Queenstown is a thrill-seeker’s paradise. Locals seem to spend their time devising an ever-increasing range of gravity-defying, heart-pounding activities. Aussies are adrenalin junkies and Expedia’s travellers get their fix in Queenstown on a 4-5 day trip.
Whether you get your kicks in the air or on the water, one thing is for sure – an adrenalin rush is a great way to work up an appetite. Here’s our guide on how to thrill all your senses.
Taking the leap of a lifetime
Nicknamed the ‘home of bungy’, Kawarau (a 20-min drive from Queenstown) is the site of the world’s first bungy jump, devised in 1988 by the father of fearlessness, AJ Hackett. Entrust your life to a length of elastic, count to five and plunge head-first towards the river from a 43-metre-high ledge. If you’re looking for a little reassurance before you leap, check out the Secrets of Bungy Tour. Hankering for more? The spectacular Nevis bungy site has a dizzying 134-metre-high platform suspended on a cable that traverses a gorge. We can feel our stomachs flipping just thinking about it. As the valley floor comes rushing towards you, console yourself with the thought of the great views as you’re winched back up to safety.
Where to feast: Whether you screamed all the way down or gallantly threw yourself off the Nevis without breaking a sweat, you’ll be feeling pretty proud of yourself. Stop in for a Mr Big Stuff burger at the legendary Fergburger (42 Shotover St). Half a pound of prime New Zealand beef topped with American streaky bacon, cheese and barbecue sauce – it’s a hearty feed after a heart-stopping adventure. Sleep it off at Breakfree The Waterfront, just a few blocks down the road.
Soaring through the air
One of the best ways to take in Queenstown’s surrounds is from the air. Make like an eagle and soar high above the mountains on a tandem paraglide or hang glide – Coronet Peak has some of the highest launch sites in the area. And if you’re looking for a more sedate but equally exhilarating experience, hop into a hot-air balloon basket and rise majestically above the valleys, rivers and lakes between Mount Aspiring in the Southern Alps and Mount Tutoko in Fiordland National Park. Sunrise Balloons live up to their name with breathtaking dawn flights, and even better, a glass of champagne at touchdown.
Where to feast: If you aren’t ready to come back down to earth just yet, catch the Queenstown gondola up 450-metres to the top of Bob’s Peak – it’s the steepest cable car in the Southern Hemisphere so you’re pushing boundaries even on the way to dinner. At the top you’ll find the Skyline Bar. Its 220-degree panorama views are the perfect spot for a sundowner.