Aren’t slides supposed to be fun?’


I had 20 minutes to prepare myself before going out to plummet off the world’s highest cliff jump. 

“You’re looking a little pale there,” editor Ryan Keen told me. 

I don’t like entrusting my life to a harness. Nauseous was an understatement – I’d never jumped at the idea of a bungy, let alone getting pushed off a slide that whisks you into a 60-metre freefall and 200m swing between two cliff faces. 

As I arrived at Shotover Canyon Swing’s launch pad – just a 10-minute drive from Queenstown – my eyes widened at the platform overhanging the 109m drop I was about to throw myself off. 

Below weaved the river with huge rock splinters that had come unstuck from the cliff face like plaster.
My heart was in my throat and my hands were clammy. Why am I doing this? 

I was strapped into my harness by Dougie and Steve, my Scottish jump guides. 

“I’m sure this harness is a little loose around my shoulders,” I say hesitantly – anything to gain a little time. 

“Ah well,” jokes Steve. “You may just be making the news this time round – flattened reporter found at bottom of canyon.” 

Very funny. I was all harnessed up, clicked into place and sitting on top of the slide in a seatbelt. 

“Aren’t slides supposed to be fun?” By now I should have known not to ask these two any more questions – I’d just end up feeling even more insecure. 

I hesitantly smiled for the cameras planted above my head. Seatbelt unclicked. Dougie and Steve, hands on my back. 

“Three, two …,” they yelled before pushing me. I was plummeting. 

A squeal of distress escapes, my stomach sinks and I stop breathing. 

Phew – the harness catches me and I swing 200m between the cliff faces, this time squealing in delight as I try to catch my breath. 

After a few suspicious creaks and groans of the wires hauling me up, I was safely back up top, legs like jelly and limbs shaking but pumping with adrenalin. 

“Again?” Dougie asks. 

No question about it – I’m in.