If I had to choose my favorite place in New Zealand, it would be Queenstown. This city has what seems to be an impossible combination of adrenaline and peace. It has all kinds of adventurous sports, while at the same time the beauty of nature calms you down and makes you enjoy the moments of tranquility. Check the most epic day trips from Queenstown you simply can´t miss.
How do I describe Queenstown? – Thrilling, breathtaking, inspiring, spectacular, electrifying… This city was one of the most memorable stops during my 2 Weeks in New Zealand. Queenstown wins you over from the first sight with its impossible combination of adrenaline and peace. Believe me, quite a few cities across the globe pale in comparison with all these unique experiences Queenstown offers to its visitors.
Need a change of scenery? – You can always go for a day trip and chase some adventures outside of Queenstown. All in all, you can never get bored there. To prove you this, I’ve compiled a list of 5 epic days trips from Queenstown.
Top Queenstown day trips
The unarguable majesty of Milford Sound is the reason why Rudyard Kipling once called it the eighth Wonder of the World. This fjord is another proof that nature is the best architect. Once you’re there, you understand that there are forces bigger than we could ever grasp. All in all, Milford Sound is one of the absolute must-do day trips from Queenstown.
There are two ways to get there: 4hr scenic road trip or a 40mins scenic flight.
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Since we’re considering visiting Milford Sound on a day trip, I’d advise you to go with the flight option. Yes, it is more expensive but you get much more time to explore the fjord. First, you can enjoy the scenery from the sky. It’s really monumental.
Then, you go on a Milford Sound cruise (it takes about 1.5hr) and see it all from the ground. It gives you two completely different perspectives.
2.Glenorchy and Paradise
These two places are must day trips from Queenstown for the lovers of hiking and fans of The Lord of the Rings (LOTR).
The first stop is Glenorchy, which is 45mins from Queenstown. Here you can explore various trails and spend from 30mins to half of the day enjoying the exciting hikes. Either way, make sure to prepare your itinerary in advance because there are many trails but you only have a few hours to spend there.
The second stop is Paradise. You might have imagined it differently, but the jaw-dropping scenery of this place proudly represents its name. This is one of the top day trips from Queenstown for the fans of The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Wolverine.
Paradise is probably Hollywood’s favorite location in New Zealand. I don’t blame them because it’s sure is a unique place with beautiful nature. Just keep in mind, half of the road from Glenorchy to Paradise is unsealed. If it’s raining, then maybe the best decision would be to go there another day.
How about visiting Arrowtown and going back in time? – All it takes is 15mins drive from Queenstown and you’re back to the 1860s. Pretty amazing, right?
Arrowtown is a former gold-mining town where many people came in search of gold. Once the gold rush was over, people started to leave and Arrowtown became a farm service town. Everything here is perfectly restored, which makes you forget what year you live in.
Arrowtown is considered to be one of the most picturesque settlements in New Zealand. Wander around the historical buildings and see for yourself what it must have been like to live in the 1860s.
The Shotover Jet is one of the best family-friendly day trips from Queenstown. It is located only 10mins away from the Queenstown city center. So what’s it about?
You ride on a jet boat over a river canyon at 85km (52 miles) per hour and experience 360-degree spins from time to time. It might sound scary but it’s actually really fun and exciting for people of all ages.
There are different companies that offer this experience. I chose the Shotover Jet because of their reputation, reviews, and close proximity to Queenstown.
After going for a spin with the Shotover Jet, you can go on a hike nearby or you can go on Lake Wakatipu. It is the third-largest lake in New Zealand with a length of 80km (50miles). It’s a good relaxation after a day filled with memorable moments.
5.Kawarau Bridge Bungee Jumping
Adrenaline junkies, it’s finally your time! Whether it’s your first time trying bungee jumping or you’ve already tried it before, this place should be on your list of day trips from Queenstown.
Kawarau Bridge is the birthplace of the commercial bungee jumping that operates since 1988 and has 100% safety record (which is pretty important). If you’re scared to do it on your own, AJ Hackett offers the ‘tandem option’, where you can jump with someone else. What can I say, it’s iconic.
If, however, 43m (141ft) is not high enough for you, then you can try AJ Hackett’s other locations, especially the Nevis Bungy. It is at 134m (439ft) high and you experience free fall for 8.5 seconds at 120km (75miles) per hour. Does this sound exciting enough? I can’t even imagine what it must feel like.
All I can say is if you ever consider doing bungee jumping, then the perfect moment to do it is during your day trip from Queenstown. High-quality service plus astonishing views – this is the recipe for the unforgettable bungee experience.
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