Here is a fantastic 2-day itinerary for Queenstown, an immensely beautiful town located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by dramatic mountains. Queenstown is a destination that no one misses on a New Zealand South Island Trip, and you shouldn’t either. With plenty of places to get an adrenalin rush and let one’s hair down, the town has garnered the titles ‘Party and Adventure Capital of New Zealand’. That said, Queenstown caters to and is loved by all kinds of travelers.
This is a guest post by Trisha and Modi from TryWanderingMore.Com
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Two Days in Queenstown, New Zealand: Where to Stay.
It is recommended to rent a car to maximize your time in Queenstown and stay near the town center at an accommodation that offers free parking. This will enable you to simply leave your car at your hotel when exploring the town, instead of having to pay for parking or wasting time in finding free parking space.
Tahuna Pod Hostel: Super affordable accommodation that offers dorms with private pods and also private rooms. It has free WIFI and breakfast, a parking space, and is walkable to most places of interest within Queenstown. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
Melbourne Lodge: This lodge is perfect for mid-budget travelers looking for a well-located hotel with free parking and comfortable rooms. Stay options include budget rooms, private rooms, studios, and apartments! Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel: Built keeping the 5-star traveler in mind, this hotel is again only 300 meters from the city center. Known for its well-appointed rooms, friendly staff, super breakfast, this hotel is worth the price. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
How to Spend 2 days in Queenstown, a Detailed Itinerary
There is so much to do in Queenstown, that you could spend a month here and still have plenty left. However, since we are talking about two days, this itinerary has been made to give you a good flavor of Queenstown. It has a bit of everything the town has to offer – adventure, nature, long drives, food, wine, relaxation.
2 Days in Queenstown – Day One
Skyline Gondola and Luge
Start your day by riding Southern Hemisphere’s steepest gondola (Skyline Gondola) to the top of Bob’s Peak. The viewing deck offers sweeping views of the town, Lake Wakatipu, and the Remarkables Mountain Range. You can also hike up to Bob’s Peak instead of taking the Gondola to save money.
Zoom down a luge course of tunnels, dippers, and banked corners and let out your inner child. Frankly, you won’t be satisfied in just one go so buy tickets for at least two laps!
Once you are up there why don’t you try a 2-Hour Zipline Tour with 4-Lines?
Established by AJ Hackett, Queenstown is the birthplace of commercial bungee jumping. It would be considered a crime to visit the town and not attempt a jump. There are three AJ Hackett bungees to choose from – Kawarau Bridge Bungy (the original), The Ledge Bungy (freestyle), and Nevis Bungy (the highest and scariest!).
To maximize time on your Queenstown visit, go for The Ledge Bungy as it is situated on Bob’s Peak itself. You’ll can run and jump (your legs won’t be tied together) with a backdrop of the serene blue Lake Wakatipu.
Grab a scrumptious burger for the famous Fergburger. Be ready to stand in a long queue here. The burgers here were adjudged the best in the world by the Lonely Planet! So be assured that your wait will be worth it. If you lose patience or after you have your burger, try some pastries from Fergbaker next door. Tip- Order your burger beforehand to avoid the queue.
Drive to Glenorchy
The 45-minute drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy is arguably the best in all of New Zealand. You’ll drive alongside the blue Lake Wakatipu backdropped by mountains on one side, and a cliffside on the other. These 45 minutes might turn out to be much longer depending on how many stops you make to admire the breathtaking views. Do stop at Wilson Bay and Bob’s Cove, two of the best beaches near Queenstown.
At Glenorchy, visit the wharf to admire the lake views. There is a cute red shed at the entrance that makes for a super picturesque spot.
Afterward, you can hike the one-to-two-hour Glenorchy Walkway that goes through wetlands to the Glenorchy Lagoon. Or drive 30 minutes on a gravel road to Paradise! Yes, that’s the name of the place so you can imagine how beautiful it must be.
