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SKYLINE QUEENSTOWN – ACCESSIBLE NEW ZEALAND

For access to the best views in Queenstown there’s only one place to go, Skyline Queenstown. Ride the steepest cable car in the Southern Hemisphere to the top of Bob’s Peak and enjoy stunning views of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Walter and Cecil Peak. You don’t need to be a thrill-seeker for this New Zealand adventure, and the best bit, it’s wheelchair accessible.

Skyline Queenstown - wheelchair accessible New Zealand - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

SKYLINE QUEENSTOWN – WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE NEW ZEALAND

On our first trip to New Zealand BJ was just shy of his seventh birthday and one of our most memorable travel days was had at Skyline Queenstown. We had so much fun it was a no-brainer to put Skyline back on our itinerary when we returned. It was a hard day physically but even more fun because this time I could join in (last time I was pregnant and couldn’t ride the luge) and we had AJ with us.

Skyline Queenstown - wheelchair accessible New Zealand - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

Our adventure started with a gondola ride to the top, delivering spectacular views and putting a big smile on BJ’s dial.

Skyline Queenstown - wheelchair accessible New Zealand - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

Once at the top we wowed by the views from the accessible lookout and took way too many photos.

Skyline Queenstown - wheelchair accessible New Zealand - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

Then it was time for the action! When we purchased our tickets for the gondola we had the option to include luge rides. It was a difficult decision as we desperately wanted to take BJ on the luge but he was unable to operate one on his own and the only option was doubling him. We’d done that on our first trip to New Zealand but that was before his massive growth spurt, lanky legs and orangutan-like arms.

Skyline Queenstown - accessible New Zealand - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

Staff advised we could potentially double BJ if we could satisfy luge staff that we could operate the brake sufficiently to remain safe. We purchased our luge tickets with the promise of a refund if it didn’t work. It took quite a bit of dedication on Hubby’s part to make this activity happen due to the steepness of the push to the top to get to the luge ride.

Skyline Queenstown - wheelchair accessible New Zealand - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

The views on the way were a good excuse to stop and take a breath. We just hoped we would be able to make the luge work when we got to the top so Hubby’s efforts were not wasted.

Skyline Queenstown - wheelchair accessible New Zealand - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

After proving to staff Hubby could brake with BJ doubling we were off.

Skyline Queenstown - wheelchair accessible New Zealand - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

When we travel there’s nothing more exhilarating than sharing an experience as a family. Being the last to take off on my luge so I could capture the photos I was thrilled to see Hubby and BJ riding alongside AJ. When we managed to ride side-by-side and look over and share a smile it was magic. Everyone got off having had the same experience and feeling equally exhilarated.

Skyline Queenstown - wheelchair accessible New Zealand - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

The track is long but the ride seems to be over in no time, so one ride is never enough. A second ride is a must just to take in the views.

Skyline Queenstown - wheelchair accessible New Zealand - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

Thankfully a chair lift takes riders and luge carts back to the start making it much easier to take another lap.

Skyline Queenstown - wheelchair accessible New Zealand - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

I’m not going to lie, I was really nervous watching BJ head up on the chair lift but he loved it and we can notch it up to another experience he’s been able to enjoy.

Skyline Queenstown - wheelchair accessible New Zealand - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

Here’s a little video of our gondola and luge ride at Skyline Queenstown.

SKYLINE QUEENSTOWN – ACCESSIBILITY

Skyline Queenstown is well worth the visit even if you are not able to access the luge. The ride in the gondola and the views from the accessible platform are stunning and tickets are sold separately.

Skyline Queenstown - wheelchair accessible New Zealand - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

BJ transferred to a seat for the ride and his manual wheelchair rode in another gondola.

Skyline Queenstown - wheelchair accessible New Zealand - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

BJ’s wheelchair was wider than usual as we were travelling with his off-road tyres so it was a tight fit.

Skyline Queenstown - wheelchair accessible New Zealand - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

The gondolas can be slowed or stopped to allow safe loading of wheelchairs or for anyone wishing to stay in their wheelchair for the ride.

The Skyline Queenstown website includes the following information for wheelchair users –

“We are able to help a guest in a wheelchair at both ends to be lifted out of the chair into the Gondola and the wheelchair will be folded into the Gondola with them. This does, however, depend on the severity of the disability – for example, if the customer is in an electric wheelchair, this may not be possible. We would handle this on a case-by-case basis.

While we don’t have a ramp, if the customer is wheelchair-bound, we will stop the gondola to allow the wheelchair in, and the Gondola operators will lift the wheelchair in. Most chairs do fit. However, we also have a wheelchair at the bottom of the Gondola (and at the top) we can provide to the guest if needed, and we can assist them in changing to our chair. Once at the top, we have lifts/ramps etc.”

Skyline Queenstown - wheelchair accessible Sydney - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

Our decision to ride the luge made this a physically challenging day. Hubby had to push up to the top which is steep.

Skyline Queenstown - wheelchair accessible New Zealand - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

The luge is designed for one rider so Hubby had a challenge to fit with BJ on the cart given they are both tall. Somehow they scrunched their bodies up enough to make it work but poor BJ did get a big old bruise on his shin from the brake. From the video footage and his smiles I think the bruise was worth it just for the experience.

Skyline Queenstown - accessible New Zealand - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

The luge ride finishes at the base of the hill. If you are riding it again, you head back up to the top on the chair lift but otherwise there’s a big old hill to walk up. Hubby walked BJ up this hill and waited at the accessible viewing platform for me to walk to the very top to bring BJ’s wheelchair back down. As I said, this was a huge day for us physically. It was quite a challenge to make it possible for BJ to participate in all aspects of the day but it was worth every sore muscle. We had the BEST day.

Skyline Queenstown - accessible New Zealand - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

An accessible bathroom is available near the cafe and accessible viewing platform.

Skyline Queenstown - accessible New Zealand - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

After all the energy we’d used getting to the luge we were hungry and the Market Kitchen offered a great range of food at reasonable prices. Pies were our pick and they didn’t disappoint. There’s good access throughout the cafe.

Skyline Queenstown - accessible New Zealand - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

If you are visiting Queenstown make sure you pop Skyline Queenstown on your list of accessible activities to try. The gondola ride and views from Bob’s Peak can’t be missed. Staff at Skyline Queenstown went above and beyond to assist us and make our day possible.

While in Queenstown we also visited Below Zero Ice Bar for some cool fun (pun intended!)

You can read our general tips for an accessible New Zealand holiday here.

We flew from Australia to Queenstown with Air New Zealand and reviewed our experience in this blog.

Skyline Queenstown - wheelchair accessible New Zealand - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

Skyline Queenstown - wheelchair accessible New Zealand - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

 




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