Queenstown has plenty of adrenaline-filled activities for travelers looking to keep both feet firmly (or not so firmly) on the ground, but there are also plenty of options for a fun-filled day up among the clouds. Whether you want to try paragliding or hang-gliding for the first time, or if you’d like to see the area from a helicopter or a small aircraft or even a hot air balloon, Queenstown has exactly what you need.
Once at Milford Sound, relax and enjoy a leisurely extended cruise. Throughout the cruise, the on-board nature guide provides engaging commentary about the magnificent scenery: cascading waterfalls, sheer cliffs, dense rainforest, towering mountains and fascinating wildlife. After your cruise, fly back to Queenstown and take in views of hanging valleys, alpine lakes and cloud-piercing summits that are hidden from the road. Real Journeys aircraft are predominantly twin-engined and the pilots are highly-experienced.
This is more than just a helicopter ride—it’s a hike too! You will leave Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown and fly west towards Milford Sound with vast areas of native forest. Into the Fiordland National Park, you will be surrounded by numerous hidden valleys, waterfalls and alpine lakes before you land at Milford Sound. As you hike through, your tour guide will provide details of your surroundings and lead you to Sandfly Point. You’re sure to be mesmerised by the beauty of the Arthur River waterfall and lush rainforest around Giants Gate. After this first leg of your journey, you’ll re-board the helicopter and fly past jaw-dropping ice shelves and an alpine landing is sure to be a highlight as you experience panoramic views and take plenty of photos. Once you’ve snapped a few ready-to-frame shots, it’s back to Queenstown to conclude the tour.
Lord of the Rings fans can experience their own Middle-earth adventure and fly like Gwaihir around the Southern Alps. This comes highly recommended as a climax to any tour of Middle-earth New Zealand. Seeing the film locations from the air and having pilots from Director Peter Jackson’s production crew share behind-the-scenes details will undoubtedly captivate the imaginations of fans and non-fans alike. You’ll be transported to the many film locations around Queenstown and the Southern Alps by these pilots who provided most of the aerial filming for both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.
Coronet Peak Tandems is a dual tandem paragliding and hang-gliding company at Coronet Peak, Queenstown that offers a little bit of thrill along with spectacular views. Their take off is the highest commercial take-off point for Queenstown gliding activities. In fact, their winter take-off is twice the height of the Queenstown Gondola! The choice of activity is yours—they offer paragliding or hang gliding and, if you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can participate in both!
A truly incredible experience, when you go hot air ballooning with Sunrise Balloons, you’ll rise to altitudes of 1,800 metres or more and drift with the breeze. Then you will witness quite possibly the best panoramic views of Queenstown and its surroundings. Absorb the sunlit Southern Alps, Lakes and Rivers then celebrate with champagne, tea and coffee, croissants and muffins upon landing.
Queenstown’s incredible scenery is ideal for helicopter flights, plane flights, heli-tours and more. Those with a bigger appetite for adventure may choose to try skydiving. Regardless of what you do, by experiencing a high-in-the-sky adventure, you will have a unique perspective on Queenstown that most tourists and locals will never get. Enjoy the unbeatable aerial views of the lakes, mountains and town as you navigate, fly, fall, float or glide through the sky above Queenstown. Protect your aerial adventures with adventure sports cover from Cover-More Australia.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Graham McLellan