Queenstown – New Zealand’s Undisputed Adventure Capital

Built around an inlet on Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is dwarfed by the mountains that surround it.  This pretty town might fool you into thinking it’s genteel and sedate as you take an evening stroll along the lake shore, but at heart, it’s a beast.  But in a good way – this is New Zealand’s adventure capital . Here are some of the Queenstown adventure activities to help you plan your next trip!

Queenstown Adventure Activities: Queenstown from Bob's Peak
Queenstown from Bob’s Peak: Photo – Lawrence Murray CC 2.0

Queenstown Adventure Activities


Just out of town is the world’s first permanent bungee jump site at the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge.  Set up by Kiwi A. J. Hackett, it wasn’t his first organised commercial bungee jump (that was in Auckland back in 1986) but it remains one of his bases to this day.  Many others have followed what Hackett started.

Queenstown Adventure Activities: Ledge Bungee Queenstown New Zealand
Ledge Bungee Queenstown New Zealand: Photo Will Ellis CC 2.0

Shotover Jet

Probably the most famous among the Queenstown adventure activities is the Shotover Jet. If flinging yourself off a bridge towards water isn’t your thing, then rest assured adrenaline junkies can also get their fix from down below.  There are many opportunities for jet boating, but the original and most well-known is the Shotover Jet.  Celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year, the company is the only company permitted to operate amidst the Shotover River’s dramatic canyon scenery.  It will quite literally leave you breathless as it performs the 360° spins and bursts of speed that make this one of New Zealand’s most thrilling rides.


In winter, Queenstown is the perfect base for skiing, attracting a lively clientele. There are four ski areas within easy reach: The Remarkables, Treble Cone, Coronet Peak and Cardrona Alpine Resort. They’re a short ride out of town, but there are a number of specialist operators in the centre of town who will kit you out and get you over to the slopes.

Paragliding and Skydiving

The town’s mountain setting is perfect for paragliding and skydiving. If you can keep your eyes open as your jumpmaster steps out of the plane 15000 feet above the ground, you can take it all in, though as you’ll be plummeting towards the ground at speeds of 200 kph you could be forgiven for needing to view it on the souvenir DVD afterwards.  Of course, you can opt to stay inside the plane and take a scenic flight instead.

Queenstown Adventure Activities: Scenic flight approaches Queenstown
Scenic flight approaches Queenstown

Skyline Gondola

If your heart’s pounding at the mere thought of such activities, there’s always the gondola. Queenstown’s Skyline Gondola holds the distinction of being the steepest cable car in the southern hemisphere, carrying riders safely up to the summit of Bob’s Peak, 450 metres above the town. At the top, there are purpose-built viewing platforms perfect for scenic selfies. But if you really can’t give up the thrills and spills just yet, then attach your bike – the gondola offers direct access to Queenstown Bike Park which has trails for all abilities. From easy routes such as Hammy’s Track to the more advanced with daunting names like Slippery Ninja and Killer Bee, why take the gondola down if you can ride?

About JuliaHammond

Website: http://www.juliahammond.co.uk

Julia Hammond is a Geography teacher turned travel writer with a passion for places. Winning Mail Travel's Deep South competition was the catalyst to write for a diverse range of publications including Bradt's Bus Pass Britain Rides Again. She’s written Kindle guides to Cape Town, Peru and London for Unanchor and advice on Savannah for Wanderlust. When not travelling, she can be found at home in Essex planning her next trip, her two golden retrievers curled up at her feet.

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6 Responses

  1. Avatar for JuliaHammond

    Okere Falls Rafting

    Thank you very much for sharing about Queenstown adventure activities here… I really hope I can work on your tips and it works for me too, I am happy to come across your article. Great post I must admit, keep sharing more…

  2. New Zealand Winter Roundup of What to Do and See | Go 4 Travel Blog

    […] Adventure seekers flock to Queenstown for the best skiing in the country, an easy bus ride away from this attractive and social town. Powder chasers will be keen to take to the skies for a heli-ski experience – one you’ll never forget. Girls – if you’re looking for a fun getaway with your friends, there’s a special offer up for grabs at the luxury Oakridge Resort at Lake Wanaka. Your package includes heli-skiing, spa time and accommodation. […]

  3. How to spend a week on South Island New Zealand - NZ Holidays - Go4Travel Blog

    […] an early start, you can be in Queenstown by lunchtime. Nicknamed the adventure capital of New Zealand, this is the birthplace of bungee […]

  4. Queenstown Airport Guide: World's Most Scenic - Go4Travel Blog

    […] most scenic airports. Fortunately for its visitors, this isn’t where the benefits of flying to Queenstown end. The airport provides a number of invaluable services that help the airport make your trip as […]

  5. Fun in New Zealand - Queenstown Family Activities | Go 4 Travel Blog

    […] may well deserve the title of the Adventure Capital of the World. But this lakeside gem of a town also has dozens of amazing activities for your whole family, from […]

  6. Fun in New Zealand – Queenstown Family Activities – Maia Fletcher

    […] may well deserve the title of the Adventure Capital of the World. But this lakeside gem of a town also has dozens of amazing activities for your whole family, […]


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