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Otago

Our most recommended things to do in Otago

Queenstown: Milford Sound Coach & Cruise Full-Day Trip

1. 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 close to Stirling Falls to feel the spray from some of the world's freshest water.  Benefit from complimentary tea service is available for the entire cruise and, snacks cakes and drinks can be purchased from onboard cafe / bar.

Queenstown: TSS Earnslaw Cruise & Walter Peak w/ Gourmet BBQ

2. Queenstown: TSS Earnslaw Cruise & Walter Peak w/ Gourmet BBQ

Cruise to Walter Peak High Country Farm across Queenstown’s Lake Whakatipu onboard the historic TSS Earnslaw. 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 Whakatipu.Once at the lakeside Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant savour the delicious aromas as our chef has the best of local produce sizzling away on the grill. The buffet includes salads, vegetables, and succulent local meats cooked on the wood-fired BBQ. There is a wide range of delicious desserts on offer, including a vast array of fresh bread and cheese.Overlooking Lake Whakatipu and Queenstown's alpine scenery, the Colonel’s Homestead at Walter Peak High Country Farm is the perfect place to spend a few hours. Its colonial architecture and sweeping grounds evoke the elegance of a bygone era. An entertaining farm demonstration the whole family will enjoy is also included. If there is time remaining, explore the beautiful lakeside gardens before re-boarding onto the TSS Earnslaw for the return trip to Queenstown. 

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

3. 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.

From Queenstown: Milford Sound Cruise and Coach Day Trip

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

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-coach. Board the luxury glass-roof coach in Queenstown and journey along the shores of Lake Whakatipu into rolling countryside through to Te Anau. Here we take a short rest stop at a cafe before continuing along the spectacular alpine route of the Milford Road. Enjoy spectacular photo stops and short walks along the way. Relax on the 2-hour cruise of Milford Sound to the Tasman Sea and admire the fiord’s wildlife, waterfalls and mountains. Our experienced skippers tailor each Milford Sound cruise, considering the weather and recent wildlife sightings, ensuring you'll see the best Milford Sound has to offer. Specialist nature guides will provide live informative commentary.Our vessels have large windows, spacious decks and offer uninterrupted views of the dramatic Fiordland landscape. Experience the cool spray of a waterfall as you cruise close to sheer rock faces.  You can bring your own lunch or purchase delicious locally curated dishes, wines, craft beer and barista coffees on-board. Following the cruise, board the coach for your return journey to Queenstown.

Queenstown: Shotover River and Kawarau River Jet Boat Ride

5. 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 the 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: TSS Earnslaw Cruise of Lake Whakatipu

6. Queenstown: TSS Earnslaw Cruise of Lake Whakatipu

It’s New Zealand’s most iconic boat and one of Queenstown’s most historic destinations.The leisurely 90-minute cruise across Lake Whakatipu showcases some of Queenstown’s spectacular alpine scenery while offering you plenty of time to explore a piece of Queenstown’s living history – the over one hundred year-old TSS Earnslaw.Listen to engaging commentary from your experienced captain who will highlight points of interest throughout your cruise. 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. You can choose to undertake just the cruise, or combine it with a visit to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a guided farm tour, horse trek, eco experience or our famous gourmet barbecue lunch/dinner. Please note that we have separate listings for these combo options.

Milford Sound: Boutique Small-Boat Cruise

7. 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.

Queenstown: Minus 5 Ice Bar Experience with Drink Options

8. Queenstown: Minus 5 Ice Bar Experience with Drink Options

On arrival in the famous Steamer Wharf, meet your Ice Hosts in the reception area where you’ll be greeted with smiles and checked-in for your Antarctic Experience. From there, you will be fitted out in our cozy custom-made jackets, gloves & boots if needed. Your host will then lead you and your group into the ice bar, with a quick briefing before being immersed into an icy wonderland. Step inside the ice bar, where everything from the walls and furniture to the bar are hand-crafted from over 18 tonnes of crystal clear ice. For the next hour you’ll get to interact with carved ice sculptures while enjoying a delicious cocktail or non-alcoholic mocktail served in an ice glass! You are welcome to bring your own camera, or there will be staff taking photos that will be available for purchase at the end of your experience

Queenstown: Lake Whakatipu Boat Trip

9. Queenstown: Lake Whakatipu Boat Trip

Aboard the Queenstown Lake Cruise, you will discover mountains, forests, and hidden coves as our skipper shares tales of the lake's history. Admire Bob's Cove, Mt Earnslaw and the Southern Alps during our 1 hour and 30-minute cruise. Whether with family, friends, or a special someone, join us to uncover Queenstown's natural beauty. Relax onboard with our café and bar with the opportunity to pre-order a cheese/charcuterie board. As a local family business, we're proud to showcase Lake Whakatipu's secrets and leave you with cherished memories of Queenstown's landscapes.

Queenstown: TSS Earnslaw Cruise and Walter Peak Farm Tour

10. Queenstown: TSS Earnslaw Cruise and Walter Peak Farm Tour

Explore this working high country farm, providing a number of authentic experiences. Situated on the picturesque shores of Lake Whakatipu, with a colonial homestead and beautiful lakeside gardens, Walter Peak High Country Farm is the perfect place to spend a relaxing few hours. Begin this combo tour with a relaxing scenic boat ride across Lake Whakatipu aboard the iconic century-old coal-fired steamship, the TSS Earnslaw. 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. You will be greeted by our rural host upon disembarking the TSS Earnslaw, who will take you to the amphitheatre, where you will watch the remarkable skill with which the farm dogs round up sheep from the paddocks. Enjoy a walking tour of the farmyard, visiting the holding pens, where you can help feed the sheep and deer and even get up close to the Scottish Highland Cattle. Then a stroll to the charming old woolshed for morning or afternoon tea. You may have time to wander through the lakeside gardens before you re-board the TSS Earnslaw for your cruise back to Queenstown.

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Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 6,817 reviews

This experience was worth every penny in our opinion! We were picked up by shuttle bus in Frankton as pre arranged and taken to the airport, and basically everything ran like clockwork. Our pilot and guide Liam was just wonderful, knowledgable, interesting, and flew us all expertly. The views of snow capped mountains, lakes, valleys and rivers from above was breath taking, it’s hard to explain how amazing it all was. The boat tour around Milford Sound was not packed so there was plenty of space to move around the deck, take pictures and enjoy the sights. We really can’t recommend this trip enough, so glad we did it, if you can afford to treat yourself to this half day trip….. JUST DO IT!

We completely loved the whole experience, from start to finish a very professional but brilliantly entertaining team . Our guide ( Mr Gee , legend! ) not only gave us confidence and safety but brought us fun and great team work with our fellow rafters plus so much insight into the nature of your beautiful island not forgetting is remarkable life stories , a memory we will never forget and highly recommend 🥰Thank you so much 🙏

Great opportunity to see wild penguins We had so many coming that we couldn't get much info but we could ask a lot of questions personally. People could leave at any point (except when penguins were coming) which was a little distracting

I absolutely highly recommend this activity, Sarah was an awesome guide and looked after us, very knowledgeable and professional, We're an older couple and hard no issue climbing, great day with some great memories and pictures

We saw 104 little blue penguins and 13 New Zealand fur seals! I could have watched the penguins come ashore all night. Really enjoyable experience!