A seven-day guide to NZ’s Adventure Capital
Queenstown is a magnet for thrill-seekers and a paradise for those who worship the great outdoors and incredible scenery.
In the shadow of The Remarkables, nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, lies a town that thrums with the heartbeat of adventure. For the Aussie on the prowl, armed with a week to burn and a hunger for the extreme, this is your promised land.
Wings over water: an Aussie’s direct route to Queenstown
Strap in and scribble your will, you intrepid Aussie wanderers – the pilgrimage to Queenstown begins with a roaring leap across the Tasman Sea. From the sunburnt shores of Brisbane, Qantas will wing you to the alpine embrace of the Kiwis, while Gold Coast’s glittering sands bid farewell as Jetstar carves a path through the clouds. Melbourne, that cultural colossus, gets Aussies aboard the steel steeds of Air New Zealand, Jetstar, Qantas, and Virgin Australia. And from the sparkling harbour of Sydney, the same quartet is ready to catapult you into the land where mountains reign supreme, and adventure is the currency of the realm.
Direct flights, mates, direct flights – your chariots await, no dilly-dallying in distant ports. This is your non-stop conduit to adrenaline, served chilled and with a side of epic.
Day 1: Ascend the heights – Skyline Gondola
Kick off your Kiwi escapade by strapping into the Skyline Gondola, where the laws of gravity are a mere suggestion. As you ascend, Queenstown shrinks beneath you, a toy town set against the vast, craggy amphitheatre of the Southern Alps. At the summit, brace yourself for a panorama that will sear itself into your memory – and then get back to town on a luge, or paraglider! Woohoo!
Amidst the frenzied buzz of Queenstown, Fergburger reigns as the temple where even Hollywood’s elite dine – sinking their polished canines into the sacred flesh of the humble hamburger – an offering so divine that even the stars orbit its gravitational pull. Here, the simple burger ascends to myth, craved by the gods of the silver screen.
Day 2: Tee off in Paradise – Golf at Jack’s Point
With the dew still fresh on the grass, take a swing at Jack’s Point, where the fairways are as manicured as a billionaire’s beard and the backdrop is pure Tolkien. It’s not just a golf course; it’s 18 holes of pure, unadulterated bliss, with every tee-off framed by the kind of scenery that’ll make you forget your scorecard and reach for your camera.
In the hallowed halls of Smiths Craft Beer House, the brew is a religion, and the ever-shifting taps are its sacred texts. This joint is a beer aficionado’s fever dream, with a staggering 36 taps that morph with the regularity of a chameleon on a kaleidoscope. It’s a throwback tavern, all gnarled wood and frothy pints, where the staff bleeds hops, and every pint poured is a sermon on the high art of craft beer.
Day 3: Leap of Faith – Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge bungy jump
On the third day, it’s time to test your mettle. The Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge is more than just a bridge – it’s a rite of passage, the original home of bungy jumping. Strap in, step up, and take the plunge. The rush is indescribable – a cocktail of adrenaline, fear, and pure ecstasy that you’ll be sipping on for days, all thanks to that crazy renegade AJ Hackett.
Think you can drive and not stare at the scenery? Really? Test yourself on the public highway up (or down) Coronet Peak.
Day 4: White-knuckle rush – Shotover Jet Experience
The Shotover River is no lazy waterway; it’s a wild, untamed beast, and the Shotover Jet is your chariot to ride it. Cling to your seat as the jet boat skims over mere centimetres of water, banking and weaving through the canyon with the precision of a surgeon and the madness of a poet.
Look up while in Queenstown and you’ll see the chopper’s blades carve through the crisp alpine air, unveiling the Southern Alps in all their untamed glory— It’s a must see on most visitor’s lists!
Day 5: Serenity and the sound – Milford Sound Cruise
Once the rush of adrenaline ebbs, glide into tranquillity on a Milford Sound cruise, where the cliffs soar, and waterfalls thunder down like a standing ovation from the wild.
Within a 20-minute drive from Queenstown, 75 wineries await, and venture a bit further, over a hundred more beckon. Here, you’re cradled in the bosom of the globe’s most southern wine kingdom, home to outstanding examples of Pinot Noir.
Day 6: Conquer the slopes – Queenstown’s Four Ski fields
Strap on your skis and carve up the slopes at The Remarkables, Coronet Peak, Cardrona, or Treble Cone. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a snowplough champion, these peaks offer runs that will thrill and challenge you. And when you pause at the top, with the world stretched out below, you’ll feel like you’ve touched the sky.
Tucked away from the neon glow of the main drag, Vinyl Underground is Queenstown’s best-kept nocturnal secret, the perfect finale to your twilight escapades.
Day 7: Gold and glory – Arrowtown and the Ben Lomond Walk
On your final day, step back in time in Arrowtown, a charming gold rush village where history clings to the hillsides. Then, lace up your boots for the Ben Lomond Walk, a trail that promises alpine meadows, mirror lakes, and a summit view that’s worth every drop of sweat.
One week in Queenstown? It’s a blitz of beauty, a symphony of extremes, a dance with danger, and for the Aussie with a heart full of adventure, it’s just the beginning.