July 16, 2019

Places to explore on your Queenstown holiday

If you’re on your way to Queenstown for a holiday, there are so many places to visit for a day trip that aren’t too much of a drive, with the exception of Milford Sound.


The closest town Arrowtown only 20 minutes’ drive from central Queenstown, can seem a world away from the Alpine Resort. Filled with charming character, Arrowtown has maintained many historic buildings built in the 1800’s and remained true to its heritage, whilst building up a reputation for great food, coffee and shopping. 

The Lakes District Museum is a must do. Located on Buckingham Street the museum is built around three historic buildings (one being the original BNZ building built in 1875) and houses working displays of early Māori life and the pioneering days of early European Settlers and goldminers. There’s also a recreated Victorian School House and blacksmiths workshop and you can hire a gold pan to try your luck down the Arrow River.

If you take a walk further down Buckingham Street, you’ll come across a number of historic miners’ cottages – from 53 to 65. On the way, pop into Provisions café, a historic miners cottage turned restaurant, famous for their sticky buns.

The true nod to Arrowtown’s history is the restored Chinese Settlement along the banks of the Arrow River.


For a scenic drive rivalling anywhere in the world, head out of Queenstown and take the 45-minute drive to the lakeside settlement of Glenorchy. This picturesque town has been the film set for many movies, most famously The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings.

Surrounded by mountains, Glenorchy is a perfect day trip for those wanting to stretch their legs and get a good hike in! The Routeburn great walk starts in Glenorchy, as well as numerous other day hikes.

Lake Wanaka

A trip over the Crown Range will take to you Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea.  The winding trip to the top of New Zealand’s highest pass reveal’s wide views over the Wakatipu Basin, and if you’re early enough you might see a hot air balloon taking off or in mid-flight.

Stop in at the Historic Cardrona Hotel, a favourite watering hole for skiers heading back after a day at the Cardrona Alpine Resort.  Once you have made your way to Wanaka, there are loads of café’s, shops, galleries, hikes, outdoor activities, events and landscapes to check out.

Milford Sound

Lastly, Milford Sound, the eighth wonder, lies deep within Fiordland National Park and arguably one of New Zealand’s most stunning places to visit. The park is part of Te Wahipounamu, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and despite its name (Milford Sound) it’s actually a fiord as the sheer walls were carved out by a glacier over 10,000 years ago.

The best way to experience the fiord, is to hop on a cruise with Southern Discoveries and head out to the Tasman Sea. You might be able to spot penguins, seals and dolphins if you’re lucky!

Of course, there are plenty of things to do, see and explore in Queenstown, the best way being by taking a KJet trip across Lake Wakatipu, and the Kawarau & Shotover Rivers.

Want to Jet boat in Queenstown with the world’s first? Book now!

  • Buckingham Street, Arrowtown
  • Milford Sound combo with Kjet and Southern Discoveries
  • Gold Panning Queenstown