Queenstown RECOMMENDATIONS See all

Best Day Trips From Queenstown

By Viator, June 2013

4.5 8 Reviews | Add your review

Aside from being situated on the waters of Lake Wakatipu, what makes Queenstown such a popular destination for South Island travelers is the way in which it’s centrally located to many of the area’s best attractions. While bungy jumping, skydiving, and jetboating in Queenstown are some of the popular activities, those who choose to venture a couple of hours outside of the city will be rewarded with some of New Zealand’s most photo-worthy terrain.

Without a doubt, one of the best day trips from Queenstown is a day trip to Milford Sound for a chance to marvel at the sheer cliffs and protected fjords which make the area so famous. Although it’s a lengthy, 2.5-hour drive from the starting point in Queenstown, the feeling of gazing vertically up granite mountain slopes as waterfalls tumble from the clouds above is an experience which makes the drive completely worth it. Once at the literal end of the road, embark on one of the numerous tour boats which cruise the waters of the sound, remembering to keep your eyes peeled for playful dolphins or even a rare type of whale.

If a single day in Fiordland just isn’t going to be enough time, and you truly want to immerse yourself in the heart of the glacial landscape, consider taking an overnight cruise to Doubtful Sound to experience why this area is known as the poetic “sound of silence”. Further south than neighboring Milford and on the far side of Lake Manapouri, Doubtful Sound was discovered by the famous Captain Cook who was “doubtful” that his large vessels could navigate the narrow passageway, and 250 years later it remains remote and formidable outpost in the heart of rugged Fiordland.

Or, for a completely different experience that has nothing to do with fjords, one of the best day trips from Queenstown is to head east in to the Otago wine country for a day of touring the southernmost wine region in the world, one which is rapidly challenging Oregon in the quality of its pinot noir. Finally, to the north, the shores of Lake Wanaka provide a calm respite from popular Wakatipu, and the medium-sized town is a popular vacation destination for hiking enthusiasts, water sports afficionados, or skiers during the winter months looking to tackle slopes of Treble Cone.

Contributed by Kyle Ellison

Tours & Tickets

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Milford Sound Full-Day Tour from Queenstown

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 71 Reviews

Discover Milford Sound on a full-day trip from Queenstown. You'll travel through beautiful Fiordland in a luxury coach with panoramic windows and take an ...  Read more

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: 12 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $186.30

Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise from Queenstown

4.5 star rating: Recommended 30 Reviews

Be struck by the beautiful silence of Doubtful Sound as you cruise the crystal waters and take in the breathtaking scenery. Journey across Lake Manapouri, ...  Read more

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: 12 hours (approx.)

From USD $197.50

Dart River 'Funyak' Canoe and Jet Boat Tour from Queenstown

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 5 Reviews

Discover the untamed beauty of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Mount Aspiring National Park on this full-day Dart River 'funyak' (inflatable canoe) and jet ...  Read more

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $255.07

Milford Sound Full-Day Tour from Te Anau to Queenstown

Discover Milford Sound on a full-day trip from Te Anau to Queenstown. Travel through the beautiful Fiordland National Park and be mesmerized by the grandeur of ...  Read more

Location: Te Anau, concludes Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: 9 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $163.91

Milford Sound Full-Day Tour from Queenstown including Helicopter Flight

4 star rating: Recommended 8 Reviews

Discover Milford Sound by land, sea and air on this ultimate full-day tour from Queenstown. First, you'll travel through magnificent alpine landscapes on a ...  Read more

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: 10 hours (approx.)

From USD $772.39

Shotover River Extreme Jet Boat Ride from Queenstown

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 16 Reviews

Feel a rush of adrenaline as you skim the surface of the Shotover River by jet boat! Hold on tight as you do fishtail turns and 360-degree spins at high speeds ...  Read more

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: 25 minutes (approx.)

From USD $103.15

Central Otago Wine Tours from Queenstown

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 15 Reviews

Experience the beauty of Central Otago, its fine wines, rich gold history and welcoming people. This Central Otago wine tour from Queenstown will take you into ...  Read more

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: 5 or 7 hrs

From USD $139.93

Walter Peak High Country Farm Tour and Cruise from Queenstown

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 42 Reviews

Experience rural New Zealand as you're taken on a walking tour of the farm. Learn about traditional farming practices and the significance of the various ...  Read more

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $61.57

Skippers Canyon 4WD Tour from Queenstown

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 12 Reviews

Discover the beauty of Skippers Canyon on this half-day 4WD tour from Queenstown. Leave behind the hustle and bustle of Queestown and travel 32 kilometers by ...  Read more

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $127.93

Queenstown to Mount Cook Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 2 Reviews

Depart Queenstown and its surrounding lush green farmland and relax as you take in the spectacular scenery that changes from the winding Kawarau River Gorge to ...  Read more

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $110.34

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