Indoor skydiving takes off in Queenstown, NZ’s adventure capital
Queenstown relishes its reputation as New Zealand’s adventure capital and the latest addition to the birthplace of bungee jumping and jet-boating is iFLY Queenstown indoor skydiving.
The iFLY experience, already familiar to many Australians, is a vertical wind tunnel within a 3.6m-diameter and 4.5m-tall glass cylinder. Beneath the steel-mesh floor of the cylinder, an enormous fan generates completely controllable wind speeds of up to 270km/h.
“Tunnel fliers” are kitted in jumpsuits and safety helmets and accompanied by fully trained instructors – and the ride is suitable for all ages. Admission starts at $149, which includes training, safety equipment and two flights.
The $15m iFLY Queenstown centre, which includes a café, is located in Brecon Street, near the foot of the town’s Skyline gondola.
iFLY Queenstown, which joins an international network of around 50 iFLY centres through the US, Europe, the UK and Australia, was initiated by Auckland sky diving duo Emma and Gary Beyer, each of whom is a former World Champion skydiver (Emma in 2006, Gary in 1999).
Tunnel flying isn’t only about tourist fun, as Emma, managing director of iFLY Queenstown explained.
“Tunnel flight is one of the most blood-pumping and fast-growing sports in the world, with its own global leagues and events. Launching iFLY in New Zealand gives Kiwis a massive opportunity to jump on board with skydiving or tunnel flight, as we now have a training facility here. Our hope is that we’ll develop a national bodyflight team and compete internationally.”