BUG New Zealand travel guidebook
Travel safely with World Nomads travel insurance
BUG New Zealand travel guidebook

 

BUG New Zealand travel guidebook

Destination guides > Pacific Islands > New Zealand > Otago > Queenstown > Activities

Queenstown

Activities

There is no shortage of things to do in and around Queenstown and spending too long here is a sure-fire way to blow through your budget.

ACTIVITY PACKAGE DEALS

If you’re planning on doing several activities such as bungee jumping, jet boating and rafting then it may be worth looking at the several combo offers available through booking agents and hostels around town.


Some of the more popular combo offers include Queenstown Rafting’s Twin and Triple Challenge packages and the Queenstown Combo packages organised by Totally Tourism.

Queenstown Combos

Totally Tourism (tel (03) 442 7318 or 0800 423 836 (0800 4 ADVENTURE)) have a good choice of activity packages featuring activities on either the Kawarau or Shotover River.


The Kawarau Duo combines rafting on the Kawarau River and a ride on the Shotover Jet for $299.


There is a much bigger selection of combo packages on the Shotover River. These combos include bungee jumping, helicopter flights, jet boat rides, skydiving and white water rafting and include:

 

- Queenstown Combo: Shotover jet boat ride, a helicopter ride, Ziptrek and Skyline Gondola for $365

 

- Awesome Foursome Kawarau: Kawarau bungee jump, a helicopter ride, a jet boat ride and rafting on the Shotover River for $549

 

- Awesome Foursome Nevis: Nevis Highwire bungee jump, a helicopter ride, a jet boat ride and rafting on the Shotover River for $624

 

- Nevis Bungy Raft: the AJ Hackett Nevis Highwire bungee jump and white water rafting on the Shotover River for $425

 

- Shotover Canyon Combo: the Shotover Canyon Swing, a Shotover jet boat ride, white water rafting on the Shotover River and a helicopter flight into Skippers Canyon for $568

 

- Shotover Freefall: tandem skydiving from 9000ft, a jet boat ride on the Shotover River, a helicopter flight into Skippers Canyon and white water rafting on the Shotover River for $635

 

- Shotover Heli Scenic: Shotover jet boat ride and a helicopter flight to the Remarkables for $279

 

- Shotover Heli Combo: a helicopter flight, a ride on the Shotover jet boat and gondola ride for $255

 

- Shotover Heliraft: a helicopter flight and white water rafting on the Shotover River for $279

 

- Shotover High Five: a helicopter flight, a ride on the Shotover jet boat, a gondola ride, a film and a ride on the Skyline luge for $275

 

- Shotover Trio: a helicopter ride, a ride on the Shotover jet boat and white water rafting on the Shotover River for $384

 

- Skydive Raft: a 9000ft tandem skydive and white water rafting on the Shotover River for $450

 

- Skydive Heli Raft: a 9000ft tandem skydive, a helicopter ride and white water rafting on the Shotover River for $533

 

- Skydive Threesome: a 9000ft tandem skydive, a Shotjet jet boat ride and white water rafting on the Shotover River for $555

 

- Shotover Jet Swing: Shotover jet boat ride and Canyon Swing for $308

 

- Swing Raft: Shotover Canyon Swing and white water rafting on the Shotover River for $375

 

- Swing Heli Raft: Canyon Swing, helicopter ride and white water rafting on the Shotover River for $455

 

- Swing Jet Raft: Canyon Swing, jet boat ride on the Shotover River and white water rafting on the Shotover River for $475

 

- Nevis Heli Raft: Nevis Highwire bungee jump, a helicopter ride and white water rafting on the Shotover River for $519

 

- The Shotover Duo combines the Shotover Jet with white water rafting on the Shotover River for $299.

Twin & Triple Challenge

Queenstown Rafting (tel (03) 442 9792 or 0800 723 8464 (0800 RAFTING)) has combo packages that combine white water rafting with bungee jumping and a jet boat ride.


The Kawarau Twin Challenge ($259) combines white water rafting on the Kawarau River with a jet boat ride on the Shotover Jet. The Kawarau Twin Thriller ($249) is similar, but with a jet boat ride on the Kawarau Jet.


The Nevis Triple Challenge ($509) combines the Nevis Highwire bungee with heli-rafting on the Shotover River and a ride on the Shotover Jet. The Nevis Triple Thriller ($495) is similar, but with a jet boat ride on the Kawarau Jet.


The Shotover Twin Challenge ($259) combines white water rafting on the Shotover River with a Shotover jet boat ride. The Shotover Twin Thriller ($249) is similar, but has a jet boat ride on the Kawarau River instead.


The Shotover Triple Challenge ($309) combines heli-rafting on the Shotover River with a ride on the Shotover Jet. The Shotover Triple Thriller ($299) is similar, but with a ride on the Kawarau Jet instead.

BUNGEE JUMPING

Queenstown is considered the world centre for bungee jumping. Kawarau Bridge (43m) – the world’s first commercial bungee site – started operating here in 1988 and this was followed by various attempts at higher jump sites, including the Nevis Highwire (134m), which is the world’s third-highest bungee jumping platform.


