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11 Extreme Things to Do in Queenstown New Zealand — The Adventure Capital of the World

Here’s why Queenstown New Zealand is nicknamed the “Adventure Capital of the World”.

As someone with a fear of heights, canyon swinging was something I never thought I’d do. But since 1) it was a part of my job, and 2) Queenstown is probably one of the most scenic places in the world to do it — it was clear what had to be done.

adrenaline seekers, new zealand, 11 extreme things to do in queenstown new zealand — the adventure capital of the world

Turns out, the swing made a key highlight of our 12-Day trip to New Zealand South Island.

Against the scenic backdrop of the Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is a beautiful town. But don’t be fooled by its peaceful exterior, it’s probably the most exciting town you’ll find in the whole of New Zealand!

adrenaline seekers, new zealand, 11 extreme things to do in queenstown new zealand — the adventure capital of the world

From skydiving to quad biking, Queenstown is the one-stop hub to check off your bucket list. Here are 11 activities perfect for the ultimate adrenaline junkie:

1) Canyon Swinging

adrenaline seekers, new zealand, 11 extreme things to do in queenstown new zealand — the adventure capital of the world

The Shotover Canyon is gorgeous 🤩, and the best way to appreciate its beauty is by swinging across its turquoise waters from a height of 109m!

There are over 30 jump styles to choose from as you make the swing of faith and experience 60m of free fall.

Styles range from the friendly tandem cutaway — where you fall from a comfy sitting position — to crazier options like the trike, the chair, and the sparta.

adrenaline seekers, new zealand, 11 extreme things to do in queenstown new zealand — the adventure capital of the world

There’s no backing out once you’re seated on the tricycle. Simply roll out into the canyon and enjoy the ride!

adrenaline seekers, new zealand, 11 extreme things to do in queenstown new zealand — the adventure capital of the world

Opt for the chair if you enjoy the tease and adrenaline of rocking back and forth at the cliff edge — at the mercy of your jumpmaster 💀.

adrenaline seekers, new zealand, 11 extreme things to do in queenstown new zealand — the adventure capital of the world

Meanwhile, the jumpmaster’s Sparta kick will send you flying out into the canyon before you have time to process the fall!

According to our jumpmasters, the oldest person to jump to date was 87 years old, and knowing that he made the swing — perhaps it’s time for you to give it a try 😉.

Cost: ~S$214/adult for a solo swing, ~S$154/adult for a tandem swingTimeslots: Varies
Meeting point: 34 Shotover Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand

*Pro-tip: Go for a second swing via a different jump style because it’ll only set you back by an additional NZ$30 (~S$26), payment on-site!

2) Skydiving

adrenaline seekers, new zealand, 11 extreme things to do in queenstown new zealand — the adventure capital of the world

Did you know that Lake Wakatipu is shaped like a lightning bolt ⚡️? Here’s one way to find out.

Skydive from up to 15,000 ft and soak in the stunning aerial views of Queenstown, New Zealand. Catch Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables in all of their magnificence as you free fall for up to 60 seconds!

Cost: From NZ$299/adult (~S$264)Timeslots: 9:30AM, 10:30AM, 12:30AM, 1:30PM (depends on the weather)
Meeting point: 35 Shotover Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand

3) Hydro Attack

adrenaline seekers, new zealand, 11 extreme things to do in queenstown new zealand — the adventure capital of the world

Photo credit: Hydroattack Queenstown

Here’s a unique one: A semi-submersible, high-speed shark ride with Hydro Attack 🦈.

Zipping across Lake Wakatipu at high speeds, the mechanical shark takes a sharp dive into the blue waters before blasting vertically back out into the skies, giving its passengers a splashing wild ride.

What’s more, you’ll be riding one-on-one with your pilot in the shark — so you’re free to make requests and go as crazy as you want!

Cost: ~S$125/adultTimeslots: Varies
Address: Beach Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand

4) Nevis Catapult

adrenaline seekers, new zealand, 11 extreme things to do in queenstown new zealand — the adventure capital of the world

Photo credit: Queenstown NZ

Have a taste of the world’s biggest human catapult — the Nevis Catapult.

Experience the adrenaline rush of being flung at a crazy speed of 100km per hour in 1.5 seconds! As you’re hurled 150m out into the open, try your best to enjoy the views before a thrilling rebound.

Cost: NZ$225/adult (~S$194)Tour timings: Varies
Address: Shotover &, Camp Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand

5) White Water Rafting

adrenaline seekers, new zealand, 11 extreme things to do in queenstown new zealand — the adventure capital of the world

Photo credit: Realnz

Go on a bumpy ride as you challenge the whitewater rapids of Skipper’s Canyon. Together with your raft squad, try your best not to flip over as you take on gruelling rapids (grade three to five) led by experienced guides.

The adventure begins even before you board the raft, as the shuttle bus taking you to the starting point traverses one of the most dangerous roads in New Zealand — the Skipper’s Canyon road.

adrenaline seekers, new zealand, 11 extreme things to do in queenstown new zealand — the adventure capital of the world

Photo credit: Stuff.com

The narrow and unpaved mountain road is carved out of a cliff face, with a sheer drop of a few hundred metres. If you’re afraid of heights, try not to look out of the window!

Cost: ~S$171/adultTour timing: 1PM, closed during Winter
Address: 37 Camp Street, Queenstown 9348, New Zealand

6) Paragliding 

adrenaline seekers, new zealand, 11 extreme things to do in queenstown new zealand — the adventure capital of the world

Photo credit: Klook

Surround yourself in breathtaking mountain views of Coronet Peak as you paraglide through the skies of Queenstown. Thrill-seekers who seek more action can attempt more spins and turns in the air with up to 1,100m of vertical height for you to play with.

