From skiing to mountain biking, hiking and running, Queenstown serves up a plethora of ways to push the fitness envelope for everyone from beginners on the trail to full-blown athletes on the slopes. Here’s five ways to explore the outdoors and get your heart pumping from winter through to spring.
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. Hit up one of Queenstown's three lift-assisted bike parks for the ultimate downhill riding experience. Take the downtown Skyline Gondola up to world-renowned Queenstown Bike Park and propel yourself down one of 30 trails. Head up to Coronet Peak and explore their intermediate-expert lift accessed trails which are open from early December to end of March. Or explore Cardrona Alpine Resort in summer, with lift-accessed mountain bike trails for first-time riders all the way through to seasoned downhillers.
Looking for endurance? Bike all or part of the 130 km Queenstown Trail past Lake Hayes and picturesque Arrowtown, then out to the Gibbston wine region.
Or perhaps something wilder? Two words: heli-biking. A helicopter takes you and your bike to remote trails with incredible views and a guide leads you back down for the ultimate in backcountry outdoor adventure.
Queenstown mountain adventure. Hiking and climbing.
Queenstown is a dream destination for keen hikers. 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.
For more advanced mountain adventures, Queenstown has some of the most accessible alpine climbing experiences in New Zealand. Climb safely with our experienced local guides who offer guided mountaineering trips for all skill levels. Try your hand at rock climbing, or ice climbing or book a guided expedition to the mighty peaks of the Wakatipu Basin. If you’re a beginner, the Via Ferrata and the indoor climbing wall are great spots to get a taste for climbing.
Run, run, run
The Sotheby's Realty Queenstown 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. Sadly due to Covid-19 Alert Levels, the 2021 Queenstown Marathon has been postponed until 19 March 2022. We look forward to welcoming this event next year.
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 if you're a whitewater enthusiast, 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.