Last Updated on September 22, 2020 by

Shotover canyon swing

My Experience on the Shotover Canyon Swing


Counting to three, I mentally brace myself for the jump and slowly push myself backwards with my toes. But just as I’m pivoted on the ledge, the jump master pulls me back up. He laughs at the expression on my face, but I’m too scared to laugh along. It’s not funny when you’re the one sitting on a chair, 109m (357 feet) above the ground, about to jump off into the unknown.

Considered the world’s highest cliff jump, this canyon swing will have me free falling for 60m (109 feet) and then swinging horizontally for 200m (656 feet) at 90 miles per hour across the river. I’m shaking in the cold air, wondering if I can really do this.

He tells me to push off again, so I repeat the same steps, counting from one to three and then pushing myself gently backwards. Again, he holds on to my rope and pulls me back up, but just as he looks away to chat with his mate, I feel his grip loosen and off I go, this time for real.

The world spins 360 degrees as I flip my way down the gorge, with nothing but a harness and a chair strapped to my body. I scream my lungs out during the free fall, but once the tumbling and turning stops, adrenaline kicks in and I’m overwhelmed by a gravity-defying sensation. “Wow. Just wow!” I feel as though I’m flying over the beautiful canyon.


The Birthplace of the Bungee

This isn’t my first attempt; I’ve tried bungee jumping before – when I was 14 years old – but I knew I wanted to do it again in New Zealand, the birthplace of the commercial bungee jump. Here in Queenstown New Zealand, there are no less than five bungee jumping sites ( within a ten mile radius. I chose to do the Shotover canyon swing mainly because of the great reputation it has.

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The company has a track record in safety and has won numerous awards, including the New Zealand Tourism Award 2008 in the adventure category and the Best Activity in NZ award at TNT Golden Backpack Awards. They’re also the only swing in New Zealand with more than 70 different jump styles to choose from (such as the chair, flips, handstand and many more).

shotover canyon swing

My Favorite Thing to do in New Zealand

It’s easy to see what sets this company apart from the rest. The jump masters, who are the core of the business, have an infectious enthusiasm which is complemented by their sense of humor. They are supportive, funny and professional at the same time, chatting with us the entire time to make sure we’re having fun and not stressing too much.

One of the jump masters wore a cheeky grin when he told us there was a problem with the motor right after the first person in our group did his jump — with that look on his face, we seriously thought he was joking! Apparently it was so cold in the morning that the motor had frozen, thankfully they managed to winch up my friend manually but he was shaking like a baby when he came up.

Despite the initial setback, our group had a terrific time doing the canyon swing with these folks thanks to their professionalism and sense of humor. This was definitely the highlight of my 2-week New Zealand road trip, and I highly recommend it for anyone seeking some adventure in NZ.

If I ever get back to New Zealand, I know for sure I’m coming back here for another jump. Will you join me?


Additional Information


$215.00 NZD per swinger (this price includes 1x Free spectator seat)
$35.00 NZD extra swings
$20.00 NZD per additional spectator

Prices above include transfers from the Shotover Canyon Swing office in the city center of Queenstown. The entire experience takes around two to three hours. The company operates rain, hail or shine all year round. Photos and videos can be purchased at an additional cost.

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Disclaimer: Special thanks to Shotover Canyon Swing and G Adventures for making this experience possible. However, all of the opinions expressed above are my own.