Adventure Sports In Queenstown, New Zealand
“If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.” ~ Anonymous
How do we think an adventure sport gets started? I imagine that you have this one crazy friend who does something that seems to invite death — or at least serious injury — like jumping off a bridge while attached to a rubber band. Perhaps you are a slightly saner, financially minded person and you see that he lived after doing this. You think, how can I turn this into a business? How can I find a way so people can do this safely but still feel like they’re inviting death or serious injury? I believe they call this thinking out of the box. You figure it out and hordes of young thrill-seekers come running. It happens that many of these type of people live in New Zealand. This is how Queenstown became the unofficial capital of the adventure industry.
Queenstown is a less developed version of Aspen or Lake Placid with about six main streets and a lakefront promenade. (photo by Cordulia Reins)
Every adventure activity you’ve ever heard of is on offer (river rafting, sky diving, jet boating, bungee jumping, ziplining, mountain biking, sky gliding) and probably several you haven’t (snow-kiting, parapenting, white-water sledging)
Adventurers inundate Queenstown in the summer the way skiers do in the winter. I began to notice a parade of different types. There is one group that is rugged and unkempt who is there to do every crazy thing they can afford. They go right to the Nevis Bungee Jump. It is the highest jump in New Zealand You can travel 134 meters in 8.5 seconds, No heart conditions here. People over the age of seventy-five can bungee jump for free in Queenstown. (?) The second is friends and family who are there to make sure that the first group survives. Then they go on to do more crazy things together. The third group is the trampers- the hikers. They have all the cool gear and are basically using Queenstown as a base for the surrounding amazing tramps and walks. They might try a packaged tour like jet boating which seems about the wettest but least dangerous adventure.
I’m kind of the Woody Allen of adventure sports. I like knowing they are safe and maybe in books where other people are having them. I prefer it when you aren’t too wet, hot, cold, hungry or dizzy. I hit bad weather in Queenstown and activities were cancelled. I didn’t get to test my fear level. I thought that I would feel relieved but I was disappointed. Avoiding danger doesn’t always keep it away. Luckily the world has a lot of adventures for me to find and now I have the clothes and gear so I will have to go find them.