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Best Queenstown Tours in 2024

Have you been wondering the best tours to join in Queenstown? I’ve got you covered!

As a frequent visitor to Queenstown, I understand the excitement and anticipation that comes with planning a trip to this breathtaking destination on the South Island of New Zealand.

Queenstown is not only known for its stunning natural beauty, but also for its incredible wine and adventure tours that will leave you with unforgettable memories.

When it comes to exploring the world of wine, Queenstown offers an exquisite selection of vineyards and wineries that welcome everyone from novice to expert.

For those seeking an adrenaline rush, this beautiful town also offers an array of adventure tours that will get your heart pumping. Queenstown is the ultimate playground for adrenaline junkies.

If you are a first-time or solo visitor to Queenstown it’s important to feel confident and secure when planning your visit to Queenstown. Rest assured, Queenstown is known for its warm hospitality and safe environment. With a strong emphasis on tourism and a well-established industry, Queenstown has built a reputation for providing exceptional service and ensuring the safety of its visitors.

So, whether you’re a wine enthusiast looking to indulge in the finest vintages or an adventure seeker ready to conquer new heights, Queenstown has it all. Let’s take a look through the best tours that Queenstown can offer.

My Top 3 Picks: Best Queenstown Tours

#1 Top Pick
Mitre Peak is one of the highlights of New Zealand, and a must do for your 14 day itinerary in New Zealand.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Milford Sound Tour

✅ Scenic Cruise

✅ Small Group Tour

✅ Lunch Included

#2 Pick
The mountains of Central Otago with clouds in the sky.

Wine Sampler Tour

✅ Small Group

✅ 4 Wineries

✅ Winery Cellar Tour

#3 Pick
Shotover River near Queenstown. A shallow, light blue river with pebbles along the shore and trees on both banks. The sky is bright blue with some fluffy bright white clouds

Shotover Jet

✅ 360° Spins

✅ Shuttle Transfers

✅ Feature 3

Best Scenic Tours in Queenstown

Milford Sound

1. Milford Sound Small Group Tour

⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 13 hours | ✅ Book it!

Milford Sound is an absolute must-visit for first-time visitors to Queenstown. This small group tour offers an unbeatable experience, allowing you to fully appreciate the beauty of this incredible natural wonder.

The tour includes scenic stops along the way to Fiordland National Park, giving you the opportunity to capture some incredible photos.

Once you arrive at Milford Sound, you’ll embark on a boat cruise that will take you up close to the majestic waterfalls, towering cliffs, and abundant wildlife that call this place home. The small group size ensures a more intimate and personalized experience.

My first-hand experience with Milford Sound was absolutely breathtaking. No matter the weather, the beauty of this place is unparalleled. If you are visiting New Zealand, this is a must-do.

“Beautiful scenery on our journey from Queenstown to Milford Sound brought to life by our driver & guide. The cruise on the Sound was jaw dropping, not to be missed.” -Jonathan (Read more reviews)

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Lake Pukaki and Mt Cook are some of New Zealand's spectacular natural wonders

2. Mount Cook Sightseeing Tour

⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  12 hours | ✅ Book it!

A full-day guided sightseeing tour to Mount Cook is the perfect choice for visitors who appreciate breathtaking scenery and enjoy walking.

This tour includes several stops along the way, starting with Cromwell, an idyllic town known for its picturesque landscapes and charming historic buildings. The tour also stops at the mesmerizing Lake Pukaki, renowned for its stunning turquoise waters.

Once at Mount Cook, get ready to embark on an unforgettable hike around the Hooker Valley track. This track offers magnificent views of snow-capped peaks, vast glaciers, and crystal-clear alpine streams.

It’s an ideal opportunity to immerse yourself in the unspoiled beauty of the New Zealand wilderness.

Just be aware that making the most of this tour requires a fair amount of walking, so may not be suitable for everyone.

