The Nevis Catapult is here to redefine adventure tourism

Photo by James D Morgan Photography

Thirty years since the inception of bungee jumping changed the concept of “thrill seeking,” AJ Hackett New Zealand co-founder Henry van Asch once again pushes the boundaries of extreme adventure with its newest activity, the Nevis Catapult. It’s the first of its kind set in the picturesque Nevis Valley near Queenstown, New Zealand.

The Catapult sees thrill seekers experience up to 3G of force and speeds of almost 100 kilometers per hour in 1.5 seconds, as they are propelled 150 meters out across a ravine before suddenly dropping towards the valley floor and experiencing a series of shocking bounces.

The official opening of this experience brings to fruition 30 years of planning and development by van Asch and the team.

“It’s a pretty unique feeling, surprising even. There’s nothing else quite like it,” van Asch says.

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.

Special new technology for the multimillion-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 has been conducted out-of-sight over the past nine months – beginning with weighted barrels, before moving on to a test dummy phase and finally human testing.

“Something like this could never have been accomplished without a combination of creativity, daring, sheer Kiwi craziness and of course investment in years of design engineering and testing,” says Tourism New Zealand chief executive Stephen England-Hall.

The Catapult is developed to internationally recognized global safety standards and regulated under New Zealand adventure tourism and amusement device standards.’

England-Hall believes “the Nevis Catapult will inspire thrill seekers from all over the world to come to Queenstown to push their limits further than they have ever been able to.”