An adrenaline junkie’s list of the best places to skydive in NZ

The ultimate bucket list activity – SKYDIVING! With such incredible scenery, it’s no surprise that New Zealand is consistently voted one of the best places in the world to jump out of a perfectly good aircraft (with a parachute, of course!). Here’s a guide to, what I think, are the top 7 skydive locations in New Zealand.

1) Fox Glacier

On the West Coast of the South Island, just 25 minutes away from Franz Josef township, you’ll find the original glacier skydivers at Skydive Fox Glacier (now part of Skydive Franz Josef). This jump is right at the top of my bucket list and for a very good reason. With supremely spectacular views of the Southern Alps, rainforests and lakes and Mt. Cook – these are once-in-a-lifetime views that will no doubt blow your mind!

Height: 9,000 ft, 13,000 ft or 16,500 ft

Fox Glacier is a Stray Driver's favourite place for skydiving in NZ
Fox Glacier is a Stray Driver’s favourite place for skydiving in NZ

2) Taupo

With views of the lake and Mt. Doom, this might be one of the most stunning drop zones in New Zealand. Plus, the plane is PINK… need I say more? The crew at Skydive Taupo are insanely cool and will get your adrenaline pumping whilst also reassuring you that you’re in great hands. It’s one of the most affordable jump locations too – a backpacker’s dream!

Height: 12,000 ft or 15,000 ft

Just a casual morning activity, skydiving in New Zealand
Just a casual morning activity, skydiving in New Zealand

3) Queenstown

Ah, my very first skydive experience! I remember not being able to sleep the night before because I was so nervous, but it turned out to be one of the best days of my life. NZONE will throw you out of a plane over the Remarkables mountain range – an incredible jump location (especially for Lord of the Rings fans!). It may have been cloudy the day I jumped but, let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like the sensation of falling through a rain cloud and coming out of the other side to see miles and miles of snowcapped mountains. Are you tempted yet?

Height: 9,000 ft, 12,000 ft or 15,000 ft

Too late to back out now!
Too late to back out now!

I’m technically cheating by including two drop zones in one bullet point but I can’t write about skydiving in Queenstown without mentioning Skydive Southern Alps! Based in Glenorchy, the views are out of this world and the team is much smaller than at other locations, giving you a much more personal experience. It’s also Queenstown’s cheapest skydive. Only downside? The weather is notoriously changeable, so you may have to wait a few days for the perfect jump conditions!

Height: 9,000 ft, 12,000 ft or 15,000 ft

Filming my pre-jump interview in Glenorchy and trying not to say anything embarrassing
Filming my pre-jump interview in Glenorchy and trying not to say anything embarrassing

4) Wanaka

Gorgeous views of Lake Wanaka, the Upper Clutha river and (on a really clear day) Mt Cook make this one of the South Island’s most popular drop zones. Be brave, don the red jumpsuit and let Skydive Wanaka show you how it’s done. Let’s face it, there’s no better way to experience a new town than from a bird’s eye perspective!

Height: 12,000 ft or 15,000 ft

It's always fun to jump with a photographer
It’s always fun to jump with a photographer

5) Bay of Islands

New Zealand’s most northern skydive, where rumour has it, you can see the Earth’s curvature from up there! Skydive Bay of Islands could not be a more picturesque location to jump. See if you can count all 144 islands as you freefall above the Pacific Ocean.

Height: 9,000 ft, 12,000 ft or 16,000 ft

I get a headrush just looking at this photo
I get a headrush just looking at this photo

6) Abel Tasman

The sun shines more often in Abel Tasman which means those ‘bluebird skydive days’ are more frequent – rejoice! Skydive Abel Tasman will give you that much-needed adrenaline rush after all those lazy beach days. Plus, who could turn down the opportunity to view those golden sand coastlines from above? You’re essentially free-falling in the middle of New Zealand between both islands and above a national park – what more could you ask for?!

Height: 9,000 ft, 13,000 ft or 16,500 ft

Every skydive starts as a scenic flight. Oh, what a view! Next step: let's jump out!
Every skydive starts as a scenic flight. Oh, what a view! Next step: let’s jump out!

7) Franz Josef Glacier

Not only does Franz Josef offer New Zealand’s highest jump at a whopping 19,000 ft, but it’s also home to some insane views. How many times in life can you say that you’ve plummeted towards a glacier?! If you’re willing to splurge some extra cash for the extra height then Skydive Franz is the jump for you!

Height: 13,000 ft, 16,000 ft or 19,000 ft

Oh hello earth, you are getting closer and closer.
Oh hello earth, you are getting closer and closer.

Skydiving Top Tips

  • Photos and videos cost extra but they are totally worth it for the memories – especially if you’re a first-timer! It’s always funny to look back on your terrified expression as you leave the aircraft…
  • Write something on your hands – it makes for awesome photos! ‘I <3 NZ’ is a popular choice but my personal favourite is ‘SORRY MOM’. I’d also recommend telling your loved ones after you land and not before you jump 😉
  • You can book your skydive on board the bus with your driver-guide! Why not rally a few brave troops together and make it a Stray team outing?
  • Dress warm, especially in winter – it can get cold up there!
  • Don’t panic – you’re in good hands. NZ has incredibly rigorous safety procedures so just relax, smile and soak up those gorgeous views.
  • Most importantly, be prepared to fund a new addiction when you land. One skydive is never enough!

What’s your favourite place to skydive in NZ?

Feel free to share your skydiving in New Zealand stories. What did you feel when you jumped out of that plane for the first time? Which is the best skydive in New Zealand in your opinion? Post it all as a comment below, I love to hear your skydive stories.

Tara

Originally from Birmingham, UK. Favourite Stray stop: Tongariro National Park. Fun fact: she has done every Bungy Jump in New Zealand.

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Sue
Sue
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5 February 2021 2:51 pm

Great article much thanks. Done my 1st skydive 4 years ago with my Son. Will never ever forget the look on his face as he jumped, haha priceless. Taupo staff bloody awesome. Doing it again in May for my 60th. Trying to talk my other 3 kids to join me but they too scared. Best experience ever.

Marty
Admin
Reply to  Sue
5 February 2021 3:02 pm

So good to hear you liked the article. We’ll pass on the message.
Hopefully, you’re able to get your kids to join you for a skydive. Seeing NZ from above is amazing.

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