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.

Food & Drink

Porto Tónicos Should Be On Your Cocktail Radar

This light and fresh cocktail combination uses white port as its main ingredient. You won't want to miss it.

A Quick Guide on How to Clean Hiking Boots

If your hiking boots are as clean as a whistle, without a scuff or a scratch or a hint of dirt to be seen, then you're doing it wrong.
Food & Drink

White Russian Wheat Ale Is the First of a New Line of Crafted Malt Beverages

This malted beverage from Saint Louis Craft Cocktails has flavors of sweet toffee and coffee. You can abide by that, can’t you?

All the Presidents’ (Coolest) Cars: A Look at How the POTUS Rolls

The presidential state car serves as a reflection of technological progress, the style of the time, and the stark realities of safety and security concerns.

The Best Travel and Adventure Documentaries on Netflix Right Now

If you're reading this, you're staring at a screen. Wouldn't you rather be exploring a different part of the world than the Internet?

4 of the Most Dangerous Hikes in the World

You'll need a healthy dose of fear and a desire to push your self to the edge — just not over it.

10 Reasons to Visit Norway in 2019

The picturesque ruggedness of Norway is just part of the appeal of what may arguably be one of the most beautiful countries on the planet.

‘App in the Air’ Could Help Travelers Survive the Next Government Shutdown

It's like an airport survival kit in your pocket. It will be handy long after the government shutdown ends (again).

The Palms Casino’s Newest High-Roller Suites Have a Bowling Alley and Whiskey Room

The Hardwood Suite is a basketball-centric masterpiece, while the Kingpin suite is a bowling bro's paradise.

Celebrate Your Single-ness This Valentine’s Day with a Cheap Vacation

Contiki is looking to make solo celebrations even better with deeply discounted travel packages for Singles Awareness Day.

Win a Private Island Getaway for You and 7 of Your Closest Friends

Bring the entire squad on an ultra-luxe Belizean getaway worthy of a one-percenter.

The Jamaican Villa Where Ian Fleming Created James Bond is for Rent and It Is Amazing

You can vacation at the birthplace of secret agent 007, complete with butlers to make your martinis.

PlugVan Converts Most Vans Into Full-Fledged Campers in 5 Minutes

Your van can be backcountry-ready for the weekend and back to work Monday morning.

Enjoy a Different Kind of Island Life at this Private Scottish Escape

Eilean Shona is a self-described, lakefront “Neverland” where visitors are encouraged to appreciate the lost art of sitting still and doing nothing.