How to Spend 24 Hours in Queenstown

Downtown Queenstown, New Zealand
Downtown Queenstown, New Zealand | © amanderson2/Flickr
Thalita Alves

Queenstown is definitely one of New Zealand’s top travel destinations. But if you’ve only got 24 hours to spare, don’t fret: you won’t miss out on this epic little resort town’s must-visit attractions. Here’s a quick guide on how to make the most of your short visit.

8:00 am – Breakfast

Queenstown has plenty of cool breakfast and brunch spots. Early-birds can enjoy hearty, decently-priced brunch staples from cafes like Vudu Cafe & Larder, Joe’s Garage, and the Bespoke Kitchen. Fergbaker is a nice option for those wanting a quick bite on the go, and they’re open every day from 6:00 am too. If you’re looking for a place that’s open a bit later, the historic Bathhouse Cafe, which is located right by the picturesque Queenstown Bay, is another eatery to try.

Vudu Cafe, 16 Rees St, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand, +64 3-441 8370

Joe’s Garage, Searle Lane, Queenstown Town Centre 9300, New Zealand, +64 3-442 5282

Bespoke Kitchen, 9 Isle St, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand, +64 3-409 0552

Fergbaker, 40 Shotover St, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand, +64 3-441 1206

The Bathhouse, 38 Marine Parade, Queenstown Town Centre 9300, New Zealand, +64 3-442 5625

The Bathhouse, Marine Parade, Queenstown

9:00 am – The Skyline Gondola

What better way to start your morning than with a full panorama of your surroundings? Whether you choose to take the serene scenic ride up Bob’s Peak through the Skyline Gondola or you’re willing to go on a self-guided hike up the summit, the trip will reward you with some of the best views in town. If you’re wanting to linger a little bit longer, there are loads of activities to try along Bob’s Peak, including the luge and mountain biking.

Bob’s Peak, Queenstown

11:00 am – Adventure time!

There’s a reason Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of New Zealand. Along with being the birthplace of commercial bungy jumping, the town is also famous for hosting the world’s biggest rope swing as well as being surrounded by canyons, fast-flowing rivers, various ski fields and awesome alpine ranges. In other words, you can pick and choose your favourite activities to try, whether that is white water-rafting, jet boating, or the classic leap off the Kawarau bridge.

Bungy Jump at Kawarau Bridge

1:00 pm – Vineyards and lunch

A good way to wind down after all those adventurous activities would be to go on a vineyard expedition. The Gibbston Valley area is the closest place to check out – there are more than 75 wineries to explore, many of which are highly renowned for their Pinot Noir production. Amisfield and Gibbston Valley Winery are two of the main places to visit. Both of these have their own restaurants, making them an ideal stopover for lunch too. If you want expert advice on the local must-sees, opt for a guided tour from a company like the Queenstown Wine Trail.

Amisfield Bistro & Cellar Door, 10 Arrowtown-Lake Hayes Rd, Frankton, Queenstown 9371, New Zealand, +64 3-442 0556

Gibbston Valley Winery, 1820 State Highway 6, Gibbston 9371, New Zealand, +64 3-442 6910

Queenstown Wine Trail Tours, 160 Gorge Rd, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand, +64 3-441 3990

Amisfield Winery

4:00 pm – Back in town for some shopping

Ease into the late afternoon hours with a bit of retail therapy. The town centre is filled with trendy boutiques, as well as various places to snap up a unique souvenir to take home. A little further afield, the Remarkables Park Town Centre comprises all kinds of stores, from bookshops to supermarkets and retail outlets. If at any point you find yourself craving a sugary treat, The Remarkable Sweet Shop (which has three stores in Queenstown) is quite famous for its delectable fudges, nougats, chocolates, and assorted New Zealand lollies.

The Remarkable Sweet Shop, 39 Beach St, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand, +64 3-409 2630

Queenstown Mall

5:00 pm – A lakeside stroll

Before the sun sets and the evening looms, you should definitely make some time to explore Queenstown’s idyllic waterfront. Venture into the Queenstown Gardens and follow the path towards Lake Wakatipu. From there, you can stroll along the lakeside, watching as the mountainous backdrop is reflected along the crystal-clear glacial waters. Make sure to keep an eye out for the vintage TSS Earnslaw as it completes its final circuit and docks near the gardens.

Queenstown Gardens, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand

TSS Earnslaw

7:00 pm – Dinner

Whether you’re looking for a vegetarian-friendly venue or a fancy meal, downtown Queenstown is chock-filled with dining options. Meat lovers will adore the Botswana Butchery, which specialises in all kinds of meat cuts, although the menu includes its fair share of options for seafood-craving patrons and vegetarians too. Rata is another upscale option worth sinking your teeth into, serving seasonal dishes that always emphasise local flavours. Farelli’s Trattoria is a good option for decently priced Italian food, which includes gluten-free offerings as well as a fully-vegan menu.

Botswana Butchery, 17 Marine Parade, Queenstown-Lakes 9300, New Zealand, +64 3-442 6994

Rata, Te Nuku 43 Ballarat St, Queenstown 9348, New Zealand, +64 3-442 9393

Farelli’s Trattoria, 88 Beach St, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand, +64 3-409 0399


9:00 pm – Embrace the Epic Nightlife

Whether you’re in the mood for some live music, or you’d like to get familiar with the area’s best bars, there’s plenty to keep Queenstown visitors entertained from dusk ’til dawn. Eichardt’s Bar is the ideal place to splurge on a luxurious cocktail, while the Below Zero Ice Bar provides its patrons with a uniquely chilled-out experience. Zephyr Bar is the place to listen to some rocking tunes, Rhino’s Ski Shack is known for its cool hip-hop beats, and Winnies is just as renowned for its gourmet pizzas as it is for its pumping night-time music.

Eichardt’s Bar, 2 Marine Parade, Queenstown 9348, New Zealand, +64 3-441 0450

Below Zero Ice Bar, Searle Ln, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand, +64 3-409 0040

Zephyr Bar, Searle Ln, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand

Rhino’s Ski Shack, 6 Cow Ln, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand, +64 3-441 3329

Winnies, 7-9 The Mall, Queenstown 9348, New Zealand, +64 3-442 8635

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,656 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article