Queenstown's Nevis Catapult - The Ultimate Thrill!

In our last blog we wrote about the 2017 visit of Tom Cruise to Duffers Saddle near Queenstown where he filmed parts of his new Mission Impossible movie. Today, and close to Duffers Saddle, AJ Hackett, the company that introduced commercial bungy jumping to the world, revealed a new adventure experience that must be the ultimate in dare-devil experiences. If you're into adrenaline rushes, read on.

Excerpts from the story by a New Zealand Herald reporter who attended the opening ceremony earlier today.

"Bungy masters A J Hackett's top secret multi-million dollar attraction has been revealed.

30 years in the making, the project was unveiled this morning as an incredible human catapult, flinging its first thrill-seekers over the spectacular Nevis Canyon and Nevis River.

Riders reach a top speed of 60 mph and experience hair-raising forces of up to 3g. That's the equivalent force of what's felt by astronauts aboard a space shuttle during lift off.

The whole event had an element of stepping into the unknown, as this launch was the first glimpse the public had been given of this secret attraction.


The platform high over the Nevis River used for the Nevis Catapult launch.


Take a deep breath. A really big one! The Nevis Catapult in action.

This remote location is only accessible by the AJ Hackett 4x4 bus that provides regular transfers from Queenstown. Travelling time is around 40 minutes.

First into the breach were excited competition winners Katie Mitchell and Chantelle Polley.

They applied to be the first to try out Hackett's mystery device, before even knowing what it entailed.

Katie Mitchell from Tauranga in New Zealand had done a few bungys before, "but this was something else!"

The Kiwi daredevil entered the completion by submitting a video of herself doing other bungys and a skydive to prove her mettle, but nothing could have prepared her for the giant bungy catapult.

"We were only told on Monday that we won and we didn't know it was a catapult until we came out here early this morning for the opening day.

Chantelle Polley, from the Sunshine Coast in Australia was the second on the catapult.

"There was a call out for Aussies on Instagram asking for the most exciting thing they have ever done," she said.

"I'd done the Nevis Bungy before and a bungy on the Gold Coast in Australia, but the catapult is really the next level.

"You get swung forward like you're flying. It just topped everything."

The 150 guests at the launch party also had a chance to try the catapult, including local Member of Parliament Hamish Walker.

"I'd say beginners could do it, but it's nice to do a bungy first, to feel how different it is," said Chantelle.

"We've had a go at everything here, including twice on the Nevis Swing. So I'm well and truly adrenalin-ed out," added Katie. 

"Though we're booked in for the Ledge Swing tomorrow."

"The speed is extreme. It's really exciting – and surprising," said company co-founder Henry van Asch, who has been central in developing the one-of-a-kind attraction.

Other long-established AJ Hackett attractions at Nevis Canyon, sharing the same platform as The Catapult, are the Nevis Bungy (the highest in New Zealand), the Nevis Swing and the Nevis Ledge.


If you manage to keep your eyes open the scenery is spectacular, seen here at bungy launch.


Tandem sharing on the Nevis Swing.


In case you need to prove your courage, every experience at Nevis Canyon is captured on film.


Access is across private land, so the AJ Hackett bus from Queenstown (40 Min.) is mandatory.

You can see more on YouTube by clicking HERE and if you would like to know more about the fascinating story of the original bungy visionary, AJ Hackett himself, click HERE.

Footnote: We asked our New Zealand based colleague Jane Cousens to visit Queenstown to test the Nevis Catapult on our behalf but she politely turned the offer down :)

The team here at New Zealand Vacations can include Nevis Canyon in any New Zealand vacation package.

Lindsay Barron

Lindsay Barron • Aug 08, 2018