Things to do in Queenstown | Apollo NZ
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Drone image of campervan driving along water

Heather Schiller
/ Categories: NZ blog

Things to do in Queenstown.

We've broken down the must-do activities to do in Queenstown – be that strolling through the quaint Queenstown market, pedalling along the Queenstown bike trails, soaring above the town in the gondola in Queenstown, or playing detective to uncover the charm of Arrowtown. For good measure, we have also added a few of our top recommendations or places to stay in Queenstown to add to your campervan hire travel itinerary. So, grab your pen, or well, your phone, and let's jot down the essentials for a campervan adventure through Queenstown – ensuring your travel itinerary is nothing short of epic.


What is Queenstown best known for?

Oh, where do we start with the legend that is Queenstown? This is a town where the mundane is frowned upon, and the extraordinary is just a part of the daily grind. Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, with the Southern Alps looming, it has gained fame for its adrenaline-pumping activities and Queenstown attractions. Whether you dream of bungee jumping off Kawarau Bridge or skiing down the Remarkables during the winter (not to mention the myriad of water sports in the warmer months), this region is the Holy Grail for adrenaline junkies. But it’s not all about the heart-racing shenanigans; Queenstown also has a softer, more serene side with its vineyards, historic Arrowtown, and a burgeoning food scene. 


Why Queenstown is a great place to visit on your campervan trip

There are plenty of activities to do in Queenstown that are suitable for families, couples, or lone rangers with a lust for exploration. The scenic roads are a camper road trip haven as you transition between serene lakes, rolling hills, and rugged mountains (though just be sure to steer clear of the crown ranges, as campers are not permitted here). Its prime location makes it the perfect launchpad for other South Island must-dos and New Zealand travel draws, like Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound, Lake Wanaka, and Arrowtown. Making Queenstown a stellar base camp for your New Zealand road trip. 

The beauty of Queenstown is its year-round appeal, be it the snow-capped winters ideal for skiing or the blooming summers perfect for a hike or a bike ride along the Queenstown bike trail. Fancy a bird’s eye view? Hop onto the gondola in Queenstown for a scenic flirt with the skies. And if you fancy a more tranquil adventure, the Queenstown Kiwi Park awaits to introduce you to these feathery icons. And the best part? You can easily find a place to park your camper, stretch your legs, and explore the quaint town or the wild trails on foot. This iconic New Zealand road trip destination is ready to sweep you off your feet, one quaint street at a time.


How many days in Queenstown is enough?

Now, onto the million-dollar question when planning your first campervan trip: how many days do you have to earmark for Queenstown? The allure of Queenstown is such that a day would only be a teaser. So, while the town’s charm can hook you in for weeks, a good 3 to 4-day stint should do this town justice. This timeframe allows you to soak in the majestic lake views, defy gravity with a bungee jump, and perhaps enjoy a serene bike ride along Lake Wakatipu. That way, you won’t be sucked into a mad rush of ticking off your list of things to do in Queenstown, New Zealand, but actually have the chance to immerse yourself and experience this region’s alpine beauty.

Image: Tourism New Zealand


The 10 best things to do in Queenstown

So, how do you spend a day in Queenstown? Whether it's sinking your teeth into a juicy Fergburger, rummaging through the vibrant Queenstown market, biking along the scenic Queenstown bike trails, or taking a ride on the iconic gondola in Queenstown, there are seemingly endless things to do in Queenstown – especially when armed with your trusty camper. Here is our pick of the top 10 things to do in Queenstown on your upcoming adventure. 


1. Enjoy a famous Fergburger

A trip to Queenstown would be half-baked without paying homage to the legendary Fergburger. In a land where the landscapes steal the show, Fergburger enters the scene with a standing ovation. This burger joint is a legend among Queenstown’s attractions and a rite of passage for anyone cruising through the town. As you approach, the aroma of grilled meat entwined with fresh herbs beckons you towards what many claim to be ‘the best burgers in New Zealand’. As you sink your teeth into the juicy goodness, you’ll realise why the queue outside often resembles the line at a rock concert. Luckily, the digital age blesses us with online ordering, easing the wait for your turn to devour one of New Zealand’s most famed burgers.

The menu isn’t just a one-hit-wonder; breakfast burgers, kiddie delights, and thick shakes to wash it all down. Once you've got your hands on one of these beasts of a burger, you can saunter over to the nearby waterfront, find a cosy spot, and indulge in a burger with a view. A delicious chapter to your things to do in Queenstown tale.


