Freefall not for faint-hearted


There was a moment when I wondered if it was wise to eat before taking on iFLY.

I’m not a skydiving virgin – I leapt out of a plane to celebrate my 21st birthday – but I wasn’t expecting the indoor version to give me the same kind of rush.

When you walk inside Queenstown’s newest tourist attraction, the sheer noise of the wind tunnel echoing around the building’s enough to get the adrenalin pumping.

But I figured if Queenstown mayor Jim Boult can be suspended in mid-air, while wearing a jumpsuit and grinning uncontrollably, I had no excuses.

You enter the tunnel and winds of more than 200kmh hit you straight away – that’s when the lunch question popped in to my top two inches.

You’re off your feet immediately and the wind makes your limbs take on a life of their own – I reckon I looked a bit like a newborn foal trying to negotiate ice.

Blood pumping (and stomach turning), my instructor grabbed me and started walking around in what felt like slow-mo circles before we started spinning and rising higher up the 4.5 metre-high flight chamber.

But what goes up must come down.

The freefall feeling of the drop made me think I’d left my stomach (and lunch) a couple of feet outside my body for a few seconds.

And I didn’t want it to end.

The iFLY experience is definitely one to add to the Queenstown bucket list, but it’s pricey – adults will cough up $149 for two flights lasting about 60 seconds each, which begs the question, is a couple more minutes too much to ask?

In saying that I’m pretty sure my first i-flight won’t be my last – but next time I’ll do it on an empty stomach.