A spot of rain won’t stop you enjoying all Queenstown has to offer. Whether you prefer exploring the landscape in comfort, unwinding in boutique day spas and hot pools, or experiencing the vibrant local food and wine scene, there’s a wealth of Queenstown rain activities to be found.
Sightsee in style and comfort
Queenstown’s scenery is awe-inspiring in all kinds of weather and a rainy day is the perfect excuse to book yourself on a scenic tour or a cruise to kick back and admire the landscape.
Cruise Lake Whakatipu
Take a lake cruise and enjoy Queenstown and The Remarkables from the water. Visit Walter Peak High Country Farm for tea or a BBQ and a farm tour on the historic steamship TSS Earnslaw. Cruise secluded coves and historic landmarks with Southern Discoveries over a cheeseboard and a glass of local wine. Or cruise up to the Frankton arm of Lake Whakatipu on the Million Dollar Cruise and take in the wildlife, surrounding homes and majestic landscapes.
The Spirit of Queenstown scenic cruise on Lake Whakatipu
Experience a Milford adventure
Take a drive or book a tour to Milford Sound, and see why it’s considered the eighth wonder of the world. Fiordland is even more dramatic in wild weather, and it’s a magical sight to behold by boat cruise when the waterfalls tumble down steep cliffs into the fiords. If you're driving, check the road is open before you depart and carry chains in winter in case of snow. Even better, join a coach trip or a scenic flight and soak up the views along the way.
RealNZ Milford Haven Cruise
Go off road and tour our backcountry
What better way to explore the mountains around Queenstown, than a private tour in a Tesla Model X ESUV? Take in the monumental landscapes in this whisper-quiet luxury car. Drive the historic Skippers Canyon road along steep cliffs, visit the head of the lake and Mount Aspiring National Park, or explore Lord of the Rings locations with your own personal guide.
If a 4WD adventure is more of your style, book a tour of Skippers Canyon, an infamously steep mountain pass rated one of the most dangerous roads in the world (luckily our local drivers know the ropes). Or head into abandoned goldmining village Macetown, fording rivers and learning all about local history. Nomad Safaris, Private Discovery Tours, and Offroad 4x4 all offer 4WD scenic tours and off road experiences.
Nomad Safaris Tesla Tour
Rainy day indulgence
Sometimes when it’s damp outside, you just want to embrace the great indoors. In Queenstown you can re-energise with spas, hot pools and yoga or a spot of retail therapy.
Relax with a spa day or a yoga session
Spend the day at one of Queenstown’s day spas. With treatment rooms, saunas, spas and heated pools, you won’t have any trouble filling your entire day with the ultimate indulgence. Some favourites are the marble splendour of the Spa at Nugget Point, the calm retreat of the Spa at Millbrook, and massage at Body Sanctum.
Yoga practice at Aro Ha Wellness Retreat
Take a soak with a view
Take a trip to a Queenstown hot pool and soak away an afternoon gazing at the view with the rain pattering around you. Choose from the cedar lined tubs overlooking the Shotover River at Onsen Hot Pools, the outdoor hot tubs at Nugget Point, the pool and hot tubs at the Spa at Millbrook, or book the private rooftop spa at the Penthouse at Eichardts for an extra dose of luxury.
The Spa at Nugget Point
Catch a film
Hide yourselves away and catch a movie at Reading Cinema in Queenstown or Dorothy Browns in Arrowtown. This boutique cinema is a film lover’s dream come true, showing both arthouse classics and contemporary blockbusters. There’s decadent décor with a silk lined ceiling, a roaring log fire, comfortable seats with plenty of leg room, a gin bar, and a great selection of local wines. The perfect rainy day delight.
Dorothy Browns Gin Bar
Queenstown’s compact, walkable centre is home to some retail institutions. Fashion destinations include Seletti Concept Store, Issimo Shoes, Decjuba, Flo & Frankie, cashmere store Elle + Riley, and designer boutique Angel Divine. Homeware enthusiasts will love BONZ for sheepskins, and DECODE for designer clothing and home decor. Or simply stroll down The Mall, window shopping up a storm.
The old goldmining village of Arrowtown is a boutique shopping haven where everything’s within five minutes’ walk, so you won’t get wet. Track down treats to take home in the many boutique shops, including fashion, antiques, sweets and homewares, or taste wines from New Zealand boutique wineries and New Zealand single malt whiskies at The Winery.
The Mall, Queenstown
The spectacular scenery surrounding Queenstown has inspired a collection of local artists, and a rainy day is the ideal opportunity to discover their work. The Central Art Gallery shows over 90 New Zealand artists in one of New Zealand’s oldest galleries, while Milford Gallery also shows sculpture, glass and ceramics, and Starkwhite shows contemporary work. The streets of Arrowtown are home to a cluster of galleries and artists’ studios, including Nadene Milne Gallery which shows celebrated, contemporary New Zealand talent.
David John Gallery, Arrowtown
Taste the Queenstown difference
Queenstown is celebrated for its renowned food and wine scene with more than 150 bars, restaurants and cafes offering international cuisine served up by talented chefs. Head to Gibbston, known as the Valley of the Vines and taste famous Central Otago pinot noir just 25-minutes up the road. Or sample the flavours of Queenstown’s craft beer scene, where brewers concoct delicious local brews.
Delight your taste buds with a degustation
Sample signature dishes with a degustation dinner at one of Queenstown's top restaurants and experience culinary artistry paired with Central Otago wine. Some local highlights are Michelin-starred Josh Emett’s Rātā, Ben Norfolk at Bunker in Cow Lane, Northern Italian flavour with Ben Bayly at Aosta in Arrowtown, and Cuisine Chef of the Year, Vaughan Mabee at Amisfield. More fine dining delights over here.
Dining at Michelin-starred Josh Emett’s Rātā
Explore Queenstown’s café scene
Hole up in one of Queenstown's cosy cafés, surrounded by majestic landscapes, excellent food and coffee. Tasty options include The Bathhouse, nestled on Queenstown Bay overlooking the lake and beside the Queenstown Gardens, the Boat Shed located on the Frankton Marina for views over the lake and delicious brunch, Yonder for chilled vibes and great coffee, and Bespoke Kitchen for panoramic views over Queenstown’s town centre, and proximity to activities, and simple, healthy food.
Dining at Bespoke Kitchen
Take a tour of the local terroir
With 200 Central Otago wineries within an hour’s drive of Queenstown, and Gibbston’s wine makers only 20 minutes up the road, take a wine tour and taste the terroir of the world’s southernmost wine region. Spend half a day experiencing the region’s mighty pinot noirs and delicious aromatic whites.
Wine tasting at Kinross
Experience local gins
Take a local gin tasting tour at the Gin Garden, a dedicated gin tasting room in Arthurs Point. Broken Heart Spirits make craft gin with ingredients sourced locally, with pure water from Paradise, quinces from Arrowtown, pinot from Gibbston, and wild plums foraged from Bannockburn. The Gin Garden menu features dishes riffing on their gin flavours. The Winery in Arrowtown also offers local gin tasting flights.
Gin Garden by Broken Heart Spirits
Sip distinctive craft beers
Experience Queenstown’s vibrant craft beer scene. Six craft breweries use locally sourced ingredients. From Altitude Brewing’s peated stout to Lake & Wood’s horopito Saison, Queenstown breweries use local flavours to brew distinctive regional ales. Local craft beer tours are an easy way to explore the brews and learn more about the brewers.
Craft Beer Tour with Altitude Tours