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Bungy Jumping

Queenstown, the home of 1,2,3...Bungy!

bungy 2

Queenstown IS the capital of modern Bungy Jumping, there's no doubt about that. You can't really come all the way to Queenstown without making a visit to the ‘K bridge' (the old bridge that crosses the Kawarau river), which in 1988 became the site of the world's first commercial bungy operation, AJ Hackett Bungy. It's only 43 metres (141 ft) tall, but it's an almighty thrill jumping down towards (or even into) those green waters. Over the last 20+ years AJ Hackett together with his business partner Henry Van Asch have become very successful entrepreneurs growing their bungy business into a global empire. The company now has other operations in New Zealand, Australia, Bali, Macau, Germany, France and one soon to be in Russia!

Bungy Origins

The word ‘bungy' as used by AJ Hackett is Kiwi slang for an elastic strap, but the word ‘bungee' is much older and originates from the West Country dialect of the English language and means anything ‘thick and squat', but by the 1930s tended to mean ‘eraser'. You may be wondering where this is going, but actually long before baby boomers were seeking their thrills, young men in Vanuatu were jumping off wooden towers 20-30metres (66-98ft) high with two tree vines wrapped around their ankles! Land diving, as it is known, started with the legend of a woman who was dissatisfied with her husband, Tamalie. It is sometimes claimed that the woman was upset that her husband was too vigorous regarding his sexual wants, so she trekked away into the forest. Her husband began hiking after her, so she climbed a banyan tree. Tamalie climbed after her, and so she tied lianas to her ankles and jumped and survived. Her husband jumped after her, but did not tie lianas to himself, which caused him to plummet and die. The men performed the original land diving so that they would not be tricked again.

New Zealand pioneers

Recently a film called Last Paradise was released here in New Zealand that documents a group of maverick young kids growing up in the remote wilderness of NZ pioneering extreme sports like Bungy Jumping, snowboarding and surfing. AJ Hackett features on this film along with many other legends of his time. This film, that uses original footage collected over 45 years has won numerous awards already including:
WINNER: Best Eco-Adventure, XDance USA, 2010.
WINNER: Most Popular NZ Film, NZ International Film Festival, 2010.
BEST OF BANFF:  Banff Film Festival, Canada, 2010.


Of course as the popularity of bungy jumping blossomed, other adventure companies sprouted up around town and the world, but Queenstown had that pioneering advantage as well as the perfect backdrop, which is how it quickly became known as the adventure capital of the world. Today bungy jumping, sky diving, canyon swinging, paragliding, river boarding, kayaking wakeboarding, snowboarding, skiing, mountain biking, jet boating, sailing, and horse riding are among the long list of adventure activities that Queenstown offers.

With any extreme sport the challenge is to push oneself to the limits and bungy jumping is no exception. AJ Hackett built the world's highest bungy (233metres / 764ft) in Macau which opened in 2005, but even that has been eclipsed by a jump on the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado which is 371metres / 1,053ft, but it's only used during the Go Fast Games every couple of years. Finding a structure suitable for such a high bungy is challenging so these days some people just secure a bungy to the bottom of a helicopter and jump off that, at any height they like!

Trip Reviews

  •   4.44 out of 5 (from 908 reviews)

    Wonderful Manuka Trip With Active Adventures, New Zealand

    Hi, I'm back home in the USA after my Manuka adventure with Active Adventures, New Zealand. I would like to compliment everyone in your company that I came in contact with....from my initial contact with Fiona to my pre-trip emails with Lynette everything was handled with complete professionalism. This was my first adventure with your company but I'm pretty sure that it will not be my last.
    Everything during the trip went forward in a very efficient manner. I was amazed at the energy level and efficiency of our guides Amanda and Holly. The amount of work that they were able to accomplish during the course of a day, their energy levels and very positive attitudes made the trip enjoyable for all of us clients. Also, their knowledge of their country and their willingness to share made the trip even more enjoyable for me.
    Again, thank you to all and especially to Amanda and Holly....I really enjoyed my first visit to New Zealand.
    Jerry Jobski Review Image
    – Arizona, United States
    Manuka, April 2017
  •   4.48 out of 5 (from 298 reviews)

    Weka - New Zealand

    Wow!! What a trip! This hiking & biking tour was breath-taking both figuratively and literally. Our guides made our adventure challenging, yet fun. They were knowledgeable, encouraging and you could tell they are truly passionate about what they do. This tour captured all the great highlights of New Zealand staying just off the beaten path so we could really experience the diverse beauty and savory tastes of the island. Our group enjoyed ourselves so much we are already discussing another Active Adventure trip in 2019. Thank you Active Adventures for a wonderful experience!
    Sue Stohrer Review Image
    – California, United States
    Weka, March 2018
  •   4.70 out of 5 (from 266 reviews)


    We had a great time. New Zealand is beautiful and our tour guides, Koru and Jess, showed it to us to perfection. Great hikes, terrific food, wonderful companions and ideal locations.
    Ellen Dole Review Image
    – Colorado, United States
    Kiwi, March 2017
  •   4.44 out of 5 (from 908 reviews)

    South Island Treking trip

    We are both keen walkers and had the Milford Trek on our hit list. We have already done the C2C in the UK, The Inca trail and the TMB in Europe (also in the 'top ten'). The Manuka trip allowed us to do the Milford Trek but also walk other treks on S Island such as The Diamond Lake and Mount Cook which were also awesome. The Milford Trek does live up to its name as 'The finest walk in the World'! The scenery everywhere is truly spectacular even when it rains which often enhances the experience.
    Dave Clark Review Image
    – East Yorkshire, United Kingdom
    Manuka, January 2017
  •   4.68 out of 5 (from 244 reviews)

    Incredible family trip!

    We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and our guides did an excellent job being understanding of the food allergies of my daughter
    Makenzie Birkey Review Image
    – Minnesota, United States
    Kea, July 2016



Why travel with Active Adventures?

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

As soon as you get off the plane, we've got all the details of your vacation covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport & accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

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