One of the many reasons we love Queenstown is that it is bursting at the seams with things to do. There is literally something to suit everyone. The Skyline Gondola and Luge is one of those activites that everyone should do when they visit Queenstown.
A trip to Queenstown, whether it's winter or summer, is not complete without a ride up the Skyline Gondola. The gondola operates 365 days a year from 9am until late.
If you want to add even more spectacular photos to your already overflowing photo library, then nothing beats the panoramic outlook from the viewing deck at Skyline. From Bob's Peak you'll be able to see Coronet Peak to the north, The Remarkables to the east and across Lake Wakatipu to Cecil and Walter Peaks in the southwest. Many a selfie moment has been snapped there! And you can see why as the amazing view of snow capped mountains, jutting out of Lake Wakatipu, is truly breathtaking.
Vertical rise: 450m (from 340m to 790m above sea level)
Average incline: 37.1°
Speed: variable to 4m/sec
Capacity: 1,100 visitors/hour
Current ticket prices (as at 2016) are $21 for a child, $33 for an adult and $90 for a family.
If the view alone is not enticing enough, jumping on the luge will get the adrenaline pumping. A crowd favourite of ours, we seldom make a trip to Queenstown without a group 'racing' session on the luge! So many laughs have been shared chasing each other down the mountain. And it makes for great bench racing recollections that evening over a few wines.
The experience is really well priced and current prices (as of 2016) range from $47 for 2 runs to $59 for 7 runs (including Gondola). Go for the largest package because you just can't get enough once you start. Don't stress if you haven't done it before or you think it will be too scary. They start you off on a beginners course so you get the feel of the luge and understand the braking technique (which is simple and automatically engages as soon as you let go of the lever so there's no chance of a run-away luge).
Helmets are provided and access is by chairlift, which is a novelty in itself when you don't have skis or a snowboard strapped on!
Children over the age of 10 and over 135cm tall can ride the luge by themselves otherwise, they can do tandem with an adult. The luge is open daily from 10am until dusk.
Watch what happens when our crew gets together on the Luge.
Video by our buddy Martin @alpinedreamin
Dining With The World's Best Backdrop
Fancy dining in a unique environment? The top of the Skyline Gondola has a cafe and a restaurant. The restaurant features a legendary six-course buffet and is open for lunch or dinner where you can dine with an amazing backdrop of the mountains and lake. Reservations are essential and there are set seating times for dinner. Packages are available which include the gondola and/or luge and reservations can be made online.
The Skyline Gondola also offers a Stargazing tour where you can explore stars, nebulae and clusters as well as the Kiwi Haka show where you can immerse yourself in Maori culture with a traditional performance.
Summer Mountainbike Fun
The Skyline Gondola offers access to world class downhill mountain bike tracks. It is the only mountain bike terrain with gondola access in the southern hemisphere. A day pass will set you back $90 (2016) or you can opt for a half day or 4-hour flexi pass. Take your bike up to the top as many times as you like and enjoy some truly exhilarating trails down the mountain. Catering for everyone's MTB ability, the trails are graded from blue to black to extreme. There are over 30kms of feature filled tracks to play on.
We had an awesome afternoon session, where 6 of us hired bikes in town and spent our time on well maintained blue trails – smooth straights, high berms and great jumps had us smiling from ear-to-ear at the end of the day, albeit a little sore and tired!
I'll be spending a lot more time at this downhill course in 2017 so stayed tuned for an extensive review of the trails.
Year Round Fun
In winter, when your legs have taken a beating after spending all your energy on the ski hill, consider spending some of your days off exploring what the Queenstown Skyline has to offer. In Summer, have a go on the mountain bike trails and enjoy the luxury of not having to constantly climb uphill!
You may think the luge might be a bit tame, especially if you're a hardcore skier or snowboarder, but I've yet to meet anyone who has ridden it and not come away having had an awesome and fun time.
Tickets for all of these activities at the Skyline Gondola can be purchased online.
Do you have any questions about Queenstown's Skyline or have any crazy luge stories you want to share? If so, please leave a comment below. (Make sure you click on 'subscribe via e-mail' to be notified when we write back).
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Mick is a lover of speed runs and hitting every feature on the mountain. Ex road bike and motocross racer with plans to dabble in mountain bike racing. Spends a lot of time looking at fast cars and bikes. Jen’s instagram model and selfie camera holder due to long arms. Sometimes an optometrist.