Queenstown RECOMMENDATIONS See all

Best Day Trips From Queenstown

By Viator, June 2013

4.5 17 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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Shotover River Extreme Jet Boat Ride from Queenstown

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 31 Reviews

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: 25 minutes

From USD $92.00

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

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 12 Reviews

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: 9 hours

From USD $224.22

Milford Sound Full-Day Tour from Queenstown

4.5 star rating: Recommended 123 Reviews

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: 12 hours 30 minutes

From USD $162.88
From USD $623.59

Milford Sound Full-Day Tour from Te Anau to Queenstown

Location: Te Anau, concludes Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: 9 hours 30 minutes

From USD $139.71

Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise from Queenstown

4.5 star rating: Recommended 43 Reviews

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: 12 hours

From USD $173.79

Central Otago Wine Tours from Queenstown

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 31 Reviews

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

From USD $126.08

Walter Peak High Country Farm Tour and Cruise from Queenstown

4.5 star rating: Recommended 54 Reviews

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes

From USD $52.48

Skippers Canyon 4WD Tour from Queenstown

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 15 Reviews

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: 4 hours

From USD $109.04

Milford Sound Full-Day Tour from Queenstown to Te Anau

Location: Queenstown, concludes Te Anau, New Zealand
Duration: 10 hours

From USD $139.71

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