A couple enjoying paragliding in tandem in New Zealand.

The Best of Paragliding in New Zealand.

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The Practical Guide of the Activity.

  • 1Thrills at a Reasonable Price With Paragliding.
  • 2Should You Fear the Take-Off?
  • 3How Does a Paragliding Tandem Flight Takes Place?
  • 4Does Paragliding Involve Risks?
  • 5What Budget for a Paragliding Tandem Baptism?
  • 6Where to Go Paragliding in New Zealand?
  • 7Where Can I Get Paragliding lessons?
  • 8Is Paragliding a Must-Do in New Zealand?

1Thrills at a Reasonable Price With Paragliding.

Of all the landscapes that can be seen in New Zealand, it is undoubtedly the mountain reliefs that are the most spectacular.

The paragliding allows to fly over dream landscapes.

Do we really need to highlight again the beauty of the landscapes of New Zealand seen from the sky? The photos speak for themselves but cannot reproduce the sensations of a paragliding flight over a turquoise lake surrounded by snow-capped peaks.

Paragliding as it is practiced in New Zealand consists of taking off a mountain and allowing yourself to be carried by a sail.

The activity is mainly practiced in tandem: a professional instructor ensures the maneuver while the passenger quietly enjoys the breath-taking scenery.

In a country that offers countless activities overpriced, paragliding remains a sport accessible to small budgets.

For example, a baptism of paragliding at $200 costs half the price of a parachute jump, and for a double duration-time!

A video that shows a paragliding flight in tandem over the capital of adventure in New Zealand.

A tandem flyby of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu in paragliding.

A video by Dale Dreps

As the majority of travelers will discover the country of the kiwis during a brief stay, this guide is mainly devoted to the paragliding baptisms to be carried out in tandem.

But it is also possible to take lessons to learn to fly all alone if you want...

True to its reputation of World Capital of Adventure, the city of Queenstown is considered the Mecca of paragliding in New Zealand. It was here where the first amateur flights took place in the 80s, but the very contrasted relief of the country offers countless flying spots!


The guide who controls paragliding is an enthusiast who trains every day and who is able to land where he wishes to the nearest meter. No fear to have, you will be in good hands.

The paraglider monitor takes care of the entire maneuver.

I will present the complete activity, from take-off to landing, going through the list of the best organizers and the most beautiful spots.

Security issues will not be neglected and I will reassure those who still hesitate.


2Should You Fear the Take-Off?

To take off in paragliding, just run on a slope and the wind will inflate the sail and lift you up in the air.

Take-off always takes place on the side of a mountain.

Access to the take-off track is conducted by the organizer who will come pick you up at your hotel or at the nearest i-Site. Allow one to two hours of free time to get to meet your instructor and equip yourself.

About clothes, a pair of sneakers, a jeans and a good hot sweater should do the trick. But I recommend that you ask the question directly by phone to the organizer, because the air is often cool in the mountains (including in summer): so avoid being caught off guard once in the air!

Do not forget your sunglasses, an indispensable accessory when you will fly over snowy landscapes and lakes with high reverberation.


The rest of the equipment (helmet ...) is provided before take-off.

The wind is the best friend of the paraglider fans and their worst enemy when it obstinately refuses to blow! Because without a minimum of wind, it becomes impossible to take off.

It takes a minimum of wind to make the take-off possible.

The practice of paragliding depends mainly on the weather conditions.

To be able to take off, the presence of a slight rising wind facilitates the operations, especially in tandem.

Sometimes you have to wait half an hour for optimal weather conditions.

The instructor takes advantage of the waiting to detail the procedure to follow during take-off and landing phases. He will also present the flight plan and if you still have some fears, do not hesitate to share them.


The paraglider monitor controls the sail, but you can try to steer the paraglider. When the time comes, your guide will explain how to change the course.

You will be comfortably installed throughout the flight.

It is quite normal to feel a little apprehension before a paragliding baptism, but the monitor is here to reassure you. Of course, you are not going to jump from of a steep cliff, and the take-off is done with disconcerting ease.

A film devoted to paragliding in Queenstown on the South island of New Zealand.

Paragliding in Queenstown (South Island).

Filmed by Chad Glauser
Beginners apprehend take-off, but this is a very easy step.

When the time comes, you will run down a slope with the wing spread to the ground behind you in the axis of the wind. Of course, you're not going to rush to a steep cliff, and the take off is done with a disconcerting ease.


