If anything can induce a woohoo reaction, hurtling down the world’s longest flying fox at speeds approaching 100km/h will!
This stunning attraction is hidden in the peaceful, bush-covered hills hugging the coast north of Nelson.
When they called their establishment Happy Valley Adventures, the founders Jill and Keith Anderson made their intentions clear. Paintball, horse riding and quad biking tours all add to the excitement, but it was the Skywire, Keith’s brainchild, that we’d come to enjoy.
After an informative and entertaining four-wheel-drive tour up the bush-clad hill with guide Dan, we arrived at the start, 305m above sea level. From this vantage point, high above the valley and with the sight of the cable disappearing into the distance, I admit to having had second thoughts. It took some reassuring words from Dan before we were secured into the four-seat carriage, cameras at the ready.
As the brakes were released, our lives hanging on the 28mm steel cable, we began our heart-racing hurtle towards the lower tower 1.6km away on the other side of the valley.
We were at the mercy of gravity, swooping above the canopy of native bush, wind rushing through our hair and whipping the squeals of delight from our mouths.
Giant matai trees below, some believed to date back 2000 years, looked miniature from our hawk's-eye viewpoint. Barefoot, 150m above the forest, the exhilaration gave an incredible sense of freedom and adventure.
We slowed at the lower tower giving chance to appreciate the peace of the valley, the sound of birdlife enjoying this emerald sanctuary. Then no sooner had we reached the end than our adrenalin surged again as the cable whipped our car backwards to return us to base.
Still beaming, we scanned the appreciative comments from other thrilled visitors…’exhilarating, epic, awesome, unbelievably brilliant’. The ride’s designer Arthur Tyndall (of AJ Hackett Bungy fame) should be proud.
Reported by Fiona Terry for our AA Directions Autumn 2019 issue