How to Spend 48 Hours in Queenstown, New Zealand

View of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu
View of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu | © Bernard Spragg/Flickr
Thalita Alves

With exquisite landscapes, thrilling attractions and gourmet food and wine offerings, it’s no wonder Queenstown continues to enchant and amaze all those who visit. Here’s what 48 hours should look like in this much-loved resort town.


Evening: Arrive and check into accommodation

Queenstown Airport welcomes a regular intake of both domestic and international flights daily. Air New Zealand is the main operator of flights from major centres like Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Make sure to sit by the window so you can soak up the beautiful vistas while the plane is landing.

Accommodation options in Queenstown are incredibly diverse, ranging from lush boutique hotels to dynamic backpacker hostels. Just choose the best neighbourhood to base yourself in and book your bed early.

Arriving in Queenstown Airport

Low-key dinner and drinks in town

Let’s keep things casual tonight. Head to low-key establishment like the Irish-themed Pog Mahones for a hearty meal and some drinks. For this particular venue, you can opt for your typical pub fare like burgers and chips, or splash out on a stonegrill dining experience. Depending on when you’re visiting, you might even catch a live sports match screening or some music.

Pog Mahones Irish Pub & Restaurant, 14 Rees St, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand. +64 3-442 5382

Pog Mahones


Breakfast at Bespoke Kitchen

Within easy reach of the Skyline Gondola, Bespoke Kitchen is a firm favourite among local brunch crowds and coffee-loving visitors. The cafe has a friendly, rustic vibe and lots of healthy meals. Many of its offerings cater to vegetarians and vegans, and there are dairy and gluten-free patrons. If you want to save some coin while you’re fuelling up, make sure to keep an eye out for the cafe’s daily blackboard specials.

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

Vegan pancakes at Bespoke Kitchen, Queenstown

Morning: Bob’s Peak and Skyline Gondola

Walk from the cafe to the Skyline Gondola for an action-packed morning. If you’re feeling a bit budget conscious, follow the free Tiki Trail up to Bob’s Peak summit. Otherwise, hop on the Skyline Gondola to watch Queenstown’s famous postcard vistas as they come into full view. The Skyline Gondola offers a variety of activities at Bob’s Peak, like luging, ziplining and paragliding.

Afterwards, head to the Stratosfare Restaurant for a buffet lunch with a wonderful panorama of the town and Lake Wakatipu.

Skyline Queenstown, Brecon St, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand. +64 3-441 0101

View of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu

Afternoon: More adventure

Queenstown is known as New Zealand’s adventure capital. An adrenaline rush is never too far away, so we’ll leave it up to you to decide which heart-racing experiences you want to fill your afternoon with. You might want to head to the Kawarau Bridge to see the world’s very first commercial bungy site; you could spend half a day exploring the Kawarau or Shotover Rivers on a white water raft; or delve into an action-packed hour-long jet boat trip.

Rafting on the Shotover River, Queenstown

Evening: Unwind at the Onsen Hot Pools

Unwind from a day of activities with a nice pampering session. The Onsen Hot Pools are open until 11 p.m. every day of the week. Complimentary shuttles are available to and from Queenstown to make your pamper session completely stress-free. These tranquil hot water pools are perched on a high cliff that offers a fantastic view of the Shotover River below. As the sun goes down, Japanese lanterns are lit to embellish these lovely pools.

Onsen Hot Pools, 160 Arthurs Point Rd, Arthurs Point 9371, New Zealand. +64 3-442 5707

Back in town for some fine dining

Queenstown has restaurant options for all tastes and budgets, from degustation menus that focus on local delicacies to beautifully plated mains with decadent wine pairings. Some top choices include The Bunker, Botswana Butchery, No.5 Church Lane and Rata Restaurant.

Venison and plums from Captain’s Restaurant in Queenstown


Morning: Explore the vineyards

Have some breakfast in town before spending your day exploring the vineyards and wineries close to Queenstown. Whether you opt to take a guided tour or you prefer a more hands-on approach, the Gibbston Valley will be one of the best places to taste the Pinot Noir wines that Central Otago is famous for. For those wanting something nice and close to the town, the stunning Amisfield Bistro and Cellar is just a 15-minute drive away. Many wineries have their own cafes and restaurants, so you can relish a nice lunch before getting back in town for the final leg of your stay.

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

Amisfied Winery

Afternoon: Back in town for a scenic walk or cycle

Queenstown has lots of short walking and cycling options for those wanting to spend an hour or two burning off all the wine, cheese and lovely food they’ve been tasting. You can hire a bike to enjoy a scenic 1-2 hour ride along Lake Wakatipu, or simply opt for a leisurely 2-3 hour loop around Queenstown Hill Time Walk trail.

Queenstown to Arrowtown Trail

A cruise on Lake Wakatipu

If you have an hour and a half to spare, finish your trip with a nice cruise on Lake Wakatipu. The TSS Earnslaw Steamship departs from Steamer Wharf several times a day, and the 90-minute journey provides lots of insight into the local history while you enjoy the lake and alpine vistas one last time before calling it a day.

TSS Earnslaw, Queenstown, New Zealand

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