Waterfront_Queenstown New Zealand Solo Trip

10 Best Queenstown Solo Travel Low-Key Activities

UPDATED 1/20/23

You’ve heard Queenstown is a popular place to stay in New Zealand’s South Island because of its iconic, natural beauty, but you’re not into extreme sports so you’re not sure a Queenstown, New Zealand solo trip is right for you. Let me assure you it is. Here are my 10 best Queenstown solo travel things to do that are low key, indoor and outdoor activities, sure to please on solo travel Queenstown, New Zealand.

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What is Queenstown, New Zealand Known For?

The New Zealand South Island landscape is diverse and amazing country and a must to see in person. It is home to Te Wahipounamu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a site of four national parks that covers 10% of New Zealand’s total land area with fjords (including Milford Sound), towering cliffs and waterfalls.

The South Island is also home to several “Lord of the Rings” filming locations.

Resting in the Central Otago region (“Central”) of the South Island, Queenstown sits on Lake Wakatipu and is surrounded by towering, white peaked mountains and rivers causing Queenstown to be dubbed “the adventure capital of the world”.

From Queenstown you can venture out to any type of outdoor, extreme sport you can think of:  rock climbing, white water rafting, outback skiing, skydiving, mountain biking, hang gliding, and more.

In particular, the Kawarau Bridge, known as the world’s first, and most famous, bungee jumping locale is nearby.

In short, Queenstown is the perfect place to stay to experience a bit of everything nature has to offer any time of the year, and it is a must visit in New Zealand.

However, you don’t have to be a sporting extremist to enjoy adventures in Queenstown. Queenstown offers a mix of non-extreme outdoor and cultural things to do as well. 

New Zealand Solo Travel Packing Essentials

Central Otago valley New Zealand
Central Otago

The Best Month to Visit Queenstown

Queenstown is happening year-round, but especially fantastic in the summer months (late December to March) due to warmer weather and longer days for enjoying the plethora of outdoor things to do in Queenstown. However, also expect some moderate crowds and busy hotels.

Queenstown is also enjoyable in its spring months (September through November), though. The weather still offers great outdoor opportunities. You may need to dress in layers for chillier nights or windier days.

Spring is also the shoulder season for New Zealand, which provides for fewer tourists, more accommodation availability, and a lower New Zealand solo trip cost.

View of Queenstown from Skyline
Queenstown in November

Getting to Queenstown, New Zealand

The Queenstown Airport (ZQN) serves the Central area with multiple airline options from the North Island or abroad.

Queenstown is also served by regional buses.

Getting to New Zealand is usually a long-haul for many single travelers. Be prepared with these 15 long-haul flight essentials.

Eco-Travel Tips

Skyscanner provides a ‘Greener flights’ filter highlighting flights that emit less CO2. Additionally, you can purchase carbon offsets through your airline to lower your carbon footprint.

How to Get Around Queenstown

If you’re flying into Queenstown Airport, you have multiple ground transportation options to get to Queenstown, only 7 km away.

You could rent a car, take a shuttle, or hire a taxi or rideshare like Uber and Zoomy.

Eco-Travel Tips

When booking an Uber in New Zealand, select the Uber Green option, instead of a traditional rideshare, to support the use of cleaner transportation traveling alone in New Zealand.

Carpoolworld is available if you’re looking for inexpensive transportation.

Lime also has electric scooters to rent in Queenstown for quick commuting around town.

Where to Stay in Queenstown

Most of Queenstown is walkable and it’s easy to navigate.

For first-time, single travel over 50 to Queenstown, I would recommend staying close to downtown for multiple things to do on foot, dining, and catching tours. A good location is between downtown and Queenstown Hill, which offers nice views of the lake and hiking.

My hotel recommendation that checks all of the key boxes for Queenstown solo travel over 50, including location, reviews, parking, amenities, budget-friendliness, and Sustainable Travel rated, is Abba Court Motel.

If you want a luxury, Sustainable Travel rated option, try Hulbert House – also in a great location.

Eco Travel Tip

In addition to Booking.com’s Queenstown Sustainable Travel properties, Green Globe and Green Key Global also have eco-friendly certified lodging options.

10 Best Things to Do on Queenstown Solo Travel

Now that you’re situated in Queenstown, let’s get you out and enjoying what the Central Otago area has to offer (other than bungy jumping, of course).

Whether you’re in Queenstown for a weekend or a week in the spring or summer, here are 10 top, non-extreme outdoor and cultural things to do in Queenstown, which include some of the must do things in Queenstown, for pleasurable Queenstown solo travel.

