Rad’s Guide To Alternative Queenstown

We all know that Queenstown brands itself ‘The Adventure Capital of the World’. There’s a non-stop list of adrenaline punching activities to do from bungee jumping to jet boating. In fact, you could engage in activities 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 3 months and still not complete everything on offer!

But maybe spending hundreds of dollars on tourist attractions is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Maybe you’re looking for something without a guide predetermining your route and explaining for the 4th time that the surrounding landscape has been carved out by glaciers.

Become a great photographer in seconds

I once heard a photographer say ‘It’s easy to be a great photographer when you have stunning scenery’. Well, that would make every single person in Queenstown a quite exemplary behind a lens. It’s true, to be honest check out my Instagram, even I must admit there are some stunning pictures on there and I am no pro.

Make sure you check off those ‘iconic’ Queenstown photos. Including a glowing Remarkables mountain range, the vista from the top of the gondola and the century-old TSS Earnslaw that steams across Lake Wakatipu.

If you want to chase all the shots, don’t forget to peak out of the aeroplane window on your way in and head over to Wanaka to capture the floating tree.

Sample a local craft beer house

Queenstown hosts a number of breweries and craft beer houses that will leave you plenty wobbly after even just a couple of IPAs. Local brews and tasty imports from around the globe line the pipes of some nifty little bars. The selection of just my favourite beer stops is long enough for a serious crawl.

Searchlight Brewery nestles on the outskirts of town in Industrial Place. This minimalist brewery creates some good olde English style beers for you to sample fresh from the tap.

Smiths is beer heaven with over 20 always changing beers on the taps there’s always something unique to try no matter your taste. A delicious easy going burger menu offers suggestions on what beer to pair with your food to create a sneaky lunch stop.

Atlas Beer Cafe has a devout cult following in Queenstown thanks to their craft beer selection and famous steaks. Hidden away in the Steamer Wharf, be sure to put this busy beer stop on your agenda.

Canyon Food and Brew locates at Arthur’s Point providing a cheeky spot to refresh as you cruise back from Coronet Peak. This microbrewery boasts 6 beers to accompany the wide-ranging menu along the Shotover River.

Disappear into the wilderness for a night

Queenstown certainly packs in a whole host of 5-star accommodation options. Luxury plush hotels line the shores of Lake Wakatipu and jaw-dropping residences stand proudly on the hills.

No matter your budget taking a trip out past Glenorchy to Paradise is a must do. Get away from the world by spending a night in a cabin below Mt Earnslaw along the Dart River. For under $50NZD pp a night cosy cabins await for log fire, star gazing and tranquillity brimmed evenings.

No electricity, no wifi, no people. Pure New Zealand.

Use winter to your advantage

Skiing is not necessarily so alternative, but it does mean you’re willing to trade your summer holiday for a winter destination. And there are a lot of people that scoff at the idea.

Queenstown is never more beautiful than in mid-winter. The flight in and out alone is enough to make a holiday unforgettable. The glistening snow covered mountains look like clouds from a distance but as you descend they take their jagged form.

Explore the range of ski fields surrounding the area including sunny The Remarkables, friendly Cardrona and adventurous Treble Cone. Skiing in Queenstown creates a holiday in itself, you might be hard pushed to fit any other activities in once your on top of the world.

Arrive at the right time and you may just be treated to one of Queenstown’s annual event. Winter Festival being the pick of the bunch during June. Returning decade after decade, you’ll be treated to live music in town and on the mountain at Cardrona Alpine Resort. August is the month of real skiers including pro athletes who flock to New Zealand for the Winter Games NZ. Watch all the best compete in freestyle skiing,  alpine skiing, cross-country skiing and curling then sit back and enjoy a full festival program across the region.

Take aim with Frisbee Golf

Or Disc Golf as the hardcore will have you call it. Fist of all the best thing about this is that it is free.

All you need is a frisbee.

A chilled game of frisbee golf in Queenstown Gardens is a fun time passer on those days that you’re not quite sure what else to do. There are fantastic views in every direction which are spectacular on a clear day plus during winter the frozen lake with ducks walking over it is hilarious!

Many hostels will have frisbees to rent for a few bucks and the rules are the same as regular golf. Complete the course in as few shots as possible. Maybe grab a box of beers to help take the edge off.

‘Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to Queenstown.’

Related Articles:

7 Epic Things To Do In Queenstown This Winter

8 Of The Best Things To Do In New Zealand

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Eliot Prince

Eliot can’t bare being anywhere else but on the snow when the lifts start whirring every winter, in fact summer is a scary prospect. First taught to ski by a Swiss farmer, he has gone on to work ski seasons in Europe and New Zealand. Despite living in constant winter for a while, making beds, pouring pints and fitting ski boots still meant missing powder days. Now combining industry expertise and journalism training he produces content for ski companies all over the world; never missing the opportunity for fresh tracks. You will always find him in a mountainous area come winter.

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