Think your life needs a bit of a thrill? Want to add a little adrenaline to your humdrum existence? Once the preserve of James Bond type super-spies and trained, insane professionals, skydiving is gaining popularity with the masses. Centres are springing up nationwide and pursuits such as tandem diving and indoor freefalling means extensive training isn’t always necessary. But while it’s highly thrilling, it can also be fairly expensive, so you may want to make your first leap an unforgettable one. So if you’re planning your first skydive, or you’re a seasoned thrill-seeker looking for a new adventure, here’s some of the most amazing places on the planet to skydive.
It tends to be more famous for skiing, yodelling, cheese and a certain army knife, but the Swiss Alp region can provide the backdrop for an unforgettable skydiving experience. The Interlaken area, a popular tourist spot in Bernese Oberlandis, is probably best known for its breathtaking mountain-based free-falls, featuring incredible scenery and winding rivers below and craggy cliff-faces whizzing by as you drop. With a focus on new and inexperienced skydivers, Switzerland may not be the first place to springs to mind when considering extreme sports, but it’s definitely worth investigating.
The options for skydiving are pretty limited in Africa, though there are options in Namibia and Zambia, but South Africa has become the freefall centre of the continent. View wonders such as Table Mountain and remarkable wildlife reserves from a great height. Or head to Plettenberg Bay and view the Knysna forest from 10,000 feet. With a tantalizing exchange rate, a jump in South Africa can also be thrilling for economic reasons.
Synonymous with extreme sports and action activities, New Zealand doesn’t disappoint in the skydiving stakes. With some of the most breathtaking scenery on the planet and containing incredible unique landscapes, you know your jump will be an unforgettable experience. Motueka, on the South Island near the Abel Tasman National Park provides one of the highest freefalls on earth, from a mind-blowing 16,000 feet. While Lake Taupo on the North Island is considered one of the sacred spots of skydiving, with tens of thousands jumping there every year.
Already known as a paradise on Earth and one of the most sought after holiday destinations, Hawaii also provides the perfect location for a skydive. In fact, the first parachute jump on the Islands, in 1889, predates the invention of the aeroplane, so extreme sports is obviously in the blood. Skydiving companies on Hawaii have also embraced their eco-tourism responsibilities, utilising fuel-efficient planes that reduce your carbon footprint by 40%. You’ll be able to view every inch of the island from up to 18,000 feet, with the emphasis on first time jumpers.
If you want a beautifully scenic freefall experience, complete with a thrilling beach landing but don’t fancy stumping up the airfare to Australia or New Zealand, then take a trip to the Channel Islands. From 10,000 feet up, you’ll be able to view the entire island and possibly get a glimpse of the English and French coasts. Though it may not have the adrenaline-pumping reputation of certain adventure-obsessed nations, when you’re plummeting towards the Jersey shore at terminal velocity, you wouldn’t wish to be anywhere else.