New Zealand's adventure capital

Lake Wakatipu. Photo: bcran

Hear your heart beating out of your chest and feel the adrenalin rush as you leap, fly, soar, freefall, surf, ride whirlpools, and dodge rocks at 80 kilometres per hour.

Queenstown, home to the original bungy jump and first commercial jet boating, has become the adventure capital of the world and the ultimate place to challenge your fears.

Kiwis have a tradition of turning physical challenges into a fun sport, and it was in Queenstown’s natural theme park that the first adventure operators turned their personal thrill-seeking, adrenalin-stirring pursuits into commercial ventures.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, we earned the right to wear an AJ Hackett Bungy t-shirt by being among the first to leap off a tall bridge on a rubber band. These were the days when jet-boat driving and heliski guiding had to be the sexiest occupations on the planet.

Since then, adventure tourism has become mainstream and the choice of fear challenges even richer. How about lurching 109 metres out over the Shotover River on the world’s largest swing? Or step out of a plane over Queenstown and reach terminal velocity as you plummet towards the Earth, harnessed to a tandem skydive jumpmaster? No experience needed. Up for the challenge?

Where to stay

Queenstown Lakes

What to do

  • Take one of three bungy jumps
  • Go jet boating on the Shotover River
  • Tour Lake Wakatipu on the TSS Earnslaw
  • Take the gondola to the top of the town
  • Drive to nearby Arrowtown for a peep into the region’s goldmining history

More info


Getting there

  • From Invercargill by road: 187km
  • From Christchurch: 486km
  • From Dunedin: 283km