Proclaimed to be the adventure capital of the world, can you really say you’re a young travel junkie or a thrill seeker if you haven’t ticked Queenstown off your bucket list?
Probably, but bungee jumping in Queenstown will definitely help boost your street cred.
Don’t know where to start? Don’t stress, these 20 must-see/do attractions/food coma-inducing places in Queenstown will very quickly make you a more rounded 20-something traveller, while also giving you a unique outlook on the culture and natural wonders that lie at the tip of New Zealand’s always popular south island.
Dig Into a Fergburger, or Two, or Three!
Eating a burger for breakfast is basically the same thing as digging into a hearty meal of bacon and eggs, right?
Well, word to the wise, if you want to taste a famous Fergburger first-hand, but also want to beat the swarms of hungry tourists that want to dig their teeth into a greasy meat patty, fresh bread and all sorts of delicious burger-type fillings, a burger for breakfast is definitely the way to go! If the burger Gods are in your favour, you might even score a seat!
But in all seriousness, even if you’re on a diet, get a Fergburger, it’s basically the food capital of Queenstown and you certainly won’t regret your purchase – but you might regret stopping at just one.
Take a Card out of the Cookie Monster’s Book and Hit Up Cookie Time
Continuing on the food coma route that many a good tourist has been led astray on is Cookie Time. OMG… Cookie Time… it’s like this magical place where the beloved children’s character, The Cookie Monster, has essentially laid all of his cookie-spiration down, so hungry travellers like you and I can get lost in a sea of loaded cookie milkshakes, chunky, buttery delights and all the sweet treats any cookie lover could ever want!
Can’t get into one of their stores? Don’t worry, you can buy their delicious chocolate chunk cookie varieties pretty much everywhere in New Zealand, including the airport – so stock up before you fly home! I’m serious, you can only get them in New Zealand and there are no words to describe how disappointing leaving them behind is!
Put Your Life in a Stranger’s Hands and Jump out of a Plane
Remember how I mentioned that Queenstown was basically the adventure capital of the world? Well, it’s time for this southern isle to live up to its namesake and scare the shit out of you as you leap out of a plane.
There are a number of companies that will happily let you put your bravery to the test, and skydiving in Queenstown will set you back anywhere from around $300 to $450, depending on how high you want to go and which operator you want to choose.
If You Survived Skydiving, Test Your Limits with a Bungee Jump
If jumping out of a plane and plummeting at a frighteningly high speed towards the ground isn’t enough for you, Queenstown is also known for its bungee jumping. You know that thing where you have a long elastic cord tied around your ankles or to a harness and you dive off a bridge like it’s no big deal? Yep, that’s the one.
Bungee jumping is pretty much the ultimate thrill-seeking activity, and honestly, if you’re not scared of heights – it’s pretty awesome! So, make sure you pack a little extra cash (prices start from around $150) and maybe wait until after you complete your jump to have lunch, and you’re set!
Check out the Remarkables
These bad boys can be seen from just about anywhere in Queenstown, and trust me when I say they’re bloody stunning! You can find them on the south-eastern shore of Lake Wakatipu (which is also stunning, but we’ll get there a bit later), and most 20-somethings hit them up in winter for their awesome ski fields.
Skiing and snowboarding is pretty awesome regardless of whether you’re a seasoned professional or just a clumsy beginner, but the even better news is that you don’t have sit in a car or bus for hours if you want to hit the slopes – you can get there from Queenstown in around 40 minutes.
Ride a Gondola up a Mountain and Pig Out at the All-You-Can-Eat Buffet
This is exactly what it sounds like! You can ride the gondola with Skyline Queenstown, stuff your face at either the Stratosfare Restaurant or Market Kitchen Café and then jump back on the gondola for a scenic trip back down the mountain.
Personally, I’d go for the Stratosfare Restaurant because you can get a return trip on the gondola and a buffet lunch for $65. If you want to go at night, it will set you back an extra 20 bucks.
Regurgitate Your Buffet Lunch on a Famous Queenstown Zipline Tour
Now that you’re carrying around a food baby of epic proportions, fancy going on an eco Zipline tour through the forest canopy above Queenstown?
Sure, why not!
There are multiple courses to choose from and you can pretty much guarantee you won’t find these views anywhere else. Views + adrenaline = a 20-somethings dream, right?
Ahh hell yeah!
Speed Things up on a Jet Boat Ride
Not a fan of heights? Don’t worry you can still get your heart racing on a jet boat ride across the lake. Shotover Jet is the way to go; just be prepared to get wet!
