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Affectionately known as the “Adventure capital of the world,” a trip to Queenstown, New Zealand, is sure to be a wild ride. However, don’t let the reputation fool you. While there’s no shortage of things to jump off of or mountains to scale, there’s also a great wine scene and emerging culinary culture in the city, too. Three days is a good amount of time in Queenstown on the average New Zealand trip, and here is how to make the most of it.

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3… 2…1… jump in Queenstown | Photo by

Day 1: Classic Queenstown

Start your time in Queenstown with the activity that helped put the city on the adventure capital map—bungy jumping. Take a leap of faith from the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge, the very first commercial bungy jumping spot in the world. The even braver can head out to AJ Hackett’s Nevis site to jump from the 440 foot (134m) tall bungy platform dangling between the steep canyon walls. Too scared to do it alone? You can also ride the tandem rope swing that will send you sailing across the canyon with the partner of your choice.

After surviving a hair-raising morning, celebrate at the city’s favorite burger joint, Fergburger (42 Shotover St, Queenstown). Bungy jumping first and eating second is important as you won’t want to jump from a bridge after a big burger (you’ll thank us for this advice later). Order one of their famous burgers or a specialty concoction like the “Sweet Bambi” with wild deer in a Thai plum sauce.

In the afternoon, make your way to the top of Queenstown Hill for some epic views of the city and surrounding nature. This hill is actually a small mountain standing at 2,976 ft (907m) and also sometimes goes by its Māori name of Te Tapu-nui (which translates to the mountain of intense sacredness). There are a few ways up and the ambitious can hike to the top, while the rest of us will probably opt for the Skyline Gondola (Brecon St, Queenstown 9300). At the top, you are rewarded with 360-degree views of Queenstown, the Remarkables mountains and beyond.


A view from the top of Queenstown Hill | Photo by

Along with the views at the top, there’s also the Skyline Luge, which is basically a gravity powered go-cart track cut into the top of Queenstown Hill. Stay until sunset to watch the sky and the Remarkables mountain range light up with the myriad colors of the end of the day.

Once down from the mountain, head over to Speights Ale House (Corner Of Stanley Street & Ballarat Street, Queenstown) for a well-deserved craft beer after an adventure-packed day.

After burning every last drop of adrenaline in your body, it’s time to crash land into bed. A great place to stay while exploring Queenstown is the luxurious, lodge-like Rees Hotel, located right on Lake Wakatipu.



Conquer your fears in the adventure capital of the world | Photo by

Day Two: Thrill seeking 

On the second day in the city, skip the coffee and opt instead for a shot of adrenaline. Find yourself 15,000 feet over the South Island strapped to a parachute while skydiving in Queenstown. Book your flight right in the center of the town at NZONE Skydive (35 Shotover St, Queenstown).

During your busy action-packed day, make a stop at Fergbaker (40 Shotover St, Queenstown) for a few of their famous meat pies. Inside the flaky pastry crust of the pies are hearty and savory traditional meat pie fillings like pork belly and lamb shank.


Take a wild ride on the Shotover Jet boat while in Queenstown | Photo by

For an activity a little closer to the ground, head to the Shotover River for a ride of your life. The boats of Shotover Jet are like no other boats you’ve ever seen before. These boats speed through the narrow river canyons at blinding speed powered by near–1,000 horsepower water jet engines. These sophisticated vessels can run on just a few inches of water and turn on a dime. The thrill of the Shotover Jet comes as the captain brings you closer than comfort to tall stone canyon walls but narrowly avoids them at the last second taking advantage of the boat’s nimbleness. There’s also no shortage of hyper-speed 360-degree spins and other wild maneuvers while on board.

For those who like a bit more control over their boat rides, whitewater rafting is also a popular activity on the Kawarau River. Wind your way through class III-V rapids, including Queenstown’s famous Dog Leg Rapid. It’s best to plan this activity toward the end of the day because there’s no avoiding getting completely soaked.

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Sail the Milford Sound, one of the top spots around Queenstown | Photo by

Day 3: Milford Sound and Queenstown’s finer things

After a busy few days jumping off of stuff, spend your last day in the city at a more relaxed pace by enjoying some of its finer things, starting with an early wake-up call to one of the gems of the South Island—the Milford Sound. Located Northwest of the city by about 3.5 hours, the Milford Sound is one of the most photographed spots in the entire country. The best way to explore this natural wonder is aboard a sailboat. Cruise the entire length of the sound and take in the amazing landscapes and many waterfalls along the way.


Fill your glass in Queenstown | Photo by

On the way back into Queenstown, make an afternoon detour to visit one of the many wineries outside of the city. New Zealand has grown a reputation (pun intended) for some outstanding Pinots over the past few decades. Stop in for a glass of Pinot Noir straight from the source or you can book a specialty winery tour that will safely cart you around to several wineries around town.

For dinner settle into a delicious plate of specialty meats at the Botswana Butchery (17 Marine Parade, Queenstown-Lakes). A great meal with local game meats or a nice steak accompanied by a glass of Pinot Noir is the perfect way to wrap up a trip to Queenstown.

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Tagged: Destinations, New Zealand

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Hannah & Adam | Getting Stamped Bloggers
Hannah & Adam are travel writers & photographers who have called the road home since 2013. Their passion for adventurous travel has brought them to 60 countries and counting. They blog about their adventures on their travel blog

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