Minnie goes ziplining in Queenstown

Minnie ziplining in Queenstown Minnie ziplining in Queenstown

30 years ago, I was an active teenager who loved the outdoors and sport! I played tennis, ran long distance for my high school, played competitive hockey, basketball, badminton, sailed, learnt ballet from the age of 4 to 12 years old, and road my bike every day to school and to visit my friends in Palmerston North.

At the age of 15 I was then diagnosed with a rare sight condition called Stargardts which meant that I would never be able to drive a car, read standard print in books, see signs and would have very poor detail and depth perception.

Most of my physical sport and outdoor activity very quickly dropped away, in part because most coaches were not sure how to include a partially blind pupil and in part because I lost confidence in my abilities and did not want to be a burden on others.

In mid-March all of that was completely turned around! I had the great privilege and joy of visiting the magical place that is Queenstown and encountered some progressive adventure tourism operators with a difference!

Firstly, I was invited by Trent Yeo at Ziptreck to try out the amazing Kea Zipine, which involves 6 sip lines through the forest starting from the Gondola, and then ending with the worlds steepest zipline! The team and Ziptreck were incredible and made every part of the journey accessible to me. There was no fuss and no drama; they just listened to what I needed, made a couple of tweaks to the program and voila! I was able to do something I had not done in many years - have fun and take part in outdoor adventure tourism!

To then add to my excitement, an old friend and the owner operator of Charge About e-bikes, Campbell Read, had just taken possession of a tandem e - bike from the very fabulous Moustache brand of French bikes! Not only was it my first time on an e-bike, it was Campbell’s first time navigating a tandem e-bike too! However as they say “It is just like riding a bike” when you are riding a e-bike even when it is a tandem.

For the first time in 30 years I had the joyous experience of riding along a gorgeous river bank, exploring a local township and plunging into the river on 2 wheels! The fact that this ride took place in Arrowtown at the start of autumn added to the beauty of the experience but I simply could not believe that access to the outside world was actually that easy.

This is simply about attitude and the readiness of amazing positive people like Trent and Cam to think a bit creatively and to see something as an opportunity, not a problem! They really are about “possibility, not about disability!”

So, thank you Queenstown! You really could become the most accessible little adventure tourism city in the world! Let’s Be. the change and make it happen!