Queenstown Mall

Head into the heart of town on Queenstown Mall, a pedestrian mall near the waterfront full of shops, restaurants and bars. If you need to do cool souvenir shopping, this is the place.

Queenstown Mall New Zealand
Queenstown Mall

If you want to take your shopping beyond, walk Queenstown’s shopping trail.

Sample Queenstown’s Food and Nightlife

For such a small town, there is no shortage of things to do in Queenstown at night. There are multiple fine food and dining options. Nightlife can be happening, too. Check out the many Queenstown restaurants and bars that locals and tourists alike rave about, like Fergburger, a Queenstown classic.

Stroll Parks and Gardens

After you’ve oriented yourself with downtown, keep walking to discover the city parks and gardens within Queenstown, like the Village Green or Queenstown Gardens on the water. There are ample places to cop a squat for sun worshiping or a picnic.

The Village Green Queenstown New Zealand
Village Green

Discover Skyline Queenstown

One of the Queenstown top things to do: ride a Queenstown Skyline gondola up to Bob’s Peak (450 meters).

View from Queenstown Skyline gondola
Skyline gondola ride

The top holds breathtaking views of Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and surrounding mountains with opportunity to try the Queenstown Luge, if you so desire. There are also restaurants available if you need a nibble before heading back down the mountain.

Explore Queenstown Walking Trails

Bring your walking shoes, because Queenstown is full of walking trail offering endless iconic views. After you’ve ridden the gondola to Bob’s Peak, walk the Ben Lomond Walkway noted for its 360-degree views.

If you have more energy, Queenstown Hill is another must try.

Cruise Lake Wakatipu

Get a better view of Queenstown and the Lakes District with a group boat cruise on Lake Wakatipu. Only 90 minutes long, it’s a great way to meet people while grabbing a little respite with fresh air and spotting wildlife. Boats leave from Beach Street.

Walk or Cycle The Queenstown Trail

Morning or afternoon, 1 hour or 5, hit Queenstown Trail and connect with nature. Rent a bike for any part of the 130km trail, which can take you to wineries or Kawarau Bridge. There are trails for all different skill levels. If you want a slower pace, simply walk as far as your heart’s content.

Queenstown Trail on Lake Wakatipu
Queenstown Trail on Lake Wakatipu

Soak in the Onsen Pools Queenstown

After a day of hiking or biking, treat yourself to an hour-long soak in a cedar-lined hot pool overlooking the Shotover River. Better yet, get the full spa experience. Onsen Hot Pools is the ultimate treat you should schedule on your solo travel Queenstown.

Take a Central Otago Day Trip

Renting a car is an option to explore more of Central Otago’s spectacular scenery. A suggested, relaxing day trip in Central Otago is driving to Arrowtown and Wanaka.

From Queenstown, head to Arrowtown, only 20 minutes away. This quaint town was founded during the 1860’s. Arrowtown offers shops and the Lakes District Museum and Gallery for a bit of New Zealand gold rush history in your morning.

Arrowtown New Zealand
Arrowtown, New Zealand

From Arrowtown, stop off at the Cardrona Hotel, one of the oldest hotels in New Zealand, for a leisurely outdoor lunch.

Cardrona Hotel New Zealand
Cardrona Hotel

Twenty minutes from the hotel is the Town of Wanaka on Lake Wanaka, a stunning location with several low key, outdoor activities. You have all afternoon to do as much, or as little, as you want.

Lake Wanaka New Zealand
Lake Wanaka

Sip Central Otago Wines

Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Pinot Gris, oh my! To go to this extraordinary New Zealand wine region and do wine tasting should be illegal.

If you only had one day to solo day trip, cut Wanaka short and try at least one of the 133 top-shelf wineries Central Otago claims. I suggest Gibbston Valley Winery, which has New Zealand’s largest wine cave and award-winning Pinot Noir.

Gibbston Valley Winery New Zealand
Gibbston Valley Winery

Don’t worry if you can’t, or don’t want to, rent a car. There are wine tours perfect as day trips for singles to suit your Queenstown travel schedule.

And if you’re one who would prefer to spend time outdoors instead of in on your solo trip to Queenstown, don’t forget that Glenorchy and Milford Sound are also nearby. I hope you have time to visit them.

Let Me Hear From You

I would love to hear if my 10 Queenstown, New Zealand Solo TripLow-Key Activities were helpful in planning your solo travel over 50. Post me your thoughts or questions in the Comments section below. Thank you!

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