Peter Jackson put New Zealand on the map by using it as the setting for Lord of the Rings, but it was AJ Hackett that solidified the country as the adventure capital of the world long before it was thought of as Middle Earth.
Chances are if you are going to New Zealand , you will be making a stop in Queenstown.
It is the adventure heart of the country and thrill seekers flock to this picturesque town surrounded by mountains known as The Incredibles. if it is adventure you seek, adventure you will get.
Queenstown is the birthplace of the bungy jump and you will
have your chance to jump from the bridge that started it all
over two decades ago. Having been throwing himself off
of bridges since the 80''s, AJ Hackett formed the first commercial
bungy jump off of the Kawarau Bridge in 1987 just outside of
This is the nostalgic jump of the area being the first ever in the world. At 43 meters it is a respectable jump and it is here that you can enjoy the full dunk into the water below. It's also the only place in Queenstown where you can jump in tandem.
But it is the Nevis Arc that has most people's attention these days. At 134 meters dangling high above a gorge, this is the ultimate adrenaline adventure. A 40-minute bus ride takes you out to a secluded gorge where you climb a steep and narrow road to the jumping off point.
Once you arrive, you are quickly suited up with a harness and loaded onto a trolley that takes you out to a high wire cable car dangling in the air.
This jump offers an 8 second freefall and a heart-pounding thrill.
If that's not enough for you, you can hop over to the Nevis Arc and enjoy the highest swing in the world. At 160 meters above the river, 120 meters of rope length and a 300 meter pendulum swing, this will certainly help you fulfill your adrenaline quota for the day.
Queenstown's energy is pure adrenaline. As soon as you enter the town, the signs for thrills and spills are everywhere. There is river surfing, jet boating and mountain biking. From 4X4 tours to Quad biking trips you could spend a week seeking out adventure and never get bored.
If it is more heights you are after, you can go skydiving
or take a paraglide flight over the city. For paragliding,
catch the Skyline Gondola to the top of the city where you
can book your flight over Queenstown with G-Force Paragliding.
This adventure is one youï¿½ll never forget as you jump off a cliff with an open parachute ready to take you high into the sky. Your tandem paragliding instructor will take you on a journey over the lake, the forests and the town but it is near the end of the flight that the fun begins. Ask your pilot to try some maneuvers and you will swing like a pendulum as you spiral to the ground. The flight lasts 15 minutes and offers some of the most spectacular views of the surrounding area.
Make sure to take your free ride back up the Gondola after your jump to take advantage of the rest of the activities on the mountain. Up here you will find yet another bungy jump and you can go for a fun and luge ride. There is hiking and downhill mountain biking and it is up here you are treated a beautiful view of Queenstown and the Remarkable Mountain Range.
After you jam packed day, you may want to stay up here for a sunset drink before heading back down to enjoy the Queenstown nightlife. Queenstown is filled with cafes and bars and restaurants.
A person could easily visit New Zealand and never leave Queenstown. Day and overnight trips to Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound, tours of the wine region and several areas that offer up great hikes you may never want to leave. As it turns out, many don't. We met more than one person that had decided to make Queenstown their permanent home.
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Dave and Deb - the adventure travel couple that have climbed, paddled, hiked and biked through nearly 50 countries. From summiting Mount Kilimanjaro and trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp, they are always searching for unique and challenging hikes around the world. Their next adventure takes them through 15 countries from England to Mongolia in the Mongol Rally - a charity rally raising funds for communities in need while driving 16,000 km through some of the toughest terrain on earth. Follow their ongoing adventures at www.theplanetd.com, on Twitter, on Facebook, and YouTube. Contact Dave Bouskill & Debra Corbeil at theplanetd(at)gmail(dot)com