If you’re looking to get out of town and explore the region it pays to know where you’re going, so to help out here are our top five day trips in and around Queenstown.
1. A trip on the TSS Earnslaw out to Walter Peak High Country Farm
No trip to Queenstown is complete without going for a cruise on Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak High Country Farm aboard the iconic steamship, the TSS Earnslaw. Also known as ‘the lady of the lake,’ the TSS Earnslaw is 102 years old and is the only remaining commercial passenger-carrying coal-fired steamship in the southern hemisphere. Cruises depart three times a day, and you can choose to hop off at the Walter Peak high country station to watch a farming demonstration and sit down for a gourmet BBQ lunch or dinner.
2. Take a scenic drive out to Glenorchy
Located 45 minutes from Queenstown, the rustic township of Glenorchy is a ‘must do’ for any outdoor enthusiast visiting Queenstown. Situated at the head of Lake Wakatipu and nestled in under majestic bush-clad mountains, the drive to Glenorchy is rated as one of the top 10 most scenic drives in the world. Whether you’re looking to lace up your hiking boots, play a round of golf, or just take in the view over a cup of coffee or glass of wine, Glenorchy simply has to be seen to be believed.
3. Head over the Crown Range to stunning Lake Wanaka
The one-hour trip from Queenstown over the Crown Range is worth doing just for the drive itself, not to mention the fact that you arrive at Lake Wanaka. Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand, and a destination in its own right, Wanaka is a bustling little township situated on the shores of the lake. With a wide range of restaurants, bars and activities to choose from, and epic scenery every way you look, Wanaka was long regarded as the locals’ secret. Fortunately for you, the secret is out.
4. Check out the view from Ben Lomond
Visitors to Queenstown will know Ben Lomond as the striking mountain that towers above the town. While it can be a demanding walk, the views from the top of Ben Lomond are some of the best in the region. Tackling the 1748m summit of Ben Lomond can take around 6-8 hours return, while a walk to the 1300m Ben Lomond Saddle will take 3-4 hours. No technical climbing skills are needed, but it’s worth taking some decent walking shoes, a bottle of water and some sunblock in summer. You can either begin from Queenstown itself, or take the Skyline Gondola up the first 450m (which is worth doing for the ride itself).
5. Sample the region’s fine wines
Queenstown and the surrounding areas are world-renowned for producing excellent wines, most notably the Central Otago Pinot Noir. There are a range of tour operators who depart from central Queenstown and tour a range of Arrowtown, Gibbston Valley and Queenstown wineries and vineyards. You can enjoy cellar door wine tastings, stop for a bite to eat at many of the fine restaurants en route, and of course pick up a bottle or two for later on. You can also explore by bike, and excellent Queenstown bike tracks link most of the region’s wineries. For those wanting to go further afield there are also outstanding wineries on the way out to Cromwell and beyond.
The above is far from an exhaustive list of things to do in Queenstown, and there really is something to suit everyone. At Staysouth we’ve got a wealth of local knowledge to draw on. If you would like more information of any of the above, or are need help booking luxury apartment accommodation in Queenstown, get in touch with us – we know the area and we’re here to help you make the most out of your trip to Queenstown.
Photo courtesy of Real Journeys.