One activity we have been looking forward to was the Shotover Canyon Swing. Crowned as The World’s Highest Cliff Jump, everyone we talked to said it was a MUST DO for adrenaline junkies like ourselves.
|Shotover Canyon Swing|
A 15minute shuttle ride from downtown Queenstown, it was just a short hike through the bush to the site. Hanging on the edge of the cliff 109m above the Shotover River stood the platform that we would soon throw ourselves off!
The pendulum of cables running from cliff to cliff create a system that allows you to choose from over 70+ jumpstyles making this one of the most customizable and diversified adventure activities you can find! Excited to take the big leap, we ran down the stairs to get harnessed up and pick our jumpstyle!
First to get strapped in was Brent. Choosing the running man “Forward” style jump – a 2 out of 5 on the “You will crap your pants scale” (or underpants scale) he took a giant running leap off the platform and into the abyss letting out the manliest scream I’ve ever heard! (seriously!)
|Brent – Forwards Jump|
I was next up on deck! Looking for a thrill, I opted for the Backwards fall – a 5/5 on the underpants scale! I absolutely love this pulse racing kind of activity and with bungy jumping under my belt I knew this was going to be a blast!
As I looked over the ledge, my heart skipped a beat, but I turned around with my heels on the edge, put my arm behind my head and slowly fell backwards into the canyon.
|Jenna – Backwards Jump|
WOW!! That was one of the most incredible adrenaline rushes I have experienced (right up there with skydiving!) Watching that platform rocket away from me, blindly falling with no sense of how long I would freefall, the 60m drop felt like an eternity before the cables kicked in and shot me out over the river into the 200m giant swing!
What an incredible view of the canyon after such an intense drop! I swung back and forth over the glacier blue Shotover river probably 3 or 4 times before I was hoisted back up to safety.
Having mastered his backflip years ago, Jordan decided to go for a backwards flip off the ledge. With his harness on and GoPro in his hand, he took a calculated backwards leap spiralling through the air below. Making nearly 3 rotations before pulling out of his spin and flying out over the canyon he said it was “definitely a unique feeling not knowing when you’re going to stop spinning!”
|Jordan – Backflips Jump|
Kristina on the other hand was not so excited for this activity. Having tackled skydiving, bungy jumping and even hang gliding that very morning, for some reason this cliff jump got her FREAKED OUT! Huddled in the corner of the stairs she initially refused to jump – surprising herself that she was so scared to do it!
|Kristina not exactly excited about jumping off the cliff|
After some gentle encouragement, Brent managed to get her strapped in and she agreed to do the Tandem Cutaway. Only a 1 on the underpants scale, it was the jump the Shotover crew usually suggest to someone as freaked out as Kristina was.
Despite some last minute screams and a few “No! No! I don’t wanna do this! I don’t wanna do this!”, the Shotover crew managed to swing her and Brent out over the ledge. Having a bit of fun, they tormented her (just a little!) by letting them hang there while she squealed and squirmed in Brent’s arms. Finally just as she let out her last “I don’t wanna do this!” they pulled the pin and they shot out into the canyon!
|Brent & Kristina – Tandem Cutaway|
Although it was quite entertaining for the rest of us, I knew she wouldn’t regret it and watching back her video you can see within seconds her face change from sheer terror to the biggest grin ever!! She came up smiling when they hoisted her and Brent back up to the platform which was a relief!
One thing I really liked about the crew at ShotOver Canyon Swing was they really put a focus on personalising the experience for you and didn’t rush you out the door to fill the next spot. They not only didn’t mind, but encouraged us to take the time to do a second jump, wanting us to get the most out of the experience (despite them not actually getting anything for the 2nd jump as they were just taking donations for a local charity that week)
Since it would be my last jump of the day, I had to make it good! One of the biggest dare devil jumps was “Gimp Boy Goes to Hollywood”. With a rating of 5/5 on the underpants scale, they even supplied you with your own teddy bear for comfort – I just knew I had to take on the challenge!
|Gimp Boy Teddys (source)|
Swung out over the ledge, I was suspended upside down with my legs crossed in the air and my hands extended towards to valley below. Nothing like shooting down into a canyon eyeballs first!! When they pulled the pin I felt like superman flying through the air! What a rush!!
|Jenna – Gimp Boy goes to Hollywood jump|
Although not the highest on the underpants scale, when Jordan saw you could ride a trike off a slide into the canyon he just couldn’t resist the opportunity! With the tiny tricycle latched onto him, he climbed up onto the seat at the top and with a little push, went barrelling down the slide and off the platform! Seriously one of the funniest things to watch!
|Jordan – Tri-scare-atops Jump|
Overall I have to say this was definitely our favorite of any of the adventure activities we’ve done in New Zealand. The diversity in jumps makes you want to keep coming back for more to try out each and every one of the 70+ styles they have to offer! The crew there were so much fun and it was obvious they loved their jobs! Who wouldn’t love throwing people off a cliff every day??
We will definitely be back! Especially since they offer you a stand-by jump for only $40 if you bring back your wrist band from the day! These guys really do it up right!