AJ Hackett, who developed the world’s first commercial bungee jump at Kawarau Bridge now operates three bungee sites around Queenstown that range from in height from 43m to 134m.


Transport to all the AJ Hackett bungee sites, except the Ledge, departs from the Station (corner Camp & Shotover Streets, Queenstown).

Kawarau Bridge

This is the world’s first commercial bungee site and has been in operation since 1988. This historic bridge offers a 43m jump and is the only Queenstown site that allows a water touch.

Tel (03) 442 4007 or 0800 286 495 (0800 BUNGY JUMP)
Website www.bungy.co.nz
Price $160 including t-shirt and transport

The Ledge

The 47m Ledge is accessible by the Skyline gondola ride and is the closest jump site to the town centre. It offers night jumps during winter.

Bob’s Peak via Skyline Gondola
Tel (03) 442 4007 or 0800 286 495 (0800 BUNGY JUMP)
Website www.bungy.co.nz
Price $160 including t-shirt and gondola

Nevis Highwire Bungy

AJ Hackett’s highest bungee jump offers a 128km/h freefall from 134m. The purpose-built jump pod is suspended high above the Nevis River and reached by 4WD and cable car. The return trip from Queenstown is four hours making this a good half-day excursion. It’s a must if you really want to prove to yourself how hardcore you really are.

Tel (03) 442 4007 or 0800 286 495 (0800 BUNGY JUMP)
Website www.bungy.co.nz
Price $220 including t-shirt and transport

Secrets of Bungy Tour

AJ Hackett runs a behind-the-scenes tour of its bungee jumping operation that is an ideal alternative for those who want a bungee experience but are too chicken to jump. The 45-minute tour takes place at the Kawarau Bridge bungee centre.

Tel (03) 442 4007 or 0800 286 495 (0800 BUNGY JUMP)
Website www.bungy.co.nz
Price $45 including transport

3Thrillogy

This combo package is designed for hard-core thrill seeking nutcases. The 3Thrillogy combines the Kawarau, Ledge and Nevis Highwire bungee jumps into one package.

Tel (03) 442 4007 or 0800 286 495 (0800 BUNGY JUMP)
Website www.bungy.co.nz
3Thrillogy $425; includes t-shirt and transport

CANYONING

Routeburn Canyoning (tel (03) 441 3003) run three-hour trips that involve abseiling down waterfalls, swimming slender passages and plunging into pools. Canyoning trips cost $145.

HANG GLIDING

Coronet Tandems (tel 0800 46 7325 (0800 GO PEAK)), Extreme Air (tel 0800 727245 (0800 PARAGLIDE)), Queenstown Hanggliding and Paragliding (tel (03) 442 5747 or 0800 878 4373 (0800 UP THERE)) and SkyTrek (tel (03) 409 0625 or 0800 759 873 (0800 SKYTREK)) run hang gliding trips from Coronet Peak. Flights generally last only 10-15 minutes depending on weather conditions, although the entire trip lasts around 2½ hours including transport to and from Coronet Peak. Most hang gliding companies charge $195 for a tandem flight, although during winter there is a higher launch site that costs a little more. Prices include return transport from Queenstown.


Most of the hang gliding companies also operate tandem paragliding trips.

JET BOATING

While every little town and village in New Zealand seems to have a jet boat operator, it’s important to realise that Queenstown played a pioneering role in the jet boating industry and is still regarded by many as the place to go for a spin on a river.

Kawarau Jet

The Kawarau Jet (tel (03) 442 6142 or 0800 529 272 (0800 KAWARAU)) is the world’s first commercial jet boat operation and the 43km ride combines both the Kawarau and Shotover Rivers and features plenty of 360º spins. Kawarau Jet costs $89 and departs from the town pier right in the centre of Queenstown.

Shotover Jet

The Shotover Jet (tel (03) 442 8570 or 0800 802 804) operates exclusively on the Shotover River. It is a shorter and more expensive ride than the Kawarau Jet, but it is a more exciting ride taking you deep into the Shotover River Canyon. It costs $109 and includes transport to and from the Station (corner Camp & Shotover Streets, Queenstown).

PARAGLIDING

Coronet Tandems (tel 0800 46 7325 (0800 GO PEAK)), Extreme Air (tel 0800 727245 (0800 PARAGLIDE)) and Queenstown Hanggliding and Paragliding (tel (03) 442 5747 or 0800 878 4373 (0800 UP THERE)) run paragliding flights from Coronet Peak. Flights generally last only 10-15 minutes depending on weather conditions, although the entire trip lasts around 2½ hours including transport to and from Coronet Peak. Most paragliding companies charge $195 for a tandem flight.


Most of the paragliding companies also operate tandem hang gliding trips.

SCENIC FLIGHTS

You have the choice of taking a scenic flight in a helicopter, acrobatic bi-plane or a regular plane. A lot of backpackers take a helicopter flight as part of a combo package or heli-rafting trip.

