Lift Passes
  • Season pass (includes Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Mt Hutt snow fields)
  • Events Calendar


  • Clothing rental
  • First aid and medical services
  • Ski and snowboard rental and repairs
  • Ski and snowboard school
  • Snow-making
  • Terrain park
  • Two international snowboard half-pipes

The Remarkables Ski Area
With the magnificent Remarkables range as a backdrop, this scenic alpine ski area is known for its friendly family atmosphere. The Remarkables Ski Area boasts a long, reliable ski season and is particularly suitable for learner skiers, with a series of sheltered bowls all served by chairlifts. Nearly three-quarters of the slopes are rated beginner to intermediate and there is some great off-piste skiing for the advanced skiers. A highlight of The Remarkables Ski Area is the long Homeward Bound powder run, which allows you to ski right down to the access road, and the Southern Hemisphere's first Stash - a signature Burton park. The resort  has New Zealand’s first microchip ID system, which electronically scans lift passes through clothing. 

Vital Statistics 

  • Season: late June to early October 
  • Open: 9am-4pm
  • Skiable area: 220ha
  • Elevation: 1943m 
  • Longest Run: 1.5km
  • Terrain: Beginner 30%; Intermediate 40%, Advanced 30%
  • Night Skiing: Fri-Sat nights to 9pm, July-Sept (weather permitting)
  • Snowmaking: Yes (Alta Green trail and Ozone Tubing Park)
  • Mountain Statistics
  • Season pass (includes Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Mt Hutt snow fields)
  • Events Calendar 


  • Clothing rental
  • First aid and medical services
  • Ski and snowboard rental and repairs
  • Ski and snowboard school
  • Snowboard terrain park

Skiing & Boarding in Wanaka

Food & Wine

Central Otago is New Zealand’s highest wine region and one of the world's premium cool climate wine areas. The region bears many weather similarities to other cool-climate wine regions such as BurgundyAlsace and the Mosel. Cold winters and a short, dry, hot growing season provide ideal conditions for pinot noir, pinot gris, gewurztraminer, chardonnay and riesling varieties. Wine lovers will especially enjoy the award-winning pinot noir, which has become the region’s trademark wine.


There are four key wine areas in Central Otago – the high profile Queenstown/Gibbston Valley area, the Cromwell/Bannockburn area, Wanaka and Alexandra/Clyde. Vineyards range from those offering winery tours and restaurants, such as the award-winning Gibbston Valley Wines - the region's first commercial wine producer - to smaller single terroir vineyards such as Coal Pit Winery - one of the few ‘single’ vineyards in Gibbston where the grapes are grown, picked and crafted on site to express the character of the unique Central Otago terroir.


Apellation Central Wine Tours specialise in small groups while Queenstown Wine Trailtakes a personalised approach to tours, offering you a chance to meet members of each vineyard team for an up close and personal perspective of their wines.


In March, celebrate the Gibbston Harvest Festival and the Gibbston grape harvest with fine wines and gourmet dishes from the local restaurants. Over Easter, sample the best of Alexandra’s wineries at the annual Clyde Wine and Food Festival, with restaurant and food outlets, markets stalls and live bands.

Dining at Pier 19 RestaurantIf you’re looking for the ultimate taste sensation then the Queenstown region is guaranteed to delight. There are more than 150 restaurants and eateries to choose from. Vastly diverse nationalities, cultures and influences cook up tantalising menu options, from organic fare, pub grub and stylish cafés and wineries to Euro-style and ethnic options such as Asian, Indian, Turkish and Mexican. 

Visit the Mediterranean Market to sample the deli goods and fresh baked breads, or stop by the Saturday morning Queenstown Farmer’s Market on Robin’s Road (December to April) for fresh seasonal produce straight from the growers.

Exploring the Vineyards
Queenstown Wine Trail 
Appellation Central Wine Tours 

Central Otago Wineries

William Hill Winery &  Shaky Bridge Wines, Alexandra 
Wooing Tree Vineyard, Cromwell
Central Otago Wine Co Ltd, Cromwell 
Akarua Winery, Bannockburn 
Rockburn Wines, Cromwell

Useful Information

Editorial and images supplied by Destination Queenstown

Business Services

Meeting Options 
Queenstown Events Centre for exhibitions and other large events, a selection of central hotels with conference and meeting facilities.

Major Industry
Queenstown is one of the Southern Hemisphere's leading alpine resort towns, with skiing, adventure and tour services. Queenstown is the main service centre for the surrounding Southern Lakes region, with a strong retail sector.

Business Overview

Queenstown is one of the Southern Hemisphere's leading alpine resort towns, with skiing, adventure and tour services.

Why Hold Your Conference in Queenstown… because it’s Fit for a "Queen" (or King)
A Kiwiana themed dinner at the Bathhouse RestaurantRinged by the majestic Remarkables ranges, on the southwest corner of New Zealand’s South Island, this lakeside alpine resort may be a haven for adventure seekers but it has just as much to offer the business traveller. It’s the energetic ‘anything is possible’ atmosphere in a region of unrivalled scenic diversity that gives Queenstown its edge. Add to this a huge variety of accommodation and conference venues, the action-packed itineraries and relaxing pampering options and some of the world’s best wine and food, and you couldn’t find a more inspiring place to do business!

Q…Quality Accommodation
The Clubhouse, Millbrook Resort - open for breakfast every day from 6.00am until 10.30amFrom ground sheets to silk sheets, Queenstown’s well-developed accommodation infrastructure satisfies every type of conference group and business traveller. From international hotel chains to five-star luxury lodges, Queenstown’s sophisticated convention facilities can host conferences and incentives catering for both intimate and large groups – and everything in between.

U…Unique Dining Venues 
Themed dinner at Mount SohoQueenstown offers an amazing array of dining venues for private and corporate events. Choose from one of more than 150 restaurants and pubs or opt for something different such as a winery, steam boat cruise, historic homestead, themed marquee event or head up the gondola and dine with a panoramic vista at Skyline Restaurant You can add flare to your event with theming from one of our local theming companies.

E…Energising Activities and Team Building Options
Group doing the Queenstown Assault at SkylineQueenstown is the place to tick off all those activities on your ‘to do’ list! From mild to wild, you will find your adventure threshold here. The expansive natural physical environment offers superb air, water and land based sports. Go off roadingbungy jumpingskydivingballooning,paraglidingsailingraftingsledgingswinging,skiingcyclingwalkingclimbingjet boating and more – Queenstown has it all!

E…Easy Access
Dining at Skyline RestaurantGetting to Queenstown is easy as the region is well served by major airlines. Air New Zealand and Qantas fly direct from Sydney and Melbourne year round with this service extending to encompass Brisbane in winter. Domestically, there are several connections daily from New Zealand’s main cities of AucklandWellington and Christchurch

You’ll NEVER want to leave. The hardest part of conferencing in Queenstown is getting the delegates to go home!

Queenstown Convention Bureau 
The Queenstown Convention Bureau is here to help business travellers and conference/event organisers. An independent, free-of-charge service, the Bureau focuses on facilitating conference and incentive travel. It provides information on accommodation, venues, activities and professional conference organisers who can assist you in successfully delivering your event. The Bureau also facilitates bid documentation, helps with site inspections and provides support marketing material.

    Editorial and images supplied courtesy of Queenstown Convention Bureau

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