Known as the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown does not disappoint on the activities front. With endless opportunities from jumping head first off of bridges to panoramic helicopter flights, you’ll be left spoilt for choice and definitely not bored.
With so many top-notch activities it can be hard to pick which ones to do. Thanks to a recent trip to the land of the long white cloud and my own personal experiences, I have put together the below list of what I consider to be the top 5 must do activities during your Queenstown adventure.
- Bungy Jumping:
Bungy jumping has been something I’ve wanted to do forever and I couldn’t believe I was finally doing it. Standing on that ledge looking down waiting to fall/be pushed/jump was absolutely nerve racking; no wonder I may have let a few swear words out as gravity pulled me down. What an experience it was though, and one I would do again for sure – in fact I added to my bucket list to complete all AJ Hackett bungy jumps worldwide.
Not only is Queenstown dubbed the adventure capital of the world, it is also home to the world’s first bungy jump at Kawarau Bridge. Situated 43m above the Kawarau River, a little ledge sticks out waiting for its’ next willing adrenaline fuelled victim to stand aboard and prepare to dive head first down below. If plummeting towards a fast flowing river doesn’t get you excited, there are two other bungy locations situated in Queenstown; the Ledge where you jump amongst the forest 400m above Queenstown or the Nevis, the highest bungy in New Zealand sitting 134m above the Nevis River – this one is the ultimate choice for those true adrenalin junkies.
Note: the Nevis bungy costs NZ$80 more than the Kawarau or Ledge bungy’s.
- Shotover Jet
The shotover jet is another one of those iconic activities so many tick off during their time in Queenstown. Zooming through the shotover at incredible speeds you feel like your floating above the water, while experiencing 360° spins, is thrilling. And while the most well known company to do this activity with is the Shotover Jet Company ($135pp), there are great package deals available if you look hard enough.
Glacier Southern Lakes’ High Flyer deal is a financially friendly and time efficient way to tick off more than one activity during your time in Queenstown.
The combo includes a variation of the shotover jet, a helicopter ride to the peak of the Remarkables, 3 luge rides and return gondola all for only $350pp.
The shotover took us through the Kawarau and Shotover Rivers, included 360° spins and picturesque views of Queenstown. An activity that should definitely be on your Queenstown bucket list; I warn you though, be prepared to get wet especially during the spins!
- Helicopter Ride over Queenstown
The helicopter flight to the peak of the Remarkables is something I would highly recommend, whether it’s with the combo or a separate activity. You hop aboard a Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopter at Queenstown Airport and head to the peak of the Remarkables. With an alpine landing on the Remarkables spur, overlooking Queenstown and the Wakatipu basin, with Coronet and Cecil Peaks in the distance, a sensational photo opportunity at 5,000 feet lay before you. The only negative is the experience lasts a mere 20 minutes. The endless views from both the helicopter and the Remarkable will make you want to stay high above forever.
The third activity in the High Flyer combo is another iconic Kiwi activity, luge-ing. For those who aren’t sure what a luge is, it’s very similar to a go-cart, except with no motor, gravity fuelled and the rider has full control over speed and direction using a unique braking and steering system. Jump on your specialised Luge cart, select your track (you must do the blue track – considered a leisurely ride with a gentle gradient, easy bends, tunnels and dips – for your first ride of the day before you take on the red track – steeper gradients and a more adventurous ride with the thrill of banked corners, tunnels, dippers and cuttings) and ride on down the hill. Catch the Luge chairlift back to the start zone where you can do it all over again depending on how many ride you’ve purchased. The High Flyer combo entitles you to a return gondola ticket (usually $33pp) and 3 luge rides each (usually $50pp, which includes gondola ride).
5. Ziptrek Ecotour
Here you have the opportunity to zipline through beautiful woods that open up to some of the most spectacular views with Ziptrek Ecotours. There are two tour options; Moa Tour, which consists of four ziplines or the Kea Tour, which has six zips including the world’s steepest one. I completed the Moa tour which took approximately an hour and a half, and is usually $135pp, however, there was a special deal where you if you did it at 10am it would only be $99pp so I managed to score myself another bargain! Note: the gondola ticket is not included in the tour price so you will need to fork out an additional $33 for your gondola ticket.
Other must do activities to consider:
It was really hard to narrow down the list to only 5 so I thought I’d conclude with a cheeky list of a few extra in case any of the above 5 don’t take your fancy. Aside from doing some full on adrenalin rushing activities I did also do some rather leisurely, chilled out activities including:
- A 90minute relaxing cruise thanks to Million Dollar Cruise. For only $35pp, the family owned business takes you to the most exciting places of the lake while sharing intriguing facts, stories and history of the area. Disclaimer: I unfortunately got a head cold while I was in Queenstown so was feeling a little run down majority of the time, so I actually ended up falling asleep 20minutes into this cruise and woke up about half an hour later.. so I didn’t actually get to experience it all, but the parts I did weren’t all that bad.
- Why not chill out, literally, in minus 5° (celsius) temperatures at Minus 5 Ice Bar. Note: keep an eye out for discount vouchers in leaflets and and guides that are floating around Queenstown, I picked up a bucket load of leaflets from the accommodation front office and found a handy 2-for-1 voucher for the Ice Bar in there along with a bucket load of other discount vouchers!
- Enjoy dinner one night at Flame Bar and Grill– so so so recommend this place! Despite being a little pricey, the food was well worth the price! Note: I would suggest making a booking at least a day before you plan on going.
Article also available on Looking For Lily here.