Queenstown might be known as the adrenaline capital of the world, but it doesn’t mean a holiday to this South Island city needs to be packed with heart-pumping, hair-raising activities.
Set on the banks of the 80-kilometre-long Lake Wakatipu and shadowed by mountain ranges, the scenery of Queenstown itself has all the makings of a place to relax, unwind and recharge.
While there’s no shortage of nature-based activities to reset the system, the city is home to day spas, Japanese onsens and a wellness retreat to give you a helping hand for when a little extra pampering is required.
Find your perfect way to recharge in Queenstown with this guide.
1. Take a stroll lakeside around Lake Hayes and Moke Lake
Taking time to recharge doesn’t always mean sitting (or lying) still.
Visit one of the nearby lakes to enjoy panoramic mountain views as you follow lakeside tracks.
Located 15 minutes’ drive from Queenstown, Lake Hayes is known for its tranquil and calm waters – you’ll want to allow up to three hours to complete the undulating scenic walk around the lake.
To experience Mother Nature’s mirror in action, head to Moke Lake to see the surrounding mountains reflected on the water’s surface as you follow the Moke Lake Loop Track – just make sure you choose a clear day for the best reflections.
2. Explore The Remarkables, Coronet Peak or Soho Basin
Who says hitting the ski slopes can’t be rejuvenating?
Strap on the skis or snow boots and carve your way down the mountain during the winter months or tie up your hiking boots in summer to traverse the mountain trails on foot.
3. Book a spa day
Take the lead from a Japanese tradition dating back to the sixth century and book an onsen experience to soak away your worries.
Head to Onsen Hot Pools, a 10 kilometre drive outside of Queenstown, to enjoy panoramic mountain views across the Shotover River as you sit back and soak in one of their cedar-lined hot tubs.
For a spa day closer to town, indulge in a massage or facial at the Vault Spa at Eichardt’s Private Hotel.
4. Renourish at a local café
Rejuvenate from the inside out, with a healthy meal at a local Queenstown café.
Plan breakfast or lunch at Bespoke Kitchen to dine on seasonal produce from their small hilltop café.
With health and wellbeing at the forefront of what they serve, the menu focuses on creating healthy meals packed with flavour, with vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options on the menu.
For a meal with international flair, head to Yonder, where their international staff bring the best flavours and dishes from around the world to this Queenstown cafe.
All bread, pastries, sauces and marinades are made in-house, so you know you’re only getting the best ingredients.
5. Enjoy a taste of Italy
Named after a city in Northern Italy that lies parallel with Central Otago, the restaurant serves typical Italian dishes paired with local produce, such as Te Mana lamb Osso Bucco.
The restaurant’s menu changes seasonally, starring only the freshest ingredients alongside a wine list of local wineries.
6. Visit the Queenstown Gardens
Nothing speaks more to recharging the mind than stopping to smell the roses.
Take a stroll through the Queenstown Gardens and inhale the floral aroma in the rose gardens or relax in the shade of a towering native tree.
If you’re feeling active, follow the 3.1-kilometre (one way) Queenstown Garden Trail to Queenstown Bay Beach, following the Lake Wakatipu shoreline.
7. Choose a hotel with relaxation in mind
While Queenstown offers a range of wellness activities within the city centre, you’ll also find hotels that champion relaxation within their hotel grounds.
With an in-house wellness studio offering daily yoga classes, a sauna and a massage service, you don’t have to travel far from your hotel room to recharge at Sherwood Queenstown.
For a country club-style getaway, holiday at Millbrook Resort in Arrowtown.
Providing plenty of on-site activities for you to relax and recharge – including golf, a fitness studio and a day spa – you’ll need to remember to pencil in some time to see the sights during your stay.
8. Have a nature escape
Forget searching for a Spotify playlist with a birdsong track to help you find your zen, head out for a bushwalk to Bobs Cove to experience native birdlife IRL.
You’ll find the start of the track 14 kilometres outside of Queenstown, at the car park on Glenorchy-Queenstown Road.
Graded as ‘easy’ the trail cuts through native bush to connect with Bobs Cove – taking roughly 20 minutes (one-way) to complete.
If you want to extend your nature break, follow the signs for Twelve Mile Delta – a longer 6.8-kilometre (return) trail along the Lake Wakatipu shoreline towards the location of the Lord of the Rings' Ithilien Camp.
9. Practice your sun salutations
If child’s pose, downward dog or forward bends are your love language for relaxation, then add a yoga class to your itinerary to bend, stretch and breathe your way into feeling recharged.
Located in the heart of Queenstown, Nadi Wellness offers over 50 yoga classes each week – from vinyasa to yin and slow flow style classes.
If mat work isn’t your type of therapy, they offer massage and zen treatments at the studio too.
10. Spend a day at Aro Ha Wellness Resort
Did someone order five days and six nights of dedicated rejuvenation?
Winner of 17 international awards, Aro Ha Wellness Resort offers guests the chance to unwind and recharge during one of their wellness retreats.
Located 40 kilometres outside of downtown Queenstown, on the way to Glenorchy, guests can indulge in bushwalking, yoga and hydrotherapy paired with daily nourishing meals.
PLAN YOUR TRAVEL
BEFORE YOUR FLIGHT
It may have been a while since you last flew overseas. It's a fantastic time to remember the basics of international travel as well as learn about what's changed.
We can’t wait to welcome you back to Brisbane Airport’s International Terminal, see you soon!