AJ Hackett reveals world-first catapult
The Nevis Catapult is now officially open for adventurers who want to take their thrill-seeking to the next level in the Nevis Valley, near Queenstown
AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand this week revealed its latest adventure tourism experience, Nevis Catapult, to celebrate its 30th year of adventure tourism in Queenstown, New Zealand. Housed in a pod and between a series of cables, alongside the infamous Nevis Swing, the Catapult is a unique combination of height, flight and speed using a bespoke high-speed winch system developed over years of research.
World-first adventure experience
Co-founder Henry van Asch says it felt significant to reveal the world-first adventure tourism experience, which he says is faster, higher and more powerful than any other catapult experience in the world, in the Nevis Valley near Queenstown, New Zealand in the company’s 30th year.
Van Asch says fellow adrenaline junkies will rejoice as the Nevis Catapult sees thrillseekers experience up to 3G of force and speeds of almost 100km per hour in 1.5 seconds. The experience propels courageous visitors 150m out across a ravine before dropping suddenly towards the valley floor with a series of jaw-dropping bounces. “In 1988 we took Bungy to the world, and put New Zealand on the world adventure tourism map. Thirty years on it’s wonderful to still be pushing the boundaries globally,” he says.
Catapult strikes a (bungy) cord
In true AJ Hackett style, van Asch officially opened the Catapult experience by literally being launched across the Nevis Valley. “It’s hugely exciting to reveal the Catapult to the world, following years of playing around with the idea. It’s a pretty unique feeling, surprising even. There’s nothing else quite like it,” he says.
Van Asch says he first came up with the idea when travelling around France during the 1980s with friend and (later) Bungy co-founder, AJ Hackett. “I played around with the idea by riding my mountain bike with a Bungy cord attached, off bridges. It may have been legal,” he says.
Perfect playground for GoPro
Carlos McCarthy, GoPro marketing manager ANZ said, “With New Zealand known as the adventure capital of the world, it’s the perfect playground for GoPro. AJ Hackett is also synonymous with being the first to push the boundaries and so felt like a natural partnership.”
Those afraid of heights will be pleased to know the Catapult was developed to internationally recognised global safety standards and is regulated under New Zealand adventure tourism and amusement device standards. The specialist new technology for the multi-million-dollar Catapult was developed with the company’s research team before being built in an accredited testing facility in Christchurch and then brought to site for full-scale installation, testing and commissioning. Testing began with weighted barrels, before moving on to a test dummy phase and finally human testing.
“AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand is the epitome of the Kiwi entrepreneurial spirit and this investment in cutting-edge technology is an example of how New Zealand continues to be at the forefront of adventure tourism,” says Tourism New Zealand chief executive, Stephen England-Hall. “This could never have been accomplished without a combination of daring creativity, sheer Kiwi spirit, and of course investment in years of design engineering and testing.” ajhackett.com