Ever considered skydiving?
Does jumping out of a plane sound appealing to you? How about jumping out of a plane over the island of New Zealand? Imagine skydiving while free falling over one of New Zealand's most beautiful National Parks, Abel Tasman.
Where to go skydiving in New Zealand's South Island?
The South Island is known for its adrenaline junkie attractions. Some of these include the worlds first bungee jump, and the worlds most famous bungee swing. On top of that, the south island is also home to over 10 sky diving companies. All the skydive companies are located in the southern half of the island. The one exception is Skydive Abel Tasman, located in the far north of the island in Abel Tasman National Park.
Tandem sky diving
Where is Abel Tasman National Park?
Abel Tasman is located at the northernmost tip of New Zealand's south island. Accessing Abel Tasman requires access to a car unless you are part of a tour which includes a tour bus. The district of Motueka, south of the park, is the base of many tour companies that operate in Abel Tasman. You can partake in these tours and have transportation to the national park pre-arranged for you. One of these companies is Skydive Abel Tasman. They offer shuttle services directly from your hotel to the facility.
Skydiving Abel Tasman
With Skydive Abel Tasman, you are able to choose between three heights to jump from. The options are 9,000 ft, 13,000 ft, and 16,500 ft. The difference between these heights is the amount of time you will be free falling before the parachute is deployed. The parachute is deployed at around 5000 ft, so pick your height accordingly! If it is your first time jumping you won't notice a difference in your freefall duration. If it is not your first time falling from a plane, go big or go home! You can also choose the added option of having a photographer jump with you to video your free fall. An awesome way to document the beauty of it all and capture your cheeks flapping in the wind.
Views from above
Is skydiving in New Zealand safe?
Jumping tandem at Skydive Abel Tasman is very safe, many of the tandem masters having logged over 1000 jumps. It’s a requirement for the tandem masters to have logged over 750 jumps before being hired at Skydive Abel Tasman. They are all highly experienced adrenaline junkies that specialize in sky diving! The last accident that occurred at the Skydive Abel Tasman dropzone was a solo jumper accident during a skydiving festival, not a tandem jump and not related to any customers. Skydive Abel Tasman is one of the longest safely running tandem dropzones in all of New Zealand. Overall, the instructors are very experienced and the whole dropzone is well organized to maximize everyone's safety.
Why Skydive Abel Tasman?
On top of its safety record, Skydive Abel Tasman is located in Manuka, an area known for its sunny weather. Its northern location has much better weather patterns than the sky diving companies located to the south. This means that your jump is less likely to be canceled on the day due to poor weather. That being said, if your jump is canceled, you will be rescheduled to a time that suits you, or provided a full refund if you are unable to find a suitable time. Also due to its location, this is the only drop zone from which you can see both the North and South islands of New Zealand. On top of that, you can also see golden sand beaches, snowy peaks and turquoise oceans stretched below you.
Perfect skies for a parachute ride
What to expect skydiving
So today's the big day and the butterflies are already free falling in your stomach. You have so many unanswered questions, what to wear skydiving? Is sky diving safe? have I gone completely crazy? Can sky diving make you sick? Can it hurt your eyes? All of these are easy to answer, except that yes, you are crazy.
What to wear skydiving
When you skydive with Skydive Abel Tasman, you are provided with a diving suit, cap, and plastic glasses. All you need to do to prepare is dress in fitted, comfy clothes and tight shoes, no open shoes. Make sure you wear pants and a shirt that you can fit underneath the jumpsuit. For long hair, keep it in a low ponytail or braid so that you can fit the cap over. The glasses they provide you are like the typical plastic science goggles. They are meant to protect your eyes from streaming with water when you are free falling at 200 km/h. I mean why pay all that money and not be able to see through the speed tears?
Free falling with cheeks flapping
How skydiving works
Once you arrive at the facility, you will be checked in and greeted by the staff members. All the staff members of Skydive Abel Tasman are passionate about their jobs and will greatly improve your overall experience. You and your group will be taken to the video room to watch the safety and instructions video and to ask any questions you want to be answered before your jump.
After watching the video, you have time to chill at the facility and watch other skydivers landing in the field. They give you the option of writing a message on your hands for the photographer to capture. If you are with a tour group like Top Deck, you can write that on your hands so you have that memory from the tour.
Time to jump
When it's your time to go, the staff members will call on you to get geared up. They will give you a jumpsuit, a harness, and a very stylish cap and science goggles. You will get to meet your tandem master before heading over to the plane and strapping together. The plane loads no more than 10 people and you will be loaded in your jumping order. The order depends on what height you are jumping from. The lower heights will jump first and the highest will jump last.
The plane ride takes about 15 minutes to get up to the jumping height, so be prepared to get nice and cozy with your tandem master, added bonus if they’re cute! When its time to jump, the sliding doors will open and you will prepare to exit the plane as outlined in the safety video. They require you to hold the shoulder straps on your harness presumably to avoid the tandem master getting a slap to the face…
Once you are out of the plane, the tandem master will level you out to the ground and you will feel the wind against you as you plummet at 200 km/hr. You can scream as loud as you want, the rush of the wind is too loud to hear and sounds. If you chose to have a photographer, he will be nearby in the sky videoing and photographing the whole experience.
Once you reach around 5000 ft from the ground, the tandem master will deploy the parachute and you will go from rapid free falling to cruising high above the ground. You will be able to talk to them now and ask questions. They will be able to name the places you can see, and ask you how you are feeling. If you are giddy with excitement and laughing uncontrollably, they will make the parachute ride a wild one, winding and twirling towards the ground before making a slow and soft landing. If you are not enjoying yourself in the slightest, they will cruise you down to the ground very gently and land softly back on the field. There is a ground crew to assist with the landings too.
Landing at Skydive Abal Tasman
What if you throw up skydiving?
It does occasionally happen when a jumper lets their lunch loose to the skies and into the tandem master’s face. This is a huge fear of sky diving customers. The reality is that only about 2 percent of people throw up while sky diving. Of that percent, the majority will throw up while parachuting and not at all on the tandem master. That being said, you will not be the first person to throw up with a tandem master, and you will not be the last. They are used to this occurrence and will try to laugh about it with you before you go home to hide in shame.
Finally, you’re back with both feet on the ground, adrenaline pumping. You'll realize how short the actual jumping period is, and that you want to do it again! At least that’s how it is for most people, others just can't get out of there fast enough… Watching the footage of your jump is a great way to recap with your friends on the experience. Sky diving creates a life long memory. Whether you loved it, hated it, or threw up on it, you’ve got a crazy story to brag about to your friends.