Guide To Queenstown Adventure
A look at the main adventure activities to experience in Queenstown
Think of Queenstown and you think of adventure. The place is a mecca for all things adventure and draws visitors from all over the world looking to quench their desire for thrill and spills. With a backdrop of the majestic Remarkables, Queenstown delivers a huge range of adventure activities.
As a place that gave birth to the first Jet Boat, River Surfing and Bungy operators, it's geared up to give you the time of your life in the great outdoors.
Since 1970, the Shotover Jet has been thrilling passengers strapped to their jet boats through the Shotover gorge, in places where the water is just a few centimetres deep. The Dart River in Glenorchy combines achingly beautiful scenery with high speed thrills. Their 'Wilderness Safari' explores the 'World Heritage' wilderness of Mt Aspiring National Park with a combination of jet boating, guided forest walk and 4WD safari vehicle.
The 60 minute K-Jet experience takes you on a 43 kilometre trip through the waterways of Queenstown. Departing from the main pier in Queenstown, it’s a journey across Lake Wakatipu, through the picturesque tree lined Kawarau River, before being powered into the turquoise waters of the Shotover River. The Thunder Jet boat also departs from the main pier and hits speeds of 90mph during its thrilling one hour adventure. View our Jet boating Guide.
The Kawarau River is a good starting place for beginners. This river was filmed as River Anduin for the Lord Of The Rings film, so be prepared to paddle through the heart of Middle Earth. The iconic Shotover River with its turquoise waters begins with nice, calm waters, but soon turns into grade 3, 4 and 5 rapids as you descend into the valley.
For the more adventurous, The Landsborough River trip is a three-day adventure to a remote wilderness, where you'll paddle through thick rainforest, glaciers and beside mountains thousands of feet high. The trip includes grade 3-4 rapids plus all meals, large tents, equipment and transfers. Queentown Rafting and Challenge Rafting are the main operators. View our Rafting Guide.
You’ll see plenty of paragliders descending from the Skyline Gondola high above Queenstown. It’s a scenic and thrilling way to appreciate Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables.
Coronet Peak offers a different flight experience with the highest take off point in Queenstown. G-Force Paragliding operate from the Skyline Gondola while Coronet Peak Tandems collect and drop you back from Coronet Peak. View our Paragliding Guide.
The bungy craze was born back in 1988 when the Kawarau Bridge Bungy Centre opened. It’s the place to experience the ‘home of bungy’ with the original 43 metre Kawarau Bungy Jump.
AJ Hackett Bungy also offers thrill seekers the world’s highest bungy jump with the Nevis Bungy, 134m above the Nevis River. Head up the Skyline Gondola to find the Ledge Swing and Ledge Bungy and launch yourself 400m above Queenstown. View our Bungy Guide.
Skydiving in Queenstown means falling for 60 seconds at 200kph from 15,000ft for the ultimate adrenalin rush. Appreciate the spectacular views of the Remarkables Mountain Range and surrounding area from a unique perspective. View our Skydiving Guide.
A huge range of trails, from family friendly through to downhill and freeriding, is transforming Queenstown into a national hub for biking. The annual Queenstown Bike Festival is also a strong drawcard for domestic and Australian riders.
The purpose-built Queenstown Bike Park is reached by taking New Zealand’s only gondola-assisted bike lift. A number of tracks (grade 2 to grade 6) offer differ challenges for beginners and advanced bikers. There are also plenty of guided bike tours, from companies like Fat Tyre and Vertigo, who'll take the hassle out of deciding which is the best trail to try. You can even take a more relaxing guided tour while sampling the wines of Gibbston Valley with the Picnic Bike Company. View our Mountain Biking Guide.
Skiing and Snowboarding:
Situated close to Queenstown are the Remarkables and Coronet Peak ski fields which are open from June through to early October. Over in Wanaka you’ll find the ski fields of Treble Cone and Cardrona.
Advanced skiers and snowboarders will prefer the more challenging terrain of the Treble cone while beginners can take advantage of the two nursery slopes in Cardrona. Snow NZ is New Zealand’s biggest terrain park and a draw for freestyle skiers and snowboarders. View our Skiing Guide.
The historic gold mining town of Arrowtown offers great terrain for four wheel driving. Glenorchy’s incredible scenery, used so memorably in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, is the ideal setting for horse treks. 90 minutes drive away brings you to Wanaka, a popular all-year-round resort.
During the winter, the town of Wanaka is swamped with ski enthusiasts, who flock here to enjoy the excellent commercial slopes. In the summer, tramping, water sports, mountaineering and sailing are all specialities of the region.