What’s the best thing to do when you’re buzzing with adrenaline having just taken on the highest bungee in New Zealand? I would argue that you might as well go all out and fly across the adjacent canyon on the biggest swing in the world!
If you think the Nevis swing will be a breeze after falling head first 134 metres from a suspended platform, think again. As you peer down once again into the unfathomable depths of a wide, rocky gorge waiting for that trusted staff member to pull on a release cord, I can assure you the dread comes flooding back.
Even walking across the rickety bridge that leads to the Nevis swing was enough to turn my legs to jelly. I gripped the handrails pointlessly the entire way across, feeling my anticipation build as the screams of others echoed across the valley.
At the end of the bridge is a small platform for getting set up in your harness. There’s also a slightly higher viewing platform for spectators. If you don’t want to know what you’re letting yourself in for, look away.
Once strapped in, the hardest part is lowering yourself over the edge of the precipice until the ropes take your weight. Once dangling, they’ll encourage you to let your hands dangle freely. Good luck with that!
‘We can’t let you go unless you stop holding on!’ the staff teased. Just as I felt we’d never get going, he released the cord mid-sentence and off I flew.
The initial fall makes your stomach lurch as a feeling of weightlessness takes over. It’s an unexpectedly long free fall before you start to follow the curve of the swing and the momentum forces your legs so high in the air that you’re almost upside down.
Once you reach the other side of the valley, it becomes less terrifying and much more enjoyable. There’s nothing like swinging solo the breadth of a valley to give you a fully panoramic view of the surrounding landscape.
The AJ Hackett staff definitely get a kick out of teasing the nervous guests. As I approached the platform – relief flooding through my veins – they made out like they were going to bring me back in, before giving my feet a big push and leaving me swaying for a few second more like a kid in a park.
Finally, they winched me in, pulled me up onto steady ground and released me from my harness. I could breath easy for the first time in six weeks. I’d completed the last of my planned crazy activities in New Zealand and it was time for a stiff celebratory drink.
SOMETHING FOR THE REAL ADRENALINE JUNKIES
I was feeling quite proud of my accomplishments until I stuck around to watch the next set of victims. If I thought I’d been brave sitting upright in a harness and refusing to let go of the ropes, then massive kudos to these girls…
There’s always someone willing to take it a step too far….
GETTING TO QUEENSTOWN
Intercity Buses provide services to Queenstown from the following popular destinations (rough times in brackets): Wanaka (1 hour 30 mins); Mt Cook (5 hours); Franz Josef (8 hours); Christchurch (8 hours 30 mins). Further transfers are available from these locations. Use the tab below to search for a specific journey, or click through to the Intercity home page to search for multi-trip discounts and day tours.
WHERE TO STAY
Finding accommodation in Queenstown can be tough. It’s the adventure capital of New Zealand and people flock there year round. In the ski season in July, hotels were filling up weeks in advance. I didn’t book ahead and it resulted in me having to stay in three different hostels in five different dorm rooms. If you don’t fancy checking out and in every morning, get your reservations in early. Of the three places I stayed, Haka Lodge was by far the best. It’s clean and sociable, with all the amenities you could need. There are outdoor decks and two kitchen areas as well as a large TV lounge, and all of the beds have curtains for added privacy.
I was offered a discounted New Zealand swing and jump combo by the AJ Hackett bungy team. They did not request that I write a favourable review and any opinions expressed here are my own.