Australia and New Zealand are teeming with locations that are picturesque enough from the ground, but take on a whole new level of beauty when viewed high above.
This is of great benefit to adrenaline junkies looking to take the ultimate plunge, as both countries rank amongst the very best in the world for skydiving in particular – the variation in landscapes makes for a wonderful selection of backdrops over which to face one of life’s ultimate thrills.
From stunning beach panoramas to landscapes riddled with lake and alpine mountain, skydivers are spoiled for choice with the various dropzones on offer in Oz + NZ. For those considering embracing the thrill and hitting terminal velocity during their time in our part of the world, here are 10 of the most amazing skydiving destinations in Australia and New Zealand, along with what makes each one special.
Why it’s special: One of the world’s most scenic drives; wonderfully rugged coastline; unique rock formations and marine & forest landscape
While it’s most commonly experienced on four wheels, this iconic part of the country serves as a breathtaking skydiving spot as well. Victoria’s Great Ocean Road has long been acclaimed as one of the world’s most scenic drives; famed for its sweeping and spectacular coast along with a number of excellent regional attractions and townships along the way, the contrast offered by the waves lashing against the cliffs of the Victorian coastline makes for a dramatic backdrop for an epic skydive.
Skydives here are conducted by Skydive Australia, and while they max out at high-but-fairly-standard altitudes of 14,000 feet, the excellent 360-degree views of what is one of the country’s must-visit locations are nothing to be sneezed at.
A jump here provides a free-fall over such highlights as the famed surf spot Bells Beach, the historic Cape Otway Lighthouse, the colourful beauty of Port Phillip Bay, and views that extend all the way to the skyline of Melbourne city in the distance.
Victoria has multiple potential destinations for a skydive, but few can match the scenery on offer that the Great Ocean Road provides, and with a 14,000 foot jump you’ll have 60 seconds of free-fall and then 5+ gorgeous minutes in which to soak it all in.
9. Rottnest Island, Western Australia
Why it’s special: One of Australia’s most beautiful islands; only island skydive in WA; stunning beach-and-bay backdrop and landing
This exceptionally beautiful island lies just off the coast of Perth and was voted #1 in our “Australia’s Top 10 Destinations to Experience” poll by the public back in 2014, and with good cause – home to some spectacular white sand beaches, secluded bays and unique animals, along with a rather unusual physical shape, Rottnest Island is one of the gems of Western Australian travel. In many ways, its scenery is reminiscent of the Greek Islands, and “Rotto” as it’s colloquially known by the locals truly comes to life when taken in via an unobstructed view from the air.
A skydive here can be done with Skydive Geronimo, and offers a wonderful panorama with views not only of Rottnest Island itself, but views extending back to Western Australian capital Perth, which lies around 30 kilometres in the distance. Jumps over Rottnest can be done at heights of up to 15,000 feet, and end with landings on one of its signature pristine bays – Strickland or Bickley – with some soft and powdery sand serving to brace the impact.
Keep your eyes peeled for marine life during the drop, as the waters surrounding Rottnest are rich in creatures including dolphins, stingrays and various other animal highlights – then cap off the rest of your day by exploring the island or heading to Hotel Rottnest to enjoy a drink and some food with wonderful marine views.
8. Northland & Bay of Islands, New Zealand
Why it’s special: Beautiful island-dotted waters and beaches; one of a few of the highest skydive altitudes in New Zealand; only beach landing in NZ
Renowned for its aquatic beauty and cavalcade of 144 islands and sections of stunning beach, the Northland/Bay of Islands region on the north-western tip of New Zealand’s North Island is typically mostly a popular destination for the likes of cruising, spotting marine life, and taking in Maori history, however its vibrant waters dotted by distinctly shaped specks of land also makes for one heck of a skydiving drop zone, as well.
The turquoise water and pristine sands of this part of New Zealand are a far cry from the typical alpine environments many picture when imagining a typical example of NZ landscape, however, they’re no less picturesque.
Skydiving in the Northland & Bay of Islands region is unique for two reasons:
A) those beautiful beaches also come in handy for aspiring skydivers, as the region is the only spot in New Zealand where adrenaline junkies can experience a beach landing; operator Ballistic Blondes offers different drop zones over lovely stretches of sand, including Ocean’s Beach (a secluded curved cove) and the lengthy beauty of Ruakaka Beach, both of which are located in the area of Whangarei.
B) The Northland/Bay of Islands region is one of only a few parts of New Zealand where a dive height of 16,000+ feet (that’s 1,000 feet higher than the average 15,000-or-so feet maximum) is possible, resulting in additional free-fall time courtesy of operator Skydive Bay of Islands.
