Best Way To Chill Out

Best Way To Chill Out

New Zealand in general and Queenstown in particular are famous for its focus on high adrenaline sports. Many tourists come to New Zealand just for fun, amusement and entertainment. Having a spectacular landscape New Zealand quite naturally become world capital of extreme sports. It all started 25 years ago with the first bungy jumping company by A.J. Hackett. People gone crazy about the new activity and today Queenstown is a world leader in number of extreme activities on meter square!

Canyon Swing

Totally happy me

Therefore, the choice is not easy here: shops, offices and stands at every corner encourage you to buy their services. Not to mention you can spend thousands (literally thousands) of dollars in 15 minutes without blinking an eye. Long before coming to New Zealand I knew I wish to try few of them and eventually decided to try two: Canyon Swing and White Rafting.

Bungy jumping has made a long way: although word traditional sounds weird here 25 years ago it was limited to the jump with your head down. Today it is a highly developed (and profitable!) business so there are less and less limits. I picked up a company named Canyon Swing for four reasons: spectacular location over the Shotover River, the actual swing (not a classic bungy), their attachment system (waist, legs and shoulders which seamed more comfortable than legs only!), and finally THIS IS THE HIGHEST jump in the world (60m of free fall and 200m of swing). Well, I simply thought that IF I wish to try it let’s do the best one.

Canyon Swing

People usually ask me if I was scared so let me clearly state it: no, I was not. And I think this is a sort of activity that is dedicated to people like me. I don’t see any point in doing it when you’re scared. I was having fun every minute of it. I’m not scared with high attitude nor open space. So I basically jumped without a second thought. I did it backwards as it is considered even more scary than forward jump. And, no, I didn’t screamed. Perhaps it is better to see for yourself: courtesy of Canyon Swing I embed here a short clip from my jump (the only word I shouted when I was down there was AWESOME but nobody heard it up there).

I was impressed with professional behavior of the crew. Maybe because I was doing it for the first time but they seamed very involved in well being of the participants. Their psychological training is amazing so I can recommend them if you ever wish to try.

One regret: this is really quick. You can’t say that you were enjoying it. You simply enjoyed it. The end. It finishes faster than you can imagine. I appreciate the effort of the whole Canyon Swing team to create a bit longer event out of a jump which lasts few seconds. You meet in the city center and you’re taken by car with other participants to the canyon. This small group staying together for a while is amazing. I mean, the mix of people who actually decides to do it is bizarre. Europeans, Americans and Australians between 17 and 40 are the typical customers I would say. One guy in my group was really scared. His hands and voice were shaking. He eventually jumped as the last one and he did it twice. Looked quite happy afterwards. All in all, if you’re looking for a high adrenaline activity the Canyon Swing is the right thing!

Obviously, this is not the only high adrenaline activity in New Zealand. If you are interested with more thrilling stories you could have a look here. This is a travel blog of my blogger fellow Ari. She did something really scare: she flew a small stunt plane! I wish I did it! And hopefully one day I will. Just after skydiving ;-)

White Rafting

This was one of my dreams so I was thrilled from the moment I booked it! Queenstown Rafting provide excellent services and Shotover River is absolutely spectacular! (the one used as filming location of The Fellowship Of The Ring). In terms of value for money rafting beats the jump pretty badly: for the similar price you spend half a day in water instead of few seconds in the air.

Queenstown Rafting Shotover River

Starting point was so beautiful!

The whole rafting is nicely organized and it starts the same place it ends. You leave all you belongings and dress in a wetsuit which keeps you warm (don’t count on being dry!). When everybody is ready two buses with 5 boats on a trailer drive through an unbelievably tiny mountain road. Some people said this was worse than rafting itself and if you don’t like high attitudes or slopes it might be true. The worst moment is when this tiny little road appears to be two directions. Some people were strangely greenish on their faces but just when we got to the starting point they were OK again.

Our group with guide Sally

Our group with guide Sally

This was a very warm day. The wetsuit was black and the bus ride took us about 40 min. It means we all wanter to jump into the water at once! But – as we all know – security first! So, one of the instructors showed us how to behave when you fell out of the boat, when the boat is upside down, etc. This was quite interesting. I didn’t know that to put somebody in a lifejacket out of water you need to push him into the water first: he should be displaced by his own weight.

Safety briefing

Safety briefing

The rafting was awesome for many reasons but I think the team that provides it was one of the most important factors I was so happy about it. Shotover River is stunning! What I really loved about it was a variety: some parts of this river are wide and lazy which gave us an opportunity to enjoy the views. But there were also small cascades (grade 3 – 5) and white currents too. It allowed us to appreciate everything and enjoy for the whole trip. I also liked Sally – our guide – who did her best to build a sort of small team spirit among us. She was giving precise commands and we felt quite secure.

Queenstown Rafting

This was fun!

That’s right! This was a warm day, so we were allowed to jump to the water in some peaceful sites. I must say I felt quite refreshed and very relaxed. And ready for the final cascade that was right after a dark tunnel.

Queenstown Rafting

Queenstown Rafting

Rafting is something I will definitely repeat someday. This is so fun! Even the photo shows something quite different this is not physically demanding. You always follow the current so there is no need to paddle to increase speed. Rafting offers a nice afternoon with beautiful views and a bit of adventure. You will love it!

Disclosure: all pictures you see are courtesy of both companies: the Canyon Swing and Queenstown Rafting. Thanks guys for having fun with you!

About the author

I get easily fascinated with people and places. I am passionately curious. I get often seduced with the beauty of nature. Blue sky, pure water, white snow and endless horizon seams to be enough to make me happy.

View all articles by Agata Mleczko

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  • Sophie

    What a jump! Im sure you had fun!


    Looks like a rather strenuous way to chill out.

  • BeyondBlighty

    You weren’t scared??! I was petrified! I still managed to enjoy it though – and I got a great sense of satisfaction from having accomplished it :)

    • That’s cool! Funny thing, though, on our way in the bus a short movie was shown including people who paid, arrived and didn’t jump. I think your fear was still manageable;-) while theirs did not. All in all, awesome experience!

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