Top 10 Thrilling Activities to Experience in Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, New Zealand, is a breathtaking alpine town that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and exhilarating adventures. Known as the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown is the go-to destination for thrill-seekers and nature enthusiasts alike. From the historic Kawarau Bridge bungee jump to the serene landscapes of Abel Tasman National Park, there’s an abundance of activities to satisfy the adrenaline junkie in everyone. Here are the top 10 thrilling activities to experience in Queenstown, each promising an unforgettable adventure set against the stunning backdrop of the Southern Alps.

Key Takeaways

  • Queenstown is the ultimate adventure hub, offering a wide range of thrilling activities such as bungee jumping, jet boating, and skydiving.
  • The town is surrounded by the majestic Southern Alps and the beautiful Lake Wakatipu, providing a picturesque setting for outdoor adventures.
  • Queenstown is not only about adrenaline-pumping activities; it also offers relaxing experiences like soaking in the Onsen Hot Pools and wine tasting in Otago vineyards.
  • The local cuisine is a highlight, with a variety of top-notch restaurants serving delicious dishes that cater to all tastes.
  • Queenstown serves as a fantastic base for exploring the wider Otago region, with its rugged coastlines, alpine mountains, and charming nearby towns.

1. Bungee Jumping at Kawarau Bridge

1. Bungee Jumping at Kawarau Bridge

Embrace the birthplace of commercial bungee jumping with a leap from Kawarau Bridge. Plunge 43 meters in a thrilling free fall and soar above the clear, turquoise waters of the Kawarau River. This historic site beckons adrenaline seekers and is an essential experience for any adventure-seeker in Queenstown, promising a memorable jolt of excitement with every jump.

Queenstown offers high-octane fun with bungee jumping at iconic sites like Kawarau Bridge. Safety and excitement blend for unforgettable adventures.

For those ready to take the plunge, here’s what you need to know:

  • The Kawarau Bridge Bungy is the world’s first commercial bungee jump.
  • It’s the only place in the South Island where you can experience a tandem bungee jump.
  • The jump height is 43 meters, offering breathtaking views and an exhilarating experience.

Fun fact: In New Zealand, it’s spelled "bungy" jumping, honoring the original spelling from when the first commercial jump opened.

2. Jet Boating on the Shotover River

For those seeking a rush of adrenaline, jet boating on the Shotover River is an unmissable Queenstown highlight. The river’s narrow canyons and turbulent waters make for an exhilarating ride, with boats skimming just inches from the rocky outcrops.

Prepare to be thrilled as you experience high-speed spins and heart-stopping maneuvers during the 25-minute journey. It’s a perfect blend of natural beauty and high-octane excitement, suitable for all seasons, even the chilly winter months. Remember to book in advance to secure your spot on what is often touted as the best jet boat experience in the area.

Embrace the thrill of the Shotover River as you zip through its challenging course, surrounded by stunning canyon views. This is Queenstown’s adventure at its finest.

Jet boating is not just about speed; it’s a chance to connect with the raw power of nature. With multiple operators to choose from, you can find a ride that fits your schedule and budget, starting from as low as $50 NZD. Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned thrill-seeker, jet boating in Queenstown is an activity you’ll never forget.

3. Skydiving Over Lake Wakatipu

Experience the ultimate adrenaline rush with a skydive over the stunning Lake Wakatipu. As you ascend to your chosen altitude of 9,000ft, 12,000ft, or 15,000ft, prepare for a breathtaking free fall that offers unparalleled views of Queenstown’s natural beauty. The Southern Alps provide a majestic backdrop to your skydiving adventure, making it an unforgettable experience.

Embrace the thrill of skydiving in one of the most scenic spots in the world. Feel the rush of the wind and the freedom of the skies as you tandem dive with experienced instructors.

Here’s what you can expect from your skydiving experience:

  • A safety briefing and gear check with professional instructors
  • A scenic flight up to your jumping altitude
  • The exhilarating free fall with views of mountain peaks and glaciers
  • A serene parachute descent, soaking in the landscape

Remember, skydiving is as much about the view as it is about the thrill. Queenstown’s landscape, from the shimmering Lake Wakatipu to the rugged mountains, makes for an epic backdrop to your dive. Don’t forget to capture this moment with a video to overcome the sensory overload and relive the experience!

4. White Water Rafting on the Shotover River

4. White Water Rafting on the Shotover River

Embark on a white-water rafting journey on the Shotover River, where the thrill of conquering the rapids is matched only by the stunning canyon scenery. Paddle hard and brace for excitement as you navigate through the river’s wild challenges.

