Queenstown’s Ziplining Playground

© Laura monkeying around

139 Days on the Road

Some people hike their way back down from Bob’s Peak, some might bike, and others might take the gondola… Today, we’re doing to be ziplining down. Oh yeahhhh!

To be fair, we kind of cheat a little. Although we really want to hike up that pine-covered mountain overlooking Queenstown, we are running late to our tour (standard) with Ziptrek Ecotours, so we take the easy way up… via the gondola. (Robin had actually organised for us to take the gondola tomorrow, so we’ll talk more about that then).

a sensational Queenstown vantage point

Bob’s Peak reveals astounding views of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. With the clouds hanging fairly low on The Remarkables mountains and the Kelvin Heights peninsula sticks out like a saw thumb in the middle of it all, Queenstown really does have stunning surroundings.

Crossing a bridge over a luge track and into the woods, we spot a wooden platform in the trees. A line of harnesses wait to hug the asses of about 10 zipline-keen individuals.

How many waivers is that now?!

We sign that expected waiver form, which gets us wondering, after 139 days doing more than 139 activities in New Zealand, how many companies now have the right to kill us?

Anyway, we feel in safe hands with Amy and Henri, the two enthusiastic Ziptrek guides who have great energy and dynamic together! It’s banter central over here!

Harnesses and helmets secure, we are ready to go on a ziplining (or “flying fox” as they say in New Zealand) adventure through the pine forest!

The well-oiled machine

For each of the six ziplines we take on during this trip, it follows a sequence like a well-oiled machine. One of the guides goes ziplining first, along with backpacks and loose items we want taking down the mountain, then they are waiting on the other end of the line for us. That leaves the other guide to attach us one by one to the zipline and give us words of encouragement as we gingerly walk down a staircase that abruptly ends in midair. By “we”, we mean “Robin” at this point. Robin has spent 35% of this 365 days doing 365 activities sh*tting himself during an activity involving heights. Ziptrek is no different.

Flying through the trees… upside down!

He even takes this literally when we are challenged to go upside during our second zipline! Not too thrilled about the idea of ziplining completely upside down, he gets a lot of laughs out of his ziplining predecessors waiting at the end platform when he comes whizzing through the forest in a sideways toilet-sitting position. We told you, it’s banter central with this group! No one is afraid to laugh at each other or get laughed at!

Meanwhile, once Laura has discovered she can zipline upside down, this is the only way she wants to travel… for the rest of her life. Never mind our crappy campervan! Can we just suspend ziplines across New Zealand, please?

Getting a glimpse of Queenstown

throwing shapes in the trees

The ziplines get longer, steeper and gnarlier the further down the hill we go. Henri and Amy give us a few challenges to mix things up: leaning back without bending our knees, canon balling to catch speed, singing as loudly as possible… Whatever we do, our eyes still water, the wind blows through our hair, and we get awesome views of Lake Wakatipu between trees.

A hike to the ultimate zipline

To get to our final zipline, it’s a downhill bushwalk along the Tiki Trail of mixed pine and beech forest. Because this is an eco tour, Henri and Amy take the time to talk about the flora of the forest, the wildlife that used to occupy the forest, and sharing the company’s values of sustainability and how we can all apply it to our lives. They refer to information boards on each ziplining platform giving us visuals.

The very platform we are heading for now is eight storeys high. We are going to be ziplining 300m down, possibly reaching speeds of 70kph… This is the big one.

By now, our group are experienced zippers, so take it on with enthusiasm, jumping into the air and hanging upside down, and just enjoying the ride… (Except Robin… Robin is always an exception).

The ziptrekking madness ends with a final walk to the bottom of the gondola. Our group is buzzing from the huge forest playground we just spent 2.5-3 hours zipping through. Epic!

A totally kiwi dinner!

All that flying through the forest has worked up a serious appetite, so we head back into town to get ourselves a classic Kiwi meal at Erik’s Fish & Chips. Turns out, this place does deep fried kiwifruit! We get a $10 meal (nice!) of hoki, chips, sauce and a drink.

Once we have stuffed our faces, it’s time for the deep fried kiwifruit (and a donut – don’t judge us for being fatties), to which the friendly fish & chips owner, Ann, recommends we take them to the lakefront and hop on Perky’s Floating Bar. This is a bring-your-own-food cafe and bar on a boat! How awesome is that?!

After what we think is our most unique eating experience in New Zealand so far, we head back to Nomads stuffed but happy!

However, that might not be a feeling that lasts. Tomorrow, we are booked in to do a bungy jump. Robin might actually just sh*t himself… Join us then (if you really want to see that)…

The best way to travel New Zealand!

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See you tomorrow!

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