Top 5 free activities in Queenstown
There is always so much going on in Queenstown, how do you choose which events to go to, and what things to try first? There are some obvious choices, on a hot hot day go for a swim in the shallow waters of Queenstown Bay, and on a cold cold day go for a walk up Queenstown Hill and play in the snow. But what else? While you’re thinking about your paid activities, here’s our pick of things to do in Queenstown that won’t cost you a penny.
Set aside in 1867 as a public park, Queenstown Gardens is a beautiful place to explore at any time of the year. Displaying trees and plants from around the world, a rose garden and a pond with a picturesque bridge (perfect for those iconic Queenstown photos), it’s ideal for a gentle meander. If you’re looking for something more active, then eighteen holes of disc (frisbee) golf are laid out around the gardens, with the added fun of avoiding the ducks and not sending your disc sailing gracefully into the lake.
Arts’n Crafts market
Start your Saturday with a stroll around the Creative Queenstown Arts’n Crafts Market located at Earnslaw Park on the lake front. Browse the colourful stalls, with artists bringing their quality products from all over the South Island. Local musicians will keep you entertained, and there’s plenty of room to simply sit and soak up the ambience too.
Arrowtown Chinese Settlement
Arrowtown is a historic and picturesque gold rush town, with many of the original buildings carefully preserved. A charming place to spend a day, with cafés, shops and river walks, it’s also well worth checking out the Chinese Settlement as part of your Queenstown holiday. Explore the restored huts and ruins, see where the miners lived and how, and learn a little of their history. Relaxaway have Queenstown holiday accommodation in Arrowtown itself if you decide to stay longer!
Cycle the Queenstown Trail
If you fancy some leisurely exercise, then hop on a bicycle and explore the Wakatipu Basin by pedal power. Trails run from Queenstown Bay to Jack’s Point (lakeside), along the Shotover and Kawarau rivers from Frankton to Morven Ferry Road, from Lower Shotover to Arrowtown, from Arrowtown to Chard Farm and also around Lake Hayes. And the best bit is that they’re all connected, so pick a route to suit your fitness and scenic preferences.
There are many stunning walks of varying skill level in and around Queenstown. One of our favourites is Lake Sylvan, located just past Glenorchy in Mount Aspiring National Park. Park your car at the campsite, and follow an easy trail over the river through lush native beech forest to the secluded and tranquil lake, returning via the old tramline loop. And if you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, look out for the familiar scenery of Isengard on the way to your walk.
Of course, there are always plenty of free annual events too. The Arrowtown Autumn Festival is a firm favourite, Jazzfest takes us smoothly into spring, and LUMA Southern Lights Project brightens up our first winter nights. This week we launch into winter with the much-anticipated Queenstown Winterfestival. Running since 1975 it’s packed with events, including everybody’s favourite (and free) fireworks display on Friday 22nd June.
Whatever your flavour, there’s something for everyone, so relaxaway out and about with these free activities, then put your feet up and watch the sun set from the snug warmth of your Queenstown holiday home.