Review: Shotover Canyon Fox, Queenstown | Experience Oz + NZ

Review: Shotover Canyon Fox, Queenstown

Queenstown is famous for its stunning scenery and extreme experiences and the Shotover Canyon Fox ticks all the boxes of a Queenstown classic.

Featuring a 240-metre zip line ride across the beautiful Shotover Canyon, more than 180 metres above the river, this is one flying fox you won’t be able to find at your local playground, and rightly so.

If you add in the return journey, you’ll be travelling a total of 445-metres along a sturdy zip line for a truly unforgettable rush that is perfectly suited to its home in the adrenaline capital of the world.

How to get there

By Courtesy Coach: Catch the courtesy shuttle from Shotover Street in downtown Queenstown (near the I-Site) or organise to be picked up from the Shotover Jet just outside the town centre, whichever is more convenient.

Highlights

  • Thrilling experience
  • Friendly and entertaining staff
  • Two separate lines for a longer experience
  • Beautiful location
  • Great to do with friends or as a couple
  • The first of its kind in the world

What You’ll Do

Journey to the Fox

The first step of your journey is an anxious wait at the shuttle stop. You’ll be able to choose from either the pickup from Shotover Street in downtown Queenstown or a prearranged pickup from the Shotover Jet, which is located approximately 10 minutes drive up the road.

The shuttle takes you directly to the Shotover Canyon Swing, an equally-if-not-more terrifying experience operating from Shotover Canyon, which you can read more about here. With a short walk up a steep track to the Fox from the shuttle car park, there’s plenty of time for the anticipation to reach peak levels and your excitement to bubble over.

Before beginning the trek, make sure to use the only available bathroom on site, located at the shuttle car park, as we were told it’s not uncommon to have trouble holding it during the experience itself.

As you journey up the path you’ll stumble upon a number of humorous fox-related signs, each as entertaining as the next, in a coy attempt to ease the tension and possibly even distract you from noticing how high you’re getting.

Preparing for the Shotover Canyon Fox

Our group was made up of three participants and one observer who was tasked with providing moral support to the group. We were able to cover the full spectrum of nerves between the three of us; from a completely unfazed young man to my relatively excited self, to the utterly petrified young lady I was travelling with.

After arriving at the Fox, we met two excitable crew members who quickly weighed us and picked out some harnesses, before supplying us with a short registration form online which covered most of the basics: medical conditions, previous injuries, where you live, what’s your age, that the Shotover crew will not be held responsible for your untimely demise, all the usual stuff.

The two crew members were also quick to point out they’d unfortunately given us some of the older harnesses, but that we shouldn’t worry as it had been weeks since their last incident (followed by a wry smile or two).

All jokes aside, the Fox crew did a great job of making the entire experience enjoyable. From the entertaining banter through to their highly professional preparation, the crew were able to ensure that both our equipment and mental states were ready for the thrills ahead.

Take the leap across Shotover Canyon!

Somewhere along the way I must have drawn the short straw, as I ended up last in line to take the leap and had plenty of time to wait anxiously for my turn amidst the screams of my fellow group members.

What makes this flying fox special is its world-first launch rail. The rail helps to create a totally unique free-fall experience following the first few metres of your ride, while also allowing for some pretty wacky jump styles.

Each style is rated on a toilet paper scale (appropriate), with one toilet paper roll being the least scary through to four rolls being the most intense. When my turn finally arrived I decided to go with something in the middle, choosing the two-toilet-paper-roll rated drop style affectionately known as the ‘Reverse Forwards’, which essentially meant doing it backwards.

Once you’ve confirmed your drop style, the team will begin hooking your harness up to the Fox itself, before you’ll be asked to put your feet precariously close to the edge of the platform (and in my case, I was also facing the wrong way).

As my harness began to take my weight and I was left with barely my toes connecting me to the platform, one of the crewmembers asked me for a quick high-five before I go, which I thought was a great idea. As I reached out to claim the high-five, I felt myself suddenly falling backwards away from the platform and out-of-reach, their outstretched high-five quickly turning into a sinister wave.

The initial few moments weren’t so bad. It wasn’t until I reached the end of the launch rail that my stomach was thrown into my mouth and my outstretched arm came rocketing back to the safety of one of the handles. Once your cable passes the launch rail, the length of the free hanging cable extends and you’re sent swinging across the face of the canyon and below the Fox’s main zip line.

I would definitely recommend doing the drop backwards. It’s impossible to predict the sudden free fall, and as you rotate during the fall to face side on, you get an incredible view of the canyon (if you’re game enough to open your eyes).

The Return Journey

After everyone had safely made it across the canyon and I ‘d finally caught my breath, we were hooked back up to a second line – this time side by side with one other group member – for the return journey.

Unlike the fear factor associated with your first fox ride, the return journey is more of a scenic trip in which you get to race one another back to the Shotover Canyon’s home base.

Once you’ve arrived, you’ll be free to watch any brave souls taking on the Shotover Canyon Swing, have a look through photos from the various activities available, and make any purchases of photos from your own experience, along with merchandise from the office, before your shuttle ride home.

What’s Included

  • Transfers to and from Shotover Swing & Fox from Shotover Street in downtown Queenstown
  • Two zip line rides
  • Lots of laughs

What to Bring

  • Comfortable clothes (dress appropriately for the weather)
  • Closed in shoes
  • Cash for photos or merchandise
  • Go-Pro (optional)
  • Your sense of adventure!

My Recommendations

The Shotover Canyon Fox is a truly unforgettable experience that takes you out of your comfort zone in one of New Zealand’s most beautiful locations. If I can make any recommendations it would be to bring along all the bravery you can muster and pick one of the more adventurous drop styles. The scarier the experience, the more rewarding you’ll find it.

For at least a week after my visit, the Fox was still all I could talk about. If you’re ever visiting Queenstown and you’re after an experience that captures the true ‘adventure capital’ spirit of this incredible destination, the Shotover Canyon Fox most definitely needs to be on your list.

If you’re eager to try out the Shotover Canyon Fox for yourself, you can book your experience online today!

BOOK EXPERIENCE

In addition, if you’re looking for all the top things to see and do in and around Queenstown including activities, attractions and more, be sure to check out our catalogue to browse and book online!

BROWSE ALL QUEENSTOWN

Mackenzie Burr

Experience Oz + NZ Travel Writer

Mackenzie loves exploring and is always up for new adventures. Born in New Zealand and living in Australia, Mackenzie considers himself a local of both countries and is a handy contact for experiences on either side of the ditch. For any ideas, questions or queries contact Mackenzie at mackenzie@experienceoz.com.au

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