Actionflite

Actionflite (tel 0800 4 788687 (0800 4 STUNTS)) has acrobatic bi-plane rides that are much more than a scenic flight. It’s a fast adrenaline-pumping ride of a lifetime that will give you an absolute buzz as your pilot takes the Pitts Special through a series of acrobatic stunts that you would normally only see at an airshow. The flight costs $295.

The Helicopter Line

The Helicopter Line (tel (03) 442 3034) run scenic flights that include a 20-minute flight over the Remarkables ($190), a 50-minute flight over the Southern Alps with a snow landing on Jura Glacier ($420) and a 1½ hour flight to Milford Sound that includes three landings in the mountains ($650).

SKIING & SNOWBOARDING

With all the activities on offer, it’s easy to forget that Queenstown started out as a ski resort. The two main ski areas are Coronet Peak and the Remarkables, although Queenstown can also be used as a base for Cardrona and Wanaka’s Treble Cone.

Coronet Peak

People have been skiing at Coronet Peak since 1947, making it New Zealand’s oldest ski area. It is the closest resort to Queenstown, has a long season and gets very busy on weekends during the season. A full day lift pass costs $93.

The Remarkables

The Remarkables is also a popular ski area but it is less crowded than Coronet Peak. A full day lift pass $87.

Multi-Day Passes

The same company runs both Coronet Peak and the Remarkables and multi-day lift passes work at both resorts. A three-day pass valid at both ski areas costs $263.

SKYDIVING

If a 134m bungee jump isn’t high enough you can always jump out of a plane and freefall at 200km/h. Nzone operates tandem skydives where you have the option of jumping at 12000ft (45 seconds freefall) or 15000ft (60 seconds freefall).

35 Shotover Street, Queenstown
Tel (03) 442 5867
Website www.skydivequeenstown.co.nz
Tandem skydive from 12000ft $299; tandem skydive from 15000ft $399

SKYLINE GONDOLA & LUGE

The Skyline gondola is one of Queenstown’s longest established attractions. The gondola ride rises 450m to Bob’s Peak where you can find a restaurant, AJ Hackett’s Ledge bungee and swing and the Skyline luge track. There are two 800m-long luge tracks, a fast track and a slower, scenic track. The luge is one of Queenstown’s best value activities with rides

tarting at $8.
Brecon Street, Queenstown
Tel (03) 441 0101
Website www.skyline.co.nz
Gondola $21; luge ride $8, five luge rides $25, gondola & five luge rides $40

SWINGING

Swings are the adrenaline junkie’s latest alternative to bungee jumping. After being strapped into a harness that is attached to twin rope system, you launch yourself off the edge and free fall before the ropes change your direction and swing you in a giant arc.

The Ledge Sky Swing

AJ Hackett’s swing operates from the same site as the Ledge bungee. It’s only 47m high, but the gondola ride is included in the package.

Bob’s Peak via Skyline Gondola
Tel (03) 442 4007 or 0800 286 495 (0800 BUNGY JUMP)
Website www.bungy.co.nz
Swing $120 including gondola ride

Shotover Canyon Swing

At 109m, this is the world’s highest swing. At the lowest point you are only 7m from the Shotover River.

37 Shotover Street, Queenstown
Tel (03) 442 9708
Website www.canyonswing.co.nz
First swing $169; second swing $49

WHITE WATER RAFTING

White water rafting on the Kawarau and Shotover Rivers is comparatively good value since a rafting trip takes between a half-day and a full day for not much more than the cost of a 30-minute jet boat ride or three-minute bungee jump.


Both the Kawarau and Shotover Rivers offer grade three to five rapids, but most people find the rafting more exciting on the Shotover, which features the 170m-long Oxenbridge Tunnel. However the 400m-long Chinese Dog Leg rapid on the Kawarau is also one of New Zealand’s best white water rides.


During winter (Jun-Sep) rafting companies are only permitted to raft for one hour, which means that they have to begin at Boulder Rapid (only accessible by helicopter), making rafting a more expensive exercise.

Challenge Rafting

Tel (03) 442 7318 or 0800 4 ADVENTURE (0800 423 836)
Website www.raft.co.nz
Kawarau River rafting $165; Shotover River rafting $165; Shotover River heli-rafting $239

Extreme Green Rafting

Tel (03) 442 8517
Website www.nzraft.com
Kawarau River rafting $165; Shotover River rafting $165; Shotover River heli-rafting $239

Queenstown Rafting

35 Shotover Street, Queenstown

Tel (03) 442 9792 or 0800 RAFTING (0800 723 8464)
Website www.rafting.co.nz
Kawarau River rafting $165; Shotover River rafting $165; Shotover River heli-rafting $239

WHITE WATER SLEDGING (HYDROSPEED)

River sledging, or hydrospeed, involves riding a custom-designed river sledge through rapids. Hydrospeed operators point out that you are in control, as opposed to rafting where the guide does the steering. Frogz (tel (03) 441 2318 or 0800 4 37649 (0800 4 FROGZ)) run river sledging trips the Kawarau River (grade 2-4 rapids). A half-day trip costs $135 and a full day trip costs $285.



Follow us:

Follow us on Twitter Like BUG on Facebook