An otherwise sedate country where people are happy to chat to strangers on a bus, New Zealand has a reasonable claim to the title of the home of adventure travel. In between tensing themselves for the next set of white water rapids or with time to ponder before opening a parachute, New Zealanders have been thinking of new ways to manufacture an adrenaline rush. So grab yourself some New Zealand holiday deals and before you know it you will be strapped in to a jet engine or flinging yourself off a bridge.
Invented in 1986 when A J Hackett took “one small step for a man, a bloody great leap for the adventure tourism industry” off Auckland’s Greenhithe Bridge, bungy jumping is New Zealand’s most famous sporting export after the All Blacks. A J’s new sport went commercial two years later when he started charging brave tourists to repeat the trick in Queenstown.
For hundreds of years in Gloucestershire, England, villagers have been running down a steep hill attempting to catch a rounded cheese. Though there’s no connection, in New Zealand you can take on the role of the cheese in its gravity assisted journey downhill. The idea of encasing tourists in a transparent ball was first conceived in 1994 by Dwane van der Sluis and Andrew Akers who opened the first permanent zorbing site in Rotorua in 1997. Until 2001 nude rides in the Zorb were free.
As with Bungy Jumping, Queenstown is the capital of jet boating. The rapids of the fast flowing Shotover River add to the exhilaration of the ride as the jet boat skips over water as shallow as ten centimetres at up to 85kph, performs 360 degree spins and powers its way past narrow canyon walls.
Fly by Wire
Fly by wire can be found in, yes, guess where, Queenstown where Kiwi lunacy literally takes to the skies. This unique ride – there is only one in the world – is not currently in operation but when it is it is the nearest most of us will get to piloting a jet plane. Suspended from a steel cable bolted into the sides of a gorge the six minute ride accelerates to three G’s and is capable of reaching speeds of over 100mph, making fly by wire the world’s fastest ride.
Image courtesy Kenski1970
Disclaimer: we got to eat this week thanks to a link placed in this post.