Cal and I made an agreement before we even got on the plane to New Zealand that we would do this terrifying Nevis Swing together (the world’s largest swing!). The original idea is that it would save us from having to go bungy jumping, which we were both terrified to do, but still give us sufficient bragging rights back home. In the end, we actually did both the swing and a bungy jump, but I can’t really say definitively which was scarier.. At least by the time we did the bungy, I was already at such a heightened level of stress that I was practically paralytic and unable to comprehend any further fear.
All the details: Nevis Swing
Cost: Free-fall 60m and then pendulum swing through the canyon for $210 on the Nevis Swing. Book online in advance or in person the morning of your jump at AJ Hackett’s Queenstown Bungy Centre.
Getting there: Catch a free bus from AJ Hackett Bungy in downtown Queenstown (Corner of Shotover & Camp Streets) which will take you straight to the swing site and return you after.
When we arrive at the bridge that leads shakily out to the swing platform, we are all feeling decidedly more nervous than 10 minutes ago when we paid to do this. (Even dad got talked into it, which is amazing, although he was probably second-guessing it intensely as we watched a couple in front of us take the plunge.)
There are only a few short minutes of nervous waiting before Cal and I are getting strapped into harnesses and hooked up to the actual swing, looking down 160m into the canyon. The operator is this crazy, curly-haired man who seems way too excited by my obvious terror, and he asks us if we’d like to say when he releases or if we’d like it to be a surprise. I get out “Surpr…” before he hits the button and drops us into the 70m free fall.
I’m actually so scared at first that I can’t even scream; literally no noise is coming out. In fact, I can hardly breathe as we plummet down towards the bottom of the canyon. But my voice quickly returns as we hit the bottom of the free fall and start swinging out at 120kph, practically deafening poor Cal by screaming straight into his ear.
When we stop swinging, we get lifted back up to the platform and I am giggling and screaming (in a happy way) the whole time, partially delighted and partially relieved to be alive.
The delight continues as dad and Eileen get hooked up to do the swing immediately after us and we stand out on the viewing platform to take a video. The curly-haired swing operator gives me a remote control button so I can be the one who releases them into their free fall and I sneakily hit the button a few times while they aren’t paying attention, trying for the same dramatic surprise that Cal and I got. For some reason, the remote isn’t properly communicating with the swing and nothing happens. Dad says this is the worst part, because they are in the swing for ages, just waiting to be dropped at literally any second. Finally, the curly-haired man just hits the button and drops them himself, and, after a few seconds of the breath being knocked straight out of them, I can hear my dad’s scream ringing through the canyon.
Basically crapped my pants with terror during our swing and it’s super obvious that I’m freaking out in the photos, but what an incredible experience. (I can say that now that it’s over.) Now it’s back onto the bus to the Kawarau Bridge for our bungy jump and more small heart attacks. I still can’t believe I’m doing this…
Read more about our travels through NZ