Queenstown, New Zealand offers a mix of thrilling adventures like white-water rafting and paragliding, serene experiences on Lake Wakatipu cruises, and scenic helicopter tours over stunning landscapes. This particular activity allows you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Queenstown in a uniquely active way.

The Shotover River’s course is a blend of adrenaline-pumping rapids and breathtaking canyon views, providing an unforgettable experience.

For those staying nearby, consider the Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel for convenient access to the rafting site and a comfortable place to relax after your adventure. The hotel offers amenities such as a picnic area and ski storage, enhancing your stay in this adventure capital.

5. Exploring Abel Tasman National Park

5. Exploring Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park is a haven for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. Kayak along the crystal-clear waters, or take a leisurely stroll on the Abel Tasman Coast Track, one of New Zealand’s 10 Great Walks. This scenic trail can be enjoyed over several days or as part of shorter day trips, offering a flexible adventure for all.

Abel Tasman National Park is not just about the trails; it’s a place where you can unwind on sun-drenched beaches, explore secluded coves, and immerse yourself in the tranquility of coastal nature.

For those looking to delve deeper into the park’s offerings, here’s a quick list of must-do activities:

  • Kayaking in the turquoise waters
  • Hiking the Abel Tasman Coast Track
  • Relaxing on golden sandy beaches
  • Discovering hidden coves and waterfalls

Remember, while the park is a year-round destination, it truly shines during the summer months, making it the perfect addition to your summer travel itinerary.

6. Dining at Top Queenstown Restaurants

6. Dining at Top Queenstown Restaurants

After a day filled with adrenaline-pumping activities, indulge in the culinary delights that Queenstown has to offer. Queenstown’s Culinary Crown is not just a title; it’s an experience that encompasses a variety of flavors and styles, from cozy cafes to high-end dining establishments.

  • Aosta, Arrowtown
  • Amisfield, Lake Hayes
  • Botswana Butchery – Queenstown NZ
  • Jervois Steak House

Each restaurant offers a unique atmosphere and menu, ensuring that every meal is a memorable part of your Queenstown adventure. Whether you’re in the mood for a succulent steak or a sophisticated tasting menu, you’ll find that the quality of food and service is unparalleled.

Embrace the opportunity to savor dishes crafted by some of the most talented chefs in the region. Queenstown’s dining scene is a true testament to New Zealand’s reputation for exceptional cuisine.

7. Relaxing at Queenstown Onsen Hot Pools

7. Relaxing at Queenstown Onsen Hot Pools

After a day filled with adrenaline-pumping activities, there’s nothing quite like the serenity of the Onsen Hot Pools. Nestled on the cliffs overlooking the Shotover River, these private pools offer a tranquil retreat where you can soak in the warmth and enjoy the stunning views. Booking in advance is essential, as this is one of the most sought-after relaxing experiences in Queenstown.

The Onsen Hot Pools provide a perfect blend of relaxation and natural beauty, making them a must-visit destination for any traveler.

While there are several hot springs across the South Island, the Onsen Hot Pools stand out for their privacy and picturesque setting. If you’re staying at the Kamana Lakehouse, you’ll also have access to their exclusive hot pools, which boast some of the best vistas in the area. However, for a truly unique experience, the Onsen Hot Pools are unparalleled.

Here are a few reasons why you should visit the Onsen Hot Pools:

  • Unmatched privacy and comfort
  • Breathtaking views of the Shotover River
  • A rejuvenating escape from the hustle and bustle

Remember to book your spot early to avoid missing out on this slice of heaven in Queenstown.

8. Hiking in the Southern Alps

8. Hiking in the Southern Alps

Embark on an unforgettable adventure by hiking in the majestic Southern Alps. New Zealand offers diverse experiences, and the Southern Alps are a testament to the country’s natural splendor. From the Kepler Track to the Routeburn Track, the Great Walks are a collection of the most breathtaking multi-day hikes, each offering a unique glimpse into the region’s diverse landscapes.

The Southern Alps provide not just a challenge for avid hikers, but also a chance to connect with nature on a deeper level.

For those seeking a truly immersive experience, spending a night in one of New Zealand’s iconic mountain huts is a must. Imagine waking up to crisp alpine air and stunning mountain vistas—a memory that will last a lifetime. Here’s a quick list of activities to consider while exploring the Southern Alps:

  • Hike up the Remarkables Mountain Range for panoramic views of Queenstown.
  • Drive through Arthur’s Pass and enjoy the scenic beauty along the way.
  • Visit the famous Pancake Rocks and take in the views of the Franz Josef and Fox Glacier.

