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Queenstown Water activities

Our most recommended Queenstown Water activities

TSS Earnslaw: Queenstown Cruise & Walter Peak Gourmet BBQ

1. TSS Earnslaw: Queenstown Cruise & Walter Peak Gourmet BBQ

This half-day activity begins and concludes with a 45-minute cruise across Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu onboard the historic TSS Earnslaw. Spend a few hours enjoying the culinary delights at Walter Peak High Country Station, including an entertaining farm demonstration the whole family will enjoy. Feel free to take advantage of the extensive lay-out of this incredible steamship – she is a floating museum of her own history, and you are more than welcome to enter the engine room where you can watch our hardy coal-stokers as they keep this beautiful lady of the lake gliding across the waters of Lake Wakatipu. Overlooking Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown’s incredible alpine scenery, the Colonel’s Homestead at Walter Peak is the perfect place to spend a beautiful day in Central Otago. Its colonial architecture and sweeping grounds evoke the elegance of a bygone era. Spend your time wandering the award-winning gardens, or saying hello to the animals that call the station home. The BBQ Buffet includes salads, vegetables, and succulent local meats cooked on the outdoor rotisserie or grill. There is a wide range of desserts on offer, including a vast array of fresh bread and cheese. If you have any dietary restrictions, please let the supplier know directly so we can safely accommodate your requests.

Queenstown: Milford Sound Coach & Cruise Full-Day Trip

2. Queenstown: Milford Sound Coach & Cruise Full-Day Trip

Enjoy a fun and leisurely day trip to admire the glacial features, wild flora and fauna, and picturesque backdrops of the world-famous fiord at Milford Sound. Start with pickup for the bus journey to Te Anau. Your driver will share their local knowledge as you stop along the way to see spectacular scenery. Marvel at views of waterfalls, wildlife, and the rainforest. Soak up the sights from any of the three indoor and outdoor viewing decks during your cruise and join your jovial crew at the bow as you nose under Stirling Falls for a free shower in some of the world's freshest water.  Benefit from complimentary tea service is available for the entire cruise and espresso coffee, snacks cakes. Additional drinks can be purchased from onboard cafe / bar.

From Queenstown: Lake Wakatipu TSS Earnslaw Cruise

3. From Queenstown: Lake Wakatipu TSS Earnslaw Cruise

Join the TSS Earnslaw for a cruise across Lake Wakatipu from Queenstown. Admire spectacular alpine scenery and enjoy plenty of time to explore a piece of living history. Listen to engaging commentary from your experienced captain who will highlight points of interest throughout your cruise. Make your way to Steamer Wharf at Queenstown’s waterfront. Climb aboard the oldest working coal-fired passenger steamship in the southern hemisphere and feel free to explore. View the collection of historical photos in the small onboard museum and check out the skipper’s wheelhouse. Visit the engine room to feel the heat of the giant steam engines at work and see the stokers shovel coal into the glowing fireboxes. Soak in the dramatic mountain views surrounding Lake Wakatipu and relax at the cafe where you can enjoy a wine or beer and snacks are also available for purchase. 

Queenstown: Scenic Lake Cruise and Walter Peak Farm Tour

4. Queenstown: Scenic Lake Cruise and Walter Peak Farm Tour

Get a taste of New Zealand's farming lifestyle in an interactive way with this combo tour in Queenstown. Enjoy a relaxing boat ride across Lake Wakatipu. Disembark at a traditional farm for a comprehensive tour of its facilities and some morning or afternoon tea. Start with a scenic cruise, crossing Lake Wakatipu toward Walter Peak High Country Farm. Explore the decks, visit the steam room, or chat with the captain in the wheelhouse. Take advantage of the onboard cafe to purchase a drink or two. Arrive at Walter Peak and join the host for a farmyard tour. Get up close to sheep, deer, and highland cattle. Help feed the animals, watch a farm demonstration, and explore the lakeside gardens. Enjoy morning or afternoon tea, including delicious scones and muffins.

Queenstown: Shotover River and Kawarau River Jet Boat Ride

5. Queenstown: Shotover River and Kawarau River Jet Boat Ride

Get an adrenaline rush on a 1-hour jet boat ride, operated by the world’s first commercial jet boat company. Take in stunning views of the Remarkable Mountains and journey up 2 of South Island’s most iconic rivers.  Depart from the heart of Queenstown, and climb aboard the big yellow jet boat at the Main Town Pier. Hold on tight as you accelerate across the water and feel the exhilaration of a high-powered twin-engine boat that powers across Lake Wakatipu. Experience the twists and spins as you enter the Kawarau River and race past rocks and under bridges at speeds of up to 95 kilometers per hour.  Grip the heated handrails and experience 360° spins while you speed up the shallow channels of the Shotover River. After 45 kilometers of pure adrenaline, return to the pier and see photos and videos from your trip.

Queenstown: Spirit of Queenstown Lake Wakatipu Scenic Cruise

6. Queenstown: Spirit of Queenstown Lake Wakatipu Scenic Cruise

Cruise farther and see more on this 1.5-hour Queenstown scenic cruise. Sit back, relax and enjoy spectacular views of the Remarkables, Bob’s Cove, Cecil Peak and Mt. Earnslaw from the comfort of the Spirit of Queenstown – an environmentally friendly and luxurious cruise boat. Take in panoramic views from the open top deck. Enjoy refreshments, snacks and lunch served in the café on board. Cruise across spectacular Lake Wakatipu as you enjoy entertaining commentary provided by the local skipper.

