I’ve done Queenstown’s gondola quite a few times now, having lived here for a few years.
On occasion I’ve skipped it, and walked up – it’s a decent climb uphill. Either way, the view is exactly the same – an absolute jaw-dropper.
It never gets old but it’s much better to show it off to someone visiting town so I took a German friend of mine Leoni
Bruch a few weeks back.
Once we settled into a cable car and started moving, she told me: “I’m afraid of heights.”
“Don’t worry – these things hardly ever drop people,” I said, giving the window a solid reassuring slap.
The great thing about the ride – and it’s the steepest cable car in the southern hemisphere rising 450 metres – is the view keeps changing and getting better as you climb.
On the way up, I always like to think of Skyline Enterprises’ hardy early bosses cutting loose with the chainsaws to clear the treeline for the gondola. Good luck having a crack at that nowadays.
It takes about seven minutes to get to the top. And there are plenty of options once you arrive – luging, tandem paragliding, The Ledge bungy, Ziptrek’s giant flying fox ecotour.
Or you can just kick back on the terraces and enjoy the outlook.
They scalp you on the coffee once you’re up there at $4.50 for a cappuccino but as far as a venue for a cuppa, that balcony overlooking Queenstown Bay, Lake Wakatipu and surrounding peaks can’t be beaten.
And they have these cool little electronic devices that vibrate and light up when your order is ready so you don’t have to waste time waiting inside the cafe.
As they say in The Castle: “How’s the serenity!”
All you need to know
What Skyline Gondola
Where Leaves from top of Brecon Street
Cost $25 (per adult), $14 (child five to 14), $71 (family, two adults, three kids)
Thrill-o-meter 5 out of 10 (more serene than thrilling)