New Zealand

A Backpackers Guide: All top things to do in Queenstown

Posted on 21 March 2019


Queenstown, known as the adventure capital of the world, it’s the adrenaline junkies dream. Famously the birthplace of bungy jumping, and a haven for skydiving, the amount of different things you can jump or throw yourself for fun off is immense. But Queenstown is more than just a place for thrill-seekers. It’s a cool modern city that’s in the heart of the Otago wine region (famous for its Pinot Noir) and surrounded by some of the best scenery nature has to offer. 


Top Things to do in Queenstown


Milford Sound


Image thanks to Gray Line Tours

Milford Sound is two things. Firstly, it’s a liar. Despite its name Milford sound is not actually a sound, it’s a fjord. Secondly, it’s incredibly beautiful. Described by Rudyard Kipling as ‘the 8th wonder of the world’ this fjords cliffs, carved out by glaciers in the ice age, jut out of the dark water. Giant waterfalls spill down below, and trees line the tops of the mountains, like it’s out of a fantasy novel.

The best way to see Milford Sound is by boat and tours run all the time. Though, if you have a car it’s worth driving yourself there. The trip is almost as beautifully scenic as the place itself, making it one of the top things to do in Queenstown.  

A tip for the hotter months. Take plenty of bug spray as sand flies run rampant in certain parts of the Sound.


Throw yourself off of something and go Bungy Jumping in Queenstown


Image thanks to NZ Story

Join in on the ancient tradition of impressing your friends and scaring your mum, it’s time do what Kiwis do best and throw yourself off of something. Be it plane, bridge or cliff, there’s almost an excessive amount of things you can jump off of if you’re looking for a shot of adrenaline and a great time.

As Queenstown is the bungy mecca, we recommend heading over to AJ Hackett’s. They’ve long been known as bungy jump masters and offer all sorts of activities that will make you reevaluate your life choices. Giant swings, catapults, ziplines, and of course bungy jumping. Pick your poison and enjoy the ride.


Shotover Jet at Shotover Canyon


Image thanks to Everything Queenstown

If you’re not into jumping off of things, but still want the thrill that Queenstown offers, the Shotover Jet might be more your speed. And talk about speed! Fly through the ever beautiful Shotover Canyon in a jet boat at 85km/h with the occasional 360° spin for good luck. If you’re looking for some thrills and chills, the Shotover Jet is always a good time. The Jet runs almost every day, so if you’re planning on heading to Queenstown, why not go for a ride?


Skyline Mountain


Image thanks to Skyline

If you’re looking for one of the best views of Queenstown you can’t go past Skyline mountain. Take a gondola up for amazing views while it carries you up to Bob’s peak. From the top you get a stunning surround view of Queenstown. Plus it’s a great place to snap a new profile pic.


Little Paradise Lodge


Image thanks to

Just 20 minutes from Queenstown the garden at Little Paradise Lodge is like walking through the world of the Wizard of Oz or Alice in Wonderland. Featuring playful art and local wildlife, it features everything from a fish tank above the guest toilets, to a realistic spider web, to a statue of a man wrangling a boa which is being attacked by a hast eagle.

What’s even better is that you can stay there! The inside of the lodge is as quirky as the outside, filled with interesting oddities and plenty of unique furniture making it a top stop if you’re around Queenstown

Where to Stay In Queenstown


Base Backpackers Queenstown


Image thanks to Base Backpackers

On Queenstown's main street, Base Backpackers is surrounded by some of the best nightlife the city has to offer. This is the kind of place where a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet. If you’re looking for a good time in the adventure capital of the world, Base Backpackers should be your go-to accommodation in Queenstown. 


Tahuna Pod Hostel


Image thanks to Tahuna Pod Hostel

The first of its kind in Queenstown, the Tahuna Pod Hostel is designed in a way that embraces Maori heritage with a modern touch. With it’s signature bedroom pods, you can get all the privacy you need. Especially if you’re trying to recover from the bungy jump you just did a few hours ago.

They also have a large BBQ area with stunning views, and don’t worry about breakfast because they offer free homemade soup in the mornings.

If you’re looking for a cosy place to relax after each adventure, you can’t go past this hostel.




Image thanks to Tripadvisor

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay that’s lively and modern, Nomads Queenstown will do you just the treat. They’re the perfect combination between chill and fun featuring from a pool table, to a swimming pool, to a sauna, to a cinema. For whoever said hostels have to be barebones, Nomads is proof that they’re wrong. 

What to Eat In Queenstown


Taco Medic


Image thanks to Taco Medic

It’s called Taco Medic for a reason. Their taco’s are so good you’d think they can cure anything. The reality is they make their tortillas in-house and they use fresh high quality ingredients. In the end it all makes for a killer taco that’ll bring your taste buds to life. If you’re looking for their menu to get ready for a magical Mexican feast, you can find it on their website.




Image thanks to Kim Dot Com

Open 21 hours a day, and famous for being maybe the world's best burger joint Fergburger is a must if you’re hankering for some old fashioned meat between two buns. And because it’s open almost 24 hours a day, the food will taste even better after a few drinks on a night out. Also, their website is great.

A hot tip, you can call ahead and skip the lines.


Joe’s Garage


Image thanks to Goneburger

Some say Joe’s Garage is the solution to all your problems. Got a hangover? Cure it with their awesome big breakfast. Looking for some lunch? They’ve got you sorted. Need a beer to calm the nerves after your last bungy jump? They’ve got what you need. There’s not many places out there where you can get eggs and bacon in the morning and then have a beer later that night. But Joe’s Garage is one of them, and their food is darn good too. Check them out at Joe’s Garage.


The Long End of the Bungy Rope

To sum up Queenstown is a hard one. It has a little bit of everything, and as the thrill seekers dream, it’s got more to offer than most cities in the world. So if you’re looking for the adrenaline hit of a lifetime, or just a place to relax and see something beautiful, then Queenstown should be the next place on your list.


About The Author:

Ben is a traveller first and a writer second. He first caught the travel bug in his childhood, where once a year his family would travel to a new place so they could get closer together and explore the world. Since then he has dedicated the small budget he has to adventuring to new places. His goal in life is to visit every country there is, or at least as many as he can.