Queenstown – The Adventure Capital

Located on New Zealand’s South Island, Queenstown is renowned for the haunting loveliness of its scenery.  However, for many tourists a far bigger lure is the action-packed adventure activities that can be enjoyed there. Frequently called the world’s “Adventure Capital,” Queenstown is the place many people know as the home of bungee jumping: when it comes to fast-paced outdoor thrills in Queenstown, bungee jumping is just the beginning.

Adventure with a View

These days, bungee jumping is available practically worldwide, but nowhere else will you be treated to the kinds of magnificent natural vistas that can be seen in New Zealand when you are doing it. Here, adventurous tourists do not just jump from city bridges, where the jump itself is the only true attraction; instead, visitors to the “Southern Alps” can jump from platforms extending out over forested slopes that face Lake Wakatipu.

For an even more all-encompassing view of the natural wonders of New Zealand, tourists to Queenstown can take advantage of one of the companies offering skydiving adventures. Both novice and experienced skydivers are welcomed there, with lessons and instruction provided for those who need it. A little less hair-raising, but no less adventurous, is a trip in one of the helicopters that provides tourists in Queenstown with a chance to zip in and out of the valleys and slopes surrounding the town.

Get Wet

Jumping, falling and flying can provide a thrill a minute, but many adventure tourists also appreciate a chance to get “up close and personal” with nature. One of the best ways to do this is by exploring the waterways in this part of New Zealand. In addition to jet boating on Lake Wakatipu, tourists can test their mettle by taking a white-water rafting adventure.

Queenstown’s Shotover River is the most popular waterway in the country for rafting adventures.  Tourists can easily hire a river guide to take them through Skippers Canyon and out toward exciting rapids that have earned such descriptive nicknames as, “After Shock,” “Pinball,” “Jaws” and even “Toilet.” During the more placid parts of the journey, many of the guides tell tales of the old days, when the canyon was a major source of gold.

Novice rafters or those who prefer a little less adrenaline may prefer to opt for the Kawarau River instead.  This river was featured in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies for the sheer scale of its natural beauty, but rafters enjoying a trip down it will also find that it has impressive stretches of rapids’; however they are slightly more gentle than those encountered on the Shotover.

Take a Hike

Cross-country trekking and backpacking are just as popular as water-based adventures in Queenstown. Tourists can hike a complete circuit around Lake Wakatipu, quite a trek, since at 50 miles from start to finish it is New Zealand’s longest lake. Backcountry adventures that take visitors much farther from civilisation are also available in the Queenstown area.

A great number of adventure destinations around the world tend to be “one note wonders,” because everything they have to offer falls into the same general category. This is not the case with Queenstown, which offers adventures in every domain, water, land and even in the air.

Top Image from Robert Paul Young

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