Learning to fly
Bridget Th can’t fly but she finds parasailing in the Bay of Islands is the next best thing.
Soar above the water parasailing in the Bay of Islands
Ask me what superhero super strength I would like to have given the chance and I would tell you it would be the ability to fly.
I spent many childhood holidays jumping off rocks into blue lakes and seas. I have been launched off cliff tops in a hang-glider and thrown myself out of a plane sky diving, but the thought of doing a bungee-jump has strangely always terrified me - so I went on a mission to find what could possibly be the next fix for this adventure seeker.
I live in the beautiful Bay of Islands, which is a scenic three hour drive or 35 minute flight north of Auckland. The Bay of Islands has 144 islands between Cape Brett and the Purerua Peninsula. The Bay of Islands is simply beautiful. It is well known as a maritime adventure playground with an abundance of marine wildlife, including penguins, dolphins, marlin, whales and much more.
There are many land-based tours and boat trips out to the islands but I really wanted to see it from the air. What I needed to find was a company that had something that accommodated my conservative budget.
I had heard many good reviews about parasailing providing a high-flying experience of a lifetime, so I gave the guys at Bay of Islands Parasail a call. They are a 100 per cent family and Kiwi-owned business, offering the chance to parasail at 1200 feet high. They are the only company that offers parasail out among the islands and offer solo, tandem or triple parasail flights with 360 degree aerial views. You could even be lucky enough to see dolphins below you.
First up, when you arrive at their dock on the Paihia Wharf, you are given a boat safety briefing once on board the parasail boat. As you motor out into the bay, the crew will kit you out in helmets, life jackets and parasailing harnesses. They’ll explain how they work and fit best for comfort. Once at the flight zone, you’ll get a final briefing about the parasailing procedures and safety, then the first flyers are ready to go.
As the boat accelerates, the parasail lifts you off the launching deck and into the air. Once airborne, the towline is slowly released by winch and you’ll soar into the air, high above the water. After a few minutes you’ll be at maximum altitude, so you can take in the amazing views over the Bay of Islands. When it’s time to descend again, they will slowly bring you back to the boat to land gently on the deck – without even getting your feet wet!
The boat can carry up to 13 passengers and it usually takes around an hour to complete the trip. When you’re not in the air, there’s plenty of opportunity to enjoy the ride and take loads of photos of friends, family and others experiencing the thrill of parasailing.
You can tell straight away that Glen and his crew are really passionate about the Bay of Islands and love to share this special place with visitors from around the world.
Glen has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the tourism and marine industries. He had his own yacht charter and sailing school business here for nearly 20 years. Glen and his wife Katja have two young girls, the oldest of which loves to go parasailing whenever she gets the chance to get out on the boat with her Dad.
Parasailing is not the only service they provide. Bay of Islands Parasail also offers customised Island tours and a range of various mix and match options. This can include parasailing, island tours, plus a trip to the Hole in the Rock. Island stopovers can also be added and food and drinks supplied if required.
The company’s fast and comfortable 31foot boat can take you anywhere in the Bay of Islands and beyond. It is ideal for groups, work parties, families, stag and hen parties, or a couple wanting a special personalised romantic adventure. If you tell them what you want, they’ll do their best to make it happen.
Bay of Islands Parasail was an incredible experience. While suspended you have enough time in the air to really take in and experience the beautiful scenery and nature around you. You really have the sensation of flying.
It is an amazing experience which is suitable for most ages and certainly ticked another box on my bucket list.
Image: The serene beauty of the Bay of Islands
DID YOU KNOW? Population - 4,500 Area - 260 km2 Main reason to visit: The islands Top attractions: Waitangi Treaty grounds Fun fact: Russell was New Zealand’s first capital.