Bungy Jumping

Queenstown, the home of 1,2,3...Bungy!

bungy 2

Queenstown IS the capital of modern Bungy Jumping, there's no doubt about that. You can't really come all the way to Queenstown without making a visit to the ‘K bridge' (the old bridge that crosses the Kawarau river), which in 1988 became the site of the world's first commercial bungy operation, AJ Hackett Bungy. It's only 43 metres (141 ft) tall, but it's an almighty thrill jumping down towards (or even into) those green waters. Over the last 20+ years AJ Hackett together with his business partner Henry Van Asch have become very successful entrepreneurs growing their bungy business into a global empire. The company now has other operations in New Zealand, Australia, Bali, Macau, Germany, France and one soon to be in Russia!

Bungy Origins

The word ‘bungy' as used by AJ Hackett is Kiwi slang for an elastic strap, but the word ‘bungee' is much older and originates from the West Country dialect of the English language and means anything ‘thick and squat', but by the 1930s tended to mean ‘eraser'. You may be wondering where this is going, but actually long before baby boomers were seeking their thrills, young men in Vanuatu were jumping off wooden towers 20-30metres (66-98ft) high with two tree vines wrapped around their ankles! Land diving, as it is known, started with the legend of a woman who was dissatisfied with her husband, Tamalie. It is sometimes claimed that the woman was upset that her husband was too vigorous regarding his sexual wants, so she trekked away into the forest. Her husband began hiking after her, so she climbed a banyan tree. Tamalie climbed after her, and so she tied lianas to her ankles and jumped and survived. Her husband jumped after her, but did not tie lianas to himself, which caused him to plummet and die. The men performed the original land diving so that they would not be tricked again.


New Zealand pioneers

Recently a film called Last Paradise was released here in New Zealand that documents a group of maverick young kids growing up in the remote wilderness of NZ pioneering extreme sports like Bungy Jumping, snowboarding and surfing. AJ Hackett features on this film along with many other legends of his time. This film, that uses original footage collected over 45 years has won numerous awards already including:
WINNER: Best Eco-Adventure, XDance USA, 2010.
WINNER: Most Popular NZ Film, NZ International Film Festival, 2010.
BEST OF BANFF:  Banff Film Festival, Canada, 2010.

bungy

Of course as the popularity of bungy jumping blossomed, other adventure companies sprouted up around town and the world, but Queenstown had that pioneering advantage as well as the perfect backdrop, which is how it quickly became known as the adventure capital of the world. Today bungy jumping, sky diving, canyon swinging, paragliding, river boarding, kayaking wakeboarding, snowboarding, skiing, mountain biking, jet boating, sailing, and horse riding are among the long list of adventure activities that Queenstown offers.

With any extreme sport the challenge is to push oneself to the limits and bungy jumping is no exception. AJ Hackett built the world's highest bungy (233metres / 764ft) in Macau which opened in 2005, but even that has been eclipsed by a jump on the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado which is 371metres / 1,053ft, but it's only used during the Go Fast Games every couple of years. Finding a structure suitable for such a high bungy is challenging so these days some people just secure a bungy to the bottom of a helicopter and jump off that, at any height they like!

Trip Reviews

  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16240 reviews)

    Best Ever!

    Trip of a Lifetime for sure! I’m still on a NZ High :-D))
    Thanks to Nick B & Melissa for their knowlegde & Expertise experience, which made our trip successful & FUN! With their encouragement, I was able to challenge myself & push beyond what I thought my abilities were.......THANK YOU!!! Such a pleasure getting to know Nick & Mel, we were spoiled & enjoyed every minute of this adventure with them. Highly recommend Active Adventures NZ making dreams come TRUE!
    Wendy Woods Review Image
    – Montana, United States
    Tui, March 2018
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16240 reviews)

    Very Glad We Added Kauri to Our Trip

    We added Kauri to our Rimu trip because we wanted to spend more time with the Maori culture and see the north island. Our wishes were more than fulfilled by this excellent trip.
    Rick Lent Review Image
    – Massachusetts, United States
    Kauri, December 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16240 reviews)

    2017 Oct/Nov Rimu

    My 2017 Rimu trip was fantastic! Somehow our fabulous guides Ben and Emma arranged for clear sunny skies, a great mix of travelers, and an all around fun time. Seriously though, our group of 10/11 (we had a late addition) got along well from day 1 - we learned about each other's backgrounds, played cards and dice games, and shared bottles of wine. Ben and Emma worked tirelessly to make sure our travels were smooth - often 16+ hour days for them. Emma cooked wonderful meals for us and made sure everyone's dietary requests were met. Ben drove Whina (our bus) so well for so many hours to get us to our destinations - we'll never forget the tunnel! And they both were great guides on the hikes. Thanks for all the wonderful memories!
    Jeanne Stallings Review Image
    – North Carolina, United States
    Rimu, December 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16240 reviews)

    Even Cyclone Cook couldn't dampen our fun

    I hopped onto the last half of the Kauri after two weeks on the South Island in the Rimu adventure. It just so happened that we had a cyclone hit the island that week, so everything was very wet, to say the least. But everything still worked out okay! We still did lots of hiking in the rain, which was fun in itself. The views were not the same as they would be on a clear day, but different doesn't mean bad. They were unique, and there were a lot of rainbows thanks to the water. We even did the mountain biking in the downpour, which was hilariously muddy and still a lot of fun. Overall, the people were good, the guides were excellent, the food was fantastic, and the trip was terrific.
    Janine Carbone Review Image
    – New Hampshire, United States
    Kauri, April 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16240 reviews)

    Amazing Trip

    This trip was amazing - the hikes took us to beautiful vistas, the guides were knowledgeable and fun, and the food was never in short supply ("Food is Fuel!" as one of our guides kept restating).

    Koru and Kim were great guides throughout and everyone had so much fun! I was traveling solo but 2 of the other 4 on my trip were as well, so nobody was ever left out! Having such a small group made the activities much easier to enjoy.

    The hikes, like I mentioned, were truly unbelievable, though somewhat more difficult than I expected. Everything was talked as 'full-on' or by time, but know that NZ hikes are up mountains then back down, so work on hills more than distance before you go! Even some of the small walks we did (Blue Pools, only 5 minutes from the road & the Chasm, 10 minutes from the road) were breathtaking. Kayaking the Milford Sound was another once in a lifetime experience we got to have on this trip.

    The only thing I would have liked (and got jokingly by the end of the trip) were straight communication prior to the hikes about how long they were updates mid-hike about how much longer/further. There was one day with miscommunications leading me to think the hike would be another 3+ hours uphill (nearly inducing panic) but was really only 30 more minutes.

    Overall, I really loved this trip!
    Taylor Ceithaml Review Image
    – California, United States
    Tui, November 2016

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