New Zealand Debuts World’s Most Extreme Catapult (and You Can Ride It)

By now, you’d think humans would be running out of new ways to cheat death. Yet, it seems every year, someone (usually New Zealanders) finds an even more extreme method of upping the adrenaline rush for adventure tourists. This month, the country debuted the Nevis Catapult, the biggest, most extreme experience of its kind in the world.

Based near Queenstown in the remote and beautiful Nevis Valley, the Nevis Catapult is accessible only via four-wheel-drive bus. Imagine a human slingshot — equal parts canyon swing and bungee jump. Visitors trek to the Nevis Swing pod to prepare for launch. The process is a bit like old-school bungee jumping, which only drops you once then lets you haphazardly bounce up and down. The catapult instead uses a high-tech winch system to propel victims nearly 500 feet up and out over the valley floor. The ride tops 60 miles per hour in just 1.5 seconds with 3Gs of force. This is all followed by a series of gut-wrenching bounces and drops. The entire experience lasts less than four minutes.

It’s no surprise the Nevis Catapult was born in New Zealand, the self-proclaimed “Adventure Capital of the World.” The Kiwis are notoriously fun and fearless, bordering on crazy. Queenstown was and still is home to the world’s first bungee jumping site, but that’s so early-2000s. In the decades since, the country has debuted canyoning (a sport that combines hiking and abseiling through waterfalls), a one-of-a-kind wildwire Lord of the Rungs experience (an exhilarating blend of via ferrata, scrambling behind a waterfall, and a helicopter descent), and OGO (picture tumbling downhill in a giant inflatable hamster ball).

Requirements to ride the Nevis Catapult are minimal. As long as you’re over 13 years old, under 280 pounds (127 kilograms), and reasonably fit, you’re in. The price tag is a reasonable NZD $255 (approximately USD $170).

There is, of course, much more to New Zealand than Instagram-worthy bucket list thrills. For something a touch less heart-pounding, but no less adventurous, hardcore hikers will love the Te Araroa Trail, New Zealand’s greatest thru-hike. The country is also home to a burgeoning craft beer scene, world-class beaches, delicious sauvignon blanc and pinot noir, and incredible stargazing opportunities.

Fashion & Style

Which Workwear is Right For You? Comparing Carhartt, Patagonia, and Filson

Find out which brand is best for you and your job.

Watch Alex Honnold Climb 3200 Feet with No Ropes in ‘Free Solo’

What does it take to climb a 3200-foot-tall rock wall with no ropes? The new documentary 'Free Solo' documents everything it takes as climber Alex Hannold attempts to do just that.
Food & Drink

Dancing With the Green Fairy: 10 Absinthes to Try Right Now

Whatever you’re looking for in an absinthe, these ten spirits are a great place to start expanding your knowledge (and palate)!

Beards, Booze, and Bacon: The Fantasy Formula One Episode

If fantasy sports are your thing, or you just really like to go fast, then this episode is for you

Avoid Jet Lag By Learning How to Sleep Anytime, Anywhere

With a little help from some of the world’s most adept sleepers, here are of our favorite tips.

Belize Announces World’s First Nationwide Hide-and-Seek Competition

Cave exploring, trekking Mayan ruins, snorkeling with whale sharks — everyone comes out a winner in this competition.

A New Class of Retro Designer Motels Recalls California’s Bygone Surf Era

Embrace an endless summer of sick surfer hair, salty beach air, and some of the world's best breaks.

Why Fall is the Best Time to Visit Chattanooga Tennessee

Like rock climbing? How about beer? Fried chicken? Well, then it is time to visit Chattanooga, Tennessee.

HoverGlide Is a Clever ‘Floating’ Backpack Designed to Save Your Spine

It might sound like infomercial-flavored nonsense but it's rooted in sound science.

Romotow Is a Futuristic Travel Trailer With a Hidden ‘Party Deck’

One button turns this sleek travel trailer into an eight-person, off-grid party pad.

New Brightline Train Will Connect Vegas to Southern California in Just 2 Hours

Soon you'll be able to spend a lot more time feeding your face at the casino's questionable seafood buffet.

Ski Butlers are a Thing. We Went to the Rockies to Find Out What they Do and Why

Why the saviest skiers and smartest shredders enlist the help of a ski butler to service and set up their gear.

Elite Sniper School: Shoot at a Mile-long Target in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Fewer than 10,000 people in history have joined the "One Mile Club."

8 Airplane Hacks That Make Air Travel Suck a Lot Less

We’re fond of any tip that makes flying a little easier.