Havey’s Australia & New Zealand Adventure Part 22 – Queenstown, New Zealand

nickyhavey
Nicky Havey @nickyhaveySeptember 2019 · 10 min read
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The Adventure Capital of the World

I heard many stories from my friends who have already visited this daredevil's town in the south island of New Zealand, but the message was clear - I simply had to try something that I'd never done before. Maybe "Bungy jumping" seeing as AJ Hackett and Henry van Asch set up New Zealand's first commercial jump? Perhaps skydiving, canyon swinging, hang gliding or paragliding?

There's no doubt about it, if you're not going to go out of your comfort zone in Queenstown, you never will. Fear not though as I spent a couple of days there and did the best of both (adrenaline and more chilled activities). So, who wants to find their wild side with me? Let's go!

Chilled Activities in Queenstown

Let's start off with the more chilled out activities in Queenstown as there are plenty of options. I'll go through what I did here on the 3 nights I was there but there are many more things available if you're staying for longer than 3 nights - check out the Queenstown tourist website for a full selection of activities.

Queenstown Hill Walkway

If hiking is your thing then I'd recommend doing the Queenstown Hill walk as it's very close to the town centre and you don't need to drive to the start. However, be warned as it is pretty steep even when walking from the centre of town and you'll need to have some degree of fitness to do it! To get to the start, walk up Ballarat Street then up to Mallaghan Street. Follow the steps leading to Kerry Drive, take a left when you get to the road and the next right where you will see the Queenstown Hill Walkway sign.

Getting to Queenstown Hill Walking Track from the Centre
Getting to Queenstown Hill Walking Track from the Centre

When you get to the top of Mallaghan Street, you may think you've already done the walk!
When you get to the top of Mallaghan Street, you may think you've already done the walk!

Made it to the sign!
Made it to the sign!

So as you can see from the sign, it will take around 1.5 - 2.5 hours depending on your fitness, what route you take and how long you enjoy the views for. Seeing as I'm a bit of a hiking headcase, I decided to go all the way to the summit which sits at 907m altitude... yea it was steep haha! Along the way, there are some "interpretation panels" which are basically information boards about how the Maori understood nature and a little bit of science about the flora and fungi you'll find along the way.

The trees open up to give a great view of the town as you make your steep ascent
The trees open up to give a great view of the town as you make your steep ascent

Low lying clouds over the lake give an interesting atmoshpere
Low lying clouds over the lake give an interesting atmoshpere

Walking through the forest...
Walking through the forest...

...as you get further in, it turns darker and eerier
...as you get further in, it turns darker and eerier

Phew! Made it out!
Phew! Made it out!

Once you have escaped the forest, there is a small ascent outside but make sure you follow the signs to the summit as you don't want to take a wrong turn and be walking in to no man's land! The path will start coming back on itself as you head towards the Basket of Dreams, which is a big metal basket built to celebrate the beginning of the new millennium.

The summit comes in to view as you continue on
The summit comes in to view as you continue on

The view from the Basket of Dreams
The view from the Basket of Dreams

The Basket of Dreams
The Basket of Dreams

It's not the most comfortable thing to sit on but it's a good place to hang out for a bit as you take in the lovely views of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountains. Once you've got your breath back, you have the option to go back down or to carry on to the summit. Maybe this next section can convince you to go to the summit!

Queenstown looks a long way away now doesn't it?
Queenstown looks a long way away now doesn't it?

The view from the summit of the lake
The view from the summit of the lake

The views in the other direction aren't so bad either - looking out to Centaur Peaks & Mount Aspiring
The views in the other direction aren't so bad either - looking out to Centaur Peaks & Mount Aspiring

I would highly recommend this hike as a great way to explore the natural surroundings with spectacular panoramic views and you'll get in some good exercise! Make sure you wear sports trainers at the very least but I'd recommend walking boots and take some water with you, you'll work up a sweat in no time!

Skyline Queenstown

If you wanted great views and didn't want the hassle of hiking, then take a gondola ride via the Skyline instead. It's $44 NZD return but it is the steepest gondola in the Southern Hemisphere according to the website, with quite a few activities at the top, this is a fun place to go for the family. From Queenstown centre, head up Stanley Street, follow the road around on to Main Street, cross the roundabout, then take a right up Brecon Street.

Directions to the Skyline
Directions to the Skyline

As you can see, it is pretty steep!
As you can see, it is pretty steep!

In fact, the total ascent is 450 metres so if you're on the gondola and a little squeamish, it might be a good idea not to look down! But then, why are you on a gondola in the first place, that's the whole point haha! Once you get to the top, there are some options such as the luge, a walk around the summit, restaurants at the top in what is called the "Stratosphere Restaurant" or you can just hang out on the balcony for a while and take in the amazing views of the "Remarkables" mountain range. I do love the names of these mountain ranges I have to say haha!

The panoramic from the balcony at the Skyline
The panoramic from the balcony at the Skyline

You get an idea of just how steep these summits are
You get an idea of just how steep these summits are

Around the other side of the balcony are more impressive views of the Queenstown Hill Summit from earlier!
Around the other side of the balcony are more impressive views of the Queenstown Hill Summit from earlier!

