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Top Things To Do In Queenstown If You’re Not Into Skiing!

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Day Trips
Southern Discoveries
Queenstown
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Queenstown is a unique part of the country where each season brings a new charm and adventure – ‘off-season’ doesn’t exist! In Winter, the grandeur of the Southern Alps gets even more dramatic with snow-covered peaks and deep powder valleys. Naturally, this attracts the crowds that love to hit the slopes on some of the biggest ski resorts in the Southern Hemisphere; Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Cardrona Alpine Resort and Treble Cone.

However, if you’re not the biggest fan of skiing or snowboarding there are still endless ways to enjoy the adventure capital of New Zealand.

Snowfarm 

Enjoy the mountains on foot with a unique opportunity to hike around the Pisa Range withSnowfarm’s snowshoeing activity. Snowshoes are an easy-to-use contraption that attach to your shoes and stop you from sinking into fresh snow, allowing you to still get out onto mountain tracks in winter. Snowfarm has a selection of stunning tracks that explore alpine meadows, rock features, and alpine streams ranging from one to two hours of walking.

If you’re looking to bring the whole family along, Snowfarm also has tubing available in the Snow Fun Zone. You can rip down the hill on an inflatable fun tube or play in the snow all day to enjoy the charm of the mountain with no ski skills required.

Milford Sound Day Trip 

Milford Sound is the perfect day trip from Queenstown in any season or weather. In Winter when rain is more common, hundreds of temporary waterfalls pop up for a special look at one of the wettest places on earth.

A day trip to Milford Sound from Queenstown starts with a comfortable coach ride that winds through the famous Milford Road, ensuring a window full of stunning backcountry views the whole ride. Once you arrive at the wharf and swap the road for open water, both the Nature Cruise or Discover More Cruise will take your breath away. Winter can often mean dramatic misty cliffs, moody scenes and snow-capped peaks to top off the views from the viewing decks.

Queenstown Ice Arena

The Queenstown Ice Arena is the go-to rainy-day activity in town for friends, couples, or the whole family. Take a few laps around the ice skating rink or book in for bumper car action to experience a classic white winter activity without worrying about the forecast. This arena is also home to the SkyCity Stampede ice hockey team; if you happen to be in the neighbourhood for a scheduled game, watching ice hockey is an exciting winter must-do in Queenstown.

Onsen Hot Pools

Decompressing in an Onsen Hot Pool is a classic way to warm up in the chilly evening hours after a day of exploring the winter tundra of Central Otago. With a chill in the air and a dusting of frost on the landscape, appreciating the coldest months of the year is much easier from a steaming hot tub overlooking the Shotover River. As well as the luxury cedar soak experience, Onsen also offers day spa experiences with high-quality therapists that can be combined with your hot tub booking as a package.

Stargazing

Winter is the best time to take advantage of the crisp clear skies and stargaze at the top of Skyline gondola. A stargazing tour will take you to the top of Bob’s Peak with a stargazing guide to scope out the sky with quality telescopes and away from light pollution. Wrapping up in an extra few layers will all be worth it when the Milky Way, shooting stars and satellites open up above you on a clear night.

Winter Games NZ

August 23 – September 9 2024

If you’re not a snowsports athlete yourself but could watch the elites make it look easy all day, then the Winter Games is the perfect way to explore Queenstown’s three mountain resorts while watching world-class snowsports athletes. Hopefuls will compete in a packed schedule of extreme disciplines including giant slalom, halfpipe, and slopestyle.


Image: Canada’s Max Moffatt at Park Jam 2022. Photo: Neil Kerr / Winter Games NZ

Helicopter Glacier Tour 

Go deeper into the mountains than you ever could while skiing; a scenic helicopter tour in Queenstown with a glacier landing is one of the most raw and rugged ways to appreciate the power of the Southern Alps. You’ll get a sneak peek at ice falls, rivers, and lakes that can only be seen from the skies before landing on a glacier when weather permits and exploring on foot.

Beer tour of Queenstown

Sometimes the best part of skiing is the apres culture once the day is done. Explore the best of Queenstown’s craft beer and restaurant scene with a beer tour of Queenstown. This half-day, fully guided tour gives you the option of adding food or gin tastings to your day to warm you up from within on a chilly winter day.

Sightseeing and tobogganing at Coronet Peak

There’s more than one way to enjoy a ski resort; sightsee and slide! Grab a Peak Gondola Pass just to see the sights from the tippy top and overlook the Wakatipu Basin or hire a classic toboggan for some sliding down the slow play area. If you’re up for something a little different, have a go on a ‘yooner’; a combination between sledding and skiing that sends you downhill  just like you would on traditional skis, but with a twist of sitting down with your feet in front of you.

Queenstown is far from hibernation in winter, coming alive with various ways to enjoy the season. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or prefer a more relaxed pace, don’t be deterred if you don’t want to ski – there are plenty of activities waiting just over the slope.

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Day Trips Southern Discoveries Queenstown Family trips