Our Story

Our story is the same as so many classic romantic tales really.

Boys meet cliff. Boys jump off cliff. Boys create unique and intricate platform, system and processes to share their love of jumping off cliffs with the world. It’s just like The Notebook!

NO, BUT REALLY….

It all began as a hobby of jumping off cliffs over seventeen years ago.  Today we still jump off cliffs, but now we share this with those who dare and those willing and eager.  Our unique style of service is all down to our great team who are passionate about our customers having the best experience ever.

The Canyon Swing, our original experience which opened in 2002, is a giant rope swing that redefined ways of getting the thrill of freefall.   14 years later, it paved the way to be more daring and bolder when we built The Fox.  An extreme zipline which is the only one in the world with freefall and New Zealand’s highest.

Set amongst the dramatic scenery of the Shotover Canyon just 15 minutes from Queenstown, it’s not just the landscape that takes your breath away.  Our unique jumpstyles can leave you saying, what, how and most likely why?  Because why not, it’s fun!

MISSION, VISION & GUIDING PRINCIPLES

“It’s all about the VIBE your honour”; our favourite quote from the cult classic you may have never heard of, The Castle.  This the foundation of our guiding principles:

  • Vitality
  • Innovation
  • Being Safe
  • Experience quality

Our mission is to be the best as at putting smiles on the faces of customers and staff.  We do so much more than jumping off cliffs we offer an experience of a lifetime.

Our vision is that everyone in the company is super proud of sharing the VIBE of the ‘not your average backyard variety’ experience with workmates and customers.

THE BACKSTORY

The best of Kiwi ingenuity is behind the Canyon Swing, and The Fox in spades. The story of the invention of both is a fantastic story of kiwi-can-do, and back-of-the-envelope creativity. It’s a darn good yarn.

The Canyon Swing started out as a mad cap idea to formalise (and legalise) something the originators – two avid New Zealand mountain and rock climbers, Hamish Emerson and Chris Russell  – wanted to share with a few mates. As there was no other structure or activity in the world like it, it meant designing and engineering everything from scratch, and rigorous testing. All built by hand, resourced on a single credit card, with no helicopters or earth-moving machinery involved whatsoever, the Swing is testament to years of hard work, dogged persistence, a great sense of humour, a good few cold beers, strict safety protocols, and the ability to think well outside the square.

There was to be nothing ordinary about this swing.  ‘Not your backyard variety’ had to apply to every facet of the operation – from the jump styles to the entire customer experience. 

So when the idea of a the Fox came to mind, you can be sure that this would be no ordinary flying fox. In fact, what originator Hamish Emerson did with this zipline, is what many – highly regarded international physicists and engineers – said was absolutely impossible.

The problem, they explained, is that most ziplines have little in the way of loss of altitude. From one side of the Shotover Canyon to the other meant more than a little loss in height. How to get from one to the other side without smashing into the ‘other side of the South Island’, so the engineers said, was unachievable. In short, you’re up against gravity.

With a bit of his trademark lateral thinking, and a grin, Emerson scribbled a few ideas on the back on an envelope, passed it on to a local engineering mate, and two years later the international experts stood on the edge of the precipice overlooking The Fox, and shook their heads in disbelief.

NASA should have been watching. Because what Emerson and engineer Glyn Lewers had created, with exceptional safety standards, terrifying but utterly exhilarating, was The Fox equivalent of putting men on the moon. 

Did the engineers take the plunge across the canyon? Not all. But one who was brave enough, admitted, ‘Holy Sh*t, you’ve done it,’ he said, ‘this is out of this world.’