Queenstown Travel Guide: New Zealand’s Adrenaline Destination

My Queenstown travel guide comes off the back of four visits to this great destination.

I honestly feQueenstown travel guideel that it is among the best places to visit in New Zealand. Travelling around the South Island is not complete without a visit to the adrenaline capital of New Zealand, and perhaps, the world!

Queenstown is a backpacker’s haven, as the place is almost completely set up to cater for backpackers!

There are so many things to do here, that despite its small size, you could spend a week here doing all the activities!

To go with it, the scenery in Queenstown is some of the best in New Zealand, which is some statement!

This guide will whet your appetite for going to one of the places you have to see during a trip to New Zealand! Giving you all the information you need before travelling to Queenstown!

Queenstown Travel Guide

General info

Queenstown is located on the South Island of New Zealand in the Otago region, built around an inlet known as Queenstown Bay on Lake Wakatipu. The Queenstown area was inhabited by Maoris before it was settled by European adventurers in the middle of the 19th century.

Today, Queenstown is predominately a resort town, home to over 220 adventure tourism activities, such as skiing, white-water-rafting and paragliding.

Getting to Queenstown

If you’re travelling to Queenstown, it’s relatively easy to get there either by car or plane. Queenstown airport serves both domestic and international flights. So, if you’re flying from anywhere in New Zealand it’s easy to get there. If you’re travelling from Melbourne and other big cities in Australia, you can go directly to Queenstown.

If you’re travelling to Queenstown by car, then it’s not difficult to reach. The only problem you may have is if you’re travelling over a long distance. If you’re travelling from Christchurch, then the journey takes around 5 hours.

Depending on where you’re based in the South Island, it could take between 2 or 10 hours to reach Queenstown.

That shouldn’t be a problem though, as road trips in New Zealand are incredible. The beautiful scenery that is dotted around the South Island more than makes up for the distances you have to travel!

View of the lake in Queenstown

Why you should visit Queenstown

There’ s no doubt that Queenstown is one of the best places to visit in the South Island, as well as the whole of New Zealand! The main reason is that there are just so many things to do in Queenstown.

You have all the adrenaline activities, such as bungy jumping and jet boating, while there’s also great hikes and natural beauty as well

Any Queensland travel guide you read will inevitably focus on the adrenaline aspect of Queenstown. There are so many things to do in Queenstown, that it can be hard deciding what to do at times.

This is especially true if you’re on a budget. Bungy jumping, jet boating and skiing are not cheap!

Despite this, I feel you should do at least one of these things when you visit Queenstown, as you’d be missing out otherwise! The adrenaline activities are what makes Queenstown what it is, to visit here and not do any would be a shame!

This Queenstown travel guide has focused on adrenaline activities, but it’s important to remember that Queenstown is a beautiful place.

There are lots of points of interest in Queenstown, and nature is a large part of that! Lake Wakatipu is spectacular, and if you head up into the hills surrounding the town, you will find some incredible views!

Queenstown is just about the right mix of fun and beauty. It makes it the perfect place for anyone to visit, as there’s something for everybody to do!

That’s why you as part of your New Zealand backpacking itinerary, you should include a visit to Queenstown!

Best time of the year to visit New Zealand

Where to stay in Queenstown

As one of the primary places to visit in New Zealand, there’s a lot of accommodation in Queenstown. There’s a whole of host of hostels in Queenstown and hotels to choose from.

So, if you’re travelling to Queenstown, you’re definitely not short of choice!

Luckily, for you guys, I stayed in a number of hostels during my visits here. So, I can offer a good account of where to stay in Queenstown!

My favourite hostel that I stayed in when I visited Queenstown was Nomads. It’s got a great location, the staff were really friendly and there was a good atmosphere there. It wasn’t too expensive either! I also stayed in Base and one of the YHAs during my trips there. Both were alright, although I wasn’t a big fan of Base.

