3 Days in Queenstown, New Zealand - Hiking Ben Lomond, Skydiving and More

3 Days in Queenstown, New Zealand

Hiking Ben Lomond, Skydiving and More


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Following up from a few laid-back days in Wanaka, it is time to head to Queenstown for a dose of adventure. Queenstown is considered the adventure capital of the world and I could see why. Any extreme sports or activities humanity could endure, it is invented and made available here. From going down a track with a luge to plunging from a moving plane from 15,000 ft above the town, you can do all that in Queenstown. I had 3 days in Queenstown and these were what I did:

A Month In New Zealand On A Budget.

New Zealand Travel Video

The Kiwiland from Pete R. on Vimeo

Exploring Queenstown

 Day 19: Introduction to Queenstown

It only took me 2 hours to hop on a bus from Wanaka to Queenstown and there it was, the Remarkables.

This guy knows how to chill! It was a little windy that day and I ended up just walking around Queenstown and getting ready for a big day the next day

This guy knows how to chill! It was a little windy that day and I ended up just walking around Queenstown and getting ready for a big day the next day.

Where to Stay in Queenstown

That night I stayed at the Adventure Queenstown Hostel, the best hostel I stayed in New Zealand by far

That night I stayed at the Adventure Queenstown Hostel, the best hostel I stayed in New Zealand by far. They provided me with free towels, GoPro and iPad rental, unlimited free wifi, quiz and movie nights, very well located and best of all, they have plugs with USB sockets for every single bed in their dorm rooms. Something so simple yet not many hostels in New Zealand managed to provide you with such a convinience. Staying in the AQ hostel will cost you 28 NZD per night. This was the view from their kitchen.

Hiking Ben Lomond

 Day 20: Ben Lomond

The next morning, I woke up early and walked to the start of the trail to the summit of Ben Lomond up north. I had the option to either take the gondola up half way or walk 45 minutes in a forest to the gondola and continue on. Of course, I went for the walk. It was beautiful with lush green forest and no one to bother me.

After I approached the Gondola, I walked through a small valley passed another forest and arrived in the open area with a view of the mountain range

After I approached the Gondola, I walked through a small valley passed another forest and arrived in the open area with a view of the mountain range. The weather did not look promising but I continued anyway.

After walking for 2 hours, I was at the ridge overlooking Queenstown

After walking for 2 hours, I was at the ridge overlooking Queenstown. Many people turned back since they believed it would be too windy at the summit. Me and another Danish guy decided to go on hoping the weather would be nicer as the day progressed.

The weather did not improved but I had come to expect the weather in New Zealand to be unpredictable anyway

The weather did not improved but I had come to expect the weather in New Zealand to be unpredictable anyway.

I stopped on the ridge for a lunch break

I stopped on the ridge for a lunch break. I prepared myself a few sandwiches for my hike that morning and I devoured all of them in seconds.

The journey continued

The journey continued.

It was a long, cold, wet climb

It was a long, cold, wet climb. The rain started to pour down lightly. The rocks were slippery and I did not have my trekking shoes on as I thought it would be a piece of cake to climb Ben Lomond with my normal shoes.

After 2 hours of climbing I finally reached the summit safely

After 2 hours of climbing I finally reached the summit safely. The Danish guy was waiting for me in the cold.

It was a full blown shower when I was up there but it was worth it

It was a full blown shower when I was up there but it was worth it. The scenery was stunningly beautiful especially with the rain turning the whole mountain range dreamy and atmospheric.

The rain was starting to slow down but we were too cold to wait for it to clear up

The rain was starting to slow down but we were too cold to wait for it to clear up.

After a few minutes at the summit, we met a group of Germans ascending the summit in the rain as well

After a few minutes at the summit, we met a group of Germans ascending the summit in the rain as well. The thing about mountaineers is the ability to smile and laugh in all situation, easy or hard. I remember, we were laughing because I claimed the first Asian to arrive that day, since the summit was dominated by Germans.

It doestn't matter if it was raining or not

It doestn't matter if it was raining or not. The experience of overcoming the challenge is what kept me smiling.

And as you guessed it, the weather started to clear as I was getting down

And as you guessed it, the weather started to clear as I was getting down.

The weather changes so fast in New Zealand, the weather forecast has no power there

The weather changes so fast in New Zealand, the weather forecast has no power there.

The clouds were clearing at the summit

The clouds were clearing at the summit. It turned out to be a much better day than I thought.

Since the sun came out, I decided to rest on the ridge for an hour just to appreciate the view more

Since the sun came out, I decided to rest on the ridge for an hour just to appreciate the view more. It is easy to forget to appreciate the view when you are busy climbing.

Can you believe that this photo was taken on the same day as the previous ones? Nuts!

Can you believe that this photo was taken on the same day as the previous ones? Nuts!

Here was a group of humans for scale

Here was a group of humans for scale. This is the reason why I love mountains so much.

Going down always seem to be faster than going up

Going down always seem to be faster than going up. I guess it is because we now know where to go and what to expect.

After conquering Ben Lomond, I decided to grab myself a southern swine burger from the famous Fergburger place in Queenstown

After conquering Ben Lomond, I decided to grab myself a southern swine burger from the famous Fergburger place in Queenstown. Highly recommended especially after a long hike like that. They also have a bakery where you can get a nice warm croissant and a flat white to go as well.

Attempted to Skydive (Failed)

Before I went to bed the previous day, I decided to book a Skydive ticket from the hostel for the next day. I thought it would be fitting since it would be my birthday and no celebration fit me more than jumping off a moving plane at 15,000 ft high.

I was so excited but I also knew that it is very weather dependent and you know New Zealand, the weather is just unpredictable especially in the South Island. And as you guessed it, it was way too cloudy the next day, and I ended up doing absolutely nothing. I did have a great time watching a movie at the hostel though so there was that.

Skydiving in Queenstown, New Zealand with the NZONE.

Since I had to go to Te Anau the next day and meet up with my friend Ashley (whom I met in Rotorua) to do the Routeburn track together, I was left a little heart broken.. but I did not sweat. After the Routeburn track, I would be back in Queenstown again and that would be my last chance to accomplish my life-long goal.

And that ended the first part of my experience in Queenstown. Next up, we will see what it is like cruising through the Milford Sound on a clear day (for once!) and why it is worth all the hype. Stay tuned and look out for the second part of my time in Queenstown where I finally did jump off the plane!

How to Visit The Milford Sound, New Zealand.

Further Reading for Backpacking in New Zealand

I’ve spent 5 weeks backpacking in New Zealand and I have written a ton more about my journey traveling throughout New Zealand from the North Island to the South Island that you might help in your trip planning.

Here’s a selection of articles about New Zealand:

The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by BucketListly where we will follow our founder, Pete Rojwongsuriya around the world as he singlehandedly travel alone and experience different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.


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