“Fantastic coach with a knowledgeable tour guide who was very cordial, friendly and accommodating. The route was scenic.The Hooker Valley walk was spectacular.” -Nikhil (Read more reviews)

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3. TSS Earnslaw Cruise

⭐️ RATING: 4.5/5 Stars | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  1 1/2 hours | ✅ Book it!

If you’re visiting Queenstown and looking for a relaxed scenic tour, the TSS Earnslaw cruise on Lake Wakatipu is a must-try experience.

This historic steamship offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, allowing you to soak in the beauty of Queenstown’s natural landscape. This one is a shorter excursion, so you won’t have to dedicate your entire day to it if you are short on time.

Hop aboard and enjoy a friendly and enjoyable journey on this iconic vessel.

“Great old ship cruising the beautiful lake on a stunning day – great fun 🙂 Would recommend the trip if you are in Queenstown” – Penny (Read more reviews)

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Best Wine Tours in Queenstown

The mountains of Central Otago with clouds in the sky.

4. Wine Sampler Tour

⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  6 hours | ✅ Book it!

If you want to enjoy some of the local wines while in Queenstown, look no further. Wine tours are the best way to explore the area without having to worry about driving.

This tour through Gibbston Valley will include four exquisite wineries, in the comfort of our air-conditioned vehicle. It includes a wine cellar tour at the famous Gibbston Valley Winery as well as stops at three other popular wineries.

The small group tour ensures an intimate and relaxed atmosphere, perfect for both casual wine drinkers and experts alike. Enjoy the stunning scenery of Central Otago as you explore the renowned Gibbston Valley, known for its world-class wines.

I had the most incredible experience on the Wine Sampler tour. As a wine enthusiast and a solo traveller, it was the perfect choice for me.

Not only did I get to indulge in some of the finest wines from the region, but I also got to spend a day meeting people with a shared interest.

“Great day visiting 4 wineries, knowledgable staff and driver, good food and awesome people you get to know along the way. Lots of fun, laughs and beautiful wine in a beautiful region known for its Pinot Noir” -Sarah (Read more reviews)

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A person doing a bujy jump from Kawarau Bridge above bright blue river

5. Hop-On Hop-Off Wine Tour

⭐️ RATING: 4/5 Stars | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: flexible | ✅ Book it!

If you’re a wine enthusiast looking to go wine tasting but want to have control over your budget and itinerary, a hop-on hop-off wine tour might be the perfect option for you.

With this type of tour, you have the flexibility to design your own experience by choosing which wineries you want to stop at. This means you can prioritize the ones that interest you the most and skip the ones that don’t.

It’s a great way to make the most out of your wine-tasting experience without breaking the bank.

Additionally, the tour includes stops at adventure activities such as the Kawarau River bungy jump, adding an element of excitement and thrill to your wine-tasting adventure.

However, it’s important to note that there are a few downsides to consider. While the tour provides transportation to the wineries, tastings are not included in the price.

Also, some wineries may require visitors to pre-book their visits, so it’s essential to plan ahead.

“The Hop on Hop off drivers were all super friendly and the timetable easy to follow. We booked all our tastings and each of the 5 wineries we visited were fabulous!” -Jane (Read more reviews)

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Best Adventure Tours

Shotover River near Queenstown. A shallow, light blue river with pebbles along the shore and trees on both banks. The sky is bright blue with some fluffy bright white clouds

6. Shotover River Jet Boat

⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  1/2 hour | ✅ Book it!

If you’re a fun-seeking visitor looking for an adventure, the Shotover Jet Boat Ride is an absolute must-do! Enjoy an adrenaline-pumping experience as you zoom through the crystal-clear waters of the Shotover River.

With twists and spins, this thrilling ride will leave you laughing and craving for more. The expert drivers at Shotover Jet are masters at manoeuvring the boat in shallow waters, ensuring your safety while delivering an unforgettable thrill.

Jetboating was my first New Zealand adventure activity, and from there I progressed to paragliding and even skydiving!

