1. Head outside and dine al fresco
The longer spring days mean it’s often warm enough to dine outdoors in Queenstown. Many restaurants have al fresco seating with stunning mountain and Lake Whakatipu views. It's the best time of year to relax lakeside with a cosy blanket and a coffee or to pack a picnic and head down to the Queenstown Gardens.
Spring is also the season to celebrate fresh produce. Look out for fresh citrus, spring greens, snow peas, watercress, and the first asparagus and strawberries. Foragers will be gathering onion weed, miner’s lettuce, and the young leaves of dandelions and fennel.
Top spots to savour Queenstown's spring weather and produce include:
- Sherwood Restaurant: their highly-seasonal menu features dishes made with produce grown in their on-site kitchen garden.
- Nest Kitchen + Bar: offers modern takes on classic dishes and features a unique selection of New Zealand gin and tonics and an extensive list of Central Otago cellar wines. The restaurant has floor-to-ceiling windows with panoramic views of the Remarkables and Lake Whakatipu.
- Public Kitchen and Bar: has a lively atmosphere and a menu of classic dishes with a modern twist. Their lakeside al fresco dining area is located on the Steamer Wharf.
- The Boat Shed Cafe and Bistro: is a local brunch favourite. Set in the restored, historic New Zealand Railways Shipping Office, The Boat Shed serves a seasonal menu featuring the best, locally sourced produce.
Public Kitchen & Bar
2. Experience Queenstown's nightlife
Queenstown’s laid-back city vibe continues into the evening when nightspots all over town amp up after dark. Start your night off with a quiet beer or sip a cocktail at a cosy bar before hitting the more boisterous venues to meet fellow travellers and locals alike. Choose from rooftop bars where marshmallows are shared and toasted on the fire, to the classic pub with a live band, or underground hotspots with DJs.
Warmer days and longer evenings mean al fresco sipping is back on the menu. Try Soda Bar, The Nest Kitchen and Bar or Sundeck @ Attiqa. Locals love to grab a glass of local wine from Crown Plaza's threesixty restaurant and bar and take the elevator to the Balcony on the 3rd floor to enjoy a drink with a view.
Rooftop drinks at Sundeck @ Attiqa
3. Explore our bike trails
From mid-September, our mountain biking trails are rideable, opening access to some great trails all within a stone’s throw of your Queenstown accommodation. There are bike rental shops around town and shuttle options too. From 23 September 2023, you can ride the gondola and hit the Queenstown Bike Park.
Queenstown is also at the heart of a stunning bike trail network, offering more leisurely riding for the whole family. Hire a bike and explore vineyards, cafés, and historic sights, or book a bike tour. Electric bike hire makes biking accessible for everyone, regardless of your age or fitness.
Queenstown is a mountain biker's paradise
4. Test your limits
The pioneering spirit of our region has led to Queenstown's reputation as the 'Adventure Capital of the World'. On your days off the mountain, you can throw yourself from bridges with a bungy jump, scare yourself silly on gigantic swings or zipline through forest canopies or steep canyons. For even more thrills, skydiving is an option, and so is hang-gliding or paragliding.
Learn more about Queenstown's adrenaline activities here.
5. Immerse yourself in Queenstown's landscapes
Grab some scroggin (trail mix), pack your camera and head for the hills! You can tackle many of Queenstown’s most rewarding hiking experiences from downtown including Queenstown Hill, the Tiki Trail and Ben Lomond. A couple of hours' hard slog will reward you with incredible views of the snow-capped mountain ranges that surround Lake Whakatipu.
As the snow begins to thaw, climbing and mountaineering become an option for those not so into ice climbing. Warm up on a climbing wall, before trying abseiling and canyoning, or booking a guided mountaineering trip with our experienced local guides.
Or, stay closer to sea level and head upriver on a fly fishing mission when the backcountry rivers open to anglers in October.
Glenorchy Lagoon walkway
6. Tee off at a top golf course
Queenstown is home to eight spectacular golf courses, including four of New Zealand's most stunning fairways: Jack’s Point, The Hills, and Millbrook Resort (Coronet 18 and Remarkables 18). These four award-winning Marquee courses make must-play lists for keen golfers worldwide.
Host to the New Zealand Open, Queenstown offers a glorious golf experience for players of all abilities. Spring days are the ideal opportunity to perfect your swing as you explore our variety of courses and terrain.
Queenstown Golf Club, Kelvin Heights
Plan your Queenstown local experience
Stay a bit longer this spring to experience all Queenstown has to offer. Find more ways to immerse yourself in Queenstown’s natural beauty and connect with the locals in our 6-day travel itinerary.
As you explore Queenstown, share your experiences with us on Instagram by tagging #QueenstownLive.