“Wiped out big time yesterday,” the boy next to me remarked, displaying an impressive graze. “Yeah – took a corner too fast.” he grinned. “Won’t happen today.”
I’m not into extreme bike trails so I left him and his mates hitching a gondola ride to the top of the Ben Lomond track and cycled off to tackle the lake path instead.
I’m lucky to live in Queenstown.
Nestled beside Lake Wakitipu in the heart of the southern mountains, Queenstown is aptly styled ‘Adventure Capital of New Zealand’. Whether you’re a first-time jelly-legs or serious adrenaline addict, there’s an adventure to challenge you here. And over the years, my family’s tackled quite a few.
Here are six of our favorites…
NZSki.com gets you to the top of two of NZ’s premiere downhill ski areas (Coronet Peak and The Remarkables) within half an hour, not to mention the slightly further away Nordic Skiing option of The Snow Park. Also within easy reach are two other premier ski fields at nearby Wanaka: Cardrona and Treble Cone.
Just beyond the shopping, restaurants, bars and hotels of downtown Queenstown, the rugged outback awaits. This is four-wheel-drive country and if you don’t have your own there are plenty of companies to take you there in whatever degree of comfort (or not) you desire. We went in an SUV, but you can try motorbike and quad bike options, or there are plenty of tracks only accessible by foot.
Jenny did the four-jump combo in ONE day. The historic Kawerau Bridge bungy: “Awesome!” The Nevis Bungy and Swing: “Lost my stomach!” The Ledge: “Did a somersault off that one. Wicked!”
So many to choose from. The Shotover Jet is half an hour of thrills; spins and speed through the white-water canyons of the Shotover River. The Kawerau jet gives a longer journey over the lake first, but 45 minutes up the road in Glenorchy is my personal favourite – jet boating up the Dart.
A 16th birthday present for Chris and Renato, flying high behind the roaring jet boat as it zoomed around the lake – lucky parents got to watch.
If you hanker for heights, Queenstown’s got plenty. Tandem paragliding and hang-gliding companies regularly leap off the mountain tops, or you can go all the way up and try ballooning or, skydiving. Or why not head out from the airport in an L29 fighter jet for a spot of aerobatics?
Ziptrek Ecotours offers six zip-lines to whizz you through the forest canopy, giving spectacular views on an exhilarating ride. The eco-information offered at each stop is short and sweet – just right to take in while waiting for your turn to “fly”.
Wherever you go in New Zealand, you can find an adventure. The rugged mountains, myriad lakes and rivers and spectacular coastline offer endless possibilities for tramping, climbing, fishing, cycling and more. But if you want it all on your doorstep, then come to Queenstown. You won’t be disappointed.
(Visit http://www.queenstownnz.co.nz/information/ to discover more.)