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Queenstown is New Zealand's adventure capital. The home of bungee jumping is also an exciting winter destination offering a wide range of alpine activities. The beautiful landscape of Queenstown had a starring role in the "Lord of the Rings" films, and fans have the option to join guided tours to explore the filming locations.
Queenstown is located on New Zealand’s South Island and sits at the shore of Lake Wakatipu and is surrounded by the Southern Alps. It is a popular travel destination for adventure-seekers with high adrenalin bungee jumping and mountain sports, and as a base to explore some of New Zealand’s most stunning natural beauty including Milford Sound. Like much of New Zealand, Queenstown is abundant with beauty, scenery and culture. With many sights such as historic Arrowtown and iconic Glenorchy just a short drive from downtown Queenstown, hiring a car to drive yourself around this part of the long white cloud is the easiest way to see the sights.
In and around Queenstown, some of our favourite things to do year-round are:
Summer (December, January, February): The sun shines in Queenstown during summer and visitors make the most of the blue skies exploring the natural wonders surrounding the town including Lake Hayes, Shotover River, Lake Wakatipu and Milford Sound.
Autumn (March, April, May): As the leaves turn hues of yellow and orange signalling Autumn’s arrival, celebrate the change of season at the Akarua Arrowtown Autumn Festival over five fun-filled days. Enjoy the charm of this historic former gold-rush town, having lunch at The Fork and Tap, a traditional old pub before shopping at the boutiques that line the town’s main street.
Winter (June, July, August): If snow-capped mountains are what you seek, winter in Queenstown will deliver. Join ‘the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest winter party’ at the Queenstown Winter Festival or rug-up and hit the slopes of New Zealand’s major ski fields - The Remarkables, Cardrona and Coronet Peak.
Spring (September, October, November): The start of Spring might just be Queenstown’s sweetest season giving visitors the chance to experience a taste of the best of the region. With some snow still falling in early October, you can switch from the ski slopes to the golf course or afternoon drive. Challenge yourself and sign up to the Queenstown International Marathon and hit a personal best while taking in the beauty of the world-famous Crown and Remarkable mountain ranges.
Year-Round: Try the world-famous Ferburger burger - the line is worth the wait. Take in a bird’s eye view from the Skyline Queenstown Gondola. Visit a local winery - The ‘trust the Chef’ lunch at Amisfield Winery is highly recommended for a dining experience you’ll remember forever. Book in for an hour or two of R&R at the Onsen Hot Pools overlooking the Shotover River. Want to soak under the stars? Book a twilight session.
Need to pick up/drop off a hire car early morning or late evening? These depots have extended hours.
|Avis: 68-70 Stanley Street, Queenstown |
Monday to Sunday from 8am - 4:30pm.
|Budget: 68-70 Stanley Street, Queenstown |
Monday to Sunday from 8am - 4:30pm.
|Hertz: 1-7 Ears Street, St Peters Close, Queenstown |
Monday to Friday from 9am - 5pm.
Saturday and Sunday from 9am - 12noon.
Need an even earlier pick up or drop off?
(It's about a 12-minute drive from downtown Queenstown, depending on traffic)
When you pick up your car rental from an area that is not a premium location (airports, some CBD locations) you are avoiding having to pay a premium surcharge. Keep this in mind if you are tossing up which location to book your car rental with.
Booking a rental car in Queenstown is quick and easy with VroomVroomVroom. If you want to enjoy one of New Zealand's top tourist destinations, browse through some of our vehicle options within the town or at Queenstown Airport. Below are some of the reasons why you should book your next Queenstown car rental with VroomVroomVroom:
Summer is an ideal time to visit Queenstown. From December to February the sunnier weather allows for more outdoor activities. The town is home to some of New Zealand's premier golf courses such as The Hills and Millbrook. Check out some more fantastic experiences from Queenstown here.
Many people decide to visit Queenstown during the winter to participate in snow sports. Visitors arriving in June may be lucky enough to catch the Queenstown Winter Festival, offering days of activities, displays and performances to celebrate the beginning of winter. Last winter, Queenstown Airport completed a 1.65 million dollar lighting project, involving 200 LED lights, as part of its runway upgrade to allow evening flights.
The highways surrounding Queenstown can be challenging, with tight bends and corners. From April to October, ice and snow can affect the roads. In the Queenstown area, gravel roads are common, and visitors should take care when driving. The Crown Range Road to Wanaka can be challenging in icy conditions, particularly for larger vehicles.
Note that there are no toll roads in the South Island. Although the highways are in good condition, some roads can be challenging. If you are driving from Queenstown to Milford Sound, consider breaking up your journey in Te Anau. The full journey to Milford Sound will take more than four hours.