3How Does a Paragliding Tandem Flight Takes Place?

During the tandem flight, you will be seated in a kind of nacelle and the monitor sitting behind you will ensure the maneuvers and will leave you the commands from time to time.

Tandem paragliding is safe.

When you try paragliding, the smooth take-off surprises the first time. It seems perfectly natural, with nothing in common with the adrenaline rushes you can experiment during skydiving or bungee jumping.

A few seconds after leaving the ground, you will be seated comfortably and the monitor will take care of all the maneuvers. By reflexes, you will cling to the fasteners before realizing that it is not necessary.

The wing that carries you is composed wing a large number of interconnected cells where the wind blows to give it a characteristic shape in a circular arc.

If it is not as fast as hang-gliding, paragliding allows to move at a speed between 25 and 38 hm / h.


The paraglider wings have improved considerably over time. It is not only the shape that has evolved, but the materials used are now lighter and far more robust. Safety is now optimal.

Modern paragliding has improved considerably.

If the weather conditions are good, the monitor will let you even perform some simple maneuvers, such as changes of direction, but nothing forces you to do so.

Always with your approval, you can experience some thrills by performing 360 ° turns and sudden accelerated descents.

Landing is easy as the monitor takes care of everything!

Landing is often feared by beginners, but this maneuver presents no difficulty in tandem. The operation is carried out following a trajectory facing the wind. The monitor takes care of everything and will only ask you to fold your legs before landing.


Tandem monitors are able to land exactly where they want. During their training, these seasoned professionals practice landing on a small floating platform on Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown.

The pro of the paraglider are able to land precisely.

When the time comes, you will land in a field, after a peaceful descending to the vertical. For spectators, this seems like a child's play at first glance, but is paragliding a safe sport?


4Does Paragliding Involve Risks?

Tandem accidents involve solo flights and not tandem trips where the pilot is an expert who repeated the same maneuver hundreds of times. Do not be afraid, you just risk falling in love with this wonderful sport!

Tandem accidents are extremely rare in tandem.

Paragliders who draw perfect lines in the air incline us to think that the activity involves no risk. Danger exists, of course, but accidents are mainly attributable to piloting errors committed by beginners flying all alone. The material is hardly ever involved.

During tandem flights, the instructor keeps clear of the cliffs without taking any risks.

As a passenger, you will be securely harnessed and the emergency parachute is mandatory and provides a double safety.

The professionals perform the take-off and landing phases with exceptional precision.

Each pilot trains every day to be able to control his speed, the direction of his sail and, of course, the altitude of the flight.


Tandem paragliding is safe, as the entire maneuver is supervised by an experienced guide who has been performing the same flight for years. Just let yourself be lulled and admire the scenery.

Paragliding instructors have thousands of hours of flying time.

Nothing is left to chance: instruments (altimeter and variometer) allows the monitor to know exactly how fast his sail goes up or down in the air. In reality, the landing is almost always done in the same location, sometimes within a few meters. Because a monitor never takes-off without knowing in advance where he plans to land, and he follows a route taken hundreds of times before.


If the weather is cloudy and the clouds hide the landscape, the paragliding trip will be canceled or postponed to a later date. Of course, in this case, you will be refunded by the organizer.

The flight will be delayed if the weather is not favorable.

Even if this is a tourist activity, the security conditions are never taken lightly.

Weather plays an essential role, and unstable conditions such as a strong wind or rain are enough to postpone an outing.

The number of serious accidents concerns a derisory percentage (0.026% of flights each year).

In these conditions, your only concern should be to know if you have the means to offer yourself a paragliding baptism in tandem ...


5What Budget for a Paragliding Tandem Baptism?

Count about 200 New Zealand dollars for a flight of 15 to 25 minutes in tandem over a spectacular panorama like Queenstown or Wanaka.

Paragliding is an expensive, but unavoidable activity.

Difficult to resist the urge to try paragliding when visiting Queenstown, Wanaka or Nelson. Even people who suffer from a slight dizziness often want to book a flight when they realize how beautiful the panoramas are in New Zealand!

The average tariff for a baptism of paragliding in tandem oscillates between $180 and $200.

In addition, it usually costs $30 to $50 to get souvenirs pictures or videos on a USB key. This is a nice extra, but you will be able to control the quality before you buy anyway.

Paragliding is considered an extraordinary activity by more than 95% of people who tried it in New Zealand (source Trip Advisor).