Relaxation is all well and good, but don’t sleep while in the Northland/Bay of Islands region as it is just as much of an adventure destination!
7. Mission Beach, Queensland
Why it’s special: Long, sweeping, single stretch of beach; bright reef waters of the Great Barrier Reef; Dunk Island and other islets add yet more colour
Around halfway between Townsville and Cairns in Queensland’s Tropical North lies Mission Beach, a small and extremely picturesque village adjacent to the Coral Sea. Renowned for its wide beaches and popular as a getaway spot for those looking for a more laid-back environment in which to unwind or explore the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef and surrounding rainforest, it’s a wonderful slice of tropical heaven.
Skydiving here is anything but laid-back, however, with a 14,000 feet max height at which to plummet above the blend of World Heritage protected greenery and striking, 14km-long expanse of sand.
One of the key features of the skydiving panorama is Dunk Island, which sits 4km off the mainland and is surrounded by reef and bright, azure waters, along with numerous other smaller islets and the many peaks of green mountains which lie on the opposite side.
Couple this with the various waterways inland such as rivers, creeks and dams, and it’s a landscape riddled with blues, yellows and greens that’s truly postcard-worthy. Skydive Australia conduct the skydives here, and their expert instructors will ensure a safe and scenic landing on the beach’s gorgeous sand.
6. Fox Glacier, New Zealand
Why it’s special: One of NZ’s highest skydives; among New Zealand’s rawest examples of pristine alpine landscapes; the largest glaciers of the Southern Alps; snow-capped mountain beauty
Few parts of New Zealand encapsulate the utter pristine beauty of the country’s natural environment quite like the West Coast, where the snow-capped Southern Alps meet the wild waters of the Tasman Sea; the region is home to 5 of the country’s 14 national parks, which should convey an idea of just how densely packed with highlights it is.
Any mention of the region has to start with the famed duo of the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers; as some of the most accessible of their kind in the world, they’re a frozen-in-time slice of the landscape that gives the impression the Ice Age never truly ended.
Skydivers looking to view this blend of breathtaking ice floes from high above can join Skydive Fox Glacier for a jump that features the Fox Glacier, which ranks as the single highest and largest of the glaciers in this part of the country.
As with many other skydives on this list, the flight up itself is almost worth the monetary investment alone, however, there’s an added bonus to jumping here: with jumps up to a stomach-churning 16,500 feet high, the Fox Glacier skydive ranks amongst the highest in NZ and thus provides an extra dose of “bang for your buck”. With 65 seconds worth of free-fall, you’ll have slightly longer to gather your senses and witness the incredible Alps rushing at you from far below.
Why it’s special: Lovely mountain and lake scenery; easily accessible from town; ideal balance of height, landscape and convenience
Queenstown has long had a reputation as New Zealand’s #1 adventure playground, and it’s not hard to see why; the resort town is a hotspot for numerous kinds of high-octane activities such as jet boating, whitewater rafting, winter sports, extreme swings, and even bungy jumping.
None of these can quite compare to the raw free-fall of a skydive, however, and the mountain-encircled and lake-featuring environment of Queenstown makes for another highly impressive spot for aspiring skydivers to do their thing.
Skydiving during the colder seasons, in particular, add an additional layer of beauty to the proceedings, as the sometimes-bare peaks of the Remarkable Ranges that dominate the landscape come dusted with snowy peaks that are wonderful to behold.
Operator NZONE has plied their adrenaline-filled trade in the Queenstown region since the beginning of the 90’s, and operate a drop zone in a picturesque spot in itself at the base of the Remarkables that’s easily accessible from Queenstown and doesn’t require a drawn-out travel time that some other skydives do. With 15,000 feet worth of height to conquer, there are few skydives in New Zealand that better balance the combination of value, scenery and convenience that Queenstown offers.
Why it’s special: Australia’s most beautiful island chain; countless islands nestled amongst the Great Barrier Reef; convenient access from Airlie Beach
Australia’s most beautiful archipelago and a favoured destination for honeymooners for decades, there’s no denying the Whitsundays’ physical beauty; when one attempts to conjure up imagery of the perfect Aussie island environment, this cavalcade of individual islands and their idyllic white sands is likely to be one of the first to spring to mind.
Fringed by palms and reef, dotted with some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, and both populated and completely uninhabited, the Whitsunday Islands are a tropical paradise situated smack-bang within the midsts of the Great Barrier Reef.
