Courtesy of BBC Travel
By Irene Caselli
Jumping out of a moving plane is not as revolutionary as it was 600 years ago, when Renaissance inventors started experimenting with the parachute. But that does not make the decision to tandem-jump any less thrilling. And if you are considering a jump, whether it is your first or fiftieth, New Zealand is the place to do it.
The country’s first commercial drop zone was established in 1990 in Queenstown and the activity has grown quickly ever since, partly thanks to New Zealand’s reputation for extreme sports. Taupo, in the north island, is considered the world’s skydiving capital, with the highest number of tandem jumps per year. It is safe, decently priced and the landscapes are stunning – blue lakes and snow -capped mountains, glaciers and the ocean, fiords and beaches. You just pick your favourite background for the souvenir pictures and throw yourself from pretty much anywhere.
(Photo: Irene Caselli)
Even without the gorgeous backdrop, skydiving is surreal. No matter how often people tell you it is safe – you will never believe it until you have survived the experience. With a tandem jump you sign a release form, put on a jumpsuit and are quickly shown what to do once you leave the plane: how to cross your arms and bend your legs while in mid-air. Then you hand over your life to a stranger. Many thoughts start going through your brain as they strap you to your instructor. Is the guy who packed the parachute an expert? Did he do it right? Why did I not ask to see his credentials?
Find out what happened on Irene’s dive over at BBC Travel!