If you hang around long enough and stay late until the evening, there are stargazing opportunities on Bob's Peak with information shared from astronomy guides, or perhaps have a go on the luge (you buy the tickets with the gondola ticket) - total price for a maximum of 5 luge rides plus the gondola is $69NZD for an adult. You won't be bored though with plenty of options here. You could even hike up to the top via Hammy's Track but that is even more extreme than the Queenstown Hill Hike (so I've heard)! Speaking of extreme, we did see a few adventurous folks from the balcony such as this para-glider...

Want to fly over Queenstown?
Want to fly over Queenstown?

Adventure Activities in Queenstown

Oh boy! Here we go then, some things for you to try (if you were feeling more adventurous) include those I mentioned in the introduction blurb such as bungy jumping, skydiving or canyon swinging. For me, that is not just next level but next UNIVERSE of daredevilry haha! Kudos to those who can do it but I still wanted to give something a go in Queenstown and I do like the idea of flying so I chose to go Hang Gliding and I LOVED it!

Hang Gliding

So you want to fly like a bird without having to jump out of a plane? Hang gliding is probably the best bet then! Here, you are lying face down, hanging from underneath the wings of a glider just above the pilot who holds on to the bars at the front. There are different variations you can do but I'd recommend the "Aerotow" option where a small plane pulls you up in to the air and tows you a long for a bit before the tow rope is removed and you're left to fall back to the Earth with style!

The company I went with was called "Skytrek" and thankfully we had a couple of days in Queenstown as when we attempted it on the first day, it was cancelled due to bad weather (it was too cloudy). Some of the group opted for the refund (which the company is perfectly cool with) but I decided to give it another go the next day and the weather was much better. The Aerotow costs $299 NZD and if you wanted the pictures and videos, it's an additional $80 at the end - buy them, you won't regret it. Otherwise, I'll set the pooch on you!

Don't upset the pooch
Don't upset the pooch

The plane that tows us in the air
The plane that tows us in the air

Getting ready to fly!
Getting ready to fly!

Towed Away!
Towed Away!

That initial rush when you first get pulled is amazing and when you lift off, you feel as though you're really free with the wind rushing through your face - this is how birds feel! Then the moment comes when you reach the altitude of about 5,500 feet (1,670m) and that tow rope is removed and you're on your own with the guide flying you through the air at 50km/hour on average. It's quite a daunting moment but you're already flying and it's SO COOL!

The Tow Plane flies off as you are left to fly and make your way back down to Earth
The Tow Plane flies off as you are left to fly and make your way back down to Earth

I was having a chat with the guide about a few things and he was telling me he'd been doing this for more than 26 years and wouldn't look at working anywhere else. Once he had his first taste of flying, he was set and I can see why - it's not a bad office at all! Here's a few more pictures as we were falling with style.

Falling with style
Falling with style

The views from above are incredible
The views from above are incredible

Put the stick away, it's time for a rollercoaster!
Put the stick away, it's time for a rollercoaster!

Not long after the pilot popped the GoPro stick away, he asked "You fancy a bit more adventure?" I was a bit resistant and said "Not sure I have the stomach for that but we'll give it a go!" He said we can make it like a roller coaster so we slow down to 30km/hour then up to 75km/hour. I liked the slower "up" part like in a roller-coaster as you're gently going along, then when he pushed the nose down again...wow - hold on! We were pointing straight down and accelerated like you do in your classic theme park rides as the speed and g forces ramp up! He did it a couple of times before landing us down but it was an amazing 20 minutes. Looking back on these photos and videos has brought a big smile on my face and I highly recommend you go hang gliding - it's a pretty awesome substitute if you're not too keen on the more extreme stuff!

Places to Eat

Fergberger

When you're in Queenstown, one place everyone talks about is the Fergberger burger bar, which has been around since 2000 and is located on Shotover Street. Was it worth all the hype? I have to say, yes it was. The Classic Fergburger was damn delicious, they gave out free fries to those of us waiting in the cue outside and the burger cost around $12.50 NZD (prices range up to $19.50 NZD). The full menu is here but if you're going to go, I'd recommend ordering beforehand and pick up there to avoid the cues - although in May time, it wasn't so bad, maybe 20-30 minute wait. I've heard in peak season, it can take 2 hours!

In Ferg We Trust!
In Ferg We Trust!

That trust wasn't misplaced either - yummy
That trust wasn't misplaced either - yummy

Erik's Fish & Chips

There's not a bad little takeaway called Erik's Fish & Chips located near the water front on Earl Street. It did take a while for the food to be dished up considering it is a chippy but I got the impression that it was made to order rather than having everything on standby under a heat lamp. You could taste the difference and it was a pretty yummy cod & chips for around $15 NZD.

World Bar & Restaurant

However, I'd say if you're looking for a nice evening meal, head to the World Bar & Restaurant on Church Street as it has a great vibe inside with live music, decent selection of drinks at the bar and a good choice of food to help feed the adrenaline rush from your earlier activities - prices range between $10 and $24 NZD across the menu.

