For many of Queenstown’s visitors, this vibrant town becomes a base to explore the breathtaking landscapes in the surrounding area. From Queenstown, there are endless places to see and explore. From relaxing scenic cruises to hard but rewarding hikes, the area that surrounds Queenstown has something for everyone.
However, picking the right day trip can be somewhat difficult with so many out there to choose from. With most people only visiting for a short period of time, it’s a great idea to know the best ones before you go. Here are the best day trips from Queenstown to make the most out of your holiday.
1. Milford Sound
Milford Sound is without a doubt the best day trip from Queenstown. This ancient, glacier-carved valley is simply stunning in every way. Its towering peaks and rushing waterfalls are just some of the highlights.
All within one day, we can get you out to Milford Sound from Queenstown while stopping at some amazing locations along the way. Once in Milford, you can jump on one of our many Milford Sound cruises. After exploring Milford Sound, it is back to Queenstown just in time for dinner.
For the ultimate day trip from Queenstown join our Coach, Nature Cruise and Kayak trip and enjoy a cruise on the fiord, a relaxed kayak in Harrison Cove and a visit to New Zealand’s only floating underwater observatory. Add a return scenic flight to your day trip and take in the amazing views of the Southern Alps and Milford sound from above.
2. Mt Nicholas Farm Experience
Our Mt Nicholas Farm Experience is a “Kiwi” special. On this tour, you will learn about life on a working New Zealand Merino wool farm and meet all of the animals along the way. Not only is this tour super interactive, but the views along the way are like no other.
From Queenstown, this day trip involves a scenic boat cruise aboard Spirit of Queenstown which drops you off on the opposite side of Lake Wakatipu at Mt Nicholas High Country Farm. Once there, you will meet the animals and do a tour of the farm and area which includes a scenic bus ride around the working station. Then, it’s off for a picnic-style lunch before another scenic cruise delivers you back to Queenstown.
Another tour option on this side of the lake is our Station 2 Station Cycle Trail that starts at Mt Nicholas Station and ends at Walter Peak Station 14 km away. This trip also involves a cruise on our Spirit of Queenstown Scenic Cruise to the starting point at Mt Nicholas Station, and another cruise back to Queenstown aboard the TSS Earnslaw.
3. Trip to Glenorchy
The road between Queenstown and Glenorchy is one of the most scenic in New Zealand. This short 44 kilometre stretch of road winds its way along the shore of Lake Wakatipu before ending in the stunning town of Glenorchy.
Take your time and enjoy the town’s quaint atmosphere. Head to the main jetty where you get stunning views of the Humboldt Mountains or immerse yourself further in this spectacular area on one of the many hiking trails or take a jet boat trip up the Dart Valley. For the more adventurous book yourself a skydive that offers you magnificent views of the Southern Alps.
4. Hike Roy’s Peak
This list wouldn’t be complete without arguably the best day hike in New Zealand – Roy’s Peak. To start this hike you will need to make your way to the small town of Wanaka, the start of the trail is just out of town on Mt Aspiring Road. From here, it’s an eight kilometre climb to the top that sees you gain 1100 meters in elevation. Although this trail is difficult, the views from the top are well-worth the effort.
From Queenstown, Wanaka is around a 45-minute drive via the Crown Range. While in Wanaka, it’s also a great idea to take in some of the views from the lake and surrounding area including the famous Wanaka Tree!
5. Visit Arrowtown
Arrowtown is the closest town to Queenstown making it the perfect short day trip. Although it’s close, Arrowtown is completely different to Queenstown and as you wander the cute streets you will begin to see why. Arrowtown has retained much of its architecture from the gold rush in the 1800’s that put this region on the map.
Along the main street in town, it really feels like you have stepped back in time and one of the highlights is the old post office. However, it’s not just architecture that brings people here, there are also lots of small bars, cafes and souvenir shops to explore!