Glenorchy’s sweeping landscapes and its backdrop of breathtaking mountain ranges make it the perfect place for horseback riding. High Country Horses will take you through incredible scenery, trotting past film locations from The Lord of the Rings while taking in stories about Glenorchy’s history from knowledgeable guides.
For a shorter but just as scenic adventure, take the ‘Grand Old Lady of the Lake’, the historic steamship TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a 40 minute horse trek across the farm’s rolling pastures, ending at the Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant for afternoon tea.
Horse riding in Glenorchy. Credit @lindabatterman
Buggy and ATV tours are a great way to see the sights and safely satisfy the speed demon in you. Whether you’re a true beginner or a self-proclaimed pro, there are options for everyone, with tour guides to accompany you on the best dedicated off-road tracks in the area.
Rather stay clean and dry? Take a tour around historic mining villages, or a winery trip into Gibbston with a local wine tour operator, complete with tasting stops. Travel in a luxury van to Glenorchy and learn about the area’s history, with a visit to the Dart River and blockbuster movie filming sites. For something a little closer to the ground and out of the box, try a Segway on Q tour starting at Queenstown Bay.
Trace the steps of miners as you journey into the abandoned historic village of Macetown with a skilled 4WD vehicle operator, or take a 4WD tour into the Skippers Canyon or Glenorchy high country.
Head to the Nevis Bluff to visit Oxbow Adventure Company, a unique hotspot offering a range of fun adventure experiences, including the Ultimate Off-Roader. With a professional driver in the hot seat and the potential to take three passengers, these 4-wheel steer machines can climb near-vertical hills and take on rock features and steep descents. This is a thrilling and safe way to experience 4WD in a spectacular environment.
Oxbow Ultimate Off-Roader
Canyoning and climbing
Get wet while still keeping your feet (mostly) on the ground with a range of canyoning adventures, from a half day in Gibbston to full day adventure in Mt Aspiring National Park. These will see you heading to incredible, UNESCO World Heritage sites with experienced guides that will have you abseiling waterfalls, sliding chutes and journeying through vibrant rainforests. You are able to choose your own level of adventure depending on prior experience and degrees of fitness and bravery!
There are more than a few rocks around Queenstown - and many of them are calling out to be climbed! Hire a local guide for the day and check out some local secret spots or learn the ropes (literally) of the via ferrata system enabling you to scale cliffs carved by ancient glaciers, all within ten minutes of downtown Queenstown.
Canyoning in the Routeburn
With three lift-assisted bike parks in the vicinity, Queenstown is the ultimate destination for mountain biking enthusiasts. Queenstown also has some of the most epic dirt jump parks and a solid crew of local supporters making it a hotspot for national mountain biking races and events.
For a more relaxed pace, with a bit less potential for getting air, the Queenstown Trail is a 130km network of tracks that can take you and your wheels through and around the entire basin, from Arrowtown to Gibbston, Lake Hayes and Kelvin Heights. With options for e-bike hire and shuttle services, this is a great adventure option that the whole family can get onboard with.
Queenstown Bike Park