Parasailing has been described as adrenalin lite, having done a bungy jump I tend to agree, but with Flying Kiwi Parasail in Paihia you are going to fly incredibly high – up to 1200 feet – NZ’s highest parasail.
And unlike a bungy which is over in a few seconds, you are going to remain at a great height for around 10 minutes. Those minutes can feel like hours when you’re contemplating shouting “Please Get Me Down From Here”. Unless your wits have deserted you, and mine came close, you realise shouting is pointless, no one in command can hear you.
Fortunately a voice inside spoke to me, I wouldn’t have minded the winning lotto numbers, but instead it said “it’s not often you’re in a situation totally out of your control, go with it, it’s good for you to have to wait out your fear”. So instead of shouting, I focused on specks of boats below, birds more at home in the sky than I’ll ever be, and the expanse of natural beauty that is the Bay of Islands (with a few swear words and deep breathing exercises in between). The key I think is not to look down too much if you’re scared, look out or up, and remember to breathe.
You could turn to your tandem sailor for support if you have one, I did, all he could manage was a bloody great grin, and really, when it comes to conquering your fear you’re on your own. (The photo below of the carefree parasailor is so definitely not me, but could be you).
Despite my fear I wholeheartedly recommend the experience. To plagiarise a book title, it felt good to “feel the fear and do it anyway”, not that I had a choice, once you’re up, you’re up. In my fearless moments it was like sitting on an extremely high swing, wind gusts provided a gentle swinging sensation every now and then, and it was the best view from a swing I’ve ever had.
The guys from Flying Kiwi Parasail struck a good balance of friendliness and professionalism, so we felt relaxed, but also confident they knew what they were doing. Once you’re harnessed you sit at the back of the boat and are winched gently but constantly up, up and away. The landing back on to the boat was smooth and effortless, I hardly felt the boat beneath me before we were back where we started – cheers guys.
Cost – $99 single or $89 each for a tandem or triple. We think parasailing with Flying Kiwi is excellent value and highly recommend it, as do Trip Advisor reviewers. You can take your camera with you, we didn’t risk it but paid $30 for a CD full of photos.
Also have a few dollars in your pocket for a beer or beverage afterwards, we certainly needed one, it took a little while to become accustomed to walking on land again. Wind is a factor in whether the boat can go out and you can go up, so it may be better to book when you’re in Paihia rather than book ahead, chance the conditions and be disappointed.