If you are looking for something to do in Queenstown that is exciting and fast paced but lasts a touch longer than a 6 second free fall, then a Nomad Safaris 4WD Adventure is definitely something you should investigate.
The guys at Nomad Safaris offer 4WD adventure tours into New Zealand backcountry, exploring historic gold mining areas and a selection of filming locations used in The Lord of the Rings movies (read about their LOTR tours here).
I decided to go on the Nomad Safaris Macetown tour, as going by 4WD is one of the only ways to see that area aside from trekking all the way out there on your own 2 feet.
So I booked my seat, and a couple of hours later my friendly driver Malcolm came and picked me up from my hostel in Queenstown in the Land Rover Defender 4x4 (a beast of a vehicle) and that was it... we were off!
"I never knew that these vehicles were capable of such gravity defying feats..."
We headed to Arrowtown by road, there was a small pause as Mal engaged the 4WD, and so commenced my baptism of fire into off-roading! Our Nomad Safaris 4WD adventure consisted of around 25 river crossings in all, and these guys are certainly not shy when it comes to fording rivers, the water came up to the windshield on more than one occasion. I never knew that these vehicles were capable of such gravity defying feats, up and down near vertical inclines and declines. There were definitely a few hairy moments, but in the experienced and capable hands of Mal, I never felt in any danger whatsoever.
I thought that this was just going to be a quick thrill ride where you get thrown around a few mountains, and drenched through a few rivers, how wrong I was. The Nomad Safaris 4WD adventure tour was a really interesting and well rounded 4WD adventure. Mal acted like more of a tour guide than I would’ve expected, giving some genuinely interesting historical facts about Queenstown and the areas we were driving through.
"...have a go at panning for gold..."
We got to see the remnants of the old mining village of Macetown, and he pointed out several hermit huts along the way, with interesting anecdotes and stories round every corner. An added bonus at the end of the tour was the opportunity to have a go at panning for gold, and I along with the other people in the jeep managed to find ourselves some!
I came away a richer man, in more ways than one.
This is a great way to see and experience the backcountry around Queenstown, and you really come away feeling more attached to the area. A total smash of a day, the 4 ½ hours went flying by, a 4WD adventure with Nomad Safaris is such an awesome way to see and experience the awe inspiring area around Queenstown.
*Nomad Quad Bike Safaris are also worth a try!
Franko - images from nomadsafaris.co.nz