Most car rental companies do not allow their vehicles onto Skippers Road, or on the road to Macetown. You are also not permitted to take the vehicle on any unsealed roads. For more driving tips, click here.
Unless otherwise signed, the speed limit in and around Queenstown is 40km/hr. Highways and open roads surrounding Queenstown are generally 100km/h.
It is not difficult to get around in Queenstown, however, it is a popular destination and traffic in and out of downtown Queenstown is often built up especially during peak times. We suggest leaving early in the morning in later in the evening to avoid congestion.
Queenstown is a popular destination and as such parking is often difficult to find downtown. Street parks are $1-$4NZD per hour for ‘pay and display’ parking and there are several free parking spots available including Lake Esplanade Road and Brecon Street.
Roads in and around Queenstown during winter can be frosty and icy. Drive according to the conditions, and consider planning extra travel time to get to your destination. Always check the latest traffic conditions before leaving.
Located in the Central Otago region of New Zealand, Queenstown is truly a town for all seasons. With mountains, lakes, and attractions galore, there is plenty to experience! There are many great places to drive to in your rental car, but we've selected only the best. Check it out below...
Sunrise Balloons Adventures Ltd
Address: Queenstown, New Zealand
Come and experience Hot Air Ballooning with Sunrise Balloons.
Hot Air Balloon rides and flights with Sunrise Balloons take place in the valleys of Queenstown. As you rise to altitudes as high as 6000ft and drift with the breeze, you will witness quite possibly the best panoramic views of Queenstown and its surrounds - “The Hobbit” filming locations, Southern Alps, Lake Wakatipu, The Remarkables mountain range, NZ's finest golf courses and many more. And it's even better during a hot air balloon ride followed by a champagne celebration.
Sunrise Balloons is a family-owned and operated company which has been flying in the region since 1998. Transport is offered to and from accommodation in Fernhill, Queenstown and Frankton Road. But if your Hotel is outside this area they will arrange a convenient meeting point for you. Launch site is only a 15-minute drive from downtown Queenstown. Passengers need to phone Sunrise Balloons 45 minutes before pick up time to know if the flight is operating (weather permitting).
Glenorchy Air is a New Zealand scenic flight airline based in Queenstown. Board one of their small planes and be amazed as you experience some of the most spectacular scenic flights in the world.
Glenorchy Air is a family-owned business that has been operating since 1992 with a perfect safety record. Their scenic flights include trips to Milford Sound, Mount Cook National Park and their local glacier flight, which circles Mount Aspiring before returning along the Dart River. They also offer the experience to charter your own plane and explore the South Island freely.
Their family business is one of a select few that have the privilege and experience to truly unlock the stunning landscape and scenery of New Zealand. Enjoy and explore unimpaired views of the snow-capped Southern Alps, magnificent fiords, crystal lakes and vast glaciers with their friendly and knowledgeable pilots. Also, they guarantee a window seat for all passengers and fly their own unique route to add extra fly time and offer all of their customers the best scenic experience possible.
If you are looking for a memory that will stay with you forever, Glenorchy Air has all the experience, knowledge and the passion to give you that.
Address: 1 Tex Smith Lane, Frankton
Get the best view of the Southern Alps and Fiordland by joining the sightseeing excursions of Air Milford. The family-owned aviation company is known for its well-maintained aircraft. In fact, they have one of the highest safety audit ratings in New Zealand.
Kiwi Birdlife Park
The best way to beat the cold weather is by soaking in a hot pool. Imagine feeling the warm water all over your body as you stare over a beautiful scenery – now that is total relaxation. You can experience that at Onsen Hot Pools, which is the only private indoor and outdoor hot pools in Queenstown. It is located on top of the cliffs thus giving breathtaking views of the Shotover River canyon. You are assured of complete privacy, tranquil surroundings, and amazing scenery during your stay. This is the perfect place to bond and relax with your lover, friends, and family.
Address: 45 Camp Street
Thrill-seekers should definitely try Ziptrek Ecoutour's fun zipline tour, which is situated on the spectacular Skyline Gondola hill. Experience exciting eco-adventure above Queenstown anytime of the year as they operate zipline tours rain or shine. Ziptrek offers two tours so make sure to choose the one that best suits your skills. The Moa 4-Line Tour is best for beginners while the Kea 6-Line Tour is for those who are looking for an eco-exhilarating zipline experience.
Central Otago has become one of the world's premier cool climate wine regions attracting major international praise.
Departing from Queenstown and specialising in a small group or private, personalised tours, taking you to two of Central Otago's wine regions through stunning alpine scenery. With a wealth of local history and wine knowledge, your expert guides will ensure you enjoy every aspect of the day.
