Best Outdoor Sports In Queenstown

Yearning to get outside into the sun and spend some energy?

You’re in luck. New Zealand’s capital of adventure, Queenstown, is filled with amazing outdoor sports activities. With world-class settings for skiing, snowboarding, biking, hiking and leisure camping, there’s something for the whole family.

Check out five of Queenstown’s best outdoor activities on New Zealand’s magnificent South Island:

  1. Water Sports
  2. Hiking Tracks
  3. Mountain Biking Trails
  4. Climbing and Mountaineering
  5. Golf Courses

Water Sports

A group of customers enjoy a jet boating adventure on the Dart River.
Image credit: Dart River Jet Boats

Queenstown is jam-packed with an extravaganza of water-based outdoor activities. Some of the most popular attractions include water-skiing, kayaking on the lake, river rafting, canyoning, and more relaxing river cruises.

Try these unique activities if you’re looking for something different:

  • River surfing or drifting downriver on a bodyboard
  • Jet-boating along the Kawarau River
  • Learning how to e-foil on an electric hydrofoil surfboard
  • Riding a semi-submersible, inflatable shark
  • Sledging 7km white water rapids on river-purpose boards

You’ll find operators online and in the local area offering day or night tours.


Hiking Tracks

Panoramic photo of The Remarkables, Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown from the summit of Ben Lomond.
Image credit: Sebastien Goldberg

Some of the best Queenstown outdoor activities are free, and all you need is a comfortable pair of shoes. Explore diverse landscapes and breathtaking scenery on the best day walks in Queenstown.

Strap on your hiking boots and discover untouched nature on these eight amazing hiking tracks in Queenstown:

1. Ben Lomond
2. Lower Wye Creek
3. Routeburn Flats
4. Devil’s Creek
5. Gibbston River Trail
6. Moonlight Goldfields Track
7. Invincible Gold Mine
8. Lake Rere


Mountain Biking Trails

A man rides around a scenic corner in the Skyline Queenstown Bike Park with views of Lake Wakatipu.
Image credit: Skyline Queenstown

The variety and quality of mountain biking services attract local and visiting bikers year-in, year-out. Whether you’re after gentle lakeside tracks or gnarly gravity-fed descents, Queenstown has a trail for you.

Skyline Queenstown MTB Park:

Take Skyline Queenstown’s amazingly convenient, Gondola-assisted bike lift to enjoy over 30km of world-class downhill MTB adventure trails at the Skyline Mountain Biking Park.

Coronet Peak:

Coronet Peak is more than just a ski field in winter. Bring your own bike on the chairlift, or hire one from one of the many operators in town who are dedicated to providing world-class rental services. Most offer comprehensive bike workshop services and ensure the bikes are safe and ready to ride.

Cardrona:

Do you have the courage to shred New Zealand’s highest mountain bike park? Cardrona boasts 25km of trails for all levels of riders. Two lifts provide access to 345 vertical metres of epic tracks.

The Queenstown Trail:

The Queenstown trail features 130kms of spectacular off-road trails. Start on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, ride to Gibbston and return via historic Arrowtown.


Climbing and Mountaineering

A rock climber overcomes a challenging overhang section at Wye Creek in Queenstown.
Image credit: Mountain Project

Outdoor activities in Queenstown showcase the town’s love for adventure. Whether you’re a beginner or a rock-climbing expert, you’ll find some of the best alpine climbing activities here in New Zealand:

  • Basecamp Adventures Climbing Centre
  • Rockatipu Climbing Wall at the Queenstown Events Centre
  • Queenstown Mountain Guides

If you’re after advice on the best outdoor clothing and equipment for climbing, visit the friendly team at the Small Planet Sports store on 17 Shotover Street, Queenstown.


Golf Courses

An aerial photo of the Jacks point golf course with views of Lake Wakatipu and surrounding mountains in the background.
Image credit: Jack's Point Golf Course

Want to soak in the sun over some competitive sport, in a more relaxed setting? Our list of the best outside sports to enjoy with friends wouldn’t be complete without a few rounds of golf. Queenstown has several golf clubs for you to show off your swings and enjoy a meal afterwards.

  • Frankton Golf Centre
  • The Hills Golf Club
  • Arrowtown Golf Club
  • Jack's Point Golf Course and Restaurant
  • Queenstown Golf Club

Planning Your Trip

An adventurer makes her way to the base of the Earnslaw Glacier in the Mount Aspiring National Park.
Image credit: Instagram @goingroguenewzealand

Anytime is a good time to visit Queenstown! However, for some sports, there are particular sweet spots during the year. Here are our top tips for planning your Queenstown outdoor activities.

Checking the weather:

Winter in New Zealand (July to October) is the best time for snowboarders and ski enthusiasts. Don’t forget to bring or hire snow chains! From December to February, the weather in Queenstown is perfect for all other outdoor activities, with temperatures between 19 and 23°C.

Bringing your own sports supplies:

You can bring your own bike or equipment to Queenstown, or you’ll find a large range of top outdoor brands and hire options at any rental store in town. Make sure you pack the best outdoor clothing for your chosen activity.

Ready for an Outdoor Adventure?

Queenstown offers a diverse range of outside sports to suit all kinds of adventure lovers. If you find yourself looking for additional activities that are sure to please, why not test your skills on the Skyline Queenstown Luge. Or, sample some culinary delights at the Stratosfare Restaurant & Bar with incredible views of the surrounding mountains.

Browse our blog for more unique ideas, tips and advice for your next adventure in New Zealand. We look forward to your visit!

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