To have dubbed itself the “Adventure Capital of the World,” Queenstown as a city is either awfully boastful or just THAT dedicated to adventure tourism. We'll spoil this one early: there are something like 220 adventure activities available from Queenstown and the majority are based in the incredibly scenic lakes, rivers, and mountains that pack the area. We'd call that dedication.
For the more extreme adventurer, there are activities like skydiving, bungee jumping, jet boat riding, and whitewater rafting. There are three skydiving operators worth a look within about an hour's drive: Skydive Lake Wanaka will give you a more off-the-beaten-path experience and can be reached by a dedicated bus from Queenstown, Skydive Paradise drops you 15,000 feet into the wilderness of Mount Aspiring just outside of Glenorchy, and Nzone Skydive drops you right over Lake Wakapitu and The Remarkables, giving you the chance to finally see Queenstown from every angle.
There is not one, but three bungee jump/swing locations available nearby. Kawarau Bridge was the first and still remains the most popular, but the Nevis Bungee (the highest both here and in Australia) is another river-based option, and the Ledge drops you into freefall in the middle of Queenstown both day and night. For more bungee jumping/swinging info, check this out.
The phenomenon that is jet boating is pretty simple. Souped up racing boats skim the local lakes and rivers at high speeds, throwing in tricks like face-splashing 360's and getting your adrenaline amped to ten. As is the case with Queenstown, you can't have just one. Kjet, Skippers Canyon Jetboat, Thunder Jet, Dart River Wilderness Jet, and Shotover Jet round out the choices; take a look at our jet boating activity page for a lengthier look at what each operator has to offer.
The Kawarau and Shotover Rivers are great spots for whitewater rafting adventures, but the coolest thing to do with waves crashing your face may have to be the sledging trips available on the Kawarau. For those of you yet to hear of this exhilarating activity, it's basically riding gorges on a bodyboard; no worries though, this river is for all ages and, while it has its rapids, they aren't nearly enough to scare anyone away.
Yeah, there's lots more to do in Queenstown. The gondola to the top of Bob's Peak in Queenstown is a great way to get your bearings, while the best way to get back down is via the luge, which gets your heart pumping from both the high speeds and the thrilling scenery. The Remarkables, those attractive peaks across the lake, are home to a ski field, some really cool mountain biking (although you'll need to be dropped via helicopter) and hikes and climbs that range from pretty standard to quite technical. Check our Remarkables listing for details. There are also something like seven BILLION hikes in the nearby mountains like Bob's Peak and Ben Lomond that are immediately accessible from the city. Have you heard enough? You'll have to spend a lot more time than you're going to have if you want to do it all... and we haven't even touched on everything! What about taking one of the buses that run the extremely precipitous Skippers Canyon route to the abandoned mining village of Skippers Point? What about the hang gliding from Coronet Peak? The adventures are near endless.