Cost: From ~S$204/adultTour timings: 8:45AM, 11AM, 1PM, 2:45PM
Address: 37 Camp Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand

7) Quad Biking

adrenaline seekers, new zealand, 11 extreme things to do in queenstown new zealand — the adventure capital of the world

Riding a Quad bike is an adventure of its own but riding with panoramic 360° views of Queenstown and the Remarkables mountain range is an experience that’s hard to beat.

adrenaline seekers, new zealand, 11 extreme things to do in queenstown new zealand — the adventure capital of the world

The bikes here are massive ones used by local farmers and the challenge comes with controlling them as you bike up the steep uneven hills of Queenstown Hill.

For us, it was tricky balancing the bike and coordinating the gears to stay upright and on the path. Thankfully, a mini-training session helped us get accustomed to them and we were zooming off in no time!

Cost: ~S$254/adultEligibility: Aged 16 and above, pass a compulsory training session before the actual tourTour timing: 8:30AM
Meeting point: Hotel pick-up from Queenstown is available

8) Jetboating

adrenaline seekers, new zealand, 11 extreme things to do in queenstown new zealand — the adventure capital of the world

Photo credit: NewZealand.com

Going up to 95km per hour, speed across Lake Wakatipu and the world-famous Kawarau and Shotover River on this one-hour jet boat ride.

Hold on tight as you experience thrilling 360° spins while admiring stunning views offered by the three Queenstown waterways. Bring a set of clothes to change because you most certainly will be drenched.

Cost: ~S$111/adultTour timing: Varies
Address: Main Town Pier, Marine Parade, Queenstown 9348, New Zealand

9) Skiing/Snowboarding

adrenaline seekers, new zealand, 11 extreme things to do in queenstown new zealand — the adventure capital of the world

Photo credit: coronetpeak.co.nz

Queenstown is home to some of New Zealand’s best ski fields such as Coronet Peak and the Remarkables — offering a wide range of terrain catering to riders of all abilities.

If you’re taking up this winter sport for the first time, we recommend taking a beginner’s package — the fun begins when you learn to navigate around the terrain confidently! Meanwhile, intermediate or expert riders can enjoy the exciting roller coaster terrains amidst breathtaking views of the Southern Alps.

*Note: Packages for only ski-pass and transport are also available.

Cost: From S$201/adult for a one-day beginner package
Meeting point: Round-trip transfers from the hotel is provided

10) Ziplining

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Take in scenic views of Queenstown as you zipline from treehouse to treehouse at the top of Bob’s Peak mountain.

Tours include a four and six-zipline option, with the sixth zipline being a 30-storey descent to the bottom of the mountain at a speed of 112km per hour! It’s the steepest zipline in the world, only available with the six-zipline tour option.

adrenaline seekers, new zealand, 11 extreme things to do in queenstown new zealand — the adventure capital of the world

And if that isn’t thrilling enough for you, outdo yourself by doing a trust fall or by ziplining upside down! Close your eyes, lean back and fall off the platform before raising your legs to the sky — you’ll discover a unique view of the Remarkables while inverted 🙃

Cost: ~S$128/adult for the Moa 4-Zipline tour, ~S$171/adult for the Kea 6-Zipline tourTour timing: 4PM
Meeting point: Ziptrek Treehouse, 45 Camp Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand (located at the top of the Skyline Gondola)

*Note: The Gondola ride to the meeting point is not included and must be purchased separately.

11) Riverboarding 

adrenaline seekers, new zealand, 11 extreme things to do in queenstown new zealand — the adventure capital of the world

Photo credit: Serious Fun Riverboarding

We’re all familiar with white water rafting, but have you heard of riverboarding?

Riverboarding takes the thrill factor up by a notch as you come face-to-face with the rapids of the Kawarau River without the safety of a raft. Instead, you’ll be relying on bodyboards to stay buoyant for the full white water experience!

Conquer exciting rock jumps along the way as you surf grade two to three rapids on your bodyboard — from standing waves to whirlpools!

You must be confident in the water to take on this challenge, but friendlier options to drift or riversleigh (which uses a sleigh instead of a bodyboard for more stability and buoyancy) are also available.

Cost: ~S$181/adultTimeslots: Varies
Meeting point: 5 Duke Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand

Plan Your Own Bucket-List Trip to New Zealand South Island

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A good tip for planning your dream NZ road trip is to prioritise what you’d like to experience. Be it nature, wildlife or adventure, check out our South Island guide for some inspiration to help you decide!

adrenaline seekers, new zealand, 11 extreme things to do in queenstown new zealand — the adventure capital of the world

As you plan your own New Zealand road trip, a few questions will probably come to mind: North or South Island? Car or Campervan? How’s the petrol, parking and driving in New Zealand?

In this article, we’ve compiled 30 most frequently asked questions about road tripping around New Zealand — from budgeting tips and entry requirements to the best city to fly into.

adrenaline seekers, new zealand, 11 extreme things to do in queenstown new zealand — the adventure capital of the world

Regardless of your thrill appetite, there’s no better place to try something new than in the beautiful country of New Zealand. And despite a good 12 days exploring the South Island, we’ve merely scratched the surface of the adventures New Zealand has to offer.

Be it a scenic hike along Roy’s Peak or an exciting skydive in Queenstown, we hope that our guides will push you to seek your own crazy adventures in New Zealand!

Which extreme activity in Queenstown would you go for? Share your favourite ones in the comments below!


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