Spend the Afternoon Rock Climbing
If you ever thought you needed to be a huge kale eating gym junkie to go rock climbing, you’ll be glad to know even those of us who have been sucked into the latest doughnut craze can scale a mountain with the best of them – or at least a bunch of other clumsy beginners.
Queenstown has a range of climbing experiences available for 20-somethings of all fitness levels. There’s nothing quite like the raw excitement of scaling up a rock wall like an amateur Spider-Man, so make sure you get on it before the opportunity passes you by.
Take a Guided Alpine Walk to Get the Best Insta Selfie
Put on your best-looking hiking gear and head out on a guided alpine walk where you can soak up some sweet AF views and snap yourself the insta shot that will send your account viral. Seriously, with the right view and a good camera (or even the latest iPhone), you’ll be able to score a shot that will put even the best travel photographers and bloggers to shame.
Head out to Milford Sound and Drink the Water From Melted Glaciers
Okay, so taking a leisurely cruise around Milford Sound is a given when you visit New Zealand, but what a lot of people don’t realise is that on the bus trip out there, you’re not just cooped up on a bus for a few hours straight, you actually get to soak up a lot of the countryside and mountain views on the way.
However, the real perk, especially for all those healthy, lovers of organic produce out there, is when you pull over to a stream on the side of the road that’s filled with ice cold water that runs directly from melted glaciers way up above you. No joke, this ice cold, super refreshing water tastes better than any water you’ve ever drunk, especially that overpriced spring water you can buy in a bottle. It’s also cleaner than your typical tap water – so drink away!
And who knows, these magical melted glaciers might even work wonders for your hangover after a big night out.
Become a Wine Connoisseur on a Central Otago Wine Tour (or Get Tipsy – Whichever’s More Up Your Alley)
In Australia, it’s the Barossa Valley in South Australia or the Yarra Valley in Victoria. In France its Bordeaux and in Italy its Tuscany, but in New Zealand, it’s Central Otago. What are all of these places renowned for – wine, of course!
Do a few tastings, soak up the views, or, if you’re a real lover of wine and want to get ready for a night on the town, why not grab a bottle, or two or three!
Get Drunk on Wine, Whisky or Cocktails at Bardeaux
Okay. So, now that you’ve got your pre-game sorted in wine country, it’s time to head back into the heart of Queenstown and drink / dance the night away at some of the best spots in town for 20-somethings.
First stop Bardeaux; the home of wine, whisky, and of course, so many cocktails your head will be spinning well into the next day. A rustic interior and an early opening make this the perfect spot to kick your night off!
Rug Up or Drink Yourself Warm at Minus 5º ICE BAR
Now that the hot, flushed feeling of drinking a bit too much too soon has set in, head down to Minus 5º ICE BAR where you can chuck on a coat and raise a glass to the Eskimos. It’s pretty damn cold, but you’ll be having so much fun in Queenstown’s very own slice of Antarctica that you won’t even notice the temperature.
Massage Out Your Problems at The Spa at Millbrook
Pretty much every 20-something ever has a bit too much to drink when they’re on holiday, which is why a relaxing spa day will definitely come in handy! Even if you’re a tad more straight edge, you’ll still get a kick out of this place, where you’ll be made to feel like Kiwi royalty as your aches and pains are massaged away and your skin is cleansed like never before – alcohol toxins be gone!
Do Some Corny Souvenir Shopping
Because did you really go on holiday if you don’t have an overly priced colourful keychain to add to your collection?
No, no you did not.
Learn About Queenstown’s Rich Maori Heritage
Queenstown is about more than just thrill-seeking and epic views, it also has a rich Haka and Maori culture. You might not always see it when you’re just casually strolling down the street, but if you’re willing to fork out a little over 70 NZD, you can sit back and watch the culture unfold before your eyes at a performance by Queenstown’s leading Kapa Haka group, Kiwi Haka.
Hit Up the Winter Festival If You’re Visiting in June
Four days of fireworks, street parties, music, comedy and a touch of madness, is Queenstown’s winter festival a code name for heaven? I think it might be.
Drive Out to Lake Wakatipu or Take Some Snaps at Lake Wanaka to Make Your Snapchat Friends Super Jealous
Lakes, lakes and more lakes – I swear, they’re bloody everywhere! So, grab your camera and make all your friends back home jealous as you Snapchat up a storm of selfies and landscape shots.
Go To Ferburger for a Fourth, Fifth or Even Sixth Time
Yes, I know I’ve listed this twice, which is technically cheating… but this place is just so damn good that one mention isn’t nearly enough!
So, time to go to Queenstown?