Flying fox-style thrill rides for bungy site

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Queenstown’s world-famous home of bungy is leaping into the future with a flying fox-style ride to widen its adventure appeal. 

AJ Hackett Bungy is proposing a four-lane zip ride and bungy trampoline at its original Kawarau River bridge site. 

The Kawarau ZipRide descends 150 metres from the bungy centre’s main viewing deck to the river’s southern bank. 

Riders, harnessed into a seat, will travel for some 17 seconds at about 50 kilometres an hour. 

Punters are then automatically turned round 180 degrees – the zip ride turns into a chairlift ride to take them back to the launch station. 

The separate trampoline, which will jump up to four people at a time, will be sited between the viewing deck and the historic bungy bridge. 

The new products, which will cost more than $1 million to install, will appeal to a wider market, AJ Hackett boss Michelle Trapski says. 

Out of the 350,000 visitors a year to the Kawarau site, only about 10 per cent take a jump off the bridge, she says. 

Also, visitor numbers in the youth and adventure sectors are stabilising. 

“We wanted to make sure that visitor numbers to the Kawarau keep trending up in line with visitor numbers into Queenstown. 

“The [recently-opened] Gibbston River Trail here is also a great opportunity to start to look at what leisure-based activities we can add into the valley,” Trapski adds. 

The softer adventures would appeal more to the growing Asian tourism market, older visitors and families, Trapski says. 

It would also suit groups who have time constraints or want to have fun together – eight people can zip-ride together as each line can take two people. 

A zip ride’s likely to cost about $60, or less if combined with a bungy jump. 

“It’s definitely a very high-volume, low price point proposition, compared to bungy, which is the opposite,” Trapski says. 

Even the customers’ shrieks should be different: “We don’t want them doing a bungy scream, but more of a giggly scream.” 

Like bungy jumping off the historic Kawarau Bridge, zip-riding will be highly visible, Trapski says, but not as cold in winter as it will be partially under cover. 

Subject to consent approval, the zip ride should be going either by September, in time for the Rugby World Cup, or next summer. 

The bungy trampoline should be ready for action by the end of next month.