2. Stroll through the Queenstown Market

If your idea of a Saturday well spent involves artisanal treasures and a dash of local culture, then the Queenstown market is your go-to. Nestled by the lakefront, the shorefront comes alive from 9 am to 4 pm. As you meander through the stalls, you’ll come across a diverse range of goods, from handcrafted pottery and jewellery to unique wood and metal creations. While your eyes feast on the kaleidoscope of products, you will be treated to the glorious morning sun reflecting off Lake Wakatipu. Whether you're on a mission to find the perfect souvenir or just keen on soaking in the vibrant atmosphere, the Queenstown Market is a charming pit stop in any New Zealand road trip adventure.


3. Take a detour to Arrowtown

Ah, the quaint, charming enclave of Arrowtown! For those in the back wondering, “Is Arrowtown worth a visit?” – it's a resounding yes! The blend of history, natural beauty, and a cozy community vibe makes it a cherished detour on any New Zealand road trip. The drive from Queenstown to Arrowtown in your motorhome is a brief yet beautiful route, threading through landscapes that are a testament to New Zealand’s surreal beauty. 

Just a 20-minute camper ride away from Queenstown, this historic gold mining town is a nugget of the past nestled amidst the modern bustle. Once a haven for those with big dreams during the 1860s gold rush, today, it's a picturesque escape for those chasing serene trails and quaint cafe corners. Meander through its leafy lanes and stumble upon boutique shops. Then, hit the walking trails. Whether it's the Sawpit Gully trail or the Tobins Track, the scenic trails here are a travel itinerary must. Fancy a little gold panning? Arrowtown lets you flirt with your fortune at the riverbanks, where gold nuggets were once a common find. Simply hire a gold pan and head down to the river to see if you will strike gold!


4. Visit Kiwi Park

A whisk away from Queenstown, and you find yourself amidst the chirps and flutters of Kiwi Birdlife Park. This sanctuary is a window to New Zealand’s avian wonders, nestled right in the heart of Queenstown. Step in, and the world transforms into a haven of native flora and fauna. The park is home to over 20 native bird species and – its biggest drawcard – the elusive kiwi. Be sure to join the Kiwi Encounter, where you come face to beak with New Zealand’s iconic nocturnal bird. 


5. Take a Farm Tour

As your camper trundles along the scenic routes of Queenstown’s surrounds make a pitstop at the countryside haven of Walter Peak High Country Farm. The Walter Peak Farm Tour is a ticket to experiencing New Zealand’s pastoral heartland. Here, the green pastures roll under the soft shadows of towering mountains, offering a tranquil retreat from the adventure-fueled activities to do in Queenstown.

The tour is a perfect blend of traditional farming practices with a sprinkle of Kiwi hospitality. Whether it's watching a sheep shearing demonstration or feeding the farmyard animals, every activity gives a peek into the simplistic and serene rural life of New Zealand – adding a rustic charm to your New Zealand road trip. Best of all, accessing this pastoral paradise is a breezy drive from Queenstown, with ample spaces to park your camper. 


6. Bike the Queenstown Trail

Alright, let’s pedal into the heart of Queenstown’s outdoors, shall we? The Queenstown Trails is your ticket to cruising through some of the most jaw-dropping sceneries you'll ever lay eyes on. With over 130 km of off-road trails to pick from, you’ve got options aplenty, whether you’re up for a breezy morning ride or a full-day cycling saga. With vistas of the Wakatipu Basin, the Shotover River, and Lake Hayes as your companions along the ride, there are plenty of options to choose from!

Getting here? A cinch. Park the camper in town, saddle up, and you’re on your way to a day packed with pedal-powered adventure. Don’t have a bike? No problem. There are plenty of great places to rent a bike for a day in town, or you can simply opt to explore these beauties on foot. And hey, don’t forget to pack a picnic; there are loads of perfect spots to plop down and soak in the surroundings. 


7. Wander Queenstown Gardens

Speaking of great views, how about a leisurely stroll through a slice of Eden? The Queenstown Gardens are a tranquil little haven right in the midst of the adrenaline buzz that is Queenstown. Established way back in 1866, this place has been serving up doses of serenity for over a century. Meander along the paths, and you’ll be greeted by a spectacle of roses, with Lake Wakatipu playing peek-a-boo through the foliage.

