Queenstown is not for the faint hearted. Dubbed the adventure capital of New Zealand, you won’t be short of mountains to climb, jump off, ride across and ski down. Ever since the first person tied a bungy rope to his body and leapt from Kawarau Bridge in 1998, Queenstown has been luring adrenaline junkies to this South Island playground.
If you’re one for adventure, then add Queenstown to your bucket list. Here’s a list of seven adventure activities sure to get your heart pumping, some require more courage than others!
1. Ride the Skyline Gondola
One of Queenstown’s most iconic adventures, the Skyline Gondola rises behind the town and plays host to stunning views of The Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu. At 450 metres high, it’s the steepest running cable car in the Southern Hemisphere. For all the thrill seekers out there, we recommend taking the Skyline Luge back down – just be careful around those sharp turns!
2. Take a Jet Boat Ride on the Shotover
Find fast flowing water anywhere in New Zealand, and you will find a jet boat company offering thrills and spills to adrenalin junkies. The Shotover Jet company offers one of the highest-rated jetboat rides in the country. The 25-minute ride will take you dangerously close to rocky outcrops as you power through canyons on the bubbling Shotover River. Here’s a tip – wear wet-weather gear as you will get soaked!
3. Ski The Remarkables
This big mountain ski field is about a 45-minutre drive from downtown Queenstown. On sunny days, the bowls, chutes and terrain parks offer pure skiing bliss. Make sure you find time to hike from the top of Shadow Basin Chair to the Remarkables Lookout and enjoy some of the most stunning views in Queenstown.
4. Paraglide off Coronet Peak
This is your front row seat in the sky to take in some of Queenstown’s majestic mountain scenery. You will be safely harnessed in front of an experienced tandem pilot as you float through the wide blue South Island skies. The best part – you can paraglide all year round. In Winter, the launch site is a little higher at 1100 metres vertical.
5. Bungy jump from the Kawarau Bridge
Queenstown is the home of Bungy jumping. Your heart will be pounding as you stand on the launch platform on the Kawarau Bridge peering down 43 metres to the rocks and river below. This once-in-a-lifetime experience is a Queenstown essential – if you don’t want to jump by yourself, there’s always the option of jumping with a friend!
6. Take to the hills on a mountain bike
When the snow melts from the hills around Lake Wakatipu, nature reveals endless kilometres of challenging mountain bike trails. If you haven’t packed your bike don’t worry, there’s plenty of places in Queenstown to rent bikes. Here’s our favourite mountain biking locations:
7. Ride the Central Otago Rail Trail
This iconic 150-kilometre cycling and walking track was built on former railway lines that run from Clyde to Middlemarch, about an hours drive from Queenstown. The track passes through some rustic New Zealand countryside and a slew of historic towns.