Queenstown – unassumingly hip, unusually sophisticated but down to earth, and home to some of the best ski fields in the Southern Hemisphere. Unfortunately, my partner and I were suffering from some sort of mutant common cold bug, so snowboarding went out the window. Worst luck. But bad luck turned into good luck when we stumbled upon a new activity that didn’t further compromise our lungs. The winner was…. Ziptrek Ecotours!
Situated near the upper terminal of the Skyline Gondola, Ziptrek Ecotours offered 2 experiences – the 4-line Moa tour, or a longer 6-line Kea ziptrek. Feeling sorry for our snowboard losses, we chose to indulge in the Kea tour. Best decision ever.
Once I’d completed all the necessary nervous bathroom trips, we were harnessed up and discussed the safety aspects of ziptreking (Safer Communities Together, as Police Dog Handler Baldwin likes to remind us. Also to always blow on the pie). Anyway, we then spent 3 hours zipping from platform to platform through an ancient alpine forest.
Rest assured fellow Earth Lovers that Ziptrek Ecotours aims to increase environmental awareness and education, and in their own words “seeks a harmonious integration of our activity and its environment”. At each tree platform, the tour guides imparted their knowledge of the forest ecosystem and the conservation efforts being taken to preserve this unique natural wonder.
Most people can participate in this Ziptrek tour (weight and age restrictions do apply), BUT the faint-of-heart need not apply as it included the steepest tree-to-tree Zipline on the planet! Here is a pic of me on this Zipline:
As seen in the pic, there was a safety net. This is because the Zipline was roughly 300 metres long and due to the drop’s gradient the Ziptrekker can zip along at 70km per hour! We were assured that no one had ever reached the safety net with the guide manually braking (not breaking) the Ziptrekker. The safety net is then dropped so the Ziptrekker can access the final platform. Until I came along. Yep, I was left caught in that net scrabbling like a drunken spider with flailing arms and legs stuck through the net. Admittedly, I was kind of proud of my uncoordinated safety net incident, and I was 100% safe at all times. Steve, of course, was gracefully stopped just prior to reaching the net.
Apart from the adrenalin rush, Ziptrekking gave us spectacular views of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. It also offered us a unique way of experiencing the forest. I Ziptrekked the regular way and enjoyed the breathtaking views. Meanwhile, Steve did some fun tricks.
If in need of healing and fresh mountain air, do try Ziptrek Ecotours. You’ll be singing Zippity Do Dah for the rest of the day!