Queenstown, New Zealand
World-renowned for its adventure, Queenstown is home to a huge choice of adrenaline based activities ... However, if like us, your desire is to explore at a more relaxed pace, there’s also plenty on offer.
The Queenstown Skyline Complex sits high on Bob's Peak, and is reached by the gondola cableway. The entrance to catching it, is located 5 minutes by foot from central Queenstown.
Although I dislike heights, I didn't find the gondola ride to Bob’s Peak too uncomfortable ... if anything, it gave me a thrill. The views from the top are superb, providing a stunning bird's-eye panorama of The Remarkables, and Lake Wakatipu. There is a shop, restaurant, toilets and plenty of seating up there, but the views are the thing. Plus there’s the luge. We didn't try it, but our traveling companions enjoyed the experience.
Queenstown is known for its spectacular skiing and snowboarding, and turns into a winter sports paradise from May to August. Although a non-skier, we took the bus up to The Remarkables ski fields and appreciated the scenery ... For me, it was my first encounter ever, with snow. It had fallen the night before, and was crisp and powdery. You don't have to ski to enjoy the area.
We also hopped on the last surviving steamship on Lake Wakatipu, the “TSS Earnslaw”.
It was a lovely cruise with spectacular views. The steamer, from a past era, was very well maintained. We took the return trip on Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak Station. Passengers can check out the engine room, and observe the crew shoveling the coal.
During the cruise, we saw stunning views of the lake and Queenstown, and amazing scenery of snow-peaked mountains. Seeing the lake from the wharf was great, but aboard this ship, it was incredible.
The Kiwi Birdlife Park is a great place to view the elusive kiwis that are rare, nocturnal and exist only in New Zealand. The park is a relaxing place to spend time. The area is beautiful with lots of trees, and other rare birds are on display too. We were able to see all of them, and the endangered reptile, the tuatara, up close. The informative show given at the start of our visit was excellent too.
For something a bit different, and amusing at the same time, there is an underwater observatory beneath Lake Wakatipu where you can view and feed native diving ducks ... (New Zealand Scaup), as well as fish, and an occasional big eel. The observation windows were huge and clean. There were seats too if you wanted to relax a bit. We enjoyed this unique experience, that is hidden under the jetty where thrill seekers board the speed boat.
Yee Hah! Boy was this fun!
I'm not into bungee, paragliding or doing too many mad activities but this was such a great adrenalin rush
Just outside of Queenstown, the Shotover jet boat team will pick you up at your accomodation and drop you off.
You get a safety briefing and a rather attractive coverall and Mae West life jacket and off you go.
The boat is very fast and able to move through incredibly shallow water. For what seems like not long enough you race up and down the canyon inches from the rock walls and do turns that push up great plumes of water (most of which ends up on you!). You can't help but smile, which is just as well as they take the usual tourist photos at the end and it helps that you smile because you will be looking like a drowned rat!
You will also want to do it all again immediately!
Bookings are essential and can be done online. Cost is $95NZ
For those of you who are Lord of the Rings buffs, tours out of Queenstown are one thing you can't miss. There are all different kinds of tours, from all-day to drive-yourself to four-wheeling adventures in the back country. The locations are incredible, and almost surprising, being next to major highways and even cities without you even knowing it. The tour I took was with Wanaka Sightseeing, which was geared more towards older folk (at least, mine was) and we traveled in style in a minivan (meaning there were only five people on the tour). However, they did a great job, including such things as actual documents from the movies, replicas of weapons you could pose with, and even a cloak that one of the hobbit-actors wore. Clips of the movies were shown with a portable DVD player, and it was definitely surreal to be standing in the exact spot as the actors!
This park is a nice, small zoo that houses many local species, including the ancient tuatara and many species of birds. The highlight, of course, is the kiwis, which are kept in a special room that simulates night. The darkness takes some getting used to (I'm sure I'm not the only one who ran into walls on the way in), but once your eyes adjust to the reddish light, you can see these small flightless birds up close and personal. They're quite amusing little animals, and it's an easy way to see this elusive, rare bird.
Skip the big boat companies and check out Skippers Canyon Adventures. For a bit lower price than the competitors, SCA offers a ride through the canyon (a must see!) on route to their boat house. They have a fantastic jet boat ride too! Just as much fun if not more than the other parts of the Shotover river. You go through pencil thin canyons, within inches of old metal remains in the river and see some LOTR sites along the way - and of course those infamous 360's!!
