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Adventure tourist in Queenstown

June 6, 2011

I was in Queenstown a few weeks ago being an ‘adventure tourist’ for a day as part of my research into outdoor adventure activities. I did the Nevis bungy jump, jetboating and rafting. It was a fun day though not something I would have chosen to do normally. For me there was not as much satisfaction involved as if I was doing an activity – say climbing – with my friends and from my own initiative.

The Nevis Bungy, 134m freefall

Feeling the fear before the jump

There were definitely thrills to be had -the bungy in particular, although short-lived – but I was mostly fascinated by the whole tourist experience and ideas of ‘authenticity’.

Looking at it from another more post-modern angle, it is about game playing. The tourists and the operators know the activities are set up, all the control and ‘risk’ is taken out of your hands (as much as it can be, not withstanding objective hazards in the river etc) and you sort of go along with how you are meant to behave, fulfilling your role as adventure tourist with appropriate emotions and interactions with those around you.

After the jump - on a high

For instance the guides tell cheesy cliched jokes about the nationality of the clients (I was the only Kiwi out of 16 on the rafting trip), and you are meant to get into the spirit of the trip, experiencing emotions of nervousness and anticipation before you hit the big rapids.

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