A primordial playground with truly spectacular scenery on the grandest scale, outdoor adventure activities galore, colourful and compelling Maori culture and terribly nice Kiwis.
Travel bucket list idea:
Bungy jump off the Kawarau Bridge
Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand|www.bungy.co.nz|
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.
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.
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