Segway on Q
Address: (No public office or shop) PO Box 1976 Queenstown 9348
Apart from road trips, another fun way of exploring Queenstown is with a Segway Personal Transporter (PT). Don't worry if you're a newbie, because Segway on Q can give you quick training on how to use your segway before you begin your adventure. They also have a very accommodating guide who will show you around and share some information about the town. Enjoy breathtaking views of the lake and the gardens on your Segway. The Queenstown tour usually takes two hours while The Bay tour only lasts for an hour.
Instead of staying in a hotel, why not feel more at home by staying in a luxury condominium? The Ridge View brings the comfort of a real home and the luxury of a hotel. The accommodation features four spacious bedrooms located over three levels, a fully-fitted kitchen, cosy living area, and a beautiful courtyard. Enjoy picturesque views of the Cecil Peak, Remarkables, and Lake Wakatipu in your own balcony. The Ridge View also boasts of its superb location near the town centre where you can find a wide selection of restaurants and bars.
By staying in one of the most popular Bed and Breakfast accommodations in Queenstown, you are assured of a perfect holiday. Trelawn Place is known for its homey atmosphere, warm hospitality, and stunning views. It is conveniently located near the city centre and just 15 minutes away from the Queenstown Airport by car rental. Hosts Nery and Michael have worked hard to make sure that they give the best accommodation to their guests. They are pet lovers too so you can bring along your furry friend during the holidays.
Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park
Address: Brecon St, Queenstown
Lakeview Holiday Park is the most centrally located holiday park in Queenstown, just a 500m walk from the town centre and lakefront. This park has been awarded a 4-star-plus Qualmark rating, a Travelbug 100% Guest Experience award, and it was voted among the Top 5 Holiday Parks in New Zealand by Wotif reviewers. Offering accommodations of 1 and 2 bedroom units, flats, studios and campsites, powered or unpowered, it is ideal to park your campervan and enjoy your stay surrounding by scenic views. There are also camping facilities and many optional activities to experience in Queenstown.
Restaurants & Bars
Winnies is more than just your typical pizza restaurant. Apart from their gourmet pizza, they also offer other scrumptious menu ranging from steaks to salads. This is the perfect place to being your friends and family because of their relaxed environment and great food selection. They even have gluten-free and vegetarian dishes as well as a special menu for children. You can also have a drink, and watch live music performances at the bar.
Get a real cowboy experience by visiting Lone Star, which is known for their western art and country music. The restaurant's theme has attracted many New Zealanders and there are currently 26 branches all throughout the country. They have been offering a combination of Kiwi classics and comfort food as well as Lone Star specials for more than 21 years. Some of their best-sellers include Redneck Ribs, Lassoo of Hog, and Dixie Chicken.
The Pig & Whistle Pub
There are many reasons why people love going to The Pig & Whistle Pub, including their unique Old English pub ambience and excellent service. Its location right in the centre of the town makes it very accessible to both locals and tourists. If you're a beer lover, then you will definitely enjoy their selection of beers. There are more than 17 tap beers to choose from and these can be paired with their affordable pub meals. You have the option to dine on their sunny deck overlooking the Horne Creek.
Monty's Bar and Restaurant
If you're a huge fan of Monteith's boutique beers, then Monty's Bar and Restaurant will be a paradise for you. The owner of the concept bar, Barry Ellis, has established a place which serves a wide range of award-winning tap beers from Monteith's. Whether you are in the mood for an original ale or a golden lager beer, you can enjoy that alone or match with their superb menu. Make sure to try their signature dish called the Chicken Filo Parcel or their flavourful Lamb Shanks.
There are lots of fun things to do in this beautiful town. If you're driving to Queenstown on a rental vehicle, you may want to check out these yearly events.
Jazz Fest Labour Weekend Happening every Late October. From cool blues and big band swing to funk R&B and Latin beats, this Jazzfest offers local, national and international acts that showcase their talents across the genres of jazz. This three-day musical feast occurs every Labour Weekend and there's bound to be something to get your shoes tapping.
Queenstown International Marathon on 19 November. One of the most scenic marathon courses in the world! Distances to suit a range of abilities.
Queenstown International on 20-24 November. This inaugural teams golf tournament will feature two rounds at famous Millbrook and one at Jack's Point.
New Years Eve in Queenstown. One of the best places to be! Live music, party atmosphere, and free fireworks.
Winter Festival Happening Early July. It may be over for this year, but start planning for next year's event! Renowned as the Southern Hemisphere's biggest winter party, this 10-day festival celebrates its community and culture with fireworks, street parties, Mardi Gras, international and local jazz and comedy acts, parades and heaps more on the ski slopes. Magnet to more than 45,000 people from around the world -- book your hire car early, you won't want to miss out!