Where to Stay, What to Eat, & Top Things to do in Queenstown (in Winter & Summer – South Island New Zealand)

Written by Brittany Rose for MonaCorona.com

Hi, I’m Brittany.

I live in New Zealand and have lived here my whole life. With a drastic change of seasons, a common question us locals get asked depending on the time of year is ‘what are the top things to do in Winter/Summer?’ No matter the time of visit, tourists travelling to New Zealand want to make the most out of visiting our green, snow-capped and picturesque country–which is fair enough! Below are my top recommendations for what to do, see, eat, and where to stay when visiting Queenstown, New Zealand. 

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Planning a Trip to New Zealand
things to do in queenstown in winter
Photo courtesy of Brittany Rose

Where to stay in Queenstown

Firstly, I will start off with accommodation recommendations as that is something every one who visits Queenstown will need to look into and book, I would also recommend booking in advance. Now a friendly reminder, since Queenstown is probably the most popular destination in the South Island of New Zealand it results in accommodation being quite expensive unless you want to book on other sites such as Airbnb where there are more cheaper options ($40 off your first booking by clicking that link.) These recommendations for accommodation below are rated between 4 and 5 stars.

1. Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa – Located around 10 minutes by car from Queenstown CBD. The Hilton have a range of different room and suite options but one of the most popular guest rooms is the ‘relaxation room’ because it has your own private outdoor terrace with a hot tub that looks over Lake Wakatipu. This resort is rated 5 stars.

2. Sofitel Queenstown Hotel and Spa – Also a 5 star hotel that is located in the CBD of Queenstown, a close proximity to the shops and restaurants. Sofitel Hotel and Spa have various rooms to choose from, such as luxury rooms to penthouses. A couple of facilities include spa treatments such as massage, body scrub and steam shower along with a gymnasium.

3. Rydges Lakeland Resort – Rated 4 stars and located a 5 minute walk from the city centre. All 165 rooms have either partial or full views of Lake Wakatipu and Remarkables. This hotel is both suited for business and leisure plans. Rydges Lakeland Resort offer free Wi-Fi, complimentary secure storage for bikes, skis and snowboards which would be great if you are planning on going to the ski field. Other facilities include massage, concierge and tours, conference facilities, sauna and a heated outdoor swimming pool.

4. Millennium Hotel Queenstown – Also located in the centre of Queenstown and rated 4 stars. They have 1 restaurant and 1 bar. The Millennium Hotel offers accessible rooms for wheelchair and special needs guests which is awesome! Just to name a few of their facilities they have a business centre along with meeting facilities, a gymnasium, sauna and a spa.

5. Oaks Club Resort – Located in the centre of Queenstown and rated 4 stars. This hotel is ideal for an adventurous family, a group holiday or for a couple. The hotel rooms range from 1, 2, 3 and 4 bedroom self contained apartments. Onsite facilities include a sauna, a gymnasium and barbecue facilities.

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Top 5 attractions varying from relaxing to adventure activities in Queenstown

  1. Jet Boating

     A popular activity to do in Queenstown is jet boating. Experience the rush of adrenaline while going high speed across the water, whizzing around corners and through narrow gorges. You can choose from a range of different ‘Jet Boating’ operators.

  2. Bunjy Jumping

    Queenstown is the bungy jumping capital of New Zealand. At A J Hackett Bungy New Zealand, choose to bungy jump, the flying fox or the bungy swing or a combination of the three. You are guaranteed to get an adrenaline rush during this activity.

  3. Onsen Hot Pools

    For a more relaxing activity there is the Onsen Hot Pools. ‘Onsen’ is the Japanese word for ‘Hot Spring.’ Located 10 minutes from Queenstown, treat yourself to a massage and a swim while looking over the breathtaking alpine scenery and the magnificent Shotover River Canyon. There is also a very unique feature that the hot pools have which is the retractable picture windows! So you can convert your pool room from indoor to outdoor and back again, at the touch of a button – sounds amazing right?

    where to stay in queenstown newzealand
    Photo courtesy of Brittany Rose
  4. Skiing and Snow Activities

    Cardrona Alpine Resort, located between Queenstown and Wanaka is New Zealand’s most popular ski area. Attracting all kinds of people from children to adults, beginners to professionals, this is a great, fun activity to do!

  5. Whitewater Rafting on the Kawarau River

    Queenstown Rafting/Kawarau River Whitewater Rafting – Choose from a range of rafting combos such as rafting with a jetboat, helicopter or bungy jump. The Kawarau River is ideal for first time rafters or for the people who have mixed physical ability as this is a more relaxed rafting experience. 

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Best Food in Queenstown

Now let’s talk about the best places to go EAT! 🙂

1. Ferg Burger – Located in the city of Queenstown, this place can have a line out the door and down the road just so people can get an amazing, tasty burger! Ferg Burger is one of the internationally famous places to go to. These burgers are massive so you get your money’s worth. I highly recommend going here!

2. Public Kitchen and Bar – Also located in the city of Queenstown. This restaurant offers lots of different meal options along with vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free meals.

3. Rata Dining – Owned by internationally recognised michelin star chef ‘Josh Emett’ located in the city of Queenstown offering a range of different menu’s. This restaurant is more expensive than the other two options.

For more restaurant and cafe options, you can click on my blog post here.

I hope this quick guide about Queenstown, New Zealand was helpful and I hope you have a great time when you visit!

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2 thoughts on “Where to Stay, What to Eat, & Top Things to do in Queenstown (in Winter & Summer – South Island New Zealand)

    1. That is so sweet!! You guys will have the best time. Don’t forget to search my site for other posts about New Zealand – there is another guide on here that I think will be very useful 🙂 Have a great trip!

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