Skiing and snowboarding
With four world-class ski fields within easy driving reach, you’ll be guaranteed a thigh burn. Experts tackle the steeps of the Motatapu chutes at Treble Cone or take the short hike to the finger chutes at The Remarkables. Freestylers hit the Olympic-sized half-pipe at Cardrona and those who like their snow groomed can carve it up at Coronet Peak. Powder hounds need only jump into a helicopter for a day of skiing virgin untracked powder runs or climb into a snowcat at Soho Basin for a full day of cat skiing.
Come spring, seasoned locals swap ski pants for bike shorts and hit the trails. Take an electric or mountain bike across the lake from Queenstown’s Steamer Wharf on a Southern Discoveries catamaran and bike the flatter off-road trails to Walter Peak sheep station for a ride back to town on historic steamship, TSS Earnslaw.
Want more grunt? Take the downtown Gondola to Skyline MTB park, or head up to Coronet Peak and explore their newly opened intermediate-expert lift accessed trails which are open from early December - end March. Bike all or part of the 130 km Queenstown Trail past Lake Hayes and picturesque Arrowtown, then out to the Gibbston Valley wine region. Need more? Two words: heli biking. A helicopter takes you and your bike to remote trails with incredible views and a guide leads you back down.
Hiking, tramping and trekking
Whether taking on the two-hour uphill meandering track to Sawpit Gully near Arrowtown, a full day’s trek up the majestic Ben Lomond Track or a gentle jaunt around Moke Lake, hikers will never want to leave. Most trails are accessed either from town or via a short drive to the trailhead. Experienced hikers hit the technical Moonlight Track, easy-going gold prospectors choose the Mt Crichton Loop Track, while adventurers head a little out of town to take in the swing bridges of the Routeburn Track.
Run, run, run
The Queenstown International Marathon is considered one of the most beautiful circuits in the marathon world. Held every spring in November, runners choose from four distances – 3km, 10km, half marathon or full marathon. The course winds alongside rivers and lakes, heads off-road and back on-road again and showcases the allure of Queenstown’s beauty to help runners charge on.
Or for those into their trail running, there are miles and miles of epic trails to explore all over the region.
Like your sport in the water? Grab a kayak and hit Lake Wakatipu, or take a jetboat up the Dart River from Glenorchy, then Funyak downstream, exploring this World Heritage area. Hike into the Landsborough Valley and whitewater raft for three days back out, or go for a half-day or full-day whitewater raft through Kawarau Gorge or down Shotover River. If that's not enough wilderness action for you, then try your hand at riverboarding or canyoning.