So there you have it folks, my guide to Queenstown to encompass something for everyone from chilled to slightly more adventurous (although not extreme, I'll leave that to some of the other travel bloggers)! Hopefully you feel ready now to take on and enjoy some of the adventures that this quirky little town has to offer!

Catch you soon!

Nicky


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Slugging it up the hills then flying free like a bird, you sure packed a lot into the itenary experiencing a lot on offer in the time you had Nicky. Very pretty part of the world!


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You have received a 12% upvote from us. We hope to see you soon on TravelFeed.io!


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Hey @joanstewart! Thanks a lot for stopping by and flying with me here. There was a LOT we did on this trip around new Zealand, to think I'm probably only about 1/3 of the way through at this point! Looking forward to writing more about it and relive the moments!


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Nice reliving them as you write, knowing you will be able to read them for many years to come on the blockchain Nicky, it really is a win, win situation having memories saved somewhere forever.


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You're right about that Joan! Thanks for checking out these blogs and really pleased you've enjoyed reading them too! Having them stored forever is great so hopefully steem stays around!


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Holy shit what am adventure! I never pictures that town and region to look that way.

Havey sure can fly!


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Yo big Zeke! What's up! Your boy can fly haha! Dude, this place is amazing, some one of your daredevil, rock star calibre would love it!

Thanks for stopping by!


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This is another Wow post my friend.
Pity those adventures are all over so quickly.
Some good experiences here and the views are mad for photographers.
Another great post!
Blessings!


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Thanks a lot big man for coming along and flying with me this time! So glad you enjoyed it and every time I write these New Zealand posts, I can't believe I was there earlier this year. I kinda want to go back... haha. Take it easy my friend!


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Ah wow dudes! Thanks so much for the support here @travelfeed and @for91days!

I'll definitely keep using the dapp and will try out the simple editor next time, blogging doesn't have to be tough does it :D

Keep up the amazing work with Travel Feed :)


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Let us know how it went!!!


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quillfire
QuillFire @quillfireSeptember 2019

@nickyhavey,

Nicky, what a phenomenal post!!!

Great write up, spectacular pictures and incredibly informative. New Zealand, here I come. The hang gliding looks like a great thrill. I've parachuted (plenty) but hang-gliding is a yet-to-have adventure.

Quill


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Thanks Quill! I'm surprised a well travelled man like you hasn't been to NZ before - you'd love everything about it. Plenty of skydiving as well, I bet you'd even go for the bungee jumping I'd mentioned as that's the ultimate thrill... not for me though! Hang gliding was enough for me!


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Ah so that's what you meant by hang gliding. I had a different picture. Nice to finally see a picture, last time was through actifit and didn't show the picture.

What an adventure you had here! The hole place is beautiful whether you are hiking the mountains or in town, there isn't a sore sight.


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You're not the first person who has said that meuf! Some people said they thought it was the wing suit one where you fly through the air at hundreds of mph... absolutely NOT!

Yea the actifit app isn't great for blogging on and I much prefer a keyboard and screen to write these long posts.

You'd love NZ :)


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That's why I thought you meant to say hand gliding...zipline thing. Well you are damn brave for doing that! It's even worse than hand gliding lol.

One day I may see NZ 🙏


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Fingers crossed my friend, you'd love it :) There is ziplining too ;)


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What an amazing trip. I just loved the hike you took. Scott keeps telling me he wants to do the hand gliding, but I am not sure I could handle it. Thanks again for such a wonderful post and sharing this adventure.
Ren


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Thanks a lot Ren! Ah you'd love hang gliding, once you're there and floating in the clouds, it's truly magical. It's definitely less extreme than the other adventures you can do but the hikes are still awesome to do as well :) Glad you enjoyed this journey


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Never heard of this place but it looks so scenic! Like one of those places where you can film all kind of movies and still look great.

And wow, loved that flying adventure! Hope I will try it by myself one day too, I really like trying new things and adrenaline flowing through my veins :)


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Thanks Gabriela! When you come over to NZ, there's SO much to do, really is a beautiful place. Skydiving, bungee jumping and those kinds of things are all the rage here so you'd love it all!


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derangedvisions
Wes @derangedvisionsSeptember 2019

This was awesome. Thank you for sharing all of these great images.


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Thanks a lot for checking it out man! Glad you enjoyed this adventure town with me... Would you go skydiving? Haha


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derangedvisions
Wes @derangedvisionsSeptember 2019

lol, I would like to say I would go skydiving, but I bet I would chicken out. I am scared of heights.


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Haha I just say absolutely no way I'm jumping out of a plane or off a platform with a bit of string attached to my feet! Makes my heart race just thinking about it 😂


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Breathtaking! I wouldn't have the stomach for most of that stuff. I have to imagine the air is quite cold up there in that part of the world too.


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It's certainly a bit fresher but the temperatures don't get up too high as it's a temperate climate. It's certainly a bit fresher up in the mountains!


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I bet, so green there. I forgot to mention give me a follow if you like.


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