Being one of the best beaches in Queenstown, Sunshine Bay is the perfect spot to visit on a hot summer’s day. The beach is excellent, it’s a short drive (or slightly longer walk) from downtown Queenstown and the views of the mountains surrounding Lake Wakatipu are great.
Sunshine Bay features a beautiful stretch of beach with some of the clearest water you’ll see in these parts. It’s easily one of the best lake beaches I’ve visited in New Zealand and if you’re looking for a place to relax for a few hours then you’ll struggle to do better.
There were a few people there when we visited (on a warm Sunday afternoon in early March) and one or two were swimming. The water looks great for a dip (wasn’t quite warm enough for us) and it’s one of those beaches that’s perfect for lying down on the sand (or small stones) and chilling out for a while.
There are a few seats scattered around and a small pier. There’s also a bathroom there but there’s nothing in the way of shops or other infrastructure. I reckon this is a great place to bring a picnic lunch or some takeaways from town.
Sunshine Bay is a very short drive from Queenstown (on the way to Glenorchy), but the signs can be a little confusing. Sunshine Bay is also the name of a suburb and there are signs pointing to “Sunshine Bay” which lead up the hill. Don’t follow these – the bay itself is on the main road from Queenstown to Glenorchy. It’s the closest beach to town where you’ll actually get a park – there are some beach areas closer, but we don’t even try and get a park there anymore as it’s always so busy.
The Sunshine Bay Track
There’s a track which can take you all the way from town to Sunshine Bay. Apparently, it takes around 40 minutes one way and it’s a great option if you don’t have your own transport. If you’re driving, I’m not sure it’s worth it though – there are a few places to pull over between Queenstown and Sunshine Bay which I’m sure have very similar views to the track. We haven’t done this track, so let me know if you have and if you recommend it!
Other Things to See Between Queenstown and Glenorchy
The road between Queenstown and Glenorchy is one of the most scenic in New Zealand and there a few interesting places to stop. I’d make sure to stop at Bobs Cove (another great beach with an impressive viewpoint), Moke Lake and some of the roadside viewpoints closer to Glenorchy. From Glenorchy, make sure to continue on to Paradise and its breathtaking Lord of the Rings scenery!
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