The Stray bus pulls into Queenstown… Stop number 1? The Kawarau Bridge bungy, home of the world’s first commercial bungy jump. The faint sound of screams as people jump, leap, dive or just fall off the platform will greet your ears and mark the beginning of your adventure in NZ’s adrenaline capital. Calling all thrill seekers, daredevils and, well, just plain crazy people – here’s my list of 10 unmissable activities in Queenstown.
The first thing that comes to mind when most people think of adrenaline? Skydiving. Queenstown is home to two incredible jump locations: The Remarkables (Nzone) or Glenorchy (Skydive Paradise). Both offer incredible views and the option to jump at 9,000, 12,000 or 15,000ft. I’d 100% recommend splurging on the 15,000ft though – you will not regret it!
You’ll be spoilt for choice with bungy locations in Queenstown. Looking for the best views and quirky jump styles? Check out the Ledge. If you want to get dunked into water and say that you’ve officially jumped at the first ever commercial jump site then the Kawarau Bridge is for you. Finally, if you think you’re king/queen of all things adrenaline, then just head straight for the Nevis. At a whopping 134m it’s New Zealand’s tallest bungy and takes some serious guts to leap off. So, which one will it be?
Not quite ready to brave the Nevis Bungy but still looking for an adrenaline rush? The Nevis swing is your answer! Imagine dangling 160m above the ground, waiting nervously for the AJ Hackett team to press a button that drops you into a canyon below. It’s just about as terrifying as it sounds.
You think ziplining sounds pretty tame? What if I told you that the Canyon Fox involves a 5m drop? Now we’re talking. It’s as if you get to experience the fear of becoming detached and falling from a zipline without actually falling from a zipline. Does that make sense? Probably not. You’re just going to have to experience it for yourself. You can just slide off the ledge or run straight off the ramp – either way, this activity is not for the faint hearted!
I’m going to go right out and say it… This was by far the scariest thing I’ve done in New Zealand so far. It’s kind of like a bungy jump but instead of a bounce-back you’ll swing through a giant canyon! There are dozens of jump styles, which means you’re going to want to mentally prepare yourself (and save up the $$) to jump more than once. We chose to do a tandem ‘Gimp boy goes to Hollywood’ and then I did a solo ‘Backwards’ fall. How can something be so terrifying and so fun at the same time?!
I reckon this is the easiest way to get your daily adrenaline dosage in Queenstown. Just follow these simple instructions…
Step 1: Grab all of your friends (and maybe even your Stray Driver)
Step 2: Catch the Gondola (or walk) to the top of Bob’s Peak
Step 3: Hop into a real-life Mario kart and race down the hill!
A trip to Queenstown is incomplete without a jet boat ride! You have to try out the world famous Shotover Jet and experience 360 degree spins as you speed past giant boulders. Are you a fellow adrenaline junkie who enjoys that ‘near-miss’ feeling? Well this is the activity for you!
Paragliding & Hanggliding
In my opinion, this is quite a relaxing activity but I believe those with a fear of heights would deem it worthy of this list. I almost preferred this to skydiving because the airtime is so much longer. That said, you don’t get the thrill of the freefall so, I guess, the conclusion is that you’ll just have to try both! Sometimes you just need to run off a mountain (with a qualified instructor, of course) and Queenstown provides the perfect scenery for such an occasion!
Stray is all about getting off the beaten track, so why not take that literally and go off-roading? You’ll find plenty of opportunities to try your hand at quad biking in Queenstown and it truly is one of the most exhilarating activities out there. Top tip: If you’re a LOTR fan, there are even quad bike tours that ride through the famous movie locations. Does it get any better than that?!
Don’t fret if you’re visiting during low season – Queenstown is just as awesome (if not better) in the winter! Wrap up warm, hire some skis and carve up the mountains with your friends. With 4 ski areas to choose from and multiple snow parks to show off your skills you certainly won’t get bored. Oh and don’t even get me started on the views…
Queenstown is calling! Check out our Stray bus passes and prepare to embrace the adrenaline junkie lifestyle. What are you waiting for?
Tara Manjunath is a 22 year old, trilingual Brit residing in Auckland, NZ. Despite studying politics, the creative world is where she feels most at home. When she’s not working at Stray HQ, you can find her hula hooping, perfecting her yoga poses or stocking up on peanut butter supplies. She’s lived in Spain and Russia, backpacked through Latin America and road tripped through NZ… just to name a few things! Follow her adventures at sojourneywithme.com.