The Queenstown Gardens are a nice place to spend time while in Queenstown.
The large Douglas Fir trees help create separation from the chaos that can occur in the middle of Queenstown. Yet you still get some amazing alpine and lake views!
The location, right next to the city makes these gardens even better as it’s so easy to get to them.
If you really wanted, you could spend an entire day there given the variety of activities available in the Queenstown Gardens.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. A Brief History of the Queenstown Gardens
2. Queenstown Gardens FAQ
3. Queenstown Gardens: What to do
…Walk the Queenstown Gardens Trail
…Play Frisbee Golf
…Join the local Parkrun
…Go Ice skating
…Take on the Skate Park
…See the Memorials
…Hang out and have a Picnic
…Take a Segway Tour
1. A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE QUEENSTOWN GARDENS
The Queenstown Gardens were established in 1866.
Before this, the local tribe Kāti Māmoe had a settlement on the peninsula, but this was disestablished by the time Europeans arrived in the region.
In 1866 two English Oaks were the first two trees planted in the gardens to commemorate the incorporation of the borough. The following year the Queenstown Gardens became an official place and tree planting picked up steam.
There was no real planning involved in the planting with residents planting exotic trees where they pleased. This is evident today, but it works.
Over time as the trees matured the Queenstown Gardens were used in marking materials by the Department of Tourist and Health Resorts (this was in the 1900s).
The rose garden, which was planted with structure, was completed in the 1960s and there are about 850 rose bushes there today.
2. A QUEENSTOWN GARDENS FAQ
- How much does it cost to visit the Queenstown Gardens?
- When do the Queenstown Gardens close?
- Where are the Queenstown Gardens?
- Where is the best place to park at the Queenstown Gardens?
The Queenstown Gardens are one of the best free things to do in Queenstown. You’ll need to pay for the ice skating rink of course.
You can access the gardens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Right here on Google Maps.
The Queenstown Gardens are on the peninsula you can see from the Queenstown waterfront. They connect to Queenstown Bay Beach and you can easily walk there from the centre of Queenstown which is awesome
Parking in Queenstown is not great. But there’s a car park for the gardens here, off Park Street. You can get 4 hours of free parking here, you’ll just need to find a space as it can fill up quickly.
Otherwise, there’s parking available on Park Street and nearby streets. Just make sure to check the street signs for any rules around time limits.
3. QUEENSTOWN GARDENS: WHAT TO DO
WALK THE QUEENSTOWN GARDENS TRAIL
I’ve walked and run around the Queenstown Gardens plenty, but have struggled to figure out which route the trail is that people talk about. That said, it’s cool that the Te Araroa Trail walks through the gardens.
If you’re coming from the town direction I suggest walking around the perimeter of the peninsula to start before turning up into the forest and continuing on back towards your starting point. Depending on the exact route you can create a 2-3km walk.
PLAY FRISBEE GOLF
Frisbee golf (a.k.a. disc golf) is a growing sport and is a popular activity for locals and visitors to Queenstown Gardens.
The Queenstown Gardens course is a full 18 basket tournament course.
If you’ve never played before, you can check out the rules here, but it’s easier to ask about the rules when you hire discs which you can do from Planet Sports and the Ice Arena (if you don’t have your own).
Your accommodation might have discs available too.
JOIN THE LOCAL PARKRUN
Parkruns are a free community event that happens on Saturday mornings around the world and the Queenstown Gardens holds one of them.
The runs are all 5km and are coordinated by volunteers. If you enjoy running, head on down to the Queenstown parkrun and you’ll spend 5km running in and around the Queenstown Gardens.
In the summer the events start at 8 am, but in the winter that’ll change to 9 am.
Despite being a free event, they do track the times of participants. If you want to keep a personal record you’ll need to register and bring your barcode to have your time synced with your name.
The parkrun community is super welcoming and afterwards, they head to Yonder for tea, coffee and chats. It’s a great way to start your Saturday.
Check out the Queenstown Gardens parkrun website for more info.
GO ICE SKATING
If a trip up to the ski fields is a bit much (it’s not exactly budget-friendly), go ice skating at the Queenstown Ice Skate Arena (they can provide skates).
The indoor ice rink has been around since 1996 and attracts locals and tourists throughout Queenstown’s winter.
Tickets for those without ice skates are $15 for both adults and children and are cheaper if you’re bringing your own. Check out the booking page for further details. There’s the option to get tickets for bumper car rides as well!
Before arriving in Queenstown, look at the arena’s calendar in advance so you can plan when you might want to fit ice skating into your schedule.
The arena also hosts home games of the Sky City Stampede home games (ice hockey national league) from May to September.
TAKE ON THE SKATEPARK
The Queenstown skatepark is pretty solid and some say it’s one of the best skateparks in the country.
The majority of the skate park is a street-style course with a variety of obstacles you can use. Then there’s a nice sized bowl at the end that’s a good 3-4 metres deep.
You’ll find the skatepark next to the car park off Park Street.
SEE THE MEMORIALS
There are two memorials to keep an eye out for while on your adventures:
- The Scott Memorial (1913): A tribute to those who died alongside Robert Scott on their 1912 Antarctic expedition to the South Pole.
- The Rees Memorial (1978): Commerates William Gilbert Rees, the regions first settler who arrived in 1960.
HANGOUT & HAVE A PICNIC
If you’re looking for a way to escape the city, but don’t feel like going on of Queenstowns hikes to escape the crowds, the gardens will get the job done.
They’re big enough where you can find an isolated spot with minimal noise which is great.
Pop into Four Square and have a picnic, nap, or just wander around and see what you find. The early to mid-afternoon sun in the summer makes this a stunning area to relax.
TAKE A SEGWAY TOUR
Segways have been around for a while now, but since they never hit the mainstream as a form of transport, not everyone’s been on a segway.
Segway on Q runs segway tours of Queenstown, and after tackling some of the hills around Queenstown you’ll be taken around the Queenstown Gardens on your cruise.
This would be a way to take a glimpse of the gardens to see if it’s a place you want to visit more later on.
Check out their BookMe listing and you might find a good discount.
If you do get to the Queenstown Gardens when you visit Queenstown, let us know what you thought of them in the comments below.
Keep these learnings in your back pocket.
A solid walk that starts right next to town and has some amazing views.
You can grab a burger to takeaway from here and eat it in the gardens.