Queenstown and the Southern Lakes region has a rich cultural heritage to be explored.

Queenstown is steeped in a history of pioneering adventurers. The early settlers that chose to make Queenstown their home have left a lasting mark and inspired inventors and adventurers ever since. The stories of these early adventurers are immortalised in the legacies they've left on the whenua (land), and some of these historically significant places have been recognised as Tohu Whenua - landmarks that tell our stories. These places offer some of the best heritage experiences in the country. 

Venture off road or into the bush to learn about the region's astounding natural landscapes and heritage, or explore the old farm homesteads and historic gold mining villages for a peek into early settler life. There are also numerous heritage walks to be had in and around Queenstown, exploring the unforgettable natural scenery that forms the backbone to this region's fascinating history.

Delve into the incredible pioneering background of the Southern Lakes at the Lakes District Museum in Arrowtown —a globally recognised collection of facts and artefacts from region’s European and Chinese settlers. Queenstown also has a rich Maori heritage. Members of South Island tribes ventured into the Whakatipu Basin in search of food and New Zealand’s precious pounamu (jade), long before the first European settlers arrived.

Back to modern times, Queenstown now has a vibrant arts & culture scene and is home to some extremely talented musicians, actors, dancers and artists, providing visitors with exciting arts & cultural events and experiences throughout the year. 

Discover even more Queenstown art and cultural events and connect and collaborate with our creative community over at Te Wāhi Toi, a dedicated online directory for arts, culture and creativity in our district.

Browse and purchase exceptional local artworks when you visit the art galleries of Queenstown and Arrowtown. Explore our weekend markets to discover locally made arts & crafts, or take part in a workshop making your own perfume, spinning your own honey or taking part in dance and art classes.

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Tohu Whenua are the places that have shaped Aotearoa New Zealand. Located in stunning landscapes and rich with stories, they offer some of our best heritage experiences.

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