New Zealand is the perfect road trip destination offering up volcanoes, black sand beaches, moody forests, thermal pools, picturesque tarns, rugged ridgelines, turquoise lakes, clay cliffs and glaciers.
Following a trip to beautiful Costa Rica trying everything from bungy jumping to rappelling down the side of a waterfall, I was looking to go one better and do something even more exciting and adrenaline pumping.
I decided there was only one way to do that. Jump out of a perfectly good plane, of course. And I chose to do it in New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown.
Skydiving had been high on my bucket list for a long time but I wanted to do it somewhere special – somewhere with unparalleled views and where I knew I was in good hands.
Queenstown proved to be just the place on a brilliant summer’s day. As deep blue skies lit up over Queenstown without a cloud in sight and not a breath of wind, I knew luck was on my side and I had picked the perfect day to skydive.
As I headed out to the NZONE Skydive dropzone from Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu shone a brilliant blue with the Remarkables mountain range towering majestically above them. I couldn’t wait to see them from above.
The NZONE Dropzone is located about 15 minutes out of townf. You have a choice of jumping from 9,000, 12,000 and 15,000 feet. On a budget but wanting to have a reasonable amount of freefall I opted for the happy medium of jumping from 12,000 feet, which has a freefall of 45 seconds.
You’re quickly suited up with your jumpsuit and goggles and introduced to your tandem skydiving partner. There’s not much time to back out before you jump on a plane and up you go, flying over the lake and the Remarkables. We got up to an altitude of 9,000 feet and one person jumped up. We climbed a little higher over the next few minutes, and then it was my turn.
Swinging my legs over the side of the plane, balancing precariously on the edge as the wind rushes past, and knowing any second I was going to be falling through the air was probably one of the scarier moments of my life (I think bungee jumping was worse because it’s up to you to take the leap but this was pretty close).
You’re on the edge of the plane for about 10 seconds and then your tandem guide pushes you out and you’re falling. Scary but thrilling at the same time – words cannot totally describe the feeling.
In about two seconds after your body settles into the skydive and you don’t have that stomach in your throat feeling, you actually feel like you’re floating through the air. It doesn’t feel like you’re falling – just casually hanging out a few hundred metres above Queenstown.