Pretty much every time I told someone that I was heading to Queenstown in July, I got asked the same question.
‘Are you going skiing?’
The skill and coordination required for activities such as skiing, snowboarding and ice skating seems to have escaped me. And while Queenstown is a very popular place for snow seeking adventurers, there is still plenty to see and do in this spectacular region for those of you like me who aren’t keen on hitting the slopes.
Here are my top 6 things to do in Queesntown in the Winter for non skiiers.
Walks. There are plenty of walks you can do in Queenstown, varying in length and difficulty. The walk we did was a pleasant stroll through the Queenstown Gardens, located at the far end of the bay on a small peninsular jutting out into the lake. It is a pretty loop track that took us about half an hour. It passes through trees, over a stream, through a rose garden and around the lake, offering great views of the Remarkables and Queenstown township. We did this walk at dusk, lights were just stating to come on and the reflections across the lake were gorgeous. There is also a tyre swing for those who are keen.
Adrenaline. If you are looking to get the adrenaline pumping, there are plenty of activities to choose from. We did a jet boat tour on the iconic Shotover River. Stunning scenery and a thrilling ride. You can read about our experience here. Bungy Jumping your thing? (it’s not mine!) But if you fancy leaping off a bridge, Kawarau is the worlds home of bungy. Even if your just watching (like I did) it’s pretty spectacular scenery. Or you might like to go paragliding off Coronet peak. I don’t like heights, but this one is on my bucket list.
Lake Cruise. What better way to experience Lake Wakatipu than on a 108 year old twin screw steamer. The Edwardian styled TSS Earslaw still makes daily trips out on the lake. Step back in time on this grand old lady and enjoy the stunning views from the middle of the lake. We did a night time cruise which you can read about here.
There is also the million dollar boat cruise which we did on our first trip to Queenstown. The cruise wasn’t as nostalgic, but it was certainly interesting and I even got to have a go steering the boat.
Wine Tasting. If you are a lover of wine then Queesntown is the place to sample some of the best pinot noir in the country. There are a number of tour operators you can choose from, we did our tour with Queenstown Winery Tours. You can read about our experience here. It was such a fun and educational day, with great food and exceptional wine. We may have purchased quite a lot of wine to bring home with us!
Day Trip. While Queenstown is stunning, there are some equally stunning places not far from the town, so if your after a change of scenery, get in a car and head out on a day trip.
Why not check out Glenorchy. The journey there is half the fun. Its a gorgeous stretch of road that will have you wanting to stop every 5 minutes to take photos. Once there, soak up the peacefulness of the area, enjoy the views, read about the TSS Earnslaw in the boat shed and go for a walk around the lagoon. We had a great time there and you can read about it here.
If your in the mood for a bit of history, you should visit charming Arrowtown. It’s an old gold mining town with remnants of the past still visible and has a well preserved Chinese Settlers Village. Situated along side the Arrow River, there are walks, cafe’s and boutique shops to keep you entertained. Here is an account of our day trip to Arrowtown.
Or why not head over The Crown Range and spend some time relaxing on the shore of Lake Wanaka. Enjoy some lunch in one of the many Lake Front cafes, experience the lake from a Kayak and take your own photo of the iconic #That Wanaka Tree
Skyline Gondola and Luge. For spectacular views over Queenstown, you can’t go past the Skyline Gondola. Take a ride up to the top, check out the views and maybe enjoy a drink or two in the cafe. When your ready to make your way down, why not try The Luge. This was something we did on our first trip to Queenstown. I was quite nervous about it but it actually turned out to be so much fun, it even started lightly snowing on our way down. Magical.
And so you see, there are plenty of things to keep yourself entertained with in Queenstown during the winter. Even if you don’t ski.