A claim by Wanaka's tourism chief that it is New Zealand's
adventure capital has raised the eyebrows of his Queenstown
Lake Wanaka Tourism general manager James Helmore yesterday
released a statement to media headlined: ''Move over
Queenstown - New Zealand has a new adventure capital: Lake
Destination Queenstown chief executive Graham Budd yesterday
called Mr Helmore's claim ''disappointing and very
Mr Helmore's statement highlighted that Lake Wanaka was the
only New Zealand destination to make an ''Ultimate Adventure
Bucket List'' compiled by the highly regarded National
To put together the list, National Geographic asked top
American snowboarder Jeremy Jones to share new frontiers. He
touted Wanaka as ''the adventure capital of New Zealand''.
''Recognition as the adventure capital from one of the
world's most celebrated and well-known snowboarders is a
fantastic tribute to the region, but one those in the know
have always acknowledged,'' Mr Helmore said in the statement.
''We have everything right here in Wanaka, from skydiving,
jet-boating, canyoning, aerobatic flights, heli-biking,
ice-driving, mountaineering, paragliding, river sledging.''
Asked for his response, Mr Budd said he was ''very pleased
for Wanaka that they have received some international
''However, it is disappointing and very surprising to have
our neighbours reference Queenstown in this way,'' he said.
One activity missing from Mr Helmore's list - because it's
unavailable in Wanaka - is bungy jumping, an adventure
tourism staple started in Queenstown almost 25 years ago.
Mr Helmore isn't the first to try to claim the adventure
capital title - a year ago the Bay of Plenty Regional Council
started promoting Rotorua as ''New Zealand's adventure
capital, with something to do every minute of every day''.
At the time, then-CEO of NZSki James Coddington - who grew up
in Rotorua - told Queenstown newspaper the Mountain Scene:
''That's a bold call. It doesn't even come close.
''Queenstown is the true four-season destination, adventure
tourism capital of the world. You can try to compare yourself
to that but there's no place that comes close.
''I'm pretty sure Lonely Planet coined the term [adventure
capital]. We haven't coined it ourselves - it's a term that
people have put on us. You don't go out there and put your
own label on yourself - it's lame,'' he said.
The Wanaka boast comes hard on the heels of a campaign last
month by some frustrated Wanaka residents to try to have
Wanaka break away from the Queenstown Lakes District Council
and form its own local body.
At the time, the Mountain Scene revealed Queenstown
ratepayers subsidised Wanaka ratepayers by more than $1
million a year.
- Ryan Keen, Mountain Scene