Attention all adrenalin junkies! You’d better get booking tickets to New Zealand, stat.
Because just yesterday, the world’s first catapult experience was unveiled in the Nevis Valley!
The Nevis Valley is near Queenstown, New Zealand, BTW. Which makes it super easy for us Aussies to visit.
Dubbed the “Nevis Catapult”, the adventure experience was revealed by AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand co-founder Henry van Asch, and we’re super excited about it.
The Catapult sees thrill seekers experience up to 3G of force and speeds of almost 100km per hour in one and a half seconds, as you’re propelled 150m out across a ravine before dropping towards the valley floor and experiencing a series of vertical bounces.
The thrill-seeking experience has taken three decades of planning and development by Van Asch and the AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand team.
“It’s hugely exciting to be here today, revealing the Catapult to the world, following years of playing around with the idea,” he said.
Van Asch officially opened the Catapult experience by literally being launched across the Nevis Valley at 9.30am (NZT) while special guests and media watched on. Which is basically our dream job.
“It’s a pretty unique feeling, surprising even. There’s nothing else quite like it,” he said.
Housed in a pod and between a series of cables, alongside the infamous Nevis Swing, the Catapult is a unique combination of height, flight and speed using a bespoke high-speed winch system developed over years of research – so you know you won’t die.
To showcase the Catapult’s much-anticipated opening, AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand and Tourism New Zealand partnered with GoPro to send Australian advocates Sam Evans and Kurt Tilse to Queenstown as the first content creators to experience the new attraction.
Van Asch said he first came up with the idea when travelling around France during the 1980s with friend and (later) Bungy co-founder, AJ Hackett.
“I played around with the idea by riding my mountain bike with a Bungy cord attached, off bridges. It may have been legal,” he said.
“In 1988 we took Bungy to the world, and put New Zealand on the world adventure tourism map. Thirty years on it’s wonderful to still be pushing the boundaries globally.”
Specialist new technology for the multi-million-dollar Catapult was developed with the company’s research team before being built in an accredited testing facility in Christchurch and then brought to site for full scale installation, testing and commissioning. Testing has been conducted out-of-sight over the past nine months – beginning with weighted barrels, before moving on to a test dummy phase and finally, human testing.
The world’s first commercial bungy jump operation was established near Queenstown at the Kawarau Bridge, the ‘original home of Bungy’ in 1988.
The company – which now offers ziprides, swings, a bridge climb, tower walk and bungy experiences at five sites in Queenstown and Auckland – is set to reach one million jumps from the Kawarau Bridge Bungy Centre next month (September 2018).
You can watch the actual catapult below: