The ‘Adventure Capital of the World' is all about the outdoors and extreme sports. AJ Hackett set up the world's first bungee jump in Queenstown and the place has continued the theme to also offer whitewater rafting, jet-boating, hiking, mountain biking, and so-called Fly By Wire.
There is also some top-draw skiing in and around Queenstown, with high mountains that receive quality snow, while the party atmosphere buzzes constantly. There are so many places to kick back with a coffee or beer, day or night. Plus many of the restaurants operate a bring-your-own (BYO) policy so you can sample any number of wines of the region without the high tab.
The original Queenstown extreme sport can be enjoyed at several spots outside of town, as well as from underneath the Skyline Gondola Restaurant. The most accessible bungee jump out of town is the 140-foot Kawarau Bridge jump, while the Nevis Arc is the world's highest swing. Bungee jumps are organized in town and often include pick-ups.
Jet-boating is a long-time activity in Queenstown. Developed in New Zealand, jet-boats make use of turbine technology to power the vessel and can thus skim over as little as just a few inches of water. The Shotover and Kawarau rivers have the best jet-boating and you can also do a trip on Lake Wakatipu.
The Shotover and Kawarau rivers also have great scope for whitewater rafting, with high value rapids and clean waters. If you are a beginner, head for the tamer Kawarau as the Shotover River can go as high as grade V.
Queenstown is a popular launch point for some of the world's finest walk, including that of the Milford Track and Routeburn. Te Anau is the gateway to Milford, while Glenorchy serves the Routeburn. The bulk of travelers arrive from Queenstown. Lake Wakatipu also has some nice trails and you can hike Bob's Peak and The Remarkables, too.
There are several excellent ski options in and around Queenstown. The Remarkables are the most accessible to town and have ski lifts although not very long slopes. Better skiing can be had at the busier Coronet Peak, while families will enjoy Cardrona and experienced skiers Treble Cone. The New Zealand ski season is June through September.
Queenstown has a buzzing nightlife and the atmosphere always seems to be electric, with backpackers and extreme sports enthusiast still reeling from their exploits, to skiers in the winter. There are hundreds of places to have a beer—in bars, pubs, cafés and restaurants—and most are in the downtown area. Queenstown also has nightclubs and a couple of casinos.
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