Things to see and do in Queenstown this winter

04 June 2020

Queenstown is one of our most popular holiday destinations, and for good reason! There's a vibrant nightlife, great skiing, stunning scenery, wellness resorts and so many incredible activities to enjoy nearby, including tramping, mountain biking, bungy jumping, jet boating and more. 

No matter what kind of experience you're after or who you're travelling with, there's something in Queenstown for you this winter. Gather some inspiration below, then find your nearest World Travellers store or broker to arrange your Queenstown holiday

Wine and dine

Apres Ski Coronet Peak

Queenstown is bustling with restaurants, bars, wineries and cafés catering to all tastes. World Travellers Queenstown consultant Fiona Garde recommends using First Table to book ahead and get 50% off food prices at Queenstown's restaurants. The way the app works is you book the "first table" of the night (usually an early slot like 5.30pm or 6pm) and get half price off your food. Drinks are still full price, but you can get a great discount. It's a great way to check out pricier places you wouldn't normally opt for. 

Ferg Burger is a Queenstown icon, and no doubt you've spotted the lengthy queues if you've visited before. Lauren Keith suggests that if you're set on getting your Ferg fix, phone in to order your burger so you don't have to wait in line. "Take your burgers over to Perkys floating bar, permanently moored in Queenstown Bay to eat in the warmth of a cozy booth or out on deck in the sun while enjoying a drink from their bar.  Perkys don’t have a kitchen so they welcome BYO food onboard while enjoying drinks from their well-stocked bar." 

Other food options to check out include:

  • Little Blackwood on Queenstown Wharf - for a cocktail and cheese board.
  • Akarua Wines & Kitchen by Artisan on Lake Hayes – for brunch or lunch.
  • Cardrona Pub - delicious pub grub in front of the roaring fire or a pint in their beautiful beer garden.
  • The Cow - the perfect winter dining option with its cosy, open fire and delicious pizza & pasta.
  • Nest - we're not sure which is better, the food or the views ...

When in Queenstown you also can't go past the opportunity to check out some Central Otago vineyards. Toby Stanton recommends hiring an eBike in Arrowtown and cycling the trail to Gibbston Valley: "Enjoy a self-guided wine tour and the eBike company will pick you (and your bike) up at the end of your day so you don’t have to bike back. Who wants to do that after a few delicious Central Otago wines?" 

In Cardrona you can also visit the Cardrona Distillery for some outstanding gin and whiskey tasting. 

Family holiday

Ski Kids Cardrona

Queenstown is an ideal family holiday destination, with so much to do with kids of all ages. Our World Travellers consultants have some great tips for how to keep the whole family entertained on a trip to the adventure capital. 

Lauren Keith suggests visiting the Queenstown Bay Playground. "Your kids will be entertained for hours while you enjoy a coffee from one of the nearby cafes. Grab pizza for lunch from Winnies in the mall, end the meal with an ice-cream from Patagonia or an indulgent treat from the Cookie Time Store. Visit the Ice Bar where the kids can sip on a mocktail while you have a vodka based cocktail." That's right, you want to make sure you can treat yourself a bit too, even with the kids in tow!

The new Hanley’s Farm playground is another great place to take the kids. They can bike, scooter or skateboard around and after they've exhausted themselves head to Jack's Point Golf Course for a delicious lunch in their clubhouse. 

If you're looking for a fun family night out, Shelley Bartlett recommends watching an award-winning movie at the cosy Dorothy Brown's cinema in Arrowtown. You could take the kids for a day out walking around the cute buildings here, learning about the area's history, before heading to the cinema for the night. Shelley says you can "order in advance and collect one of their iconic cheeseboards with a glass of Central Otago wine during intermission to enjoy while watching the second half of the movie." After the flick, grab a drink at the character filled Blue Door bar. 

Ski trip

Ski The Remarkables

Queenstown's ski resorts - Coronet Peak and The Remarkables - are a drawcard for visitors to the city every winter. Coronet Peak is famous for offering night skiing, a unique experience to hit the slopes overlooking the lights below. The world-class facilities and rollercoaster terrain makes this the ski field of choice for seasoned skiers. The Remarkables has terrain to suit all abilities, including beginners, so if there's someone in your group new to the slopes you're best bet is to start here. 

Toby has some advice if you'll be skiing with your family. "If skiing with the family and driving up yourself, always drive all the way to the base building to drop off the kids and all the gear after which the driver can head down to find a park while the kids are getting their gear sorted." 

Wellness break

Queenstown wellness World Travellers

Queenstown is the ideal wellness destination. Take your girlfriends or a partner for a weekend of relaxation and pampering with snow-capped peaks and tranquil water providing a magical backdrop. We recommend going for a soak at the Onsen Hot Pools, where you can feel your muscles relaxing while reconnecting with nature. 

Adrenaline rush

As the adventure capital of New Zealand, Queenstown is packed with things to do for those wanting to get the blood pumping. There are segway, quad bike and self-drive buggy tours you can jump on the world's first bungy at Kawarau Bridge, the highest flying fox in the Southern Hemisphere, zip lining adventures, canyoning, climbing and a whole lot more. 

Want to combine some adventuring with a bit of education? Get out and about on a 4x4 adventure with Nomad Safaris and learn about the history of the region at the same time. 

Outdoor adventure

Queenstown outdoors World Travellers New Zealand

If you love getting outside but don't enjoy jumping out of a plane or off a bridge, you can stick to some of the many options that stay closer to the ground. Head out on a flight or cruise of beautiful Milford Sound, a must-visit if you haven't already been (and a place that will still captivate you even if you've already been before). Some more options for outdoor lovers: 

  • Book a half day Around the Basin Bike Tour and let that pedal power warm you up.
  • Grab a coffee from Good Day and take a walk along the Arrow River. The best time to do this is in early afternoon to soak up that glorious winter sunshine.

  • Hit up some of Queenstown's hiking trails. Challenge yourself with the 4hr Ben Lomond Saddle Hike, or soak up magnificent views along the Jack's Point Track.

  • Skyline Gondola and Luge. Enjoy the view at the top with a coffee and bite to eat. 


Ready to plan your Queenstown winter adventure? Browse some of our Queenstown holiday packages.

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