Queenstown in New Zealand is renowned as the adventure capital of the world, but after spending a week there researching for Lonely Planet, I’ve realised some of the resort’s adrenaline fuelled activities don’t necessarily give travellers the best opportunity to experience the stupendous landscapes that surround you like out-takes from a Lord of the Rings DVD box set.
In reality some of the more popular thrill rides like the Nevis Highwire Bungy (anyone for 8.5 seconds freefall?) or the Shotover Canyon Swing are really just too damn fast to take in the incredible scenery that overwhelms every vista. But tandem hang gliding? Now that’s a different story…
I’d done skydiving before, but hang gliding is a whole new gig. Yes, it really did feel like flying as my Argentinean pilot Gerard surfed the glider on the slipping and sliding thermals rising around the ridges of Queenstown’s Coronet Peak.
Still thrilling as hell, and I’ll take fifteen minutes in the air surrounded by the dramatic peaks of the Remarkables mountain range over a sub ten-second injection of adrenaline any time.