Queenstown, the city dubbed the world’s adventure capital, has a new challenge for thrill-seekers. Besides bungee jumping, skydiving, paragliding, canyoning, ziplining, river surfing and more, visitors can now also try the catapult. The catapult propels participants 150m across a ravine, where they experience up to 3G of force and speeds of almost 100 kilometers per hour in 1.5 seconds.

The catapult has been developed by AJ Hackett Bungy, which set up the world’s first commercial bungee jump 30 years ago at Kawarau Bridge, putting New Zealand on the world’s adventure map. This month, the company is set to reach one million bungee jumps at its original Kawarau Bridge Bungy Centre. It offers bungee jumps at two other sites in Queenstown and one in Auckland, as well as ziprides, swings, a bridge climb, tower walk, and now the catapult over a ravine in the stark and beautiful Nevis Valley.

Henry van Asch, co-founder of the company along with A.J. Hackett, says he came up with the original idea more than three decades ago, while travelling around France in the 1980s. At the time, he toyed with the thought of riding a mountain bike off a bridge with a bungee cord attached. It took several million dollars in research and development, and nine months of heavy-duty testing to transform that old idea into the Nevis Catapult.

A turn on the catapult costs 255 New Zealand Dollars (NZD), around 12,000 per head; www.bungy.co.nz/queenstown/nevis/nevis-catapult.

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