Queenstown is definitely the place to go and takes about 4-5 hours drive from Christchurch! On the way you will see some amazing sites and you may even decide to stop off at some of them, i.e. Lake Tekapo. If you don't wish to travel that far maybe go to Wanaka - that's approx. 2 1/2 to 3 hour drive from Christchurch. Hope this has helped. Have a great trip!
Very Romantic town with small square with several resturants and few hotels. Over looks a bay that links to the Fiord. In town you have a unique ice bar called Minus 5 where you can get an ice vodka drink and the whole bar is made of ice. As well as some British, Japanese, and American resturants. Also up the hill there is a gondola that over looks the town and the bay.
Deer Park (I think that is the official name) is a park on a mountain that has a number of unique animals roaming the grounds. Most of the animals are very docile and you are able to feed them by hand. They have food pellets for sale ($1 for a large bucket) that you take with you. You are able to drive your car into the park (campers are OK) for a price of $20 NZ. It was one of the nicer days we had in our whole NZ trip. Not only do you have the animals, but you get the best views of the area. There are also a number of Lord of the rings filming sights on the mountain if you are into that. Highly recommend this activity.
Almost everybody we ran into in New Zealand told us that we wouldn't like Queenstown because it was far too touristy and expensive. We spent 4 days there and loved it. Whether it was just walking around town, going up to Deer Park and feeding the animals, or heading up the gondola for some fun on the tabogan runs down the mountain, we had a blast. There are tourist, but your in New Zealand, what do you expect.
Fear, Revelation, Conquering!
Fear- Stepping up to the platform and realising this could be your last moments on earth.
Revelation - Jumping and realising you are still on earth but suspended in midair hanging by a giant elastic band.
Conquering - Wondering why I was so fearful and thinking next step Mt Everest.
These are just some of the emotions I went through doing my first ever Bungy Jump. I have done plenty more since and everyone of them has given me a rush everytime.
This is a must do, once in a lifetime opportunity. If your going to do anything exciting, have any bragging rights at all...the Nevis is it. The biggest rush I have ever had in my life, when I got pulled back to the top I needed to jump again. The 2nd jump was even better than the 1st! If you go to Queenstown and you pass up the Nevis you will regret it. I promise you won't be dissapointed!
It's a buzz. The Shotover River became famous for gold mining but to the modern tourist it only represents adventure in the form of white water rafting or a multitude of other adrenaline rush exercises.
Nothing quite like roaring along in your local stream then suddenly turning face on to a cliff, going within centimetres of it only to slide sideways past it before the hull grips the water and bites just as you round the next corner. Time to change the underpants.
There's another way you can approach it and that's to take the package of a helicopter ride to the upper reaches of the Shotover, the whitewater raft to the bridge and then the jetboat ride home.
Quite enough excitement for one day I can tell you.
If you want to try bungy jumping and don't have time or resrouces to go outside Queenstown to one of the bridges, there is a bungy place on top of gondola on top of the hill.
Hackett company does this one as well and is very safe. The view is amazing with the Lake on the right side.
Its not as high as the others the same company does outside town but is a good intro. Plus, the harness system is by torso instead of by the ankles so its safer for your eyes as well as the ability to do flips. (See photo)
This is so much fun!!
Wow, to really feel like flying like a bird! Beats the feeling of skiing in powder. If you don't have your certificate, you will have to go tandem with a guide. We were so fortunate to have a big enough thermal current (I'm a heavy guy) that we soared up with the thermals like a vulture soaring higher and higher not just gliding down to earth.
I can actually say I flew like an eagle. After 20 mintues, we had to go down since the next group is waiting for their turn. I asked my guide how fast these thiings can go and he said pretty fast but we loose a lot of altitude. He asked if I was up to it and I said heck yeah. We swooped down a steep dive and he pulled up just above the trees. ( My foot almost brushed the top of a pine tree) What a blast!!!
Try sky diving if you are game for it! My husband tried it for the first time. Just pop by DropZone shop in Queenstown, make payment, watch a video and they will take you up for your dive! Cost about NZ$500 for a 12000 ft tandem dive with pictures to take home. If you want a DVD-combo, it'll cost slightly more. Pix are definitely worth it if it's your first time!
Here's a pix of my hubby's dive which i took while waiting for him! Beautiful isn't it? :)