Town and Nightlife
Back at Queenstown, explore the town center and experience the nightlife. There are plenty of places to eat, grab drinks and even dance. Try Rhinos’s Ski Shack (European Ski Themed bar with a Kiwi twist), Vinyl Underground (basement party till 4 am), Loco Cantina (fun place with mainly hostel crowd), and Atlas (craft beer bar). You might also want to consider some of the famous Queenstown bar crawls!
2 Days in Queenstown – Day Two
Jet Boat Ride
Start your day with a thrilling 25-minute jet boat ride on the Shotover River – a great way to explore the canyon with near-wall misses and 360-degree spins. There are other jet boat options available as well, but the Shotover Jet provides a good balance between time, money, thrill factor, and scenery. If you’d like to go for something cheaper and longer try the 60-minute jet.
If jetboating doesn’t appeal to you, then choose between skydiving, rafting, ziplining, canyoning, and more. However, do factor in the amount of time the activity will take.
If adventure activities don’t appeal to you, go for an early morning three-hour hike to Queenstown Hill for epic mountain and lake views!
There are two ways to explore the wineries in the Otago region. You could visit 3-4 wineries on a tour which usually takes half a day or visit 1-2 wineries of your choice independently. The latter is recommended for time and flexibility on a 2-day Queenstown trip.
Visit Chard Farm Vinery in Gibbston Valley – the architecture is charming and the wine delicious. Note that drinking and driving is illegal in New Zealand. You can go for one tasting if the driver is also drinking, in order to stay within permissible limits.
At a 20-minute drive from Queenstown, is a delightful gold rush village of Arrowtown that still looks like an old English village. Visit the village for lunch and simply walk around exploring the heritage main street. You’ll be enchanted!
Wet Jacket Cellar Door
Located inside a real operational woolshed, Wet Jacket is an interesting tasting experience of first-class wine. Even if you can’t or don’t have the wine, do pick up some delicious and well-renowned cheese to take home and tour their woolshed!
Onsen Hot Pools
Enjoy an hour-long soak in a cedar-lined hot pool that opens up to an amazing view of the Shotover River. Book this experience during the evening for epic views or during sunset for a romantic candle-lit experience. Nothing can take away the tiredness of two days of exploring better. Do pre-book this experience as it sells out!
Dinner and Drinks
Pick up some delicious fish and chips from Erik’s Fish and Chips and head down to the Queenstown lawns beside lake Wakatipu for an evening picnic while watching the sunset. Enjoy mouth-watering ice cream at Patagonia Chocolates before hitting the bars for a round of drinks.
When visiting in the winter, add skiing at Coronet Peak to your itinerary.
If you’re heading to Queenstown or surrounds in late December, read why you should celebrate New Year’s Eve in Queenstown and how!
Practical Information for Your Queenstown Visit
When is the best time to visit Queenstown
Queenstown can be visited all year round. For the best weather, visit between December and February (summer) so you can participate in a lot of outdoor activities. June – August (winter) is best if you want to hit the ski slopes.
Note that because of the town’s popularity accommodation is expensive year-round but more so during the peak seasons- summer and winter. Do prebook your accommodation in Queenstown and if traveling in the aforementioned seasons, book at least 3-4 months in advance.
How to get from the airport to the city center
Busses, shuttles, and cabs are available at the airport at reasonable prices. Alternately, you can pick up your rental car from the airport itself. Ensure you pre-book the rental car!
How to get around the city
As mentioned earlier, you should definitely get a car to have the utmost flexibility and make the most of your time in Queenstown. With a car, you can easily go to places outside of Queenstown like Arrowtown, Glenorchy, and the wineries at your convenience.
However, there is no doubt that Queenstown is very well connected through public transport. Depending on your location, you’ll have a choice of public buses, cabs, and water taxis. Also, most tours have shuttle options available from popular hotels or the town center. These will save you money but eat into your time!
As mentioned before, if you are staying centrally, you will mostly not need any transport within Queenstown itself as the town is very walkable. That said, buses have extensive coverage over Queenstown.
About the Authors: Trisha and Modi from TryWanderingMore.Com are an Indian travel blogger duo. They help mid-range travelers plan their vacations by providing in-depth information on destinations around the world. You can find them wherever there is scrumptious food and on Instagram.