You will get what you pay for, with thrills and unforgettable memories.


The only real disadvantage of paragliding in tandem is the duration of the flight which is necessarily smaller than when renting your own equipment. But if you do not have time to take lessons, a tandem baptism is your best option.

The satisfaction rate of paragliding baptisms is 95%!

And since the activity does not require exceptional courage (the monitor performs all the maneuvers), it's not always easy to find an available time slot! Paragliding is a victim of its success and it is imperative to book, if only to benefit from significant reductions (sometimes up to -10%).

I recommend booking the first flight of the day.

In the early morning, the weather is often better and prices are sometimes lowered. This does not change the duration of the flight which varies from 7 to 20 minutes depending on the strength of the wind, but especially according to the quality of the monitor ...


6Where to Go Paragliding in New Zealand?

The main cities that offer paragliding are in the order Queenstown, Wanaka and Nelson. The jumping points are installed at the top of mountains or on cliffs that overhang the ocean.

Paragliding can be practiced on both islands of the country.

Here is Kiwipal’s selection of the top five paragliding organizers in New Zealand. Our strict criteria are based on the company's history, professionalism and service quality.

Gforce Paragliding (Queenstown)

Here is a video shot by a professional during a paragliding trip over Lake Wakatipu.

Paragliding in Queenstown with Gforce Paragliding.

A film by Josh Erickson

The GForce Company has two take-off areas located behind the Queenstown Skyline Complex that overlooks Wakatipu Lake.

You will have to use the gondola to reach your instructor, but the tickets are fortunately included in the price.


Period Rate
During day time (normal rate) $199
Morning (reduced price) $179

Bookings on the GForce website

Coronet Peak Tandem (Queenstown)

If you are a beginner, do not miss this video that explains how a paragliding trip takes place.

Complete course of paragliding in New Zealand.

Filmed by Matthias Maier

Coronet Peak is the highest paragliding spot of the Otago, at only twenty minutes of Queenstown. The take-off is a little more impressive than usual, but presents no difficulty.


Period Rate
During day time (normal rate) $195

Bookings on the site of Tandem Paragliding

Wanaka Paragliding (Wanaka, South Island)

A striking video that puts you in the shoes of a vacationer who achieves his paragliding baptism.

A paragliding flight in the Wanaka area.

Directed by Danny Michel

The company's departure point is at the Treble Cone ski resort. Perhaps the most beautiful panorama of the whole country, with a flight slightly longer than the average (from 15 to 25 minutes).


Period Rate
During day time (normal rate) $199

Bookings on the site of Wanaka Paragliding

Nelson Paragliding (Nelson, South Island)

This video shows you what you can expect if you try paragliding in Tauranga.

Fly over the ocean by paragliding.

Filmed by Richard Amos

A take-off based in Barnicoat Hill, a great spot well known to the locals, but underestimated by the general public. Make no mistake, the area is perfectly suited for paragliding and the panoramas have nothing to envy those of the Otago.


Period Rate
During day time (normal rate) $180

Bookings on the Nelson Paragliding website

Wings and Waves(North Island)

Contrary to what you may think, the Auckland region offers many paragliding flight points.

Paragliding in the region of Auckland (North Island).

Directed by Axel Busch

The Auckland area offers countless points of flight, but the most famous is Muriwai Beach Cliffs, where Wings & Waves proposes to take off from the top of the cliffs.

For enthusiasts who cannot be satisfied with just a single short flight during their stay, here is a list of the best spots to practice the paragliding on the two islands of New Zealand.

Contrary to what our previous ranking might suggest, the North Island has even more paragliding spots than the South Island.


Period Rate
During day time (normal rate) $210

Bookings on the Wings and Waves website

7Where Can I Get Paragliding lessons?

The New Zealand sky is covered with paragliders as soon as the sun sets. If you stay long enough in the country, you might even consider taking lessons.

Paragliding is a very popular sport in New Zealand.

For those who have more time to spend in New Zealand (for example travelers with a Working Holiday Visa), it is possible to search for less tourist spots.

Here is a list of locations where paragliding is practiced away from crowds of tourists. If you want to improve your level or take lessons, you will pay less and spend more time in the air.