The atmosphere wasn’t the best there and one of our friends had some trouble when he lost his key. I preferred the YHA  and Nomads to Base, but it’s cheap if that sways your thinking.

The YHA was a nice hostel, but it’s a bit of a walk from the centre of Queenstown. It’s also a bit more expensive than the other two.

If you don’t fancy staying in a hostel, then click here for the latest deals on hotels at Booking.com!

Working in Queenstown

Although I never worked in Queenstown, it’s one of the best places to find work as a backpacker in New Zealand. As a backpacker friendly town, there are lots of employment opportunities if you’re in New Zealand on a working holiday visa. From hospitality to retail, there’s a lot of job options in Queenstown.

One potential downside of looking for backpacker jobs in Queenstown is that there’s a lot of competition for jobs. Backpackers tend to gravitate to popular places and Queenstown is no different.

This is especially true during ski season when more backpackers arrive hoping to find work at the various resorts in the area.

If you’re looking for work in construction, then you should travel to Christchurch. The city is still rebuilding itself after the devastating earthquakes of 2011.

Although there is construction work in Queenstown, it’s not on the same scale as that in Christchurch.

View over Queenstown

Things to do in Queenstown

No Queenstown travel guide would be complete without a few places to visit! There are lots of things to do in Queenstown, which is not surprising given that it’s one of the top places to visit in New Zealand!

Below are a few things that I recommend you do or visit during your Queenstown visit. There’s a lot more things to do in Queenstown obviously, but these are a few things that I feel most people should enjoy!

Fergburger

Going to Fergburger may be a strange item to include in a list of things to do in Queenstown. However, ask anyone that’s had a Fergburger and they’ll agree that you absolutely have to visit here when you’re in Queenstown. If that doesn’t convince you, then the queues outside definitely will!

I can honestly say that Fergburger is the best burger that I’ve ever had! The only downside to visiting Fergburger is that there’s often a big queue outside.

The queue is not without reason, but it can be annoying having to wait for around 10-15 minutes just to place your order. However, it’s definitely worth the wait!

Nevis Bungy

I’m including the Nevis Bungy in my list of things to do in Queenstown, despite not doing it myself! There’s no way I could throw myself off a ledge 184m high!

However, a lot of people are more than willing to, so it should be included in my Queenstown travel guide, as it’s highly popular!

An important thing to note is that the Nevis Bungy is not cheap. You’re looking at paying somewhere between $150-200 to do the bungy jump.

It’s definitely worth making sure, you’ll go through with it, as it’s a lot of money to pay otherwise!

Nightlife

The nightlife in Queenstown is among the best, if not the best in New Zealand. With all the backpackers in Queenstown, it’s perfect for going out at night.

You have a wide range of bars for such a small town! To top it all off, it’s quite cheap as well!

All the bars are located in the centre of Queenstown, so it’s not far to walk to and from your hostel. Queenstown is a perfect place for backpackers and that is definitely the case with the nightlife.

If you’re doing a Working Holiday in New Zealand, it’s the perfect place to go for a weekend away if you like drinking and partying!

Queenstown Gardens

One of the more relaxing things to do in Queenstown is to visit the town’s gardens. Compared to the other activities in Queenstown, this one is much more relaxed.

You can walk around the gardens and explore the various exotic plants and wildlife that are here.

Queenstown Gardens also offer some great views of the surrounding area. So, if you love taking photos then this is definitely one place you want to head to. Another activity that you can do here is Frisbee golf.

This is a bit of an odd activity, but it involves throwing a Frisbee to towards a number of poles. It’s quite fun and worth doing if you have time!

Skiing

If you plan on travelling to Queenstown during the winter, then you should definitely go skiing. The Remarkables ski area is one of the best slopes in New Zealand, and the views from the mountain are just incredible!

The slope caters for all levels, so even if you are an absolute beginner, there’s space for you!

The only downside is that skiing can be quite expensive. If you have to rent all the gear, then it costs around $180 for a day’s worth of skiing. It’s a lot of money, but I feel it’s worth it as it’s great fun!

