Go for a scenic walk along the shores of Lake Wakatipu in this peaceful suburb in the foothills of Ben Lomond, one of Queenstown’s most iconic mountains.
Take a break from Queenstown’s energetic tourist centre to visit Sunshine Bay. This quiet suburb is on the edge of the city, set back from the banks of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by rugged mountain peaks. Discover its natural beauty by following walking trails, biking routes and scenic roads that cut through the suburb before stretching along the lake’s shore.
Stroll along the Sunshine Bay Walking Track, a trail that skirts the waterfront amid an area of alpine woodland. Follow the paths that lead from the track to reach a small beach on the lake. Sit on the sand and marvel at mountaintops, including Cecil Peak and Walter Peak, which rise up from the opposite side of the lake. Watch as the historic TSS Earnslaw Steamboat cruises past and look for jet boats passing at high speeds. Spot adventurous travellers drifting down from the mountains on paragliding tours.
About 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) to the east of the suburb the track meets with Lake Esplanade. Continue on this path or walk on its adjacent beach to Queenstown’s Main Pier. Here you can arrange jet boat tours on the lake and rent kayaks, paddleboats and stand-up paddleboards to explore the water at your own pace. Next to the pier is Queenstown Beach, a great spot for sunbathing, swimming and admiring the views.
Rent a bike or car from Queenstown’s town centre and travel west along the undulating scenic road. A 40-minute drive away is the town of Glenorchy, where trails depart for the Fiordland National Park and Mount Aspiring National Park. Pick up trail maps from the Glenorchy Information Centre. Water sports are also possible from the town’s marina.
In Sunshine Bay you can stay overnight at boutique hotels, guesthouses and luxury villas. With easy access to Queenstown’s main attractions, the suburb provides a good alternative to the busier town centre accommodation.
Public buses operate throughout the day between Sunshine Bay and Queenstown, with connections to Queenstown Airport. The walk from the suburb to the town centre takes around 45 minutes.