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely walk or a strenuous trek, the trails in the Southern Alps cater to all levels of fitness and promise a rewarding journey with every step.

9. Wine Tasting in Otago Vineyards

9. Wine Tasting in Otago Vineyards

Queenstown is not only the adventure capital of New Zealand but also a gateway to some of the most exquisite wine regions in the country. Discover the top 10 must-do activities for a fantastic summer, including the serene experience of wine tasting. The Central Otago Wine Region, particularly the Gibbston Valley, is a favorite for many, offering a romantic escape amidst the vines.

Otago’s vineyards are renowned for their Pinot Noir, but you’ll also find superb Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. For those who prefer a structured approach, here’s a list of wine regions to explore:

  • Central Otago
  • Gibbston Valley
  • Waitaki Valley
  • North Canterbury
  • Nelson
  • Marlborough

Each region has its unique charm and specialties, making it a delightful journey for your palate. Whether you opt for a luxurious all-inclusive wine tour or a more adventurous hop-on-hop-off experience, the South Island’s wine country won’t disappoint.

With boutique wineries dotting the landscape, you’re never far from a memorable wine encounter. So, raise a glass to the stunning views and let the flavors of Otago’s finest vineyards enchant you.

10. Discover the Charming Town of Queenstown

10. Discover the Charming Town of Queenstown

After a day filled with adrenaline-pumping activities, take the time to stroll through the charming town of Queenstown. This picturesque alpine town, nestled in the Southern Alps, is not only the adventure capital of New Zealand but also a hub of relaxation and culture.

Queenstown offers a vibrant atmosphere with an array of bars, restaurants, and cafes perfect for unwinding. For those looking to explore beyond the town’s boundaries, Queenstown serves as an excellent base for day trips to nearby attractions.

Queenstown is a treasure trove of experiences, from historic mining towns to local hidden gems. Whether you’re here for a week or just passing through, the town’s allure is undeniable.

Here are some must-visit spots in Queenstown:

  • Queenstown Gardens
  • Kiwi Park
  • Lake Wakatipu

Remember to explore at your own pace and let the town’s enchanting vibe captivate you.


As we wrap up our journey through the adrenaline-fueled adventures and serene beauty of Queenstown, it’s clear that this vibrant town is a treasure trove of experiences. From the heart-stopping thrills of bungee jumping and jet boating to the tranquil moments in local cafes and the exploration of stunning landscapes, Queenstown truly offers something for everyone. Whether you’re an adventure seeker or someone who appreciates the finer things in life, this picturesque alpine town is the perfect backdrop for unforgettable memories. So pack your bags, embrace the spirit of adventure, and make your way to Queenstown, New Zealand, for the trip of a lifetime!

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes Queenstown a must-visit destination in New Zealand?

Queenstown is renowned as the adventure capital of New Zealand, offering a diverse range of thrilling activities set against the backdrop of its stunning alpine scenery. It’s a perfect blend of natural beauty and adrenaline-pumping experiences.

What are some of the top adventure activities to do in Queenstown?

Queenstown is famous for bungee jumping at Kawarau Bridge, jet boating on the Shotover River, skydiving over Lake Wakatipu, and white water rafting, among other adventurous activities.

Is Queenstown suitable for family-friendly activities?

Yes, Queenstown offers activities for all ages, including family-friendly adventures like rafting on the Shotover River and exploring nearby national parks.

When is the best time to visit Queenstown?

Queenstown is a year-round destination with each season offering its own unique experiences, from skiing in winter to hiking and wine tasting in summer.

Can you recommend any dining options in Queenstown?

Queenstown boasts a vibrant food scene with numerous top restaurants offering a variety of cuisines. Be sure to check out the local eateries for some of the best dining experiences.

Are there any natural attractions near Queenstown?

Yes, Queenstown is surrounded by natural attractions including Abel Tasman National Park, the Southern Alps, and Otago’s vineyards, which are perfect for day trips.

What relaxation options are available in Queenstown?

For a relaxing experience, visit the Queenstown Onsen Hot Pools, where you can unwind with a scenic view of the surrounding mountains.

How can I explore the region around Queenstown?

Queenstown serves as a great base for exploring the Otago region with day trips to places like Arrowtown, Glenorchy, and Milford Sound, offering a chance to see rugged coastlines, alpine mountains, and glacial lakes.

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