New Zealand: Pick Your Poison: Hang Gliding or Bungy Jumping

So you’re in Queenstown New Zealand, adventure capital of the world. There’s mountain biking, hang gliding, skiing, paragliding, bungy jumping, and more. No matter what you pick, the activity will be surrounded by million-dollar views. Nonetheless, choices are hard- especially when adventure activities are so damn expensive. I’ve narrowed it down to bungy jumping and hang gliding- now you have to pick:

Bungy Jumping:

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AJ Hackett- Tallest Bungy Jump in New Zealand- $275 NZD

http://www.bungy.co.nz/the-nevis/the-nevis-bungy

AJ Hacklett famously invented the bungy jump right here in Queenstown, and now you can jump from the famous “Nevis Bungy” – 134 meters above a rugged canyon. You’re sure to get an insane adrenaline high from this jump, plus a free T-shirt. If you ever wanted to bungy jump, it seems you should jump at the place it was invented.

 

Hang Gliding:

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Sky Trek- Launch from Coronet Peak- $210 NZD

Aerotow flying over Lake Wakatipu- $290 NZD

http://www.skytrek.co.nz/

Lake Wakatipu is a postcard brought to life, and I had the pleasure of swooping over it for twenty glorious minutes. Since I was in Queenstown in the winter, I chose the Aertotow option. Instead of taking off from a peak, your hang glider is pulled up into the air by a propeller plane. Once you reach the correct altitude, your instructor disconnects you from the plane – don’t worry, you’re riding tandem in the hang glider with a pro- and then you fly around the mountains, slowly descending back to Earth. This ride had more than enough adrenaline, especially since my mind kept drifting to Wedding Crashers, when Will Ferrell jokes, “Dude died in a hang gliding accident! What an idiot!” Was I about to be that idiot?

Luckily I had nothing to worry about, my guide had been hang gliding for seventeen years. The aerotow flight included a short lesson in the air, where I steered the glider left and right, up and down. I’m not sure exactly why, but steering an airborne vehicle was way more terrifying than jumping off a bridge.

While bungy jumping is an incredible activity that everyone should attempt at least once, it’s a pity that your hard-earned cash only really buys you 8.5 seconds of freefell. You’re paying $32 NZD per second. It’s a rush, but over in the blink of an eye. It’s impossible to take in any scenery or make note of your emotional response when you’re free-falling that quickly.

On the other hand, hang-gliding lasts a lovely 20 minutes. If you choose the more expensive aerotow option like I did, you’re paying $14.5 NZD per minute or 24 cents per second.  At the end of the day, either of these activities will give you an amazing endorphin rush, afterglow, and bragging rights. You can’t go wrong.

Reward yourself for stepping out of your comfort zone with some comfort food. The only thing in Queenstown that may be more notorious than its adventure sports is Fergburger (42 Shotover St, Queenstown), which CNN reported “May be the best burger joint on the planet,” – now that’s saying a lot coming from an American company. I suggest the Little Lamby or Tropical Swine.

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