no alt text

Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 17 January, 2023
Expert travel writer: Mark Chipperfield

There are not many places in the world you can climb a waterfall – at least this site hasn’t found one yet – and this also happens to be the highest.

Set on the shores of stunning Lake Wanaka, the ‘Lord of the Rungs’ (their name, not ours) via Ferrata-esque course has 3 levels to suit varying abilities.

All three courses combine a mix of climbs on steel rungs, and crossing of suspension bridges. The full 5-7 hour climb to the top (450m) also goes behind the waterfall, sees you climb through an airy overhang, and helicopters you back down from the top. Brilliant!

Price from: £110
Minimum age: 10
Age suitable: 10+
When: All year around
Duration: 3-7 hours

Getting there & doing it

The basic level 1 climbs 150m and takes 2-3 hours; the intermediate level 2 climbs 320m and takes 4-5 hours; the full climb, level 3, of 450m takes 6-7 hours.

No previous experience is needed and all equipment is provided. Standards of safety are rigorously high, and you are secured at all times to a runner in the rockface via a steel cable. (So don’t worry!). Mine age for levels 1 & 2 is 10 years, for the full ‘Lord of the Rungs’ tour to the top, its 15 years.

Lunch is provided for levels 2 and 3, and the price includes return transfers to Wanaka.

When to do it

It’s available all year round, seven days a week, weather permitting.

Our writer’s recommended tour operators to book with



Wanaka, South Island, New Zealand

Highly-regarded and friendly local operator of the Lake Wanaka via Ferrata course. Full safety accredited.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Wanaka Springs Lodge

Wanaka, South Island, New Zealand[17 miles]

Warm, inviting and homely B&B that’s a great adventure base, with an affordable price tag.

Official star rating:

The Spire Hotel Queenstown

Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand[48.2 miles]

Intimate, 10-room boutique hotel offering an oasis of indulgence in the heart of Queenstown. Just 10 guest rooms – each with its own gas fireplace

Official star rating:

Hotel St Moritz Queenstown

Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand[48.6 miles]

Big, fun-loving, no-nonsense property that’s the ideal base for exploring everything Queenstown has to offer.

Official star rating:

Blanket Bay

Glenorchy, South Island, New Zealand[49.6 miles]

One of New Zealand’s most recognisable and admired luxury lodges. Intimate and quiet, spectacular scenery, and outdoor activities in tap.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

Kayak on Lake Wanaka

Kayak on Lake Wanaka

Wanaka, South Island, New Zealand[13.9 miles]

Kayaking doesn’t come much better than this, amid the stunning setting of Lake Wanaka. Hire kayaks and go it alone, or book onto this guided 1-hour excursion across to Ruby Island. You’ll then spend two hours (or longer) picnicking on the island, before returning by their water taxi.

Best for ages: 6+ | £35 | 3 hours

Website >
Overview >

White-water rafting on the Shotover River

Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand[18.9 miles]

Adrenaline-pumping white-water rafting for scaredy cats and daredevils, with guaranteed thrills and spills aplenty. Choose either the grade 2-3 rapids of the Kawarau River, or the grade 3-5 rapids of the Shotover River.

Best for ages: 13+ | £105 | 4-5 hours

Website >
Overview >

Bungy jump off the Kawarau Bridge

Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand[40.4 miles]

The original bunjy jump, from a 43m-high bridge over the Kawarau River, plus valley swings and human catapult experiences alongside. Adrenaline rush guaranteed and spectacular scenery to boot.

Best for ages: 10+ | £100 | 4-5 hours

Other worthwhile experiences near this experience if you have time or interest..

Cardrona Distillery

Cardrona Distillery

Wanaka, South Island, New Zealand[25.2 miles]

This artisan, family-run distillery is renowned for its handcrafted single-malt whisky, gin, vodka and liqueurs. 75-minute guided tours take you behind the scenes to see the production process, and of course, to sample some of the outputs.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

Website >
Overview >
Tourists are walking around the main street of Arrowtown


Arrowtown, South Island, New Zealand[33.7 miles]

This charming town showcases New Zealand’s gold-mining history – a rare taste of heritage in this modern nation. Founded in 1862, at its height it was home to over 7,000 residents (today around 3,000). Many of the original buildings have been preserved, creating a character-filled main street – that’s now home to some excellent shops and restaurants.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

Website >
Overview >
Onsen hot pool in South island NZ

Onsen Hot Pools

Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand[42.2 miles]

Inspired by the Japanese tradition of onsen, these cedar-lined hot tubs are filled with local mountain water heated to 38.5°C. Both indoor and outdoor tubs are available for up to 4 people per tub (they have special couples ones too), and all come with views of the Shotover River. Perfect for post-adrenaline-activity recovery.

Best for ages: 8+ | £40

Website >
Overview >
Steamship TSS Earnslaw on Lake Wakatipu.

Steamship TSS Earnslaw on Lake Wakatipu

Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand[48.4 miles]

This 1912 Edwardian twin screw steamer – the only remaining commercial passenger-carrying coal-fired steamship in the southern hemisphere – offers 1.5-hour scenic cruises on Lake Wakatipu. Passengers can view the engine room, and read onboard displays about the boat’s history, as well as soaking up the jaw-dropping scenery.

Best for ages: 4+ | £40 | 1.5 hours

Website >
Overview >