The travel memories people never forget or the campfire stories recalled in vivid detail often have at least one thing in common; the intense emotions that make that moment unforgettable. One of the strongest emotions is fear. In our decades of experience, we often hear people mark their bungy jump as a feeling they will never forget because they felt the intense fear and did it anyway, because they did something they never thought they could.
Whether you’re looking to safely face your fear of heights for the first time or eager for your next adrenaline boost during your trip to Queenstown, we are happy to serve up a list of the best gravity experiences in the region.
- Bungy Jumping
If you’re in Queenstown, there is no better place to challenge gravity and face your fears by completing a bungy jump with AJ Hackett Bungy. You can go big with the Nevis Bungy that is thrilling from cable car ride to the platform through to the eight seconds of freefall toward the valley below. At 134m, the Nevis Bungy is the highest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.
You can also opt for the classic Kawarau Bridge Bungy which is the jump that started it all; the first commercial bungy site in the world. A sharp gut punch of adrenaline awaits you after the 43m jump toward the Kawarau River below (river rinse optional) with plenty of on-site facilities to keep you busy including the Liquid Courage Bar, viewing deck, cafe and food selection!
Slowly rise up against gravity using good ol’ physics! A stunning hot air balloon ride at sunrise will provide epic golden hour scenes that are anything but full of hot air; from mountain landscapes of Coronet Peak and The Remarkables ski areas, Mount Aspiring in the Southern Alps and Mount Tutoko in Fiordland National Park to river views of Lake Wakatipu, Lake Hayes, the Shotover and Kawarau rivers. You will rise to altitudes as high as 6000 ft and drift with the breeze over the valleys between Queenstown and Arrowtown. After the experienced pilots at Sunrise Balloons safely return you to the ground you will be treated to champagne and pastries in the field.
If you’re safely strapped to something that flies, bounces or glides, then running straight toward your fear of heights can be the best way to overcome it! Once you get past the full throttle sprint off a high ledge, paragliding is extremely peaceful and picturesque. Feel the freedom with GForce Paragliding in the heart of Queenstown. Paragliding is a unique way to see the city, Lake Wakatipu and surrounding mountains as you soar from the top of Skyline Gondola until your feet touch down. With over 25 years of experience co-existing with gravity, GForce Paragliding can take care of your next Queenstown adventure.
The innovators in gravity experiences are at it again with the Nevis Swing. Located in the same adult playground as AJ Hackett’s Nevis Bungy, the Nevis Swing plummets you into a massive 300m arc across the valley. If you’re a real adrenaline junkie and need an extra kick, you can let your crew know if you’d like to swing forwards, backwards, or upside down…a choice you may soon regret when you’re dangling over the edge.You can also share the fear with a tandem swing!
Amoung the adrenaline activities this area is known for, it also boasts the world’s highest waterfall cable climb in Wanaka. Wildwire takes you on an insane via ferrata climb to outright defy gravity during their two, five, or seven hour expeditions. These trips are suitable for all levels, from families (10+ years old) and beginner climbers to advanced thrill seekers that have a head for heights. Embrace the wild and let the wires guide you up, up, up!
Splashing out on a scenic helicopter tour in Queenstown and Wanaka, or further into the Southern Alps and National Parks, is well regarded as a South Island must-do. You can choose what your rotor-fuelled adventure looks like with Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters; reach the peaks of The Remarkables, fly the length of Skippers Canyon, end the day with a sunset tour, or step into the landscape on a glacier landing flight. If you’re going to reach new heights, you might as well do it in style!
One of the most family friendly and weather-proof activities in central Queenstown is indoor skydiving at iFLY, a thrilling experience for the whole family or group with minimal crazy heights yet just as much gravity-related fun. You will enter the wind tunnel and glide on a smooth cushion of air as if you’re skydiving! The option is there to try some radical maneuvers with the guidance of iFLY’s instructors. Warm up for the real deal, test your limits, or take home a memorable photo from your trip; iFLY is the place to be year-round.
Ziplining, or a giant flying fox as some Kiwis may know it, is the perfect activity for those wanting to see some of the South Island’s stunning scenery up, close and personal. Paradise Ziplines will take you on a scenery-rich tour by wire across eight different ziplines. Throughout the 1km journey, you will soak in diverse views high up in Mount Aspiring National Park, through the native forest canopy, and even be traveling metres from the crystal clear rivers of an alpine gorge. During the ziplines, your hair will blow in the breeze but the speeds won’t blur the stunning terrain as you zip by. This is especially important as you’ll want a good view of an amazing slot canyon which is otherwise inaccessible to the public.
Take the Skyline Gondola to reach vantage points that are 400m over Queenstown. The top of this gondola is home to many activities including popular summer hiking trails like the Skyline Loop Track (easy) and the Ben Lomond Track (advanced), the Skyline Luge, and Queenstown Bike Park as well as various cafe and restaurant options to make a day of it. The gondola is closed to the public from April 23rd, 2023 and reopening with a brand new Gondola on July 1st, 2023.
If you’re a seasoned snowboarder or skier, go full-send at the Remarkables Parks! The park is proud of being ‘Queenstown’s Big Mountain’ with a massive 468m vertical drop. The stunning 385 hectare ski area holds four chairlifts, four conveyor lifts, and four places to grab a bite perfectly placed all over the mountain. Tackle ‘The Stash’ for the perfect mix of freestyle and all mountain riding; a park that combines trees, features, jumps and transitions so perfectly that its the only run of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Happy shredding!
We can’t wait for you to dip your toes into the best adrenaline activities in Queenstown; come on in the waters fine! Remember, taking the leap can be scary but the feeling of being unbeatable afterwards can’t exist without a sprinkle of fear.