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Rafting the Shotover River

Posted by Kate Fahey: 28th Oct 2014 @ 14:14:13

The team at Queenstown Rafting have been taking adventurers on the mighty Shotover River since 1996 and are the largest white water rafting company in New Zealand. Safety is paramount and the experience rafting guides will have your complete confidence, as they navigate the grade 3- 5 rapids through the twists, turns, canyons and tunnels of this incredible stretch of water.

Your day begins at the rafting base on the banks of the river, where you will surrender to the fact that for the next few hours you will look more like a New Zealand Fur Seal than a person. The wetsuits, however, will keep you toasty warm should you happen to participate in the full rafting experience by testing the cool waters of the Shotover River.

The guides will kit you out with all the equipment you will need and you’ll jump aboard the bus to head to the start of the rafting trip. Cruising up Coronet Peak you’ll get exceptional views over the Wakatipu Basin before turning into the infamous Skippers Canyon road. Now don’t let the road warning signs put you off, these drivers navigate this road twice a day! You may have guessed the road is all part of the adventure experience. Sheer cliff walls and drops on a single lane road take you down the old gold miners trail deep into Skippers Canyon.

Once you arrive at Deep Creek, your starting point for the rafting trip, you will get a full briefing on what exactly you have signed yourself up for. Meeting your friendly rafting guide, you and 7 people are off on the rafting adventure you’ve been waiting for.

At first the river is tame allowing you to perfect your paddling skills and get to know one another before the excitement really begins. With rapids like Squeeze, Oh Sh*t, Toilet, Jaws and Pinball you’re sure to get your scream on! The Mother rapids take you down a narrow shoot just wide enough for a raft, with all the water in the river rushing through the gap in the canyon walls…get ready to paddle hard and hold on tight.

To finish you will paddle into the darkness of the 170 metre long Oxenbridge Tunnel before shooting down the final rapid slide known as Cascade. Smile for the camera! Upon celebrating your achievements you will head back to the rafting base to exchange stories with fellow passengers and enjoy a hot shower and sauna.

Sound good? For more information and to book your rafting adventure check out our Thrill – Water section.

Fun for the whole family

Posted by David Fahey: 19th Oct 2014 @ 20:21:47

Queenstown is well publicised for being both the adventure and party capital of New Zealand, but is also the perfect destination for your next family holiday.

Year on year Queenstown has become a more rounded tourism destination, and the family is now no exception. With most activity providers offering child and family discounts the family budget is well catered for. Travel at certain times of the year and you’ll even find that kids go FREE on certain activities!

During the winter months you’ll find that all four ski hills cater well for the modern family, with specifically designed lessons or ski programmes for kids and specialist instructors trained in delivering a quality experience to the younger family members. Private lessons are a great way for the family to all progress at the same stage. Or take advantage of the on mountain day care to take some time to carve a few laps on your own. You’ll also find that skiing as a family may be cheaper than first thought as at Cardrona kids under 5 ski for free, while at the Remarkables those under 10 benefit from free turns.

During the summer months you’ll find most if not all providers now offer special child rates or discounts for families. For instance, travel with Dart River on their wilderness jet boat trip as a family of four & 1 child travels for free. If you haven’t already – head up Skyline Gondola & try out the Luge, where the competitiveness within the family shines or Ziptrek your way down from Bob’s Peak.

Cruise over to Walter Peak on the TSS Earnslaw and go for a horse trek or bike ride, take some time with the kids to check out the farm animals and enjoy a farm show before tucking into the Gourmet BBQ lunch or buffet style dinner.

Outside of the tours and activities there are all the free things that make NZ great, camping, tramping, fishing and stomping around in pristine lakes and rivers.

So whether you’re hear to push the adrenaline, party the night away, or enjoy this pristine natural playground with the family, Queenstown is the place to be!

Avoid the rush

Posted by David Fahey: 10th Oct 2014 @ 07:11:20

While not always possible, the thought of travelling through shoulder seasons should always be considered & Queenstown is no exception.

We all know that New Zealand is famous for dishing out 4 seasons in one day & if you don’t mind working alongside Mother Nature’s plans then October/November is a cracker time to hit up the best Queenstown has to offer.

So far this month I have basked in full spring sunshine in no more than shorts and a t-shirt, while in the same week have donned the winter jacket and walked the pooch through snow flurries. As Queenstown sees the first rays of the spring sun, a new burst of life is given to the area. With trees now in full blossom, a green glow returning to the hills and the mountains still capped in a full winter coverage of snow every corner you turn is picture post card.

On top of the stunning vistas is the lack of summer crowds. Pick any activity form your list and availability is almost guaranteed. Small groups means a more personal experience & a seat at the bar will probably see you preached next to a local, more than happy to impart some of their local knowledge.

Shoulder seasons are also a great time to take full advantage of off peak rates, helping make the dollar go a little further & scaring yourself one more time possible. It’s also a great time to be on the roads exploring further afield. The lack of cars on the roads makes inter town travel quicker, and possible a little less frustrating without the lines of motor homes to deal with.

So while you may have to be a little more flexible with your plans to cater for the weather factor, shoulder season travel to Queenstown is one of my small pieces of advice to further enhance your Ultimate Queenstown experience.

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