Responsibly Sourced Adrenaline With Ziptrek Queenstown
Love it or hate it there’s really no escaping the stuff when visiting New Zealand’s adventure sport capital, Queenstown.
Set in the heart of the Southern Alpine Range aside the glacial Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown has built a reputation for providing those who visit with an endless supply of action packed adventure.
From paragliding to bungee jumping, horse back riding to mountain biking, there is something on offer to fuel everyone’s need for speed.
The Thrill Of High Wire Fun
Why is it that when on holiday or traveling, you develop a desire to hoard tourist brochures?
Perhaps it’s just me?
After only a few hours in Queenstown I had managed to forage out an inordinate amount of literature detailing the various tours and activities that would attempt to, and most likely succeed at sending a rush of epinephrine coursing through my veins.
I’m like a Raven, hunting out shiny leaflets and 10% discount vouchers to take back to my nest and admire.
On this occasion, my nest was our much loved Kiwi caravan and it was here I found myself debating the merits and price points of most of the options for our itinerary the following day.
Adrenaline Induced Enjoyment
Call me a sissy but I’ve never been a fan of heights.
Unfortunately a large proportion of the adrenaline inducing activities involved an element of height at some point throughout the proceedings.
Bungee jumping was always out of the question, but a helicopter tour was something I knew I would enjoy while being simultaneously terrified. It therefore got renegaded to the bottom of the list.
Jet boating involved getting far too wet, with winter in full flow the thought of getting drenched and sitting still for over an hour did not appeal.
Zip Lining…hummm, this could work.
I failed spectacularly to glean any enjoyment from my previous zip lining experience in Costa Rica – flying across a canyon on a thin wire does seem incredibly unnatural don’t you think?!
So the thought of redeeming myself and successfully completing Queenstown’s famous Ziptrek Ecotour sounded like the perfect challenge.
Reading through the literature I had picked up on the Ziptrek Ecotour, it became apparent that the company not only offered the chance to fly through the air at great height and speed, but to learn about how best to live a sustainable lifestyle and assist in preserving the spectacular surrounding environment.
Responsibly sourced adrenaline. I like the sound of that.
Flying High Over Queenstown
Boarding the famous gondola the following morning, my legs slowly turned to jelly.
The ground fell away and my nerves kicked in despite having a panoramic view of Queenstown to distract me from thoughts of what lay ahead.
Stood atop Bob’s Peak the clouds began to roll in from the neighboring Remarkables mountain range, the air was crisp and I began to shiver despite being wrapped up in my winter weather gear.
Walking over to the Ziptrek base it soon became apparent that I was in for a morning of tree top fun.
Greeted warmly by my guides for the day, I was soon straddling a safety harness and listening intently to the pre zip briefing.
Sporting a hard hat and what I’m sure looked like a very fashion-forward safety ensemble, my group set off along the tree top boardwalks.
Our guides began to chat to us about the sustainable methods used to erect the lines and the positive ways in which the company gives back to the surrounding eco systems.
Although normally I would have been listening intently my mind started to wander.
I had just seen the start of the first zip line. The metal cord shot out from the treetop platform and disappeared into the dense forest.
All too soon it was my turn to be hooked up to the line. I was reminded again of the safety procedures and told to smile for the camera attached to the neighboring tree.
What an interesting photo this was going to make.
A Head For Eco Friendly Heights
As I allowed the harness to take my weight, I stepped off the ledge and began to fly.
Dark greens and earthy browns flew past and after what seemed like just a few seconds I was speeding towards the second treetop platform.
This actually had a lot less anxiety and a lot more adrenaline than I had expected.
My morning was peppered with high rise views over Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and the neighboring Remarkables range, and snippets of eco education in keeping with the sustainable theme of the tour.
Never one for dull lectures full of stats and facts, I found this was more of a journey through time; each treetop offered insights into the importance of preserving our earth and the steps each individual could take to make a difference to everyone’s future.
A Remarkable Flight
As the guides clipped me in for each flight across the valley they shared snippets of local history of Maori legends and prehistoric man eating birds.
One eye on the lookout for the man eating bird, the group set off towards the final line. I had successfully navigated 90% of the Kea Tour and a short hike along the famous Tiki Trail brought us to the last and most famous line of all.
The longest, steepest descent in the world this line was not for the faint hearted.
But I was game for anything, I’d conquered my nerves and come this far. There was no way I walking down to the finish.
I was going to fly, fly very fast.
“Try and jump hands free,” suggested my guide.
“Are you out of your mind?” I replied.
I’d made progress today and launching myself – without grasping hold of my harness for dear life – into the oblivion below was one step too far.
60 seconds later my feet were back on solid ground and the tour was over. Fears conquered and adrenaline coursing through my veins I was tempted to sign up for the afternoon tour.
Perhaps next time I’ll launch myself hands free or even try zipping upside down!
How To Get Your Ziptrek Fix
Whether adrenaline junkie or big sissy like myself I urge you to grab a hard hat, perhaps face your fear and sign up to fly with Ziptrek.
Should you be tempted to visit Ziptrek during your quest for an adrenaline high in Queenstown here’s what you need to know:
- The Moa tour encompasses 4 lines and will set you back US$110.00 | US$65 youth discount 6 – 14
- The Kea tour which encompasses 5 lines plus the world record breaking final line is US$150 | $110 youth discount 6– 14
- During July and August you can trek at twilight, check the Ziptrek website for more details.
Note | The Skyline Gondola fare is not included in the price of the tour so be sure to leave plenty of time to hike up the Tiki Trail to the crest of Bobs Peak or factor in an additional US$21 to the price of the tour.
Disclaimer: My trip was made possible by Ziptrek Ecotours, but all opinions expressed are my own.