When it comes to adventure sports, New Zealand is your safest option. Where in New Zealand? The answer is Queenstown. We went to Queenstown in September 2019 & signed up for some exciting adventure activities with AJ Hackett. The first activity was the Kawarau Zipride. The cost of Kawarau Zipride with AJ Hackett is just $50 (NZD) per adult which is affordable for everyone.
AJ Hackett – Kawarau Zipride
Kawarau Zipride is 130m long & absolutely thrilling. According to AJ Hackett’s team, the highest speed achieved on this zipline is 60 km/h (which is quite fast considering there are no vehicles involved). There are 3 different lines side by side so you can race with your friends to the finish line. We didn’t race because we wanted to capture our experiences separately on camera & in real.
Parampara went first to experience the Kawarau Zipride. Here’s her account of her experience in her words.
Parampara’s Kawarau Zipride Experience
Ask anyone who knows me, I’ve never been much of an adventure junkie. I am that person who explores cities and cultures, spends time in museums and coffee shops, watching and talking to people. That is my sole idea of adventure!
But when we booked tickets for our New Zealand trip, I knew there was a lot that I hadn’t exactly imagined myself doing would be on the plan. And then, I could either chicken out or take my chance and face my fears! I was almost certain I’d chicken out, but I had promised to push myself for as long as I could.
On reaching Queenstown, the first on our itinerary was a series of adventures with AJ Hackett. AJ Hackett is known to own the adventure scene in New Zealand and many other parts of the world. Thanks to their reputation for dealing with the risks of adventure so carefully, I had some assurance through all my fears.
Today’s plan was to go Ziplining, Bungy Jumping and Catapulting with AJ Hackett.
We boarded a shuttle bus for our activities from their check-in station in Queenstown Centre and first stopped by the Kawarau Bridge. We were advised to first head for Kawarau Zipride. I guess that was a way to get us warmed up for some adventure!
But never having zip lined before in my life, the idea of sliding from a height also seemed to terrify me. I couldn’t wrap my head around the whole activity and I almost said after being geared up that I didn’t want to do this.
If I am being honest, I resisted by the ledge.
I said I couldn’t do this.
But I guess this is where having people who can talk you into risks matter. The wonderful staff of AJ Hackett told me to take up the simplest position out of the 12 variants for my first ever zipride.
(I bet they were thinking this girl will never jump off the ledge for bungy). But they did not mock me, instead, they told me the most important lesson of life, which felt personified in this very case, “Don’t think too much! The beginning is the hardest. Once you’re out there, you sail through it all.”
I had never done either so let’s just say, my nervousness was justified.
I had chosen the SUPERMAN position! 🙂
So as soon I gave a slight nod, they lifted my feet and I was up in the air and at then…
I was off, sliding to the other side of the wire.
After the initial hiccup, I actually felt like Superman!
Or if I were to consider a more practical example, I felt like an action heroine flying away!
The trip to the end of the first side was about 30 seconds, and I am not sure I realized what was happening, but truth be told, sliding up in the air felt good.
While sides were to be changed for my return trip, I was out there, handing for 20-30 odd seconds staring at the river below me. I was perfectly alright and beginning to feel a happy rush in my hand.
“This was simpler than it looked!” I thought to myself.
The return trip felt slower, I was soaking every moment of it while questioning myself as to why I had been so afraid all this while.
I could do this again.
With that thought, I was back from where I started.
Feeling happy in my head, grinning wide and filled with a sense of pride for getting through the first adventure I was back to base!
Parichay’s Kawarau Zipride Experience
Whenever I think of adventure sports, I feel Zipline is the most convenient adrenaline-filled activity. Usually, there is only 2 ways people zipline. Either you face forward or your face backward & done. Having said that, I am always up for Ziplines because they are fun.
In Queenstown, I was excited about the Kawarau Zipride with AJ Hackett. I mean, who doesn’t want to zipline in the adventure capital of the world, right? On this day, we were going to do 3 adventure activities with AJ Hackett – Zipride, Bungy & Catapult. Zipline & Bungy were in the same location so they gave us a choice saying whatever we wanted to do first, they will take us there.
I thought, before jumping from a freaking ledge, I will get myself warmed up a bit with the surrounding so I chose Zipline. I wasn’t taking it that seriously because, well, 2 poses. When I reached the Kawarau Zipride point, the staff of AJ Hackett showed me around 12 poses from which I could pick one! TWELVE! They had my attention now. I carefully went through all the poses & I wanted to try out the most difficult one because, to me, Zipline was an easy activity.
I chose the upside-down pose where I was hanged on the Zipline like a bat(man). It also gave me a bit of sneak peek into Bungy jump because I was hanging upside down about to go into a valley. I held on to my camera because I wanted to film my expressions, the depth of the valley & of course, the fun of zipline. I wasn’t expecting the Zipline to go very fast.
And it began! The guys of AJ Hackett gave me a push & I went straight to the other side within a few seconds. This was definitely the most glorious ziplining I had ever done. This easy looking activity gave me a major adrenaline rush! The view I got of the river & the valley hanging upside down was simply outstanding. It was really fast & completely safe. Once I reached the other end of the zipline, I did what was instructed by them to sit back & relax while they pull me back to the station.
For me, this was THE BEST zipride experience of my life. The safety features, the surroundings & the upside-down pose made this experience simply outstanding. Whenever you are planning to go to New Zealand, don’t forget to try out different poses while taking up this crazily amazing Kawarau Zipride with AJ Hackett.
Based on our experience, we do have certain do’s & don’ts for you.
- Always listen to the staff of AJ Hackett. Hear every word they speak because it will be very important before, during & after your activity. If you don’t understand any part of the instructions, ask again. Their team is very patient & friendly.
- Let go of the fear. The most difficult part is standing on the ledge. Once you are off the ledge, there is no turning back & it is the most memorable part of the activity. You will remember this few seconds/minutes for the rest of your lives, so enjoy every moment of it!
- Always opt for photos & videos package for your experience. The team at AJ Hackett has high definition cameras & edit setup. The photos & videos that they capture during your activity are world-class & they make for a great memory. The price for these packages isn’t very high so keep a budget separately for the media.
- Don’t be over smart during the activity. Follow the staff’s instructions to a T because they have 1000x more experience than what we have.
- Check out for the combo packages at the check-in counter. If you go for combos, the price for activities will get lower than booking it individually. You can choose right from combos of 2 activities to all 7. Since these activities are quite popular in Queenstown, we recommend that you book your slots well in advance.
All the pictures in this blog were taken by the photographers at AJ Hackett.