From Queenstown: Milford Sound Flight and Boat Cruise

7. From Queenstown: Milford Sound Flight and Boat Cruise

Enjoy an exclusive sightseeing tour to the very best locations in Queenstown and the South Island of New Zealand. Discover New Zealand’s magnificent fiords, native forests, and glaciers, as well as the island's stunning native birdlife, seals, penguins, and dolphins. Embark on a scenic flight and admire the views of the fiord below. Hear insightful commentary about the region and the wildlife that inhabit it from your pilot guide. Soar above the Southern Lakes, Tutoko Glacier, and the Milford Fiord. After, if time permits, take a bush walk with your pilot to the cruise departure point. Learn more about your surroundings as you pass through the dense forest. Continue your sightseeing adventure on a relaxing cruise and see the fiord from the water. After the cruise, make your way back to the plane. Take an alternative return route to see even more highlights, including the famous Southerland waterfalls, and New Zealand's longest lakes, Te Anau and Wakatipu.

Queenstown: Kawarau River Rafting and Jet Boat Ride

8. Queenstown: Kawarau River Rafting and Jet Boat Ride

Raft the Kawarau River, perhaps better known as the River Anduin in Lord of the Rings, for a great half-day activity in Queenstown This is a perfect introduction to whitewater rafting for first-timers. There will be plenty of rapids action plus time to sit back and enjoy the spectacular scenery. Catch the free shuttle from the centre of town out to the raft base where you will be fitted out with all your gear. From there, head back into the heart of Queenstown to catch your jet boat transfer. Take on the beginning 22 km of the Kawarau river at 95 km/h with thrilling 360-degree spins as you arrive at the rafting station. Your rafting adventure covers 8-kilometers of the river. Take on grade 2-3 rapids and perhaps the occasional grade 2-4 rapid, when there are higher water levels. These are usually easier to navigate and there is less risk of falling out. Enjoy flat stretches of river between the rapids where you have the opportunity to race your friends on the other rafts or jump out and swim. Keep an eye on the other rafts, as there is a good chance of a water fight. Conclude your adventure by rafting the longest commercially rafted rapid in New Zealand, the Dog Leg. This is a 400-meter long and grade 3/4 rapid. Add some extra excitement by joining in on the optional cliff jumping section, or sit back and watch your friends take a leap.

Queenstown: Milford Sound Flight and Cruise

9. Queenstown: Milford Sound Flight and Cruise

Take flight a small luxury plane leaving Queenstown. Admire the awe-inspiring scenery from your very own window seat as you soar over Fiordland National Park, listening to the pilot's commentary. Landing at Milford Sound airport you will be escorted to the Cruise Terminal either by shuttle or 15 minute nature walk to meet your boat. Enjoy 2 hours of spectacular scenery and wildlife on the Gem of the Sound, learn all about the history of the area from the skipper as he skillfully pulls the boat underneath waterfalls and right up to the base of famous Mitre Peak. Your pilots will meet you off the cruise at the Terminal and take you back to the awaiting plane for your return to Queenstown. Your complimentary shuttle will drop you back to your hotel with plenty of time to enjoy the legendary dining scene.

Skippers Canyon Thrilling Jet Boat Ride & Scenic Transfers

10. Skippers Canyon Thrilling Jet Boat Ride & Scenic Transfers

Enjoy a spectacular guided tour of Skippers Canyon followed by a thrilling jet boat ride through the narrowest canyons on the Shotover River. Take on the only jet boat ride where you experience the historic gold mining relics that still remain in the riverand Lord of the Rings locations.  Meet your friendly driver in central Queenstown and head up into historic Skippers Canyon. Enjoy live on-board commentary from your knowledgeable driver and marvel at the stunning scenery.  Journey through a land rich in gold mining history and breathtaking views via the infamous Skippers Canyon Road, hand-carved out of the vertical rock face over 120 years ago.  Upon arrival to the Shotover River, you will be provided with a life jacket and warm gloves. Feel your adrenaline surge as you power deep into Skippers Canyon through the narrowest canyons on the Shotover River.  Highly skilled jet boat drivers maneuver the boat just inches from the sheer canyon walls. Experience speeds in excess of 80kph and a series of full 360° spins.  After your ride, take you back to the jet boat base to view footage from your ride before the trip back to Queenstown through the breathtaking canyon.

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Frequently asked questions about Queenstown

What top attractions are a must-see in Queenstown?

What are the best day trips and excursions from Queenstown?

The best day trips and excursions from Queenstown are:

Milford Sound

What are the best inexpensive tours in Queenstown?

Other Sightseeing Options in Queenstown

Want to discover all there is to do in Queenstown? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Queenstown

My husband and I booked a 9.40am day trip from Queenstown to Milford Sound return. The bus driver had lots of stories about Mouri heritage and was informative about the scenery we drove through. There were plenty of stops along the way for photos. The cruise was spectacular and lunch provided was very good. It was quite late when we returned to Queenstown but thoroughly enjoyed our day

Fantastic New Year's Eve activity, the cruise on the Earnslaw was good and the bbq buffet dinner at Walter Peak was absolutely spot on delicious : ) We were seated outside at a table with an umbrella for shade and the view back up the lake towards Queenstown was stunning!

We loved this trip, it was well organised and well worth doing. Wonderful to travel on the beautiful old Earnslaw. The lake scenery was stunning. The farm tour was entertaining and informative. The afternoon tea was generous and delicious.

Wonderful experience. Nice calm sailing. The captain, Roy was very helpful and shared the bridge experience. He even shared his personal photos of Milford Sounds which inspired us to take a day trip.

Great, fun experience. Staff were friendly. Booking and checking in was easy. Thank you.