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The 5 Best Day Trips From Queenstown
The 5 Best Day Trips From Queenstown
Date: 7 February 2022
Queenstown is the perfect place to base yourself for a New Zealand holiday. There are heaps of activities to do in town, plenty of great dining options and a thriving nightlife. It’s also conveniently located in close proximity to some of the best places to visit in New Zealand. Here are the 5 best day trips from Queenstown for you to add to your holiday itinerary.
Distance: 67 km / 1 hour
Hike Roy’s Peak or Mt Iron
Go kayaking or jetboating on the lake
Enjoy wineries like Rippon and Maude
Visit Cardrona for skiing or mountain carting
Check out family activities like Puzzling World and the lavender farm
Located just an hour’s drive over the Crown Range, Wanaka is fondly referred to as Queenstown’s little sister. On your drive over, you’ll pass Cardrona, home to some of New Zealand’s best skiing during the winter. During the summer, you can try mountain carting, a unique way of hurtling down the side of a mountain.
Once in Wanaka, you’ll be graced with a gorgeous alpine lake nestled amongst the mountains, surrounded by excellent walking trails, wineries and adventure sports. One of the most popular day hikes is Roy’s Peak, a steep climb with breathtaking, Instagram-worthy views. If you’re interested in something a bit shorter, Mt Iron is popular amongst the locals. After your day hike, sample local wines at Rippon or Maude, or stop by Puzzling World or the lavender farm for a family-friendly activity. If you’re feeling up for it, you can even go skydiving over this amazing landscape for an experience you’ll never forget.
Te Anau is just over two hours drive from Queenstown, meaning if you get an early morning start, you could potentially do more than one of these great activities during your day trip. However, we strongly recommend spending at least one night in Te Anau so you can explore what Fiordland has to offer.
View over Doubtful Sound
Distance: 20 km / 20 minutes
Explore the quaint town centre via bicycle
Hike a picturesque trail
Visit the Arrowtown Chinese settlement
Pan for gold in the Arrow River
Attend the Arrowtown Autumn Festival
Arrowtown is one of the most accessible day trips from Queenstown, located just a short 20 minute drive away. During the autumn, it transforms into a beautiful image out of a storybook, with multi-coloured leaves and trees lining the mountains for a stunning panorama. However, Arrowtown is a great place to visit year-round, with its charming town centre and walking trails nearby. Learn about its gold mining history and the Chinese settlements while having the opportunity to see a snapshot of this historic time. You can even try your luck at panning for gold in the Arrow River. One of the best ways to experience Arrowtown is by hiring bicycles and exploring at your leisure.
If you happen to be visiting during the fall, the Arrowtown Autumn Festival is a must do. The leaves are in full effect and there are plenty of family-friendly activities throughout the week.
Distance: 46 km / 45 minutes
Hike the Routeburn Track
Visit The Lord of the Rings filming locations
Cruise the Dart River on a kayak or an exhilarating jetboat
Go horseback riding through the Dart Valley
It’s no secret that The Lord of the Rings was filmed in New Zealand. Diehard fans spend weeks, sometimes even months, covering both islands to see where iconic scenes were filmed. Glenorchy, situated just a 45 minute drive outside of Queenstown, is home to many LOTR locales, including Isengard, Lothlorien and Amon Hen.
Beyond LOTR set hunting, you can take advantage of the incredible nature by hiking one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, the Routeburn Track. There are other fantastic multi-day walks in the vicinity as well, including the Rees-Dart Track and the Greenstone-Caples Track. Not interested in walking? Explore the Glenorchy area by horseback, or cruise down the Dart River in a kayak or exhilarating jetboat ride
5. Mt Aspiring National Park
Distance: 129 km / 2 hours
Hiking one of the many stunning trails
Take a scenic flight
Try canyoning down gorgeous waterfalls
Go fishing or hunting
Mt Aspiring National Park stretches over the Southern Alps down to Fiordland, offering a plethora of bucket list hikes and outstanding scenery. Not only can you try your hand at fishing or hunting in the national park, but you can go canyoning, which includes jumps, slides, swimming and abseiling down waterfalls. One of the most luxurious and unique ways to experience this region is with a scenic flight which showcases the incredible mountains, glaciers, lakes and valleys.
Beyond the incredible outdoor activities, Mt Aspiring is a wildlife lover’s dream. There are more than 400 species of butterflies and moths, and 59 species of bird. Get ready to fully immerse yourself in nature during this day trip from Queenstown.
Whether you have a week or a month in New Zealand, you’ll likely spend at least a few days in the adventure capital of the world. When planning your holiday in Queenstown, be sure to include a few of these incredible day trips on your itinerary.