Bungy king dots down in Queenstown for the 25th

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The co-founder of Queenstown adventure tourism sensation bungy has dotted down ahead of planned 25th birthday celebrations.
 
Bungy king AJ Hackett’s arrival in Queenstown today (Wednesday) – to mark quarter of a century since he and co-founder Henry van Asch launched it in November, 1988 – didn’t quite go to plan. 

Hackett’s flight was diverted to Invercargill, but no bother – Van Asch promptly sorted a helicopter to go down and personally pick his old business partner up. 

They arrived at their original Kawarau Bridge jump site around lunchtime to meet awaiting media and reminisce on their humble beginnings – when they had a clapped-out old bus as reception. 

Now, 25 years on, the site is home to the air-conditioned and sizeable Kawarau Bridge Bungy Centre and boasts not just the original 43-metre bungy jump but also a slightly more sedate zipride attraction. Since then, AJ Hackett Bungy and AJ Hackett International sites have sprung up around in Auckland, Australia and around the world. 

The latest project by Hackett – who brought bungy to worldwide attention with a spectacular covert jump of France’s Eiffel Tower in 1987 – is a bungy and adventure thrills park in Sochi, Russia, due to open after next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi. 

Don’t miss a special eight-page liftout celebrating 25 years of bungy in Queenstown in tomorrow’s Mountain Scene.