Skiing in Queenstown

How much does it cost to travel to Queenstown?

As Queenstown is the most popular tourist destination in New Zealand, it can be an expensive place to travel to.  It really depends on what you do when you visit Queenstown when it comes to how much you spend.

If you’re visiting with the intention of doing as many activities as you can, then you’re going to spend a fair bit of money. If you don’t have this intention, then travelling to Queenstown can be fairly cheap! There are lots of free activities to do in Queenstown, so you can have it both ways.

Most of the adrenaline activities in Queenstown cost quite a lot of money. Bungy jumping will set you back upwards of $100, while skiing isn’t much cheaper, especially if you don’t have all the gear!

Of course, if your budget isn’t a concern when you’re travelling in Queenstown, then, by all means, go crazy. Otherwise, it might be best to decide what activities you really want to do before you visit Queenstown!

Another part of travel expenses in Queenstown is the nightlife and eating out. Queenstown is quite backpacker friendly in this regard, as prices aren’t as expensive as they are in Auckland or Christchurch. However, if you visit Fergburger a few times, your pocket will be hit.

My advice would be to pre-drink before going out and cook as many meals as possible. This way you will limit your outgoings and have more money to spend on other activities! Free WiFi is included in the price of your bed with some hostels, while others don’t offer this service. So, it’s best to check beforehand. Otherwise, you can head to McDonalds or Burger King or PeterPans travel agents to get some free WiFi!

This Queenstown travel guide comes complete with a daily budget guide to help you know how much you could end up spending in Queenstown:

  • Bed in a hostel – $14
  • Activity – $50 upwards
  • Eating out – $10 (depends on what and how many times you eat!)
  • Drinks – $10 (again, depends on where and how many drinks you have!)

This gives us a rough total of $84 a day. Obviously, this does depend on whether you do any activities or not. It also depends what you do, if it’s bungy jumping or skiing it will be more than $50, whereas other activities such as hiking or white water rafting will be cheaper.

Concluding thoughts

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this Queenstown travel guide. I believe that it’s one of the best places to visit in New Zealand! From the natural beauty to the sheer number of things to do in Queenstown, it’s one of the best reasons to visit New Zealand!

Have you been lucky enough to visit Queenstown? Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts? I would love to hear your opinions in the comments section below!

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Queenstown travel guide

Tom

Tom is a travel addict who first left England to spend a year Down Under. Not satisfied with this, he then went to New Zealand, about as far away from home as he could get. He is now planning his next adventures in Europe and Canada while maintaining this blog.

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8 Responses

  1. Hendrik says:

    Skiing in Queensland – to be honest, I had no idea that this is even possible, great!
    I heard already quite many good things about Queenstown and it is already on my bucket list. Your post just proofs that it is definitely a place that I have to see. Fergburger sounds amazing, since I am really into trying out burgers in new places. Would have loved to see a photo of their burgers 🙂

    • Tom says:

      Queenstown is incredible, it’s full of backpackers, but that doesn’t detract from the beauty of the place! Fergburger is great, probably the best burger I ever had! Ye I didn’t think on and take a picture of my burgers when I was there! I’ll see if I can source a photo from somewhere!

  2. How nice to know that this a great place for backpackers to find work! This is a pretty interesting that has something to offer everyone of all budget and activity levels! It’s pretty awesome when you can snow ski and jet ski in the same place!

  3. Maria says:

    The landscape around Queenstown is absolutely beautiful, with the city between the water and the white peaks. Skiing in such scenery must be special. So good that you had such a great experience.

    • Tom says:

      The landscape in and around Queenstown is incredible! Skiing there is amazing, you can’t see the town, but the peaks around the Remarkables are just as good!

  4. Sheena says:

    Queenstown is beautiful, your photographs pretty cool and it’s great that it offers so many things to do. Awesome post, thank you for sharing.

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