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How to Spend 3 Days in Queenstown

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How to Spend 3 Days in Queenstown
Queenstown is known for its bucket-list adventure activities, such as bungee jumping and white-water rafting. With three days to fill, you can not only get your thrills, but you can also take some time to slow down and relax, and even take a trip to Milford Sound. Here’s how to maximize your time on a 3-day stay in Queenstown.

Day 1: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
On day one, try out some of those nerve-testing adventures for which Queenstown is so famous. Feel a blitz of adrenaline as you sway above the canyon floor on the Nevis Swing, take a leap of faith from a bungee platform, or sign up for an unforgettable package adventure that includes jet boating on the Shotover River, white-water rafting, and a helicopter ride over Skippers Canyon. If all that seems a little too thrilling for your taste, try a 4WD tour, which follows off-road trails and makes stops for scenic photo ops, short strolls, and even picnics. 

Come evening, head to Queenstown’s Steamer Wharf—a dining and entertainment precinct near the lake’s edge—where you can enjoy dinner with a view at one of several restaurants and pubs. 

Day 2: Sail, Stroll, and Sip
After an action-packed first day, slow things down with some more leisurely activities. Start with a tour of Central Otago, New Zealand’s southernmost wine region. Guided wine tours include tastings at cellar doors, and allow visitors to sample pinot noirs and white wines made using riesling, pinot gris, and gewürztraminer grapes—without having to worry about transportation. Lunch, typically in the form of a gourmet sharing platter, is usually included.

Back in town, embark on a cruise aboard a vintage coal-fired steamship. Sail across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak High Country Farm, where you can watch sheep-shearing demonstrations, wander around the farm’s lakeside gardens, and dine on an al fresco barbecued feast of roasted meats and seafood while admiring views of the Remarkables mountain range. Look for the stars twinkling overhead during the return boat ride to Queenstown. 

Day 3: Experience Fiordland National Park
Among the most popular day trip destinations from Queenstown is Fiordland National Park, a spectacularly scenic region within a UNESCO World Heritage Site and characterized by high peaks, sheer cliffs, and mirror-clear waters. Most day trips to the park include a sightseeing cruise around either Milford or Doubtful sound, during which you can admire the dramatic scenery and spot wildlife such as seals, penguins, and dolphins. Day trips by bus typically last upward of 12 hours, though there are half-day trips by plane instead. For a closer-to-town day trip with that scenic wow-factor, consider a guided hike in Mt. Aspiring National Park.

Return to Queenstown in time to ride the Skyline gondola up Bob’s Peak for a memorable buffet dinner at the mountaintop Stratosfare Restaurant and Bar, where large windows frame views over Queenstown, Coronet Peak, the Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu. 
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Queenstown Skyline Gondola Including Buffet Lunch or DinnerDining Experiences

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Queenstown Skyline Gondola Including Buffet Lunch or Dinner

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Ride the Queenstown gondola to a skyline restaurant for a midday or evening meal, and enjoy scenic views over Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables range. At Stratosfare Restaurant and Bar, perched on Bob's Peakat Skyline high above the mountain town, settle in for a 4-course buffet lunch or 6-course buffet dinner of local specialties. Each table in the restaurant’s tiered seating area boasts prime views, including Coronet Peak. On Christmas or New Year’s Eve, enjoy a themed buffet, live entertainment.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes

Milford Sound Coach Tour with Lunch from QueenstownDay Cruises

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Milford Sound Coach Tour with Lunch from Queenstown

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Upon reaching Milford Sound, board a luxurious catamaran. Peer through panoramic windows of a luxury coach while you travel through the UNESCO-listed Fiordland National Park with a guide, before a memorable sightseeing cruise by Mitre Peak and the magnificent cliff-side waterfalls of Milford Sound.
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  • 12 hours 30 minutes
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  • 12 hours 30 minutes
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Milford Sound Fly | Cruise | FlyHalf-day Tours

Milford Sound Fly | Cruise | Fly

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Take in the vast scale of Milford Sound from the air and water with a half-day trip that includes round-trip flights and a catamaran cruise. You’ll board a small plane that accommodates up to 7 passengers, lift off above the ridges and lakes of Fiordland National Park, then cruise Milford Sound all the way to the Tasman Sea. Watch for fur seals and penguins, and pass through the mists of Stirling Falls before meeting the pilot for the return trip to Queenstown.
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  • 4 hours
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Central Otago Wine Tour from Queenstown - Includes 4 Vineyards, Lunch & WineDay Trips

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Central Otago Wine Tour from Queenstown - Includes 4 Vineyards, Lunch & Wine

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Pair the fine wines of Central Otago with a gourmet lunch platter on this small-group wine-tasting tour from Queenstown. Visit at boutique wineries during your tour and drive through verdant valleys and vine-clad foothills rich in gold mining history. Numbers are limited to 12 people to ensure an intimate experience with other wine lovers.
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  • 5 hours 30 minutes
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New Zealand's Biggest Swing: Nevis Swing QueenstownAdrenaline & Extreme

New Zealand's Biggest Swing: Nevis Swing Queenstown

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Feel your heart pumping as you sway into a wide arc on the Nevis Swing, suspended from a high platform above the Nevis River. The world’s largest swing lets you free-fall before swooping through the air at high speed. Enjoy a 40-minute drive from Queenstown before starting your daredevil experience in New Zealand’s adventure capital. Ride solo or with a friend, but if you’d prefer to watch you can select the Spectator Pass at booking.
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  • 4 hours
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  • 4 hours

Queenstown Nevis Highwire Bungy JumpAdrenaline & Extreme

Queenstown Nevis Highwire Bungy Jump

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Take your Queenstown adventure to new heights on the Nevis Highwire bungy jump—the third highest bungy jumping platform in the world. Not for the faint of heart, this half-day experience is the ultimate bungy jumping challenge, testing your nerve for adrenaline-packed fun with a 440-foot (134-meter) drop. Plunge through the air and watch the Nevis River rush toward you. Round-trip transport by 4WD vehicle from Queenstown included.
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Booked by 543 travelers
  • 4 hours
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  • 4 hours

Routeburn Track Guided Hike (Full Day)Hiking & Camping

Routeburn Track Guided Hike (Full Day)

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Hike a section of the Routeburn Track, one of the New Zealand Great Walks, on a guided day trip from Queenstown. This premier tramping trail is located in Mt. Aspiring National Park, part of UNESCO World Heritage Site of Te Wahipounamu. You’ll trek at a moderate pace up a gradual incline toward the snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps, learning about the regional flora from your informative guide. Numbers are limited to 12 on this small-group tour, which includes snacks, lunch and round-trip hotel transport by mini-coach.
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Booked by 85 travelers
  • 10 hours
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Skippers Canyon 4WD Tour from QueenstownNature & Wildlife

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Skippers Canyon 4WD Tour from Queenstown

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Leave bustling Queenstown behind for the scenic beauty of Skippers Canyon on a half-day 4WD tour of the historic gorge. An experienced guide traverses Gorge Road and follows an old mining route toward Coronet Peak and into Skippers Canyon for outstanding views over the Wakatipu Basin and the Shotover River. Enjoy short walks and stop for scrumptious morning or afternoon tea including chilled wine, cookies and homemade cheese.
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  • 4 hours
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