New zip at Queenstown bungy site

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Queenstown’s AJ Hackett Bungy is ready to launch a new thrill to broaden its historic bridge jump-site’s appeal. 

The company – which pioneered commercial bungy at the Gibbston Kawarau Bridge in Gibbston 24 years ago – opens its long-awaited Kawarau Zipride tomorrow. 

The zipride operates from the bungy viewing platform, with three zip lines each catering for singles or tandems.
Riders, seated in a harness, cruise 130 metres down to the Kawarau River’s southern bank at up to 60kmh. 

At the end of the line, riders are rotated 180 degrees giving them views of the Kawarau River gorge and hopefully bungy jumpers in action. 

AJ Hackett Bungy is marketing its innovation as “fun for all ages”. 

“I’d happily get my octogenarian mother and six-year-old daughter to do it,” AJ Hackett Bungy co-founder Henry van Asch says. 

“We’ve recognised for some time that what is considered an adventure is different for all, so there was an opportunity to offer something new and different to the thousands of visitors who come to the Kawarau bridge to ‘look, but not jump’. 

“It’s less daunting than bungy, but still a great personal challenge for many.” 

Van Asch, a Tourism New Zealand board member, adds: “With the new zipride we’re broadening the demographic of those we might appeal to, in line with Tourism NZ’s recognition of the significant change in the market mix, seeing arrivals from Asia, in particular China, continuing to increase.” 

The zipride has been in development for nearly three years and under construction for 12 months. It was due to be signed off by the relevant authorities this week, he says. 

“It’s been a huge challenge for our research and development team and engineers.” 

It’s priced at $60 for adults and $40 for kids with zipride/bungy combo packages on offer. The ride complements an upgrade to the bungy centre including a new cafe, outdoor bar and digital photo and high definition video system.