Location Island Spot
Auckland North Island Dills Hill
Auckland North Island Karioitahi
Auckland North Island Mangawhai heads
Auckland North Island Moirs hill
Auckland North Island Muriwai
Auckland North Island Piha
Hawke's bay North Island Burma road
Hawke's bay North Island Ocean beach
Hawke's bay North Island Te mata peak
Bay of Plenty North Island Kaimai range
Bay of Plenty North Island Ohiwa
Bay of Plenty North Island Ohope
Bay of Plenty North Island Paeroa range
Tauranga North Island Mt Maunganui
Taranaki North Island Mokau
Waikato North Island Port waikato
Waikato North Island Raglan
Wellington North Island Pukerua bay
Wellington North Island Paekakariki hill
Canterbury South Island Castle rock
Canterbury South Island Craigieburn
Canterbury South Island Taylors mistake
Queenstown South Island Coronet peak
Wanaka South Island Treble cone
Wanaka South Island Cardrona
Wanaka South Island Crown range
Nelson South Island Takaka hill
Nelson South Island Tapawera

8Is Paragliding a Must-Do in New Zealand?

To make your paragliding baptism, you just have to book a flight in tandem. In New Zealand you will often find several companies available at the same location, and all you have to do is to choose.

New Zealand is perfect for a paragliding baptism.

New Zealand is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful countries in the world to practice paragliding, thanks to a mountainous terrain that offers countless incredible spots. For some beginners, paragliding is a real revelation and if you are among them, you can decide to take lessons to learn to fly all alone.

If solo paragliding is sometimes categorized as an extreme sport, a tandem excursion with a monitor is practically a leisure activity open to everyone. Even children over the age of seven can live a dream awake, and seniors are accepted without age limits.


New Zealand is a country with marked relief, ideal for paragliding fans, especially since the wind blows strong and allows to stay in the air for a very long time.

Weather conditions are ideal for paragliding.

A regular question about paragliding concerns the time spent in the air: on average, you can expect to spend 15 minutes flying over extraordinary landscapes, but the weather can lengthen or shorten the flight. The activity does not come free, but the paragliding deserves some sacrifices.

Paragliding offers a spectacular view of the snow-capped mountains of the South Island.

Spectacular paragliding flight near Mount Aoraki / Cook.

Directed by jean brossard

We have just scratched the surface and I hope to have given you the desire to try such an exceptional activity.

Do not ask yourself too many questions, and book your flight on the Internet without delay: online rates are generally 10% cheaper than on location.

I leave you with our friend Ben the Kiwi, our paragliding expert.

If you have any questions, just ask and you'll receive a quick reply.


William, Kiwipal
A Guide Written by William.
Founder of Kiwipal, New Zealand Travel Guide.
william

Questions & Answers.

What can I do for you? I guess you have questions about paragliding! But there's no need to worry because tandem flight is child's play. If there are any details to clarify, I will be happy to help you.

Ask a question to Ben

  • All topics ... 7 answers in total
  • Booking a Paragliding Activity 4 answers
  • Safety Instructions 2 answers
  • Paragliding 1 answer

Booking a Paragliding Activity

  • What is the requested weight for paragliding?

    The participant must weigh between 20 and 120 kg.

  • Is paragliding open to children?

    Parental consent is mandatory for minors and the age requirement varies according to the organizers.

  • What are the cancellation terms?

    They are specific to each organizer (read the general conditions of sale). In general, you will be fully reimbursed if weather conditions do not allow you to organize an outing, and if you do not agree to postpone the activity to another day.

  • Can one film the flight by his own means?

    You are usually allowed to bring your own camera, or a GoPro camera.

Safety Instructions

  • Can you practice paragliding if you suffer from vertigo?

    You must have your feet on the ground to suffer from vertigo. Therefore, you will not suffer from vertigo by performing a paragliding flight. One must, however, distinguish the vertigo that is related to the inner ear, and fear which is a psychological mechanism.

  • Can we crash when landing?

    The chances for your monitor to miss a landing he has practiced hundreds of times in the same place are almost nil. Of course, zero risk does not exist, but you will not even be in charge of the maneuver.

Paragliding

  • What is the world record for a paragliding flight?

    The record of distance traveled in New Zealand is 147km! The flight can theoretically extend indefinitely, but one must remain reasonable.

Guillaume picture in the mountains

Ask Questions to William.

New Zealand Expert

Paragliding is undoubtedly one of the best activities in New Zealand.

There is no reason to hesitate insofar as the monitor (the exit takes place in tandem) manages the entire maneuver.

Do you have any questions ? I am always happy to share my passion with the readers of Kiwipal!

william Ask me a question

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Guillaume picture in the mountains

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