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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 05 January, 2023
Expert travel writer: Mark Chipperfield

Kawarau Bridge is where, in 1988, this whole crazy thing began, with the first commercial bungy jump pioneered by AJ Hackett.

Set in a small, pretty ravine, this 43m jump with a dip in the icy river provides an idyllic setting for your first bungy – and great views for spectators.

Those looking for a more extreme jump experience should book into either The Ledge or the Nevis, AJ Hackett’s other two locations.

Do the swing or catapult instead

If the thought of jumping off a high bridge (understandably) terrifies you, save face amongst friends by braving the Ledge Swing instead. This self-release swing pings you 400m out over Queensland. You can even do it at night. Or opt for the ‘Human Catapult‘, which shoots you 150m out into the Nevis Valley with a 3G force.

If you’re either a total adrenaline junkie, or just a bit crazy, you can sign up for combo packages that include a combination of some or all of the above.

The easy way out

Still a thrill, but without the gut-wrenching freefall drop, the 130m long zip line offers the chance to speed across the Kawarau River at 60km/hr, solo or in tandem. A great option for families and scaredy cats.

Origins of Bunjy

Modern bungy jumping was preceded by similar sports played by indigenous tribespeople in various locations around the world, including South America and the Pacific. Young men would test their metal against one another by climbing a wooden tower and leaping off with lengths of rattan tied to their ankles.

Price from: £100
Minimum age: 10
Age suitable: 10+
When: All year around
Duration: 4-5 hours

Getting there & doing it

Kawarau Bridge and the other sites are a 20-minute drive from Queenstown. AJ Hackett operates a shuttle bus, three times a day, picking up from the Queenstown Bungy Centre, at the corner of Shotover Street and Camp Street. You can also self-drive to the locations (directions on the website). Get to the bus stations 30mins early, and allow 4 hours for the round trip.

The minimum age for jumps is 10 and children under 14 need to be accompanied by an adult. For the catapult, minimum age is 13.

When to do it

The various jumps operate all year round, seven days a week, when weather is suitable.

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

The Spire Hotel Queenstown

Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand[18.9 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[19.6 miles]

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

Official star rating:

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