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Bungy Jumping

Queenstown, the home of 1,2,3...Bungy!

bungy 2

Queenstown IS the capital of modern Bungy Jumping, there's no doubt about that. You can't really come all the way to Queenstown without making a visit to the ‘K bridge' (the old bridge that crosses the Kawarau river), which in 1988 became the site of the world's first commercial bungy operation, AJ Hackett Bungy. It's only 43 metres (141 ft) tall, but it's an almighty thrill jumping down towards (or even into) those green waters. Over the last 20+ years AJ Hackett together with his business partner Henry Van Asch have become very successful entrepreneurs growing their bungy business into a global empire. The company now has other operations in New Zealand, Australia, Bali, Macau, Germany, France and one soon to be in Russia!

Bungy Origins

The word ‘bungy' as used by AJ Hackett is Kiwi slang for an elastic strap, but the word ‘bungee' is much older and originates from the West Country dialect of the English language and means anything ‘thick and squat', but by the 1930s tended to mean ‘eraser'. You may be wondering where this is going, but actually long before baby boomers were seeking their thrills, young men in Vanuatu were jumping off wooden towers 20-30metres (66-98ft) high with two tree vines wrapped around their ankles! Land diving, as it is known, started with the legend of a woman who was dissatisfied with her husband, Tamalie. It is sometimes claimed that the woman was upset that her husband was too vigorous regarding his sexual wants, so she trekked away into the forest. Her husband began hiking after her, so she climbed a banyan tree. Tamalie climbed after her, and so she tied lianas to her ankles and jumped and survived. Her husband jumped after her, but did not tie lianas to himself, which caused him to plummet and die. The men performed the original land diving so that they would not be tricked again.

New Zealand pioneers

Recently a film called Last Paradise was released here in New Zealand that documents a group of maverick young kids growing up in the remote wilderness of NZ pioneering extreme sports like Bungy Jumping, snowboarding and surfing. AJ Hackett features on this film along with many other legends of his time. This film, that uses original footage collected over 45 years has won numerous awards already including:
WINNER: Best Eco-Adventure, XDance USA, 2010.
WINNER: Most Popular NZ Film, NZ International Film Festival, 2010.
BEST OF BANFF:  Banff Film Festival, Canada, 2010.


Of course as the popularity of bungy jumping blossomed, other adventure companies sprouted up around town and the world, but Queenstown had that pioneering advantage as well as the perfect backdrop, which is how it quickly became known as the adventure capital of the world. Today bungy jumping, sky diving, canyon swinging, paragliding, river boarding, kayaking wakeboarding, snowboarding, skiing, mountain biking, jet boating, sailing, and horse riding are among the long list of adventure activities that Queenstown offers.

With any extreme sport the challenge is to push oneself to the limits and bungy jumping is no exception. AJ Hackett built the world's highest bungy (233metres / 764ft) in Macau which opened in 2005, but even that has been eclipsed by a jump on the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado which is 371metres / 1,053ft, but it's only used during the Go Fast Games every couple of years. Finding a structure suitable for such a high bungy is challenging so these days some people just secure a bungy to the bottom of a helicopter and jump off that, at any height they like!

Trip Reviews

  •   4.44 out of 5 (from 908 reviews)

    One Honey Sweet of an Adventure

    Outstanding tramping with superior guides
    Jim Crookston Review Image
    – Pennsylvania, United States
    Manuka, February 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4983 reviews)

    Perfect Trip for anyone who loves Nature!

    If you enjoy being outdoors and like to challenge yourself this trip is for you. I wasn't an avid hiker before signing up for the Rimu trip but after reading the itinerary I knew I couldn't pass up this amazing opportunity. You never know what you are capable of until you try and that is how I feel after climbing up to the Angelus Hut and hiking to Mueller ridge. I had never climbed a mountain before (since there are no mountains where I live) but the views are more than worth the climb.
    This trip is the best way to see all that the South Island has to offer, it is the perfect balance between adventure, relaxation, self-exploration, and cultural immersion. Anyone can go to New Zealand and rent a car and go hiking, biking, and Kayaking; however, they will miss out on the best parts of traveling to a new place and that is the knowledge and culture that only someone who lives there would know. The guides (Tory and Vanessa) were awesome! Tory is an amazing cook, and Ness was great at making jokes and keeping the atmosphere cheery during the longer drives. I loved listening to the guides tell us about the Maori people and the local legends or folklore. I actually thought Ness was lying to me when she would tell me that the views get better after being left speechless by the scenery, but every day was better than the previous!
    I have to mention the FOOD!!! The food alone is enough for me to sign up for this trip again. When I travel I don’t always know what the local food is or would be but with this trip the guides cook you all sorts of local food and all the food is fresh and delicious. If you don’t like something they will make sure to accommodate you.
    Ness and Tory made you feel like this was a trip among friends and family, not strangers. I will come back to New Zealand again!
    Brian Heinz Review Image
    – Wisconsin, United States
    Rimu, May 2017
  •   4.60 out of 5 (from 1887 reviews)

    Bonzer trip to the South Island

    Thanks to Greg and Mel for a memorable exploration of New Zealand's South Island. Need to come back to enjoy the wonders of this place.
    Ted Jackson Review Image
    – Tennessee, United States
    Tui, March 2017
  •   4.38 out of 5 (from 1211 reviews)

    Well done, Andy & Jo

    Many thanks to Andy and Jo, guides to our 2nd half of the Kauri trip. The hiking was outstanding, and the varied other activities just made this trip that more special.
    Ted Jackson Review Image
    – Tennessee, United States
    Kauri, March 2017
  •   4.38 out of 5 (from 1211 reviews)


    First, there is the magical place that is New Zealand -- unique, varied, and beautiful. Second, there is the operation that is Active Adventures -- organized, engaged, and attentive. Together, they make for an outstanding experience. Thank you!
    Nanette Bahlinger Review Image
    – Tennessee, United States
    Kauri, December 2016



Why travel with Active Adventures?

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

As soon as you get off the plane, we've got all the details of your vacation covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport & accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

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