Explore the historic charm of Kingston and Arrowtown, majestic nature in Glenorchy, and the world’s southernmost wine region, Gibbston on these day trips from Queenstown.
Daytrip to Kingston
- Location: The southern end of Lake Whakatipu on the border of Otago and Southland.
- Travel time: 47km / 45min drive from central Queenstown along State Highway 6.
- Scenery: Between the Eyre Mountains and the Hector Range, the historic settlement of Kingston sits on the lake shore surrounded by poplars, willows, beech forest and farmland.
- Best seasons to visit: Visit from spring through early autumn to explore the walks and cycle trails in the area.
Things to do: For a small village, Kingston has no shortage of outdoor adventures. Discover the historic Kingston Flyer, a scenic steam train journey from Kingston to Fairlight, and stop in to the Kingston Flyer Café for a bite to eat overlooking Lake Whakatipu.
Hike the nearby Eyre Mountains (Taka Ra Haka) Conservation Park with tracks ranging from 1.5 – 6 hours. There are also some great short walks in and near Kingston for those with less time. For cyclists, the Around the Mountain Cycle Way runs 175km from Kingston to Walter Peak, around the Eyre Mountains.
Fly fish with local fly fishing guide, Chris Dore, or play a round of golf at the Kingston Golf Club, a nine-hole course surrounded by mountains and woodland with natural obstacles including small creeks and groves of pine trees.
Day Trip from Queenstown to Kingston Golf Club
Daytrip to Glenorchy
- Location: The northern end of Lake Whakatipu.
- Travel time: 46km / 45min drive from Queenstown on the Queenstown-Glenorchy Road.
- Scenery: Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, pristine lakes, glacial rivers, and ancient beech forests.
- Best seasons to visit: The summer is the best time to explore the mountains around Glenorchy and take advantage of all the outdoor adventures in the region.
Things to do: There are many ways to experience the wild beauty of the Glenorchy region. Glenorchy is the gateway to multi-day hikes including the Routeburn, Greenstone and Caples tracks, and there are a number of short walks and day walks closer to Glenorchy if you haven’t time for a multi-day hiking adventure.
Let the wind whip through your hair on the Dart River Wilderness Jet or explore the river’s hidden streams and dramatic chasms on inflatable kayaks. Fish for trout and salmon in the glacier fed lakes and rivers or take a scenic flight over the dramatic landscapes and unexplored wilderness.
Glenorchy’s awe-inspiring scenery formed the backdrop for films like Narnia, The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Movie location tours horseback tours and four-wheel-drive tours will introduce you to the majesty of Glenorchy and Paradise, where you’ll experience first-hand exactly why it lives up to its name.
Dart River Funyaks
Daytrip to Arrowtown
- Location: Near Lake Hayes on the way to Gibbston and Cromwell.
- Travel time: 19km / 20min drive from Queenstown on State Highway 6 and the Arrowtown-Lake Hayes Road.
- Scenery: A historic gold mining town set in a wooded valley by the Arrow River.
- Best seasons to visit: Autumn to marvel at the beautiful colours of the leaves on the deciduous trees as they turn all shades of red, yellow and gold along the main street and surrounding hills of Arrowtown.
Things to do: One of New Zealand’s oldest towns, Arrowtown is rich in history and natural beauty. Explore the main street lined with historic miners’ cottages, boutiques, galleries, and a sophisticated food scene.
Recognised as a Tohu Whenua landmark, Arrowtown is one of New Zealand’s top heritage experiences. The Lakes District Museum is your first stop to explore local history and hire gold pans to try your luck in the Arrow River, while the well preserved Arrowtown Chinese Village gives a glimpse into life for early miners.,
Take in Arrowtown’s stunning natural beauty on foot, from gentle strolls along the Arrow River to overnight tramps into Macetown. Or explore the fantastic network of cycling trails stretching from Arrowtown to Gibbston, Lake Hayes, and Queenstown.
Arrowtown is also a golfing mecca, with three superb golf courses - the Arrowtown Golf Course, The Hills Golf Club and Millbrook Resort, a 27 hole championship course and home to the New Zealand Golf Open.
Daytrip to Gibbston
- Location: In the Whakatipu basin on the way to Cromwell.
- Travel time: 25km / 25min drive from Queenstown on State Highway 6.
- Scenery: Known as the Valley of Vines, Gibbston is a part of the Central Otago wine region. The vineyards are nestled between the dramatic Kawarau River Gorge and rugged mountains creating the perfect climate for growing award-winning grapes.
- Best seasons to visit: Summer is always popular for a spot of wine tasting and al fresco dining in the Central sun, but autumn is a gorgeous time for the colour of the vines, the bustle of harvest and the low, golden (but still warm) sun.
- Things to do: Discover what makes Gibbston a wine lover’s paradise, with a dozen cellar doors throughout the valley offering tastings, hop on a shuttle, bike around the vines, or take a guided wine tour to experience the celebrated local pinot noir and aromatic whites. Dine al fresco at various winery restaurants, or sip local brews at the Gibbston Tavern.
Gibbston may be all about the wine, but wine’s not the only thing to do. Experience the original home of bungy jumping at the Kawarau bridge bungy site, or mix your adventures up with jet boating, off-roading, clay shooting, or a guided canyoning tour.
The Gibbston River Wine Trail runs through the valley and you can bike or hike alongside the Kawarau Gorge, stopping off to taste local vintages enroute. For more of a challenge, tackle the steep Mount Rosa Track, which gives panoramic views of Gibbston and the Kawarau Gorge.
Biking Tour through Gibbston Wineries