First Skydive in Taupo New Zealand - Poplar Travels
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Jul 07 2014

First Skydive in Taupo New Zealand

“Keep your legs bent and whatever you do, do not throw up on me!” he yelled. These were the parting words of my tandem master as we jumped out of the tiny yellow plane and began our 15,000 foot plunge toward the earth. This was the literal high point of my skydiving adventure in Taupo New Zealand.

Before I had even purchased my ticket to New Zealand to visit my sister, I knew for sure that I wanted to go skydiving. It had been sitting on my bucket list for far too long and the time to go was now.

When I arrived in Auckland, there were advertisements for many different skydiving operators throughout the North and South Island. I decided to do a google search and after reading a dozen or so travel sites and blogs, I decided that I should go in Franz Josef, Queenstown, or Taupo. These cities boast the best views from 15,000. Franz, Josef and Queenstown are located on the South Island, so the decision to skydive in Taupo was an easy one.

Once we arrived in Taupo during the middle of our North Island adventure, we looked up what the local skydiving operators had to offer. After comparing prices and photo/video packages we decided to try out Taupo Tandem, the original tandem skydiving, and skydiving school operator in Taupo.

We decided to do a morning jump so we called the day before and made a reservation. On the morning of the jump we arrived at the airfield slightly early. The check in process was very simple. An employee explained everything we needed to know about the jump, altitude options, pricing, and photo/video packages. Once we made our selection and paid at the counter, we were ready to be suited up and introduced to our tandem master.

* I chose the 15,000 ft Silver Package with freefall video and photos for a little over $500 NZ with taxes.

Our tandem masters were very sociable, and did a wonderful job of answering any nervous questions all while making light of our “imminent death”.

Gearing up

After we had all of our equipment on and checked, we watched a short safety video. We were now ready to board the tiny yellow plane complete with fighter jet style teeth painted on the nose!

Little Plane

*If there were any jump delays due to weather, you could wait in their lounge area. This area had couches, foosball, free wifi and computers.

The climb to 15,000 ft took about 15 minutes. During the climb, the tandem master attached himself to my harness and went over instructions for the jump. At 15,000 feet, the door on the side of the plane rolled open, my tandem master dangled me out the open door, we posed for a quick exit picture, and hopped out of the plane into free fall.

Door open


The freefall lasted about 60 seconds and was the most exhilarating sensation I had ever felt. There were no other objects in the air to create a reference to how fast we were falling, so it felt like we were flying across the Taupo Skies.


During the freefall I had views of almost the entire North Island! I could see all the way from the west to the east coast!

Around 5,000 feet the tandem master deployed the chute and there was a slight jerk as we slowed in descent. This was the point when I could definitely tell that we were falling.


The parachute ride down to earth was just as much fun as the freefall! My tandem master spun us a few times  as we descended through the clouds. The view was amazing, with sweeping views across the lake, town and mountains.

Landing was much easier than I had expected. My tandem master navigated us over the landing zone and we slowly touched down back onto earth.


This was my first time skydiving but definitely not my last. I would recommend tandem skydiving to any adventurer looking for a truly exciting and unique experience!


Helpful Facts:

  • Skydiving is extremely safe! The fatality rate for skydiving in 2013 was 0.0075 deaths for every 1000 jumps. This means that you are more likely to die from getting struck by lightning or falling out of bed.
  • All NZ tandem masters have to complete over 1000 jumps and hold a NZIPA Instructor Rating before they can be certified. Most have completed thousands of jumps. My tandem master had completed almost 20,000 jumps!
  • There is usually a weight limit of about 220lbs (100kg).
  • If you get motion sickness, take non-drowsy Dramamine before your jump.
  • Allow about 3 hours to complete the skydive. Weather sometimes delays the jumps.
  • Dress warmly! I would recommend pants and a light jacket. It gets cold up at 15,000 feet!
  • Call a day ahead to make your reservation and call an hour before your reservation to check on weather delays.

Post in the comment section if you have any questions or if you would like to share your own skydiving adventures!

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Eric left Washington, D.C. to travel the world starting with Chiang Mai, Thailand. He enjoys peaty scotch, long walks on the beach (or up mountains) and most sports or activities with potential risk of injury or death.

  • Great photos, Eric! I would definitely like to try skydiving one day! Thanks a lot for fadding us on Google+! Travel safe and keep up your great work!!

    September 5, 2014 at 1:18 pm
  • Greg J.

    This looks amazing! That first photo is epic. 🙂

    January 23, 2016 at 9:39 pm
    • Evanne

      …or terrifying if you ask me 😛

      January 24, 2016 at 2:11 pm

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