Things to do in Otago

Our most recommended things to do in Otago

From Queenstown: Lake Wakatipu TSS Earnslaw Cruise

1. 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. 

TSS Earnslaw: Queenstown Cruise & Walter Peak Gourmet BBQ

2. 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.

Milford Sound: Boutique Small-Boat Cruise

3. Milford Sound: Boutique Small-Boat Cruise

Your cruise will begin at one of the most scenic points of the journey. You can take in the magnificent view of Mitre Peak (New Zealand's most photographed mountain) and the Sinbad Gully. This place is home to the Kakapo (world's heaviest flightless parrot), which was once thought to be extinct but was rediscovered in 1948. From there you will cruise past seal colonies and feel the spray of the waterfall as you travel directly under the Fairy Falls. Once the cruise reaches the Tasman Sea, you will get to see the hidden entrance to the Milford Sound (which Captain Cook missed twice on his explorations). On your return journey, you will find yourself underneath an even bigger waterfall, the Sterling Falls. If you feel like a world-famous "glacial facial", don't miss the opportunity here to do so. Throughout your tour, nature guides will entertain you with local anecdotes, as well as offer extra information on the passing flora and fauna. They are also there to help you with taking photos and assist with any requirements you may have. Around November you will have the chance to spot the rare Fiordland Crested Penguin.

Milford Sound: Coach and Cruise Day Trip From Queenstown

4. Milford Sound: Coach and Cruise Day Trip From Queenstown

Travel to Milford Sound for an extended nature cruise on a day trip from Queenstown. Experience one of the most beautiful drives in the world in the comfort of a state-of-the-art coach. After meeting at a central location in Queenstown, you'll board the luxury coach and journey along the shores of Lake Wakatipu into rolling countryside through to Te Anau. Take a short break, then continue along the spectacular alpine route of the Milford Road. Enjoy photo stops and short walks along the way. Relax on an extended nature cruise of Milford Sound to the Tasman Sea and admire the fiord’s wildlife, waterfalls and mountains along the way. A specialist nature guide will provide live informative commentary. You can also bring your own lunch or purchase snacks and drinks (cash only) on-board. Following the cruise, board the coach for your return journey to Queenstown that allows for bathroom breaks. Be dropped off back in Queenstown at around 7:45 PM.

Queenstown: Scenic Lake Cruise and Walter Peak Farm Tour

5. 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: Milford Sound Coach & Cruise Full-Day Trip

6. 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 "Off The Rocks" onboard bar.

From Queenstown: Milford Sound Full-Day Trip by Plane & Boat

7. From Queenstown: Milford Sound Full-Day Trip by Plane & Boat

Combine a flight and a cruise on Milford Sound on this excursion from Queenstown. Take in the area's outstanding natural beauty as you savor the sights from both air and water. Enjoy a pickup and transfer to the air hanger in Queenstown. Listen to informative commentary in English and marvel at the stunning views of lakes, mountains, and waterfalls on the 40-minute flight. Upon landing, transfer to the Milford Sound Boat Terminal. Board in Milford Sound and experience 2 hours onboard an intimate vessel with English commentary by your skipper, and complimentary tea and coffee. Cruise to the mouth of the Tasman Sea, while enjoying views of waterfalls and marine life like fur seals, dolphins, and penguins. Next, board your scenic flight back to Queenstown. Take a different flight path from your outbound flight as you admire the spectacular views of Fiordland National Park. After the 40-minute journey back to Queenstown, enjoy complimentary transfer back to your accommodation.

Queenstown: Shotover River and Kawarau River Jet Boat Ride

8. 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: 3-Hour Zipline Adventure with 6-Lines

9. Queenstown: 3-Hour Zipline Adventure with 6-Lines

Take on a spectacular and exhilarating zipline eco-adventure through the native forest canopy. Make your way to the Skyline Gondola summit and meet your experienced guides. Harness up and feel the wind in your face as you glide down breath-taking ziplines. Traverse down the mountain tree-to-tree via twelve aerial, tree-top platforms, with the highest tree-house at 25-meters above the ground. Launch from deck to deck and your guides will be there to help you at every platform. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. Admire the spectacular views of Lake Wakatipu and the remarkable mountain range as you zipline through the trees. Listen to light-hearted and interesting stories about local history, myths, and legends at each suspended tree-house. Walk downhill through the beech forest for 20-minutes with a guide to reach the finish, where you will ride the world's steepest tree-to-tree zipline, descending at speeds of up to 70kph.

Milford Sound: Premium Small Group Tour from Queenstown

10. Milford Sound: Premium Small Group Tour from Queenstown

Discover New Zealand's renowned Milford Sound on this tour from Queenstown. Take in the sighs in style aboard a Mercedes minivan equipped with Wi-Fi, bottled water, and large viewing windows. Expereince the stunning scenery of Milford Fjord on scenic cruise.  Be picked up from the comfort of your accommodation in Queenstown or central meeting points along the route. Enjoy plenty of stops along the way to Milford. Board a boat for a 2-hour cruise along the fjord, where you can feast your eyes on the spectacular sights and go under waterfalls. Allow your local guide to provide you with informative commentary while you absorb the lush surroundings views. Along the way, you'll see everything from cascading waterfalls, mirrored lakes, and awe-inspiring mountains to fur seals and dolphins.  Stop at a beech forest where you can take a leisurely stroll. Travel back to your hotel in Queenstown at the conclusion of your tour. 

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Other Sightseeing Options in Otago

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What people are saying about Otago

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 4,203 reviews

This experience exceeded all of my expectations. The cruise across the lake was enjoyable - I loved that we could explore the TSS Earnslaw. The lunch and farm experience were amazing - delicious food, friendly service and a beautiful location. I have already recommended it to family and friends.

Lovely boat trip and scenery was sensational. The homestead was just beautiful and we are still talking about the delicious food. Highly recommend

A wonderful experience and although it was raining the scenery was breathtaking with all the many waterfalls that were formed.

Loved this tour! Great full day tour packed with scenic stops and sights.

One of the best things we've ever done in Queenstown!