Psyching up for a para-fright’ above the lake


I like my thrills on solid ground so I really have to psyche myself up when told I’m going on a paraflight.
My fear level is unusually high because I misunderstand and think I’m going paragliding. 

I discover the two activities are very different. 

Whereas a paraglider involves a running take-off from a hilltop and soars and swoops in the air, my parachute is attached to a boat, gliding at a maximum 182 metres above water. 

It still sounds unnervingly high but I’m told two-year-olds have done this, so try to act less English. 

On the boat I feel calm as Chris and Carl, two of Paraflight’s owners, joke it’s their first day so they’re just seeing if the equipment works. 

We zoom across the lake and soon I’m strapped into a harness, standing on the deck of the boat with an enormous yellow parachute behind me. 

I’m told I can wave my hands around when up there but suspect I’ll keep clutching the harness pretty hard. 

I find myself rising into the air, slowly and smoothly, until the boat looks small and the sky seems close. 

It is unbelievably peaceful 182m up and so beautiful I almost forget where I am. 

I make the mistake of looking down and start mildly swearing – but it’s ok because nobody can hear me. 
Although I’m in the air for just 12 minutes, it seems like longer because it’s fun and also slightly scary. 

The best part is being lowered to have my feet dunked in the water before I rise back into the air. An ecstatic tourist finishes his flight and says: “This confirms that Queenstown is magic.
“I’ll have to tell those stupid Aucklanders.”
I can safely say that paraflights provide the perfect thrill for all ages. It’s not too scary to enjoy the landscape but not so relaxing you forget you’re suspended in mid-air.

All you need to know
What Paraflights, Queenstown.
Where Queenstown Pier
Cost Solo Adult: $139 Child: $139, Tandem (per person) Adult: $109 Child: $79, Triples (one flyer must be a small child) Adult: $89 Child: $69
Thrill-o-meter 8/10