Travelling, for many people, is all about seeking out thrills on the paths less travelled and when it comes to extreme activities, in particular, Queenstown, New Zealand may not be “less travelled” but it is most certainly a must-visit destination. Lovingly referred to as the adventure capital of the world, there is simply no dearth of adventure activities in this town, where you might jump off a bridge one morning and then swing from canyons or fly on jetpacks in the afternoon.
- 1 Things to do in the adventure capital of the world
- 2 Bungee Jump with the original Bungee Jumping company
- 3 Flyboard like a superhero
- 4 Zipline on the world’s steepest tree to tree course
- 5 Heliskiing on a path less traversed
- 6 Swing through the Nevis on the Canyon Swing
- 7 Skydiving over the Wakatipu
- 8 Paragliding in the Queenstown skies
- 9 Rafting on the rambling waters
Things to do in the adventure capital of the world
Here is The Insider's list of eight Adventure Activities in Queenstown that will leave you wanting more.
Bungee Jump with the original Bungee Jumping company
Queenstown gives you the opportunity to Bungy Jump with a company that first put this adventure sport on the world map. AJ Hackett Bungy made the town synonymous with the Mecca of adrenaline rush when it introduced a 43m jump off the Kawarau Bridge way back in 1988.
Today, you may choose to take the original 43 m high plunge from the picturesque Kawarau Bridge or even the 47 m Ledge Bungy which allows freestyle jumping (meaning you can twist, flip and spin in the air as you plummet to the ground). The 134 m Nevis Bungy is definitely not for the faint at heart and the rugged drive to the Bungee Pod is an adventure in itself, where you stand on the ledge overlooking the turbulent Nevis River below, in full knowledge that it's time to go big.
Undoubtedly, the Nevis Bungy is an adventure like no other, an opportunity to face your fears and enjoy the exhilarating 8.5-second long ground-rush.
Flyboard like a superhero
Have you ever fantasised about flying with jet packs on an endless expanse of water? Well, this incredible fantasy can come true on the stunning Lake Wakatipu.
The Flyboard is essentially a water jet board connected to a jet ski. The jet outlets convert the Flyboard into a 45-feet long water hose which allows for a most refreshing way to rise above the waters and feel like a superhero. Incredibly fun and entirely unique, the Flyboard is one of the main attractions in Queenstown and a huge favourite with adventure seeking tourists.
The duration of a ride can be anything from 25 to 40 minutes and you may choose to go solo or avail of a tandem option where a trained instructor will take you along for the ride. Whatever the case may be, flyboarding on Lake Wakatipu is one of the unforgettable things to do in Queenstown.
Zipline on the world’s steepest tree to tree course
Queenstown is also home to the world’s steepest tree to tree zipline course. The Kea course offers an exhilarating ride from a height of 30 storeys and reaches a speed of 43 mph. Lasting approximately 3 hours, the course offers breath-taking views of Lake Wakatipu and the snow-capped Southern Alps.
Although the rush of zip lining your way across the trees at an alarming rate is an obvious highlight, the stunning natural scenery is worth the cost alone. Standing high above this Queenstown forest, the top of the Kea Zipline can be reached by the Skyline Gondola and is a most memorable way to have fun, whilst learning about the local environment, the guides will also explain this to you on the way down.
Heliskiing on a path less traversed
Queenstown is famous for having fantastic snowfields with fine snow and professional skiing courses. The lesser known tracks are great as well, with pristine snow, great weather and undulating slopes dominating the area. Thus, heliskiing has made a place for itself in the list of top things to do in Queenstown for outdoor enthusiasts. For anyone unsure of what exactly this entails, a helicopter can take you up a gorgeous field of snow and you can ski all the way back down at your own pace, curating an adventure that is both exhilarating and liberating.
Swing through the Nevis on the Canyon Swing
In case you are looking for the most extreme of extreme sports, then do not forget to try out the world’s largest swing in Queenstown. Immensely tall and surrounded by unrivalled scenery, the fabled Nevis Swing involves being flung from a high aerial platform into a 100-foot free fall, before swinging in a 986 feet wide arc across the stunning Nevis valley.
A backpacker favourite and a strangely enjoyable experience, the Nevis Swing is usually at the top of most peoples list of things to do in Queenstown.
Skydiving over the Wakatipu
Queenstown is one of the most idyllic locations for skydiving in the world and jumping from a height of 9,000 ft, 12,000 ft or 15,000 ft, a one-minute free fall ensues that can reach speeds of up to 124 mph. Few experiences can replicate this exhilarating fall through the skies with the wind rushing between your toes and with some of the world's leading instructors on hand, few can argue for there being a better place to try it for the first time.
Skydiving is, of course, a popular sport everywhere, but what truly make this one of the alluring things to do in Queenstown is the breathtaking scenery, from the brilliant views of Lake Wakatipu to the sweeping mountain ranges and endless green fields stretching for the horizon.
Paragliding in the Queenstown skies
Another quintessential New Zealand outdoor activity, paragliding has always been popular for the unobstructed views and the thrilling experience that comes with being so high. As with many other things to do in Queenstown, the local scenery provides the perfect backdrop for enjoying a paragliding experience, with a view of the Southern Alps from atop the Coronet Peak being particularly impressive.
At 4100 ft, the Rocky Gully is a favourite among experienced flyers with spectacular views of the Wakatipu area, while for beginners, there is always the option of choosing tandem paragliding or even hang-gliding.
Rafting on the rambling waters
And then there is white water rafting, Queenstown is renowned for the nearby Kawarau and Shotover Rivers which have excellent rafting courses with varying degrees of difficulty. Slightly more perilous, the Shotover River includes six rapids and the 170 m long Oxenbridge tunnel offers a unique challenge in that it must be rafted in complete darkness. Definitely not for the faint of heart, heli-rafting is also becoming increasingly popular which allows for otherwise unreachable stretches of the river, to be tackled by the more experienced rafters.
For people who love the outdoors, Queenstown is a paradise that combines a little bit of everything, from the thrills, the frills, the adventure and the adrenaline with the quiet serenity of nature also in the mix. , With a seemingly endless number of things to do in Queenstown, there are enough reasons to suggest it will retain the prestigious title of being the adventure capital of the world for the unforeseeable future.