Spanning 141 feet above the waters of dramatic Kawarau Gorge, no attraction is more iconic to Queenstown than the historic Kawarau Suspension Bridge. Built in 1880, there was a once a time when this rustic bridge connected Queenstown with the Otago gold fields. With the construction of an asphalt highway, however, traffic moved away from the bridge and it became frequented by bikers and joggers.
Then, in 1988, adventure-seeker A.J. Hackett decided to strap a bungy cord around his ankles and throw himself off of the bridge. When his hands splashed down into the waters below and the cord bounced back towards the bridge, the extreme activity of Queenstown bungy jumping had officially found its start.
Today, hundreds of visitors flock to the bridge to watch as thrill-seekers leap into the gorge. Shuffling out onto the wooden planks, the rush of the water cascading through the gorge drowns out whimpers of the timid and scared. Once the jumpers have launched from the platform, the shrieks and yells of unbridled excitement echo from the walls of the eroded gorge. From the safety of a platform paralleling the gorge, visitors snap photos and watch in delight and dozens of visitors make the leap from the bridge.
Or, to see the Kawarau Suspension Bridge from an entirely different angle, consider a raft tour down the Kawarau River. From this vantage point you can crane your neck upwards and see the faces of the terrified bungy-jumpers. Due to the speed of the river, however, the time you spend beneath the bridge is only a fleeting moment, and you will continue on your adventure down the river towards the pulsing city of Queenstown.