Queenstown in Summer

Visiting Queenstown in the summer season means longer, sunny days with fresh, alpine air. The New Zealand sun rises as early as 5 am, and dusk sets in around 10 pm. Our warm days, long evenings and dazzling starry nights make Queenstown irresistible in the summer months.

This beautiful town sitting beneath the Southern Alps on the South Island of New Zealand evokes a compulsion for adventure. Whether it's an adrenaline-fuelled Bungy Jump or jet boat ride or a chilled road trip with the family.

Either way, you'll have so much fun trying any of these outdoor activities in Queenstown—New Zealand’s adventure capital.

Seven amazing things to do in Queenstown during the summer:

Tips To Enjoy Summer In Queenstown

A beautiful beach sunset in Queenstown New Zealand.
Image credit: @loveforlemonade

During the summer period, mild mornings can turn into hot days. So, pack loose clothing for the hot days and layers for nighttime.

Book early:

Don’t miss out on these fun activities on your upcoming trip. So, book early. Make sure you also reserve accommodation—from backpacker, budget to 5-star luxury, Queenstown rooms fill up fast.

Stay safe in the sun:

The sun in the southern hemisphere is intense, especially from midday to around 3, and can burn skin in as quickly as 12 minutes. Carry sunblock to re-apply throughout the day and make sure you top your water bottle to stay hydrated.

Safety tips for spending time around the water:

Submerged rocks and fast-moving river currents can take swimmers by surprise, so stick to your limits, check the water and any safety signage, and swim with a partner if possible so you can look out for each other.

Even in summer, mountain lakes will be cold. Lake Wakatipu is icy year-round, and smaller lakes such as Lake Hayes warm up, but the water can still give you a brain freeze. So bring some warm clothes for after your swim.

Read the road rules if you’re new to driving in NZ:

To drive in New Zealand, you’ll need a valid driver's licence in English. We drive on the left-hand side of the road. Always observe the posted speed limit.


Things To Do During Summer

Beach Hopping:

Turquoise waters glisten in the sun at Kelvin Heights Queenstown.
Image credit: @alejxdiaz

You can find some fantastic places for a refreshing dip during the summer months.

Queenstown Bay beach, off Marine Parade, features a pier offering paddleboards, jet boats, and other water sports equipment for hire.

Sunshine Bay is a quiet and secluded, 3 km from the town centre—enjoy amazing views of the TSS Earnslaw chugging back to the steamer wharf.

Kelvin Heights beach presents breathtaking views of the Remarkables mountain range. Boaties, water skiers, paddleboarders and wakeboarders can enjoy some amazing activities here.

Bob's Cove is an awesome place loved by locals and is located about 20 minutes out of town.


A lady marvels at a spectacular outlook of Moke Lake in Queenstown.
Image credit: @livewild_laurawarren

Strap on your hiking boots and head for the hills! Trek the demanding Queenstown Hill Time Walk or the steep Tiki Trail to Bob’s Peak. The 4.5km to Coronet Peak trail begins at the Coronet Peak Cafe & Restaurant and isn't for the faint-hearted.

Looking for more Hiking trails? Take the uber-challenging Ben Lomond hike, or read our best walks in Queenstown guide.


A person rides a downhill MTB track at Coronet Peak with incredible views in the background.
Image credit: @theaventurista

Get ready for some downhill action with Queenstown’s extensive cycle paths and mountain bike trails. The Queenstown Trail is the jewel in the crown, with 130kms of epic, themed tracks.

If enduro isn’t your style, a leisurely bike ride is a great way to explore Queenstown, New Zealand. Head off at your own pace on a day trip or book a guided tour. Read our blog for more mountain biking trails and outdoor sports.


A sunset as seen from a fishing charter boat on Lake Whakatipu.
Image credit: @queenstown_fishing

Queenstown is an angler’s paradise with bountiful lakes and peaceful rivers. Charter a boat and spend a memorable day reeling in fish and chilling on the water. Or take a heli-fishing trip for the ultimate fishing adventure with amazing views of the mountainous landscape.

Scenic Tours:

A horse trekking tour walks down the middle of a river in Queenstown.
Image credit: @highcountryhorses

Got a few hours to spare? Try a walking, bike, group or horseback tour to explore the staggering lake, mountain and landscape views. Then, visit Milford Sound on a scenic flight to gain a bird’s eye view of the extraordinary beauty over the Central Otago region.

Lake Cruise:

The Earnslaw steams into Queenstown Bay with The Remarkables Mountains in the background.
Image credit: @charliels

Hop aboard the TSS Earnslaw for views of gorgeous mountains and unique wildlife. If you’d like a bespoke dining experience, hire a private yacht, or book a party cruise.

4WD & Off-road Tours:

A group of friends pose for a photo in front of their quad bikes.
Image credit: @offroadadventuresqt

Off-road experiences are a wickedly popular form of adventure travel. Hire a quad or dirt bike and rip up rocky paths, shallow lakes and muddy trails. Tours are safe for all levels of riders and led by experienced guides.

More Ideas

A lady enjoys the Onsen Hot Pools in Queenstown.
Image credit: @rowan_flora
  • Play frisbee golf in Queenstown Gardens.
  • Jet boating down Shotover River or Dart River.
  • Bungy jumping off Kawarau Bridge.
  • Full or half-day rock climbing tour.
  • Relax in the Onsen hot pools.
  • Take the Skyline Gondola up Bob’s Peak to watch the sunrise or sunset.
  • Go stargazing at Moke Lake.

See The Best Queenstown Has To Offer With Skyline

We hope you’ve found some epic ideas for summer activities on your next visit to Queenstown, New Zealand. Check out our Skyline blog for adventure activities while you’re here. We hope to see you soon!

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