I highly recommend a Queenstown jetboat tour and will definitely do another next time I’m there.

“One of the best things we did in Queenstown. It’s a MUST for your visit! The slot canyon was beautiful and couldn’t believe all the hairpin turns and just skimming the water above the rocks! Excellent drivers!” -Sheree (Read more reviews)

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A small group of people in a rafting boat on a bright blue shallow rive in Skippers Canyon near Queenstown New Zealand

7. Rafting and Sightseeing

⭐️ RATING: 4.5/5 Stars | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 5 hours | ✅ Book it!

Rafting on the Shotover River in Skippers Canyon is an exhilarating adventure that caters to a wide range of visitors, including families. This activity is perfect for all visitors who are seeking a memorable and thrilling experience.

The tour starts with a minivan drive from Queenstown to Skippers Canyon along a high and narrow road (people with a fear of heights may find this drive difficult).

As you embark on this thrilling ride, be prepared to get wet! It is recommended that visitors bring a swimsuit and towel to enjoy a rock jump and swim at the end.

The Shotover River’s rapids will provide a fun challenge for both young and old, creating lasting memories for the whole family.

The best part is that previous rafting experience is not required, making it accessible to everyone above the age of 3!

Whether you’re a seasoned rafter or a first-time adventurer, rafting on the Shotover River in Skippers Canyon promises an unforgettable experience.

“Was a little nervous to raft but it was light rapids. So much fun. Jumping off the rocks. Floating in river and riding rapids. The drive is the scariest part. Amazing views. They even take pictures that you can buy it was so much fun!” -Denise (Read more reviews)

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Skydive in Queenstown

8. NZONE

⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 3 1/2 hours | ✅ Book it!

Perhaps it’s a stretch to call this a tour, but it’s a great way to see some scenery! If you’re an adventure seeker looking for an adrenaline rush like no other, then NZONE skydiving is the ultimate experience for you.

It’s definitely not for everyone, but worth considering if you can conquer your fear.

With three different jump heights to choose from, you can take your thrill-seeking to the extreme.

NZONE has expert tandem jump masters who will ensure your safety and guide you through an unforgettable freefall.

And let’s not forget about the incredible scenery you’ll witness as you soar through the sky. The breathtaking landscapes of New Zealand will make your heart race even faster, adding an extra layer of excitement to your skydiving adventure.

Jumping with NZONE was an experience I’ll never forget.

I’ll admit I was terrified right up until I left the plane, but the jump from 15,000ft was absolutely incredible, with breathtaking views and an adrenaline rush like no other.

I decided to add on the videos and photo package, which was a fantastic decision and made sure people believed that I’d done it.

You can even see a video of my jump here!

“A must do in Queenstown! the team is super nice and experienced. Highly recommend everyone to do it !” – Hayley (Read more reviews)

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FAQs About Visiting Queenstown

Do I have to drive to the location?

No! Most tours from Queenstown either have a central pick-up point that you can walk to from your hotel, or collect from your accommodation.

What do I need to bring on the tour?

The booking page for each tour lists what is and isn’t included and recommendations for what you will need. For example, check if the wine tours include lunch and bring your wallet if not. Make sure you bring sunscreen and appropriate clothing for the activity.

Are tours in Queenstown suitable for all ages and fitness levels?

Not all tours are suitable for everyone, but everyone can find a tour that suits them. For example, someone with a heart condition perhaps shouldn’t go on a jet boat but would be fine on the TSS Earnslaw cruise. The tour website will specify any restrictions.

🤩 Book the #1 recommendation to Milford Sound here!

Final Thoughts: Day Tours from Queenstown

Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand, offers an array of amazing tours that are simply a must for anyone visiting for the first time. But don’t wait too long to book your tours! With its popularity soaring, tours tend to sell out quickly.

While you’re at it, be sure to check out my post about the best places to stay in Queenstown for a complete guide to an unforgettable experience. Start planning today and experience Queenstown’s magic for yourself!

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