ADVENTURE AWAITS 10 Adrenaline-Pumping Reasons to Visit Queenstown
If your bucket list includes falling from the sky, a trip to Queenstown should be on there too. The undisputed adventure capital of the world, Queenstown is a little lakeside resort town nestled in the mountains of New Zealand’s south island and offers some extreme activities that you can’t find anywhere else. As an added bonus, the bustling, backpacker-run night life is kicking Monday through Sunday.
1. Bungee Jumping
Kiwis, the locals of New Zealand, love to jump off just about anything: bridges, cliffs, mountains, planes, etc. Bungee jumping pioneer A.J. Hackett opened the world’s first commercial bungee jumping site near Queenstown in the late 1980’s and the town has since been famed for their high jumps, extreme sports and thrills. Currently, the highest bungee in New Zealand is Queenstown’s Nevis bungee. It’s a 450ft high platform over the Nevis River, offering an 8.5 seconds of freefall that’s not for the faint of heart.
If bungee jumping is too mild a flavor for you, and you’re looking for something a bit more outlandish, Queenstown is one of few destinations that offers para-bungeeing. Yes, you can bungee jump from a platform that’s flown by a parachute dragged behind a boat. Sound complicated and insane? Well, it is.
This is likely this list’s most gentle activity. Essentially, you’re thrust from a mountain top with a pre-inflated parachute allowing you to gentle waft toward the ground while taking in a great view of the surrounding lakes and mountains. Given that it’s Queenstown, your tandem paragliding partner can twist, spin and swing you in the air for a fair-ride style bit of excitement.
4. Canyon Swing
Suspended 525ft above the canyon floor, you’re suddenly dropped, free fall 200 feet and swing across the river at speeds up to 75mph. If that’s not enough, you can backflip off the cliffside or ride a tricycle into the canyon. There are dozens of ways to start the swing, but they all end in screams.
While you may be able to skydive just about anywhere, Queenstown is reputed among the best places in the world to do it. At 15,000ft you look out over the teal, glacially fed lakes and dramatic Southern Alps and free-fall into one of the world’s premier drop-zones.
6. White Water Rafting
One of the more dangerous thrills available in Queenstown, white water rafting, was one of the first commercial adventure experiences available in the town. There are now dozens of rafting experiences available in different intensities—and up to several day long adventures.
7. River Surfing
Imagine a wave that never breaks. While river surfing is more like boogie boarding, where else in the world can you hurl yourself, face first, down white water rapids?
8. Jet Boating
Ever wanted to speed-boat down a narrow canyon at speeds over 50mph, narrowly avoiding jagged rocks and the seemingly certain death they promise? Well, it’s just another day in this town.
A must do for any avid adventurer with a bucket list, heli-skiing in Queenstown brings you high into the Southern Alps where you can spend a day making runs down New Zealand’s highest peak, Mt. Cook. At over 12,000ft, who has time for a chair lift?
10. Base Jumping
While there’s no commercial option for base jumping in Queenstown, the local resources to make it happen are aplenty. There are high cliffs and platforms and more parachutes per capita than your average military base. If you’re a highly experienced parachuting enthusiast, it just might be worth looking into.