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New Zealand bungy innovators launch world-first catapult experience

New Zealand bungy innovators launch world-first catapult experience
August 10, 2018

A new world-first adventure tourism experience, the Nevis Catapult, which propels guest across a ravine by a giant catapult, has launched in Queenstown.

Located in the remote Nevis Valley, the new attraction from AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand co-founder Henry van Asch, sees thrill seekers experience up to 3G of force and speeds of almost 100 kilometres per hour in 1.5 seconds, as they are propelled 150 metre out across a ravine before dropping suddenly towards the valley floor and experiencing a series of jaw-dropping bounces.

The official opening of this experience brings to fruition three decades of planning and development by van Asch and the AJ Hackett Bungy NZ team.

Officially opening the experience yesterday, with special guests and media watching on, van Asch stated “it’s hugely exciting to be here today, revealing the Catapult to the world, following years of playing around with the idea.

“It’s a pretty unique feeling, surprising even. There’s nothing else quite like it."

Housed in a pod and between a series of cables, alongside the Nevis Swing, the Catapult is a unique combination of height, flight and speed using a bespoke high-speed winch system developed over years of research.

van Asch says he first came up with the idea when travelling around France during the 1980s with friend and later Bungy co-founder, AJ Hackett, advising “I played around with the idea by riding my mountain bike with a Bungy cord attached, off bridges. It may have been legal.”

van Asch says it’s significant to be unveiling the new experience in the company’s 30th year, commenting “in 1988 we took Bungy to the world, and put New Zealand on the world adventure tourism map. 30 years on it’s wonderful to still be pushing the boundaries globally.”

Specialist new technology for the multi-million-dollar attraction - partly funded by a $500,000 New Zealand Government grant - was developed with the company’s research team before being built in an accredited testing facility in Christchurch and then brought to site for full scale installation, testing and commissioning.

Welcoming the new attraction, Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive, Stephen England-Hall stated “AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand is the epitome of the Kiwi entrepreneurial spirit and their investment in cutting edge technology and new thrills is an example of how New Zealand continues to be at the forefront of adventure tourism.

“Something like this could never have been accomplished without a combination of creativity, daring, sheer Kiwi craziness and of course investment in years of design engineering and testing.”

The Catapult is developed to internationally recognised global safety standards and regulated under New Zealand adventure tourism and amusement device standards.

England-Hall added “the Nevis Catapult will inspire thrill seekers from all over the world to come to Queenstown to push their limits further than they have ever been able to.

“The combination of speed, height and flight is something the world has never seen.”

The world’s first commercial bungy jump operation was established near Queenstown at the Kawarau Bridge, the ‘original home of Bungy’ in 1988. The company - which now offers ziprides, swings, a bridge climb, tower walk and bungy experiences at five sites in Queenstown and Auckland - is set to reach one million jumps from the Kawarau Bridge Bungy Centre next month.

Images courtesy of AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand/James D Morgan Photography.

Related Articles

16th July 2018 - TECNZ launches new health and safety initiative for tourism operators

14th March 2018 - ASTM International begins development of Bungy Jumping Standard

6th February 2018 - AJ Hackett bungy attraction boosts visits on Singapore’s Sentosa Island

3rd August 2016 - New Zealand Government backs AJ Hackett Bungy’s new Queenstown adventure experience

16th January 2016 - Asian travellers seek new experiences

30th October 2015 - Safety review for New Zealand adventure tourism operators

7th November 2014 - New Zealand adventure tourism operators warned to shape up or pay crippling fines

29th October 2014 - AJ Hackett takes on Auckland Sky Tower’s SkyJump and SkyWalk attractions

4th March 2013 - Prime Minister launches re-developed AJ Hackett Kawarau Bungy Centre

18th October 2013 - AJ Hackett Bungy launches 25th birthday competition

8th May 2013 - TIANZ highlights improved safety in New Zealand adventure tourism

7th May 2013 - More robust culture needed for New Zealand adventure tourism

16th February 2011 - AJ Hackett Bungy develops two new adventure products

25th November 2009 - AJ Hackett Bungy Turns 21, Wins Award


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