Skydive Australia‘s drop zone in the region is located at Airlie Beach in the heart of this travel hotspot, and with a 14,000 foot max skydive height available, you’ll be able to try your hand at spotting as many of the 74 individual islands of the Whitsundays as you can during your descent.
In terms of coastal skydives in Australia, this ranks among the best, particularly on one of the (frequent) days where the sky is at its clearest – the vivid spectacle of the region’s waters is one of its biggest draw cards, and from the air, it only becomes more apparent as to why.
Why it’s special: Enormous lake surrounded by a diverse and beautiful landscape; very competitively priced skydive location
Dominated by New Zealand’s largest lake that’s roughly the size of Singapore and with a landscape that features numerous geothermal and volcanic wonders, the Taupo region came in tops in our annual New Zealand’s Top 10 Destinations to Experience poll for 2015 and offers a skydiving backdrop that’s a mixture of multiple awesome spectacles all in one. The massive body of water of Lake Taupo proper is surrounded by peaks and patchwork stretches of greenery, with many of the mountains in the region having been made famous by their inclusion in the Lord of the Rings trilogy of films.
As is the case with Queenstown, the cooler months bring with them the best panorama for a skydive and combined with the frequent activity on the lake of kayakers, sailing vessels and other aquatic adventurers it makes for a lively scene for a free-fall.
Those looking to skydive in the Taupo region have two options; both Skydive Taupo and Taupo Tandem Skydiving (each located at Taupo Airport) offer outstanding experiences in the region, with prices that rank amongst some of the most competitive for skydiving in the entirety of New Zealand.
15,000 foot skydives are on the table here, and with scenery that covers the span from one coast of the North Island to the other, it’s one of the most well-balanced skydives on this list.
2. Wanaka, New Zealand
Why it’s special: One of New Zealand’s most visually striking overall spots; lake-mountain-river-field blend is stunning; highest peaks in the country in the distance
There’s a saying that in order to find the true best travel spots in a country to go where the locals prefer, and that’s certainly the case with the Wanaka region; it’s been a favoured getaway spot of Kiwi residents for decades and is centred around the pristine, glassy waters of its namesake lake which – along with its adjacent peaks and river-carved valleys – make for a truly gorgeous panorama.
The deep blue and mirror-like surface of Lake Wanaka contrasts wonderfully with the Southern Alps in the distance and has often been mentioned as one of the South Island’s most-photographed scenes – a simple glance and it isn’t hard to see why, with NZ’s highest mountains Cook and Aspiring being the cherry on top of the proverbial scenic sundae.
Those who’ll convey you to the skies – and drastically quickly to the ground – in the Wanaka region are Skydive Wanaka, offering a 15,000-foot maximum jump heigh and famously friendly service to go along with all the visual delights.
The bright waters of the Clutha River are the final dose of nature that snakes their way through the landscape and help put Wanaka’s scenery over the top; throw in the warm natures of the region’s residents, and upon landing after the adrenaline fades, it’s a part of New Zealand that you’ll likely never want to leave.
Why it’s special: One of the world’s most unique natural features; immense size becomes readily apparent from high above; raw, scorched-earth landscape a distinct contrast to most skydive locales; highly reliable weather
There are few locations in both Oz & NZ that resonate with the heart of both the domestic and international communities quite like Uluru/Ayers Rock given its status as one of the world’s most unique examples of the randomness of nature. Located almost directly in the centre of the Aussie continent, “The Rock” is enormous in scale, vivid in hue, and dramatic in structure, with a scope that has to be witnessed in person to be fully appreciated.
While the likes of walks around its base and even climbing to its top (controversial!) remain highly popular, the 348-metre high monolith is even more incredible when viewed from above. While the average cashed-up traveller will opt for a scenic helicopter or light aircraft flight, the thrill seeker can encounter its majesty from an entirely different aspect, with a skydive offering an adrenaline pumping – yet strangely serene – outlook on this Aussie icon.
While the height of skydives at Uluru done with Skydive Uluru caps out at 12,000 feet, the unforgettable combination of significance and the ability to take in both Uluru itself as well as Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) in a single, sweeping scene more than makes up for it.
As an added bonus, Uluru’s location within the veritable desert of Central Australia creates one of the most reliable skydive spots in the country due to its almost universally clear skies and lack of rainfall; as a result, the probability of having your skydive here cancelled remains extremely low. Serving as a combined scenic flight over Uluru (expensive in itself) as well as a skydive all in one, this is an adrenaline experience that ranks amongst the most unique of its kind in the world.
In addition, if you’re looking for a full range of skydiving experiences all over Australia and New Zealand, including a number of the awesome spots listed above, check out our skydiving section for details.