About Me and My Travels

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Action and Adventure in Queenstown, New Zealand

 Queenstown-New Zealand

Action and Adventure town

If you like action and adventure, the perfect place to visit is Queenstown, New Zealand. This town is located in the South island and is nestled amongst within the Remarkables mountain range. It is an extremely popular tourist destination, during both summer and winter, and offers all types of activities. The town sits on beautiful Lake Wakatipu, which is very large, deep and shaped like a lightning bolt. The translation of this Maori name is "hollow of the sleeping giant". Because of its unusual shape, Lake Wakatipu has a 'tide' or "standing wave", which causes the water to rise and fall about four inches every 25 minutes or so. Maori legend links this phenomenon to the heartbeat of a huge monster named Matau, who is said to be slumbering at the bottom of the lake. 

The South island is is well known for its mountain range called  Kā Tiritiri o te Moana in Maori or the Southern Alps as named by the explorer James Cook. The range is rugged and is part of the Ring of Fire. You can see the sudden change in the topography and scenery as you fly from the North island to the South. The rolling hills and flatter terrain changes to more rugged landscape 


Leaving Rotorua, North Island


Southernmost point of North island 



Photographic Illusion-Trust me the propeller was spinning



Flying into Queenstown needs skillful piloting as you descend between the mountain ranges. The airport is only five miles from the town and is easily accessible by taxi or local busses. There are plenty of hotels and rental apartments as this is a town which can be booked directly or through web services. The month of February would be an ideal time to visit for summer activities, whereas September is good for Winter season activities. Staying within walking distance of the harbor front allows for easy access to the shops, bars and restraunts. It is also where most of the tours tend to start from. 
If you are in Queenstown for a few days here is a suggested itinerary :

Day 1: Skyline and the Town

Plan to start the day by having a hearty breakfast and head over to the Skyline Queenstown for a Gondola ride to Bob's Peak. At the top, there is a viewing deck that allows you get some spectacular pictures of the Remarkable mountain range, the town and the Lake. 




View of Lake Wakatipu from Bob' Peak 

This is also where you can get the Luge ride which is highly recommended. Skyline offers a variety of luge packages for different prices . Check out their website for information on the rides and packages at the link below:
I took the two ride package, with the first being the beginners ride so you can get used to the equipment and then the expert where you can really zip down. If you want more rides you can buy the pass accordingly. 

Beginner and Expert tracks for Luge ride

This is also where you can book the Star gazing session at night if the weather is clear.  Star gazing at night in the southern hemisphere especially renowned and the experience in Queenstown is amazing. You get to see the stars from a high platform, away from light pollution and you can get to see the constellations with a high powered telescope. If you are really adventurous you can do some paragliding at the top with GForce paragliding. Check out their website at :

Having done all this one Day one its time to explore the bars and the restraunts in town. Queenstown center is not very large but it is lively especially in the evening. There are lots of restraunts, shops, ice cream parlors and of course bars. In summer the weather is great for outdoor dining. 



Lower Ballarat Street

Lower Ballarat Street has a lot of restraunts with different ethnic cuisine styles. I would suggest stopping by Madam Woo, which serves up some of the most delicious  Malaysian style prawns. 
Call ahead and book since they do get busy during peak dinner times. 

The locals say you  haven't been to Queenstown if you haven't tried the worlds most ginormous burger called Fergburger. This iconic eating place on Shotover street has lines that stretch a block at anytime of the day. It has very limited seating but you can always take your food to the Harbor front and enjoy it there. They also sell ice-cream and baked goods but its the burgers that rule. The burgers are at least 6" in diameter if not more and with all the fixings it is a meal! New Zealand is renowned for both the quality of its beef and lamb. So try both!

Travel further down Ballarat street and you end up at the Harbor front. This again is a lively place in the evening with street performers, magicians etc. 



In preparation for activities for the second day book yourself for two exiting water rides. 

Day 2: Shotover jet and Hydro Attack. 

In order to get the best out of these rides look at the weather report for a clear day and book these early. The Shotover jet ride is offsite on Shotover river. They provide transportation from Queenstown and this is the best way to get there. 



The ride is awesome. This thrilling jet boat ride  takes place in the Shotover canyon with high rock walls. The boats fly down the canyon at very high speeds and the  highly skilled drivers take the boats within inches of the canyon walls. They do numerous 360 degree spins within the narrow canyons. Its high speed all the way and its a good thing you are strapped in well. The river in the canyon is surprisingly shallow as you can see from the photos. I recommend paying the extra money to get their Go Pro video for your ride. You wont regret it. For more information visit the Shotover Jet website At:  Shotover Jet

When you get back to Queenstown head over to the Harbor front to catch what I consider the most exciting ride. Its called the Hydro Attack. If you want to get a preview of how exciting this ride is check out my video on the link below. 


Speed Boats 



Getting into the boat


The Jump

This is a high octane ride that is taken in small jet boats shaped like F-16 fighter jets. The ride is taken on Lake Wakatipu which can get quite choppy. You are taken out in the open waters and then transferred into the jet boats. The boats are watertight, noisy, fast , bumpy and overall as you will see in the video, a damn good ride. Once again spend the money and get your own ride video. 

Day 3: Segway ride and Rose Garden  

Give yourself one day to explore Queenstown by taking a Segway tour of the lake front and the suburbs. The guide of this tour gives you a detailed Queenstown history of how the first settlers arrived in 1853 and started farming. Then gold was discovered in the area and the population exploded. After the gold rush the town remained relatively quiet until 1988. This is when A. J. Hackett started a bungee jumping enterprise and Queenstown was well on the way to establishing itself as the "adventure tourism capital of the World". 



View of the Remarkables Range

The ride takes you along the lake in an area dotted with very expensive houses with a view of the lake and the mountain ranges. 
The weather in Queenstown is ideal for plants and flowers. The town has a beautiful botanical and  rose garden within walking distance of the town. Spend a few hours taking in admiring the vibrant colors of the roses. 







If time permits and you want more exciting things to do, here is a list of "must do" items which are all available in Queenstown
  • A.J.Hackett company Bungy JumpingAJ Hackett Bungy NZ
  • Helicopter rides to see Glaciers and Milfod sound. This ride is heavily dependent on weather conditions so plan carefully: Helicopter ride
  • Wind Surfing
  • Para gliding
From Queenstown don't forget to take full day trip to Milford Sound. You will find details of this tour on my post on "Milford Sound". 


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