The Best Lookout Spots in Queenstown

From the snow-capped peaks of vast mountain ranges to vibrant blue lakes, the breathtaking scenery of Queenstown, New Zealand is simply unrivalled anywhere in the world. Whether you want a quick photo stop at the Devil’s Staircase or a day hike up Cecil Peak, Queenstown’s spectacular landscape is accessible to everyone. Check out our list of some of the South Island’s most unmissable lookout spots here.

The best lookouts in Queenstown are:

  1. Queenstown Gondola
  2. Devil's Staircase
  3. Queenstown Hill
  4. Ben Lomond Summit
  5. Coronet Peak
  6. Cecil Peak
  7. Queenstown Gardens

See 220-degree views in the Queenstown Gondola

Views of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown Gardens and Kelvin Heights from a Gondola cabin ascending to Bob's Peak.
Image credit: @keligna

With panoramic views of the Queenstown region and a great range of entertainment at the top, the iconic Skyline Gondola is a must-do. Sit back and take in the spectacular scenery of Lake Wakatipu, Walter Peak, and the Remarkables mountain range, all while being carried 480 metres above Queenstown in the steepest cable car lift in the Southern Hemisphere! Get your adrenaline fix on the all-ages Skyline Luge, and enjoy delicious meals and beverages from the Market Kitchen Cafe and Stratosfare restaurant.

Location: 53 Brecon Street, Queenstown, a short walk from the town centre.

Parking: Limited public parking is available along Brecon Street, free for up to 240 minutes. Other parking options include Man Street Car Park and Recreational Ground Car Park.

Opening hours and prices: See the Skyline Queenstown Gondola Page here.

Amazing views from the Devil's Staircase

A drone photograph of the Devils Staircase road hugging Lake Wakatipu on the way to Queenstown.
Image credit: @all.about.adventure

Although the Devil’s Staircase lookout point can be hard to spot, it’ll be worth it when you do. Situated along the winding road between Queenstown and Kingston, it boasts sweeping views of Lake Wakatipu to one side and The Remarkables mountain range to the other, making for an incredibly scenic drive on this stretch of lakeside road. As one of the most photogenic spots in Queenstown, the Staircase is suitable for a standalone visit and is also a popular stop on the way to Te Anau.

Location: 2911 Kingston Road, Kingston, off of the Southern Scenic Route.

Discover the Queenstown Hill Walk

A lady poses for a photo a top Queenstown Hill overlooking the stunning landscape below.
Image credit: @amblackwood

A great vantage point for views of the surrounding mountains and the stunning Kawarau River, the Queenstown Hill walk is one of the region's favourite places. This great accessible, moderate-level hike option is 2.5km from the popular Basket of Dreams sculpture viewing platform and a 1.5km climb through the pine forest to the Te Tapu-Nui summit.

Location: Car Park off Belfast Terrace, 4 minutes from central Queenstown.
Hike time: Around 2.5 hours

Hike Ben Lomond Summit

A woman stands upon a rock with her back to the camera and her arms stretched high above her head as she faces views of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountains.
Image credit: @la_anni_

Named after another renowned peak in Scotland, the Ben Lomond trail is an extremely popular spot for hiking in Queenstown. Take the Skyline Gondola and start the trail from Bob’s Peak to cut off a significant portion of the 11km return trip. For an extra thrill, hike through the night to arrive at the summit for incredible photo opportunities at sunrise.

Location: Start from the top of the Gondola, take the Skyline Access Road, or hike the Tiki Trail to Bob’s Peak.
Hike time: 6-8 hours return journey - take the Gondola if you’d prefer a shorter trip.

Go skiing and enjoy breathtaking views at Coronet Peak

A person weaves their way down coronet peak on a set of skis with panoramic views of the Wakatipu basin in front of them.
Image credit: @coronetpeak

With unbeatable views over the Wakatipu basin and Lake Hayes, Queenstown’s Coronet Peak has something for everyone, whatever the season. If you’re there simply for beautiful photos of the mountain scenery, take the Peak Gondola up to the Summit. Experience Queenstown’s landscape in motion as you ski, snowboard, or toboggan from the ski station in winter, with mountain biking tracks available in summer. For maximum thrill, you’ll find tandem paragliding or hang gliding operating year-round from the highest commercial launch site in Queenstown, and you can descend down floodlit trails under the stars at Coronet Peak’s Night Ski events.

Location: Coronet Peak Ski Area, 16kms from Queenstown

Travel to the very top of Cecil Peak

A couple holds hands a top Cecil Peak as the stare back over Lake Wakatipu and the Queenstown landscape
Image credit: @laulecomte

Although Cecil Peak is one of the lesser-known Queenstown mountain peaks, spectacular views from the top make it a Queenstown lookout spot not to be skipped. If you’re up for a challenge, the journey to the summit will be an all-day affair. Alternatively, take a scenic helicopter flight to a ledge near the top of the Peak. Once you’re up there, it’s more than just scenery. You can also abseil down canyons or play a round of high altitude golf.

Location: Reach the start of the trail by taking a water taxi from Steamer Wharf across Lake Wakatipu or helicopter to the summit
Hike time: 8+ hours

Explore the Queenstown Gardens

Lake views from the side of the Queenstown Gardens walk.
Image credit: @tila_dao

Head to the Gardens in the late afternoon or at sunset for top quality views of the Wakatipu Basin and Walter Peak. If you’re after some astro shots, the incredible Southern Lights are visible from the gardens on a clear night. Follow the trail from Queenstown Bay Beach, which takes you across the tranquil gardens, before continuing along the shores of Lake Wakatipu. A 3km round trip, it’s one of the region’s easier walks, with wheelchair and pushchair accessibility. For a dose of fun after relaxation, playing a round of Frisbee Golf is an essential Queenstown experience.

Location: Park Street, Queenstown Central
Trail hike time: 1.5 hours return
Parking: The Gardens Car Park off Park Street offers 240 minutes of free parking.

Discover more amazing things to see and do in Queenstown

A photo of the Bonnie Jean Hut in The Whakari Conservation Area with views of Mt Judah and Mt Mcintosh in the background.
Image credit: @nahota_

Queenstown is the South Island gem of New Zealand, and in such a busy place, there are plenty more things to do and places to visit. If you’re feeling brave, take on the Shotover Canyon Swing, the highest cliff jump in the world, or head to Arthur’s Point to experience a jet boat ride on the Shotover River. For more awe-inspiring views, drive along Glenorchy Road to Moke Lake, take a cruise to Milford Sound, or hike the Routeburn Track in Fiordland National Park. Check out more great holiday ideas on our blog!

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