And hey, ever thrown a Frisbee in a garden that’s over a century old? Toss in a round of Frisbee golf at the Queenstown Gardens, and you’ve got yourself a fine blend of the quaint and quirky. Your camper will find a snug spot in the nearby parking area, just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the entrance of this Queenstown attraction. It’s the kind of place that makes you want to slow down, breathe in, and just be.


8. Visit a sweet shop haven

For those of us with a sweet tooth, Queenstown has a sugary haven tucked up its sleeve. Say hello to the Remarkables Sweet Shop, a place where the world seems to be painted in shades of candy. Park your camper nearby and step into a realm where every shelf is laden with sweet promises. Whether you’re a fudge fanatic or a lolly lover, there’s a little something to tickle everyone’s sweet fancy. It’s the perfect pitstop to load up on some sugary fuel before you hit the road again for your New Zealand road trip.  


9. Ride the gondola in Queenstown

So, after all those ground-level gallivants, how about we take to the skies with the Skyline Gondola. As you glide up Bob’s Peak in this state-of-the-art gondola, Queenstown unfolds below you. And when you reach the top, the views are nothing short of magic, with Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables Mountain Range standing tall in the backdrop. If that wasn’t enough, up top, you’ve got one of the most stunning dining tables Queenstown has to offer with the Stratosfare Restaurant and bar, as well as a luge track. The gondola runs from 9 am to 9 pm, giving you ample time to chase the sun.  


10. Try the crazy doughnuts

Now, let’s shimmy down from the skies and dive into a sugary whirlpool, shall we? Welcome to the land of sweet madness, Balls and Bangles. Imagine doughnuts, not just glazed but dressed up in a riot of colours and flavours, each one with its personality, daring you to take a bite. Open from 7:30 am to 5 pm, this sweet haven is where diets come to die happily. 

And it's not just about doughnuts; they've got a lineup of bagels and coffee that’ll make your morning shine brighter than the Southern stars. Located in the heart of Queenstown, getting here is a cinch. Park your camper, follow the aroma of fresh dough, and voila! Whether you’re a sugar lover or a bagel buff, Balls and Bangles is a perfect sweet pit stop on your Queenstown New Zealand travel itinerary.

Image: Tourism New Zealand


Where to stay in Queenstown

Alright, now that your adventure appetite is all riled up, let’s talk nests for places to stay in Queenstown. No, not the birdy kind, but cozy spots to park that comfy campervan hire of yours while you're exploring this Southern gem. Whether you fancy a lake view lounge or a wooded wonderland, Queenstown has a caravan spot with your name on it. Let’s cruise through some options of where to stay in Queenstown that are more than just a parking spot, shall we?


Queenstown Top 10

First on the list is the Top 10 Holiday Park in Queenstown. Nestled amidst a tranquil setting, yet a stone's throw away from the town buzz, this park is a blend of convenience and serenity. Facilities? Oh, they’ve got you covered with a range of options from powered sites to motel units, all decked with amenities to make your campervan stay extra comfy. It’s a cozy corner to park, sleep, and sprint into the very best things to do in Queenstown.


Hampshire Holiday Parks

Next up is Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park (Hampshire Holiday Park), a place where the name pretty much sums it up. Park your camper here, and you’re waking up to a lake view that’s nothing short of a postcard scene. The facilities range from powered sites for your motorhome to self-contained units if you fancy a night under a solid roof.  


Driftaway Queenstown

Now, if you fancy a bit of a drift from the usual when it comes to places to stay in Queenstown, Driftaway Queenstown is your spot. Tucked away in a peaceful locale, this park is a haven for campervan mates. With powered sites to keep your camper all juiced up and essential facilities to make your stay snug, it’s a neat nook away from the town hustle.  


Ready for your Queenstown adventure?

From sky-high gondola rides to sugar-coated doughnuts and scenic bike trails to cozy campervan corners, there are plenty of great things to do in Queenstown on a New Zealand road trip. Now that you have every reason to take a New Zealand road trip, it’s your turn to turn these words into wanderlust realities. Ready to book your campervan online? Booking your Apollo campervan online is a breeze, and with multiple rental branches, picking up your ride to explore the best things to do in Queenstown, as well as places to stay in Queenstown in a campervan (and beyond), is just a click away. 


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