Rising up over the stunning Queenstown landscape, Skyline Queenstown is an equally scenic, adventurous and enjoyable attraction located in the heart of this popular tourist destination.
I was lucky enough to take the Gondola up to explore all of the first-class facilities, take in the beautiful views and race down the picturesque and adventurous Luge track
What we did
The journey begins with a scenic ride to the top of the mountain. Seated in the cable car, we were carried up the mountain with ease while enjoying one of the best views of the surrounding Queenstown region. However, this was only the start of the adventure as we had a few hours to explore this popular attraction.
Once atop the Skyline, we made our way to the lookout area, which, in my opinion, provides the best sweeping view of Queenstown. The view was impeccable and with a map fixed to the railing to help us figure out exactly what we were looking at, we familiarised ourselves with a town we were eager to explore.
Skyline Queenstown boasts state-of-the-art facilities to keep all ages and adventure levels occupied, and that was evident with the amount of people, couples and families alike, who had been ferried to the top of the mountain to explore all it has to offer.
As an added bonus, the Gonodla runs throughout the day and night, so if you’re attending a cultural show or have a late evening dinner reservation, you won’t have to worry about a thing because the Gondola will be ready to take you back down to street level anytime you please.
For those chasing an adrenaline-pumping adventure with an incredible view to match, The Luge is your best bet. Riding up to the top of the track on the chair lift, luge carts hanging below, we were treated to yet another astounding view of the surrounding regions.
All first-time riders must complete the basic, beginner’s track before attempting to tackle the faster, tighter advanced track, and it’s for good reason. Lining up with other eager Luge riders helmet on head, we were allocated our carts and given a brief introduction on how to drive, steer and most importantly, stop.
After a few brake tests supervised by the friendly crew, we were off and racing. Taking the turns with speed and ease, we zipped down the track leaving a trail of laughter echoing behind us. Perfect for a range of ages, we were accompanied by seniors, adults, teenagers, and youngsters.
Once at the bottom, the adrenaline was pumping and we ran around to line up for the chairlift once again, but this time to tackle the advanced track.
This time, with no instructions but still the standard brake tests, we were off and racing in no time. Taking on the tight corners with a squeal-worthy speed and with the use of the cart now perfected, the adventure soon turned into a friendly competition to see who would make it to the finish line first.
One of the best parts of The Luge is the action camera positioned along the track capturing the experience for you to keep a memento of your adventure. These photos are then available for purchase as singles or in a photo pack from the ticket desk.
If you’re chasing a small and casual bite to eat, the Market Kitchen is the place to be. As mid-morning rolled around and our stomachs started rumbling we sat down at the Market Kitchen to grab a warming coffee and quick bite to eat.
With a selection of eats available including gourmet pies, sausage rolls, fish and chips, sandwiches and a mouth-watering assortment of sweets, the decision proved to be hard.
Surrounded by families taking a break from riding up and down The Luge to simply admire and enjoy this beautiful setting, the café was humming with chatter.
This is a great option for those chasing a quick bite to eat or coffee without making a reservation.
What else is on offer:
As our visit was early to mid morning, the restaurant wasn’t open, however, at lunch and dinner the Stratosfare Restaurant is abuzz with hungry mouths grazing the various food and drink stations.
Touting one of the best dining views in the region, the floor-to-ceiling glass windows provide diners with impeccable views of the town below and the Skyline Gondolas as they make their way up and down the mountain.
Depending on when you visit, either lunch or dinner, you’ll be treated to two different scenes. During the day, the vibrant colours of Lake Wakatipu flanked by the concrete township and rugged mountains make for a beautiful sight, however, as the sun goes down and lights turn on you’ll be able to enjoy the view of the bustling Queenstown twinkling below.
Serving up a delicious selection of dishes, the menus include a range of salads, sushi, dim sum, carvery, steak, and pasta, as well as some tantalisingly sweet treats for dessert such as kiwifruit pavlova (a classic New Zealand dessert, sorry Australia), crème brûlée, and tiramisu.
Lunch is served in the Stratosfare Restaurant from 12 pm until 2 pm, with multiple sittings over the two hours. Dinner is split into two sessions; an early sitting from 5:45 pm to 6:30 pm with tables vacated by 7:45 pm, and the late sitting from 8:15 pm to 8:45 pm with no time limit.
With the ability to seat 330 people per session, the Stratosfare Restaurant regularly feeds over a thousand mouths a day. However, with a streamlined process of buzzers notifying people when their tables are ready, the experience is as enjoyableand relaxing as can be.
The Stratosfare Bar, accompanying the restaurant, is the perfect place to unwind with a drink as you watch the sun go down over Queenstown. The bar is open from 12 pm until late, which makes it a great place to stop either before or after dinner.
An experience that is definitely on the must-do list for my return trip to Queenstown, the Kiwi Haka is Queenstown’s leading Maori cultural experience. An intimate and enthralling experience, attendees are taken on a journey through the local Maori culture and customs.
One of the most popular cultural attractions in the region, Kiwi Haka atop of Skyline Queenstown, is a great way for the whole family to learn about the indigenous traditions.
Enjoy a night under the stars with the popular Stargazing journey. Explore the beauty of Queenstown’s unpolluted skies with some of the most experienced and knowledgeable astronomy guides in the region.
Visiting a specially constructed area located high above the Gondola, you’ll be treated to uninterrupted and unbelievably clear views of the twinkling night sky.
Complete with top-of-the-line telescopes, keen stargazers will be able to spot the famous Southern Cross and Milky Way, as well as various nebulas, planets and other nearby galaxies, provided the weather is at its best.
Groups are limited to just 22 people and include one guide with three telescopes, and in the case of bad weather all sessions are rescheduled.
Though we didn’t strap on our helmets and jump on a mountain bike to ride back down to the base of the Gondola, we watched the brave few race down at incredible speeds.
With the first assisted bike lift in New Zealand, Skyline Queenstown’s bike park boasts 30 world class trails stretching over 30 kilometres in total and varying in terrain to suit a range of abilities.
How to get there
Skyline Queenstown is located just a stone’s throw from the heart of Queenstown and is a short walk from Shotover Street. Once you’ve arrived at the base of the Gondola you’ll be greeted by a wave of smiling facing ready and eager to help you get to the top of the complex with ease.
If you’re looking to drive yourself and park nearby, your only chance is getting lucky and finding a street park. Much like any area in Queenstown it’s all about being in the right place at the right time.
How much it costs
To make things easier on you (and your bank account) you can combine a handful of the attractions into one great package for less.
The options include:
- Gondola + Luge Rides (2, 3, 5, 8, 10 or 20)
- Gondola + Kiwi Haka
- Gondola + lunch
- Gondola + Lunch + Luge Rides (2, 3 or 5)
- Gondola + Dinner
- Gondola + Stargazing
- Gondola + Dinner + Kiwi Haka
- Gondola + Dinner + Stargazing
- Mountain Biking
Overall, Skyline Queenstown is one of those experiences that you simply can’t pass up when you’re visiting Queenstown or its surrounding regions.
Providing visitors with a range of things to see and do from simply taking in the breathtaking views from the lookout, cafe, restaurant, and bar, riding up to race back down on the thrilling and exciting Luge, attending a Maori cultural performance, or enjoying a table full of delicious food from the Stratosfare Restaurant.
An ideal attraction for families with kids of all ages, young travellers, and everyone in between, there is simply so much to do atop Skyline Queenstown you’ll easily lose a few hours.
Experience Oz + NZ was a guest of Skyline Queenstown.