"You can do this!" I whispered to myself as I shimmied a little further down the bright green platform. A glance quickly right and left. If I took one step it was an 185-meter drop down the sharp cliff face.
I was thrilled, excited, and terrified.
I am a pretty adventurous person by nature. However, I'm not going to lie. Sometimes I have to give myself a little pep talk to have enough bravery to take the plunge. This was one of those moments. Just a couple of hours before I was rugged up in my bed at Base Queenstown, sleeping off a hangover from an epic night out at Loco the night before.
Now I was at Shotover Canyon about to try their newly opened Canyon Fox (a flying fox). This new adrenaline rush is the only one in the world and is called a Drop Rail. Imagine a 5 meter freefall. At the end of the fall you get snapped onto the other side of the Canyon… gulp.
There are multiple drop styles for the Drop Rail. I had chosen to run straight off the platform. I stared down it. By my estimate, it would take about four steps to get right to the edge. Ok, so I needed to take five steps, and I would be off the ledge. "Ok, now is the time”, I thought, "The adrenaline will get rid of your hangover". At this point I was willing to try anything to get rid it. I started counting down slowly. 5... 4... 3... 2... 1. My legs turned into jelly on the first step, but I kept running. Soon I was at the end of the platform falling through the air.
After a couple of seconds I then heard my rope snap on the zip cord and the next thing I knew I was soaring across the Canyon. I spun myself around to take in the beautiful views of the canyon. I took in every moment as the adrenaline coursed through my body. The Canyon Fox alone made the experience worth it, and my hangover was gone. But I wasn't done yet. I had a couple of Canyon Swings coming up.
The Shotover Canyon Swing is the highest cliff jump in the world. You fall for about 4 seconds before swinging over 200 meters across the canyon. I had over 70 styles to choose from, and I had two jumps. For my first jump, I opted for the chair. You strap yourself into a lawn chair and kick yourself backward over the edge.
As I fell, the chair somersaulted and I lost all sense of up or down. The wind rushed past my face and before I knew it, I was being shot out over the canyon staring up at how high I had just fallen and at the beautiful blue water below me. This chair was intense but for my second jump, I wanted to try something scary. For my second jump, I picked a jump style that terrified me. It Called the pin drop.
You stand sideways on the edge and bend down, so you are looking at the ground before jumping off. Now, let me be honest with you guys. I wasn't the bravest soul when it came to this jump. In fact, it took me about six minutes to work up the courage to take the leap. I took a deep breath and pushed past my fear and leaped. Because I was already looking at the ground, I was hit with a crazy ground rush, and another wave of adrenaline hit me.
I liked the Chair, but the Pin Drop was more of a challenge and a rush. I felt more of a reward after the Pin Drop. The guys running the Swing were classic. The jump master Morgan had a hilarious personality. He was laughing, asking me questions, and playing little jokes. It helped take my mind off of the fear, and made the whole day unforgettable.
Everyone at Shotover Canyon Swing & Fox was fun, and made their customers feel welcome. They are an extremely friendly company and treat their customers right. Personally, I liked both the Canyon Fox and the Canyon Swing. I would say buy a combo ticket for both. Overall, I had a blast at Shotover Canyon. I've being thinking about it non-stop and can't wait to do it again.
Stephen is currently travelling New Zealand with Base Backpackers! Check out his blog "A Backpacker's Tale here.