Custom Itinerary Templet
You decide how many nights you will stay based on the interests you have, and we will customize it to suit you.
To get the best of a region, take enough time in it to unveil all of its treasures.
You have arrived into one of the most beautiful travel destinations on the planet, Queenstown, with a resident population of around 30,000. It sits on the shore of the clear as crystal Lake Wakatipu and is cradled within dramatic alpine ranges. It is said that early gold prospectors gave this town it’s regal name because they were overwhelmed by the beauty of the surrounding mountains and rivers.
Queenstown is a resort city huddled in extreme nature, a place for adventure and indulgence. From skydiving to fine dining, this resort town offers something for everyone. You have a real treat ahead of you!
It is probably about mid-day if you flew in from Auckland, and if you didn’t pre-arrange to pick up a rental vehicle here at the airport then there are shuttle services - more preferably it should be booked and arranged for in advance when you are planning your trip.
There is a huge selection of accommodations available ranging from exquisite hotels, resorts, to charming bed & breakfasts, farmstays and more!
After settling into the lovely accommodation that you have chosen, you will be anxious to begin the exploration ahead of you!
Maybe a walk or drive into the quaint downtown Queenstown.
You will find that the large majority of establishments are centered around the Queenstown Mall - a short pedestrian thoroughfare that really is the heart and soul of the town.
Queenstown offers everything in the way of shopping from Louis Vuitton and boutique fashion aplenty, as well as iconic New Zealand design stores and adventure sports equipment aplenty, and a sufficient amount of souvenir shops. Stop in at Untouched World in the Mall, for Merino wool and possum knitwear, Canada Goose, and fine apparel, organic cotton tops and dresses. This was the first company in the world to be recognized by the United Nations for sustainability.
For really good food, the Fergburger on Shotover Street has a great reputation for big and tasty sandwiches (open until 5am!) And another excellent place is Winnies in the Mall, hugely popular, so there may be a wait. But, on weekends, there will be music and dancing here as the evening rolls on.
While you are exploring all this stop in at the Vudu Cafe & Larder for an amazing coffee, and lunch! This is as good as it gets!.
Wander down to the Steamer Wharf, for great eating, drinking and entertainment. Here you can experience Queenstown’s original Ice Bar experience at Minus 5.
Whether you want casual food or fine dining you will find it here, along with bars and a casino.
Buy souvenirs and clothing at the OK gift shop. You can also book your trips down here.
Steamer Wharf is only a 2 minute walk from Queenstown Mall. Be sure to stop at Pub on Wharf while you are in Queenstown, it is 5 stars good. Try the Beef Wellington! Excellent food, awesome atmosphere.
If you want fish for dinner one of the nights you are here in this lovely place you could try Fishbone on Beach Street. The fish comes fresh off the boats from ports around the South Island. It’s modern New Zealand seafood seasonally driven, from whole baked flounder to Blue Cod with smoked eel and roasted blue cod cream. Shellfish aplenty, superlative fish & chips, and more, with the best of New Zealand wines to wash it all down.
There is a lovely promenade to walk along where boats are docked side by side and outdoor cafes are all about.
And, there are several galleries in Queenstown and also if you are there on a Saturday - 3 different markets to explore. Arts & Crafts at Earnslaw Park, the Farmers Market at the church yard, and the Remarkables market near the airport.
The Skyline Gondola is just a few blocks northwest of downtown Queenstown. You could walk.The Skyline Gondola cars are easy to spot streaming up the peak from various spots in town. But, the gondola ride isn’t for the faint of heart! It is 1,475 feet to the top of Bob's Peak. It is the steepest gondola in the southern hemisphere. A 10 minute ride up offers you 220-degree vistas of Queenstown, The Remarkables, Coronet Peak and Lake Wakatipu. At the top, dine at the mountaintop Stratosphere Restaurant & Bar amid panoramic views, while the Skyline Luge track - with two steepness options, sends adventurous riders screaming on their return trip to the mountains base. But, you can opt to return to the bottom peacefully on the gondola! Also, up here from early evening on there is the Kiwi Haka show of Maori culture through song and dance. Very enjoyable! Best to prior book this. You can also do ‘star-gazing’ up here!
Wake up to a yummy breakfast and off you go!
Let’s assume you are here to ride The Queenstown Trail. This trail links Queenstown, Arrowtown and The Gibson Valley together, and is a network that dishes up to the rider sublime scenery. The wide smooth terrain allows riders to keep their eyes front and their camera at the ready. Terrain ranges from easy to intermediate. Mountain bikes are for hire, and even electric tandems. This can be a fun day experience, or more lengthy, with overnight options. There are accommodation providers that partner with The Trail. Companies will also pick you up from your door and provide transport for you from anywhere on the trail. This is a superlative way to really see the region.
You can even do a fascinating foot journey on it around Queenstown alongside Lake Wakatipu through parklike settings of natural bush, weeping trees, outdoor cafes, shops and docked boats, it is a truly delightful introduction to this unique place.
Maybe though, you are more adventurous? Well, this is the 4 season lake resort town and adventure capital where all adrenaline adventure is possible!
On the lake and surrounding rivers there is water skiing, wakeboarding, parasailing, rafting and kayaking, and of course swimming in summer.
Today you might like a jet boat ride of your life! Or, perhaps you prefer to relive the elegance of turn of the century travel with a cruise aboard the TSS Earnslaw steamship across beautiful Lake Wakatipu. The T.S.S. Earnslaw allows you to step back in time as the only coal fired steamship in operation in the southern hemisphere.It’s an experience to watch the crew at work stoking the fires.
The steamship will deliver you to Walter Peak high country Farm, a sheep and cow working station. Enjoy a walking tour of the farmyard and see Scottish Highland cattle and sheep, and watch the sheepdogs in action, which is quite impressive. Also a sheep shearing display, and you can try your hand at some wool spinning! Enjoy the Colonel's Homestead gardens and have country style morning or afternoon tea/coffee in the lakeside setting. You can also opt for an evening barbeque buffet over here!
Today you might enjoy seeing Arrowtown. This a short drive to an ideal place of quaint and pure charm. The town was established in 1862 during the height of the Otago gold rush. The settlement grew quickly as pioneers constructed cottages, shops, hotels and churches, of which more than 60 are still there. The street of heritage buildings and small miners cottages is lovely. Wander the tree-lined street of restored cottages and explore old gold mining sites. It is a place for nature lovers, adventurers, museum lovers, shop browsers, and you will love the charm of historic Buckingham Street while savoring a coffee!
Also visit the Chinese Miners Village while in Arrowtown. This settlement gives one an idea of what the early Chinese gold miners had to endure for the sake of gold.
Today, is a big day! You simply must visit Fiordland, with its beautiful Milford Sound. There are some options of ways to do this.
Milford Sound has a long and interesting history, from early Maori habitation to the first European explorers. It was recognized by early colonists as a very special place and it has been visited by curious explorers for over 200 years. Botanists have found rare plant life and earliest photographers have documented its natural wonders.
You could drive to it, and it could be said that the drive is actually as important as the cruise itself. It takes you down the State 94 Hwy which allows you to see the Southern Alps and other areas of the Fiordland National Park. It is a four hour drive, and cruises depart 3 times per day, but you would want to be there early unless you are staying over in Te Anau, which offers an array of accommodations.
There are coach tours from Queenstown that will transport you there and then return you in the evening. It is a relaxing journey passing the nature that moves amongst broad grass flats. As you move closer to Milford Sound the rainforests become denser and more vibrant. And soon, mountains and glaciers will fall into place. Not having to drive allows you to take photos through the large windows.
You may also fly into Milford Sound for a day trip. It is more expensive, but it is a time saver. And, you will observe the surroundings in a undeniably spectacular light. Seeing the glaciers, waterfalls, and rock formations the area has to offer from the air is simply breathtaking. It is a very comfortable and enjoyable flight.
You can also do this by helicopter. This is a much more personal way to do it.
Whether you choose to get there by land or air, you will ultimately love the cruise that awaits you! As you cruise along through the splendor all around you there will be mammals and sea creatures, often dolphins, that love to put on a show for you, and penguins that waddle across rocks. Cascading waterfalls, lush shrubbery, and deep forests. This is an area like no place on earth.
There are also overnight options on sea vessels out here! Amazing experience.
There is also the famous Milford Walk, which takes 4 days and not for the faint of heart. But there are other wonderful guided walks in Fiordland, and excellent walking tracks overall.
This location could take a great chunk of your time if you let it, there is just so much to see and enjoy within nature as pure as you will ever experience. Even glow-worm caves to visit!
Or day 7 or 8 or 9, whatever day that you can tear yourself away!
From here, you have many options to explore. We recommend taking in the very bottom of the South Island and proceeding around the Catlins. Or, you may wish to head up through Wanaka and on to the West Coast or the other direction that takes you to Mount Cook and Christchurch. Or, maybe you are flying out of Queenstown to another region of New Zealand.
Whatever you choose, let us create that itinerary for you!