Queenstown is synonymous with adventure. Home to the original bungy jump, the small lakeside town has proven time and time again just how extreme it really is. From the most insane bungy jumps, jet boats, and sky-diving, the adventure capital of New Zealand has everything. In addition to the adrenaline filled activities, it’s also home to an incredible food and wine scene. Don’t just take my word; it’s been known that people go for a holiday and never return home.
AJ Hackett Bungy
So you want to throw yourself off a ledge attached to a big rubber-band? Great! AJ Hackett, the founder of this insane sport, started the ridiculous activity in Queenstown in 1988 with the first commercial bungy company. He promoted his new company by illegally throwing himself off the Eiffel Tower (with bungy attached of course). The ridiculousness went viral, and AJ Hackett now offers four different bungy experiences in Queenstown alone, including one in the dark. If you really want to give yourself a heart attack, you can sign up for the Thrillogy; jumping three times at three different heights and locations.
Hikers, rejoice! The six-hour roundtrip hike up to Ben Lomond Peak is somewhat of a local classic. Hangliders take their chances and jump off from the summit, while tired hikers gasp for air (literally) at the breathtaking view. From the top you get a beautiful 360-degree vantage point to look out to the horizon. On a clear day you swear you can see to the end of the world.
Vudu Cafe + Larder
Coffee anyone? Queenstown has enough coffee shops to serve the entire South Island, but Vudu Cafe + Larder exceeds every expectation of a typical cup of joe. Homemade pastries, freshly made sandwiches and cookies line the cabinet and counter at this popular breakfast hub, and that’s just the beginning. Their mouth-watering menu, hand-crafted coffees, juices, and location make this place a no-brainer. It’s typical for the cafe to be busy any time of the day, with a line out the door. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
We couldn’t pick every bar in Queenstown (there’s over 100!) to highlight, but World Bar should definitely be on your list. The World Bar of today is very different to the notoriously naughty World Bar of yesteryear. With a regular line up of live music, it still has the energy and air of mischief like the original bar (which burned down in 2013). It’s now the ultimate spot for food, teapot cocktails, craft beer (11 on tap alone) and all sorts of quirky events and night time shenanigans.
By far the most famous eatery in Queenstown, Fergburger has been named “the best burger in the world” more than once. This is a huge compliment considering it’s one, very tiny place. People push themselves inside like sardines just to order one of these delicious burgers. The menu offers almost 30 different options, even catering to the meatless crowd. The line is always around the block during the day and night (they don’t close until 5am), and it’s the best damn drunk food you will ever have. It is by far the most touristy spot in town, but it’s popular for a reason.
Downhill Mountain Biking
If you don’t love mountain biking now, you will after you visit or live in Queenstown. In the tradition of being the ultimate outdoor paradise, Queenstown boasts some of the best downhill mountain bike trails in the world. Rent a bike, take the gondola up the hill and take one of the numerous trails back down. These trails are not for the faint of heart. The hairpin turns, rock sections, and jumps scattered throughout this downhill course will take your adrenaline rush from normal to heavy in seconds. They say addiction is bad, but this is one activity worth overdosing on.
The road from Queenstown to Glenorchy could have its own blog post, or even it’s own website! It’s a beautiful, scenic road that winds around crumbling cliffs and rolling hills. Glenorchy is the gateway to the outdoor enthusiast. The famous Routeburn track begins/ends outside of the small town, as well as the Mt. Aspiring National Park trails. Lord of the Rings films were all shot in this region, known for it’s vast fields and dramatic mountainous background. Take a horse riding tour, a kayak trip, hike one of the magical trails, or just drive over for the day to experience one of the most stunning and uninterrupted landscapes in the world.