Ever wondered why Queenstown is such a hit with thrill seekers? Well, New Zealand’s most popular tourist destination is packed with adrenaline fuelling activities — inland, on its shores and right up in the sky. With a world of ‘firsts’ under its belt, and a naturally exhilarating landscape, here are eight reasons why this resort town is the perfect spot for your next adventure.
Queenstown started the bungy jumping craze
A.J. Hackett’s first bungy jumping installation, on Queenstown’s Kawarau Bridge, is credited as the world’s first commercial operation of its kind. Since that first leap of faith in 1986, New Zealand’s love affair with the extreme activity has been unmatched and ongoing. The original jump spot is still very much in action, and attracts tourists all year round. Kawarau Bridge is also the only place in Queenstown you can try your hand at a tandem bungy.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Queenstown is also home to the world’s largest swing
Formerly known as the Nevis Arc, the Nevis Swing is another pioneering brainchild of AJ Hackett Bungy. Stretching across an ample 120 metres (394 feet), this swing is not only the world’s largest, it’s also the fastest. Daredevils who take up the Nevis Swing challenge will be led to a 70-metre suspension bridge before they reach an elevated launch pad. Once the harnesses are on, you’ll be released from the 160-metre (524-foot) deck, swinging towards the valley at a gushing 120 kilometres (75 miles) per hour.
Queenstown is the prime tandem skydiving destination
NZONE, which has been thrilling Queenstown’s visitors since 1990, is New Zealand’s first tandem skydiving operation. Even the novice skydivers can get in on the action: no matter your skill level, you’ll be harnessed up to an experienced jump master who will lead you on a heart-stopping 4572-metre (15,000-foot) free-fall. The 60-second plunge is a sensory experience that’s hard to beat. If you want to solidify those memories, NZONE can arrange for photos and videos to be taken during the plummet.
The Dart and Shotover Rivers are a jet boating dream
Imagine shooting over a river canyon, on a small jet boat, at 80 kilometres (50 miles) per hour. Now, picture yourself getting into a few 360-degree spins as you zoom across those crystal-clear waters. That’s what you can expect from Queenstown’s jet boating adventures. The Dart and Shotover Rivers are the local go-tos for this adventurous ride. The journey is as scenic as it is epic, with plenty of jaw-dropping landscapes to admire as you circumnavigate those rocky outcrops.
White water rafters will relish the local canyons and rivers
The Shotover River, the Skippers Canyon, and the Kawarau River are the local hot-spots for white water rafting. If you want to immerse yourself on those rafts, expect to traverse an array of narrow river rapids and cascades. Beginners and experts alike can get a solid adrenaline fix, as each route is graded according to difficulty. Many operators offer jet boating and white water rafting combos as well, so don’t feel like have to choose between one or the other.
There are plenty of places to get into mountaineering and abseiling
Mt Aspiring, Mitre Peak, The Remarkables, Milford Sound, Mt Earnslaw, Mt Brewster…saying that Queenstown is surrounded by mountains would be a huge understatement. If you want to get up close and personal to those scenic mountain ranges, there are plenty of ways of doing so. For instance, Via Ferrata offers a unique twist to outdoor rock climbing — you get to support yourself on fixed iron steps as you climb up the rocky cliffs. As for mountaineering and abseiling, Queenstown Mountain Guides and Climbing Queenstown are the main companies who will get you exploring the alpine horizons.
A Milford Sound expedition is right on your doorstep
Head over to Fiordland National Park, so that you too can revel in the majestic Milford Sound. From there, you’ll have access to two of New Zealand’s Great Walks: the Milford Track and the Routeburn Track. Both of these take multiple days to complete — you can either camp on-site or book a hut in advance. If you want to familiarise yourself with the area’s pristine waters, kayaking is another adventurous activity worth pursuing.
Ski fields are aplenty
Queenstown is home to some of New Zealand’s prime skiing destinations. Its main terrains are The Remarkables, Cardrona, Coronet Peak and the Snow Farm Ski Field, all of which are a short drive from the town centre. If you’re heading into Wanaka, Treble Cone is another popular spot to put on your to-do list. Each of these world class facilities offer slopes for all abilities and skill levels. Keen powder shredders can also grab special season passes that will grant them unlimited access to some of the best ski resorts in the vicinity.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.