Michelle and Jonny's Around the World Adventure travel blog

The definition of Tai-Happy!

Getting ready to go on the Flying Fox

Looking down the canyon on the Flying Fox

Dangling over the canyon on the swing

Swinging about 10m above the water

Getting pulled back up

Modeling the gumboots!

Getting into the Superman outfit

View of the Canyon Swing bridge from the top of the Flying...

I love this sign!

On our way back to Wellington from Rotorua, we stopped at a tiny little town called Taihape. We loved this place! Taihape's biggest claim to fame is as the home of the annual Gumboot Day which was first celebrated in 1985. For those of you wondering what Gumboots are, think big rubber boots. During Gumboot Day the locals participate in a gum boot tossing contest. Sure, it sounds a bit strange, but since my hometown hosts a three-day cheese festival where we partake in cow milking contests, I don't think anything is really too quirky. (Not to brag, but I am a former champion of the cow milking contest, but I digress...) We unfortunately didn't have good timing and weren't there during the festival, but I did try on a pair of the boots and posed for a photo.

Upon our arrival, we checked into the Taihape Motel (the only one in town) where we were given bags of chips and cold beers upon check-in. We loved this place already! ("They had us at hello!") The owners also told us that they could accommodate movie requests. We selected the Nicolas Cage movie called "Next" and asked that it begin playing on Channel 9 of our TV around 8pm and then happily went off to the grocery store to pick up things for dinner before returning to our room for movie night.

The next morning, we had arranged for a pick-up from Gravity Canyon - the reason why we stopped in Taihape in the first place. Gravity Canyon is this enourmous canyon where you can do one (or all) of three things: 1. Bungy jump 2. Giant Canyon Swing or 3. Flying Fox.

Since we already went bungy jumping, we opted for options #2 and #3.

The Flying Fox was basically a 1 kilometre long cable that goes from one end of the canyon to the other. You are suited up in your safety harness and then attached to the cable and launched from the end of the canyon that is about 170 metres above the Rangitikei River. We did this tandem and reached a speed of 160kph as we zipped along the wire with our arms out literally in a "flying" positon, feeling quite like Superman (and Superwoman)!

After this first does of adrenaline, we were hungry for more and it we were off to try the Giant Canyon Swing. This turned out to be one of the freakiest things we've ever done! It is the highest tandem swing in the world and we, of course, opted to do it together so we could share in the experience. The swing is 80 metres high and is launched from the Mokai Bridge. We were harnessed up and swung out over the canyon just dangling there feeling completely helpless. We nervously asked the girls who worked there how they were going to release us. They said, "Well...we could do it one of two ways. We could do a countdown like: four, three, two, one and then let you go. OR.....we could just go like this!" And with that, they hit the release button and our stomachs were immediately in our throats as we started the 50 metre freefall. I was shrieking as loud as I could for as long as I could and actually ran out of air in my lungs before the freefall was over! We just gripped on to each other as we thought it was never going to end!! Eventually the freefall became more of a swing and we sailed back and forth until we were gently dangling about 10 meters above the river. They slowly pulled us back up to the bridge and after it was all over, actually offered to let us go again at no charge. Believe it or not, we declined! We definitely did not want to go through it all over again, especially now that we knew what to expect.

If you want to check it out in more detail, here is a link to the Web site:


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