Songbirds: Queenstown musos Sofia Machray, left, and Pearly McGrath are among 20-odd locals who'll take to the trees on Bob's Peak next weekend to perform as part of Ziptrek Ecotours' inaugural 'Treehouse Sessions'


A Queenstown adventure tourism company’s zipping into new territory to support the resort’s arts, culture and performance communities.

Next weekend Ziptrek Ecotours will hold its first ‘Treehouse Sessions’, where about 20 local musos will take to the tree decks on Bob’s Peak next Saturday and Sunday, from noon till 4pm both days, to perform during the resort’s first official gig – part of New Zealand Music Month – since before the Covid-19 lockdown.

Punters can purchase tickets for $30 to zip through the trees and get their live music fix in the forest at the same time.

Ziptrek boss Trent Yeo says guests will be managed in their movements over two square kilometres of open space, so it’s “perfectly placed for safe interaction in a recovering Covid world”.

He says the idea behind the Treehouse Sessions was to move the business model towards the community.

“The concern and driver was, not only is tourism completely decimated in its current form, but the arts, culture and performance cultures are also.

“I always like to think what is the opportunity for two problems to make a solution?’

“So we’re pivoting our model towards something which can pop up in spring, and this is our first test of it before it gets really cold, of using Ziptrek as an outdoor venue.”

Yeo says the Ziptrek team initially planned to launch the events in spring, but decided Queenstown needed some “positive tourism news”.

Timed for Queen’s Birthday weekend, Yeo says it’s also about sharing the love around town, and collaborating with others.

That includes Luma, which is encouraging residents to light up their homes for dates the annual event would normally be held in the Queenstown Gardens, and Yonder, which fast became a popular live music venue, on Church Street, and is now trying to save that aspect of its business.

“I think one of the key aspects to our survival/surviving in this environment is to turn to this community and start to collaborate, hard out.

Collaboration key: Ziptrek boss Trent Yeo

“There’s lots of different movements coming together to create a community of collaboration across business, community, arts, culture and performance.

“Ziptrek, as an example, is trying to create a commercial model … to support an industry that will otherwise, potentially, fail.

“We’re not willing to lie down and take whatever we’ve got.

“We’re not interested in just waiting for internationals – sustainability is absolutely a people game and we need to consider what our community needs.

“Ziptrek, just like every other tourism organisation, is fighting for survival.”

He hopes the new initiative offers “one glimmer of hope” to local artists who’ve lacked an outlet, an audience and a paid workplace for the last couple of months.

“From a national perspective, in a depressed world, imagine the global headline, ‘NZ creates the most beautiful outdoor venues in the world’.

“That excites me.

Anyone interested in performing next weekend can email by 5pm this coming Monday.

Bookings to attend the gig are essential – tickets can be purchased by emailing, or calling 800 ZIP TREK (0800 947 8735).