15 Mar Paragliding in Queenstown
(Or that time I almost puked over the treetops)
I like my feet firmly planted on the ground. I’ve never skydived, bungy jumped, and even though I live for traveling, I absolutely hate flying. Sweaty-palms-freaking-out-here kind of hate. To top it off, I am prone to motion sickness,
seasickness and basically any sickness that involves turning green as a result of moving.
So you’re probably wondering why on earth did I think it was a good idea to run off a cliff attached to a stranger and a fabric wing. Answer: because I was in Queenstown.
This electrifying, beautiful city made me do it. I mean, if there was one place on earth where I didn’t, for once, want my feet on the ground it was here. Just look at it. If the views were breathtaking from below I could only imagine what Lake Wakatipu would look like from the skies.
About five months ago, Isaac and I talked about the activities we wanted to do in New Zealand and paragliding in Queenstown with G Force Paragliding was the first we booked. So I had plenty of time to prepare myself. Or so I thought.
The day finally came and I woke up pretty excited. We were pumped and ready to fly.
The meeting point was at the top of the Skyline Gondola. Let me tell you, the ride up was a thrill all on its own. Man, those views. It was my first New Zealand impression and just as people had warned me, my jaw dropped. I had never seen water so blue, and mighty mountains as the backdrop only made it more stunning.
The views were great but I was glad when we got out of the swinging Gondola and met the guys from G Force. They weighed us and introduced us to our pilots. With all of their gear in gigantic backpacks, we started our hike to the top.
It was steep and it was hard,but sooo worth it.
Once we finally reached the clearing, they spread the wings on the grass; we put on our harnesses, helmets and, at last, we were attached to our pilots and ready to go.
Isaac went first, but I was so busy trying to look down over the edge that I didn’t see his launch. Then, it was my turn. We started walking, and before I could even register what was about to happen, I was running. The ground disappeared beneath my feet and, just like that, I was soaring over Queenstown.
It felt better than I could’ve ever imagined. We flew past tall trees and my pilot suggested we should try to kick the treetops. When the tip of my foot grazed a branch, it hit me. I was sitting on the sky.
There are no words to describe what it feels like to catch glimpses of a city beneath your feet, through the canopies, while the wind carries you through the immensity. I felt weightless, and vast, and insignificant, and somehow like I was part of it all.
We circled Queenstown for about five minutes and it was one heck of a ride. It was as if my body was so thrilled to be paragliding, it had totally forgotten to feel sick. But then… it remembered.
It hit me without warning. One second I was fine, staring with my mouth open at the shimmering lake, and the next my neck was sweating cold.
Isaac and his pilot showed off by going faster, twisting through the space, spinning left and right, like in a roller coaster. It looked like so much fun! My pilot asked if I wanted to do that. I so wanted to scream I DO! But the nausea struck and I thought of the poor innocent people of Queenstown who were looking up at us and knew it wasn’t a great idea.
I just shook my head and silently prayed we would land soon. The lower we got, the stronger the wind, the harder the rocking. Closing my eyes made it worse so I just stared at the landing site.
Lucky me, we were the first to land. As soon as I touched the ground, legs shaking, I took off my harness and collapsed on the floor. I heard Isaac land and, without seeing him, I could tell he was buzzing. I knew he’d had a blast.
Lying on the grass, looking up at the sky I marveled at how a few seconds ago I had been that far up. It’s not everyday that we get to fly, so I had to take the moment to let it really sink in.
Although it’s a real pain in the ass to feel sick while doing such exhilarating activities, I like to think I won’t let it stop me from experiencing them anyways.
I’m so glad we went paragliding in none other than Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world. We had high expectations and G Force surpassed them by a mile.
Isaac, of course, loved every second of it and was ready to gloat about his intense ride.
I will definitely try paragliding again just not before a high dose of Dramamine.
Have you tried paragliding? Where? Did you enjoy it? Have you got any tips for motion sickness? We’d love to hear them ALL.