Queenstown has many nice cafes, restaurants and bars, but this town is really all about adrenaline. It’s a major ski town and even now, at the very end of the season (most of the hills close on Sunday), you see many people just walking around town with their snowboards. Even if they’re not carrying a board, they’re probably wearing those baggy, plaid, I-don’t-care-what-old-people-think-of-me snowboarder clothes. If you look up in the sky, you’ll see at least a handful of paragliders sailing above the city. And when you get back to your hostel and ask the others what they did all day, you’re probably going to hear something like, “I jumped off such-and-such bridge!” or “I went skydiving, it was wicked!”. If your heart wasn’t racing at some point during the day in Queenstown, you’re not doing it right.
We started off our fun by taking the Skyline Gondola up a mountain right near our hostel. It was a nice, sunny day and the views of the city, lake and mountains were really cool. Then we raced down the luge (a long, winding cement race track) in little one person carts. The carts don’t have any motors or anything, they just use gravity, but you can still control the speed. There are two courses, a scenic one that is more relaxed and an advanced one that has many sharp drops and turns. It was really fun!
The next day we took a trip to Arrowtown, a little town about twenty minutes away. It was formed during a brief gold rush in the late 1800s and they’ve preserved many of the huts where the miners used to live. Now the town has many cute little shops and cafes. We spent most of our day browsing through the random boutiques and checking out the historical sites. The museum is supposed to be pretty interesting as well, but since it’s not free we decided to pass on it.
You might be wondering if we were tempted to do any of the above-mentioned extreme sports. After spending a few days surrounded by all the hype, it’s not a matter of if, but what and when. The paragliding was pretty appealing and we thought about doing that for a while. But then we settled on bungy jumping because it was invented right here in Queenstown. There are several bungy sites, so we decided to stick with the historical theme and jump from the very first one, the Kawarau Bridge. I’m not going to lie, standing on the edge of that platform and looking down at the river is terrifying. Neither of us chickened out, though. It was definitely a rush and a great way to end our time in Queenstown.