For a while Queenstown almost became synonymous with bungy jumping with AJ Hackett opening the world’s first commercial bungee there in 1988. Inspired by the land divers of Vanuatu Hackett had taken to jumping off anything high, including the Eiffel Tower, and he has since gone on to establish a number of very successful bungy jumps.
The first was at the Kawarau River Bridge in the Gibbston Valley, just 20 minutes out of Queenstown. You can drive there yourself in your Queenstown Car Rental or take a shuttle from town. This jump isn’t that high these days – there are others that are higher – but at 43 metres it’s still pretty exciting. You can also choose how wet you want to get with a choice of drop level. Do you want to stay dry, stopping just short of the water? Do you want a brief splash or a complete dunking? It’s up to you. You can also rope up with a buddy and do the jump together – it’s the only tandem jump in the area. There’s a great viewing platform on the edge of the gorge so if you’re not quite up to jumping you can watch a few others do it first.
But sometimes higher is better. The Nevis Bungy is much higher and at 134 metres is the highest in Australasia. Here, rather than jump off a bridge you’ll jump out of a cable car suspended high above the Nevis River. This one is awesome with a full 8 second drop past the stark canyon walls to the rocky river below (well almost)!
If you haven’t got time to get out for a half-day trip up the gorge you can take the gondola up Bob’s Peak from the centre of Queenstown and jump off The Ledge instead. You’re 400 metres above the town here, although you won’t fall that far, and they have a special harness so you can do different jump styles. There’s also a harness jump so you’re feet can be free.
But if jumping off high places isn’t really your thing then the Ledge and the Nevis Bungy both have Swings as well. With a 300 metre arc the Nevis Swing is the biggest in the world, swinging 160 metres above the river. Take your pick!