Where to Find Adventure in Queenstown
Welcome to Queenstown, home of New Zealand’s most heart-pumping, undie-staining, breathtaking activities. They don’t call it the “Adventure Capital” for nothing! While you’re in this picturesque Otago town, it would almost be a crime to not do at least one of the adrenaline activities listed here. Whether you get more excited from adrenaline thrills high in the sky, on the water or on land, you’ll definitely find the right insane thing to do with this list of adventure activities in Queenstown.
While you’re here, you might also want to check out 10 Queenstown Must-Dos.
1. Take the Leap with a Bungy Jump
Want to experience what a pure shot of adrenaline feels like? Nothing comes quite as close as leaping into the abyss. Bungy jumping is a Kiwi invention offering heart-flipping thrills. There are three epic bungy jumps to choose from in Queenstown. The 43m (141ft) jump from the Kawarau Bridge Bungy, which is the world’s first commercial bungy site. There’s also the Ledge Bungy where you’ll be strapped into a body harness for some freestyling moves as you leave from 47m (154ft). Or if you have a more “go big or go home” mantra, then choose the Nevis Bungy where you’ll leap 134m (440ft) above the Nevis Canyon with an 8.5-second freefall.
2. Jet Boat Down Narrow River Canyons
Another New Zealand invention, the jet boat offers a high-speed boat ride like no other. Skim along shallow waters and narrow canyons with near-misses, 360-degree spins and breathtaking river gorge scenery. Queenstown has no lack of jet boat tours to choose from, including wilderness excursions with Dart River Wilderness Jet or a quick yet powerful adrenaline-fuelled experience with Shotover Jet. Check out our complete jet boat comparison in 5 Best Jet Boat Tours in Queenstown.
3. Raft Down the Shotover River
Do you have what it takes to tackle the mighty Shotover River? Out of all the rivers in Queenstown, the Shotover River white water rafting trips with Challenge Rafting are the most tumultuous with exciting grade 4 and even grade 5 rapids. Shoot down rapids created by giant cliffs that have fallen into the Shotover River, as well as delving into the 170m (558ft) Oxenbridge Tunnel, unlike any other white water rafting trip in New Zealand!
4. Skydive Over Epic Scenery
One of the most intense adrenaline activities on any adventure traveller’s bucket list is a skydive. If you want to match this with stunning alpine scenery, then you best hit the drop zones of Queenstown. You have two epic skydiving companies to choose from. Skydive Southern Alps has you freefalling over the UNESCO World Heritage Area of the Mt Aspiring National Park and Fiordland National Park, while NZONE gives you unmatched views of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown and The Remarkables mountain ranges.
5. Paraglide Over Queenstown
Probably one of the most underrated air adventures is paragliding and hang gliding. It’s as close to flying like a bird that a human can get with nothing obstructing the views as you soar across the sky. You’ll be paired with an expert guide who will make the flight as scenic or as adventurous as you like. Plus, you have multiple options when it comes to paragliding or hang gliding in Queenstown, including Coronet Peak Tandem Paragliding and SkyTrek Paragliding. Learn more in our 5 Breathtaking Places to Try Paragliding in New Zealand.
6. Fly on Giant Ziplines Through the Forest
Fun for everyone, Ziptrek Ecotours take you high above Queenstown on a ziplining adventure. There are two tours to choose from, an introduction into ziplining on the Moa tour or some of the steepest ziplines in the world on the Kea tour. Along the way, you’ll get to learn about the New Zealand environment in between swooping through the forest like a native bird!
7. Swing Across a Vast Canyon
Experience the thrills of freefalling from 109m (358ft) before swooshing across a canyon in a giant swing with the Shotover Canyon Swing. What’s more, you get to choose from more than 70 different jump styles, from tandem jumps with a friend to riding a cycle off the edge! Make your leap as insane or “timid” as you like!
8. Fly Over World Heritage Areas and Land on Glaciers
Mix incredible scenery with one of the most badass transport methods out there, a helicopter! Queenstown Airport is the base for many helicopter tour companies offering flights to Milford Sound with a glacier landing, to remote Lord of the Rings filming locations, or for some “extreme golfing” high on a mountain above Queenstown. It almost seems like anything is possible when soaring to new heights with the helicopter tour companies in Queenstown, such as Over the Top, The Helicopter Line and Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters. Check out all of your options in 5 Epic Queenstown Helicopter Tours.
9. Do Some Self-drive Off-roading…
So we’ve established the air adventure activities, we’ve gone through the water adrenaline activities, so let’s check out how you can get some thrills in Queenstown on dry land. One way to explore the awesome landscapes of Queenstown in all weathers is on a self-drive quad biking tour. Follow your guide over exciting off-roading terrain, from mud to mountains to vast farming stations. Choose to ride with Either Nomad Quad Safaris or Off Road Adventures. Check out more quad biking options around the country with our list of 10 Places to Quad Bike in New Zealand for Adventure Junkies.
10. … Or Leave the Off-roading to the Experts
Explore some of the most exciting off-roading terrains with an expert driver on a thrilling 4WD tour in Queenstown! Blast through the Arrowtown rivers, along the vertical cliff faces of the Skippers Canyon road, and to scenic Lord of the Rings locations in and off-roading tour with Nomad Safaris and Off Road 4WD.