Parasailing in the Bay of Islands

15 days to go! Can you believe it?! We are on the homestretch of our 365 Days: 365 Activities in New Zealand and man, it’s been one insane adventure. In the Bay of Islands alone, we have cruised to the Hole in the Rock, explored Urupukapuka Island, sailed with fellow backpackers at sunset, and checked out the Hell Hole of the Pacific. Not to mention all the other activities we have planned in the Bay of Islands. We have skydiving coming up, scuba diving, kayaking, a trip to Cape Reinga and, of course, today’s activity! Today, we are seeing the Bay of Islands from a new perspective: from under the canopy of a parasail!

Bay of Islands Parasail

What better way to start the day than drifting somewhere 1200ft in the sky? The yellow and black parachute seen floating high in the sky every day over the bay has been teasing us for too long now. As you can imagine, we are overly keen to get this brand new perspective of the Bay of Islands, so we end up arriving a little early to Paihia Wharf. We get ourselves a coffee on the waterfront to kill time and gaze across the still waters of the bay, before checking in with the Bay of Islands Parasail team.

Black and yellow, black and yellow

The boat is easily identified with its yellow and black branding at the Paihia Wharf. After getting weighed and signing the disclaimer form (we’re kind of used to the latter now after doing 350+ activities), we hop onto the boat with a nice large landing pad on the back and seating in the front. There are two other groups joining us on the boat of all ages, from six to 46, and they are getting harnessed up as we leave the wharf.

About to launch the first couple of fearsome flyers About to launch the first couple of fearsome flyers
The anticipation is too much! The anticipation is too much!
Launching into sky Launching into sky
Putting our feet up and enjoying the view Putting our feet up and enjoying the view

Launching the parachute

As we get into open enough water in the Bay of Islands, the time comes for a the parachute launch. The team get the parachute ready, start speeding the boat up, and WOOSH! The circular yellow and black striped parachute suddenly opens in the air. It’s huge!

The first group are being attached to the parasail – the parent and a the six-year-old. Man, if she can do it, there is no excuse to back out! But watching them launch into the sky as the boat speeds up only builds our excitement! They quickly become dots in the sky until all you can see is the parachute getting smaller and smaller.

Flying high above the Bay of Islands

We are harnessed up as the second group is somewhere in the sky. Then our time finally comes to get attached to the bar that hangs below the parachute. Once we are all attached in the right places, we sit down on the floor. Suddenly, the floor is no longer under our asses, but the ocean is, which is getting further and further away from us. Oh my God, we are going so high! Bay of Islands Parasail boasts the highest parasail experience in New Zealand at 1200ft, which we couldn’t comprehend how high that was until now. We get a birds-eye-view of the boat and its wake breaking the still waters of the bay. And there’s so much happening with the scenery that we don’t know where to start looking first!

What did you do this morning?

Beaches, coastal cliffs and more than 100 islands!

The rugged coastal cliffs broken by long sandy beaches can be seen in the inner bays of Paihia, Russell and Opua. We also see tens of islands dotted around us. We know there are 144 islands in the Bay of Islands but, hell, we don’t have time to count! White dots on the waters surface turn out to be gannets when they spread their wings and start running into flight. For once, we’re higher than those guys!

After about 10-12 minutes soaring through the sky, we are slowly being brought back to the boat for landing. The team are taking photos for us, then giving us instructions to stand up on landing. It’s a smooth and painless process, plus, we didn’t even get wet!

Somewhere among the clouds are two flying backpackers Somewhere among the clouds are two flying backpackers
Parachute Life! Parachute Life!
Have you guys forgotten about us? Have you guys forgotten about us?

Reasons to love parasailing

The next impressive sight comes when the team bring the parachute back in at such a rapid pace that it doesn’t even touch the water… #skillz. From here, we journey back to Paihia Wharf where we are still buzzing about our flight, especially considering it was an adventure activity Robin could do with a broken arm. (More about that story here). Parasailing is such an accessible activity, which is why people of almost all ages (as long as they are not as light as a feather) can do it. Plus, it’s a quick activity giving us plenty of time to do more awesome things in Paihia… Or just catch up with work and do chores like get a haircut, make food, do work for BackpackerGuide.NZ, buy groceries, respond to friends and family on Facebook – which is the more honest story of the rest our day.

Pub quiz at the base backpackers and pipi patch

It does pick up, however, this evening at Base‘s bar, the Pipi Patch with a pub quiz! How can you not love a pub quiz? Realising how little you know about general knowledge, not caring because it’s $2 taco night and you’re stuffing your face, then getting a competitive spirit after one round you do well… Then, by some weird turn of events you end up tied with another team and must battle it out by singing Beyonce’s “All the Single Ladies”. Laura’s rendition gets wins us a $50 bar tab which we donate to the drunken mooncats at the bar and call it a night. That’s what pub quiz’s are all about, right?!

It also turns out that we a joining some of our fellow pub quizzers on a trip to Cape Reinga – the very northern tip of New Zealand where the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean meet. For once, we’re not driving – wahoo! See you tomorrow!

Laura and Robin

Seeing the Bay from 1200ft!
Seeing the Bay from 1200ft! Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Want more?

Have you read yesterday’s post about sailing around the bay with Barefoot Sailing Adventures? How about these articles?

Until tomorrow’s blog post, be sure to check us out on the HerePin app, we also post travel tips on Facebook, as well as pretty NZ pics on Instagram. Join the Facebook Group to ask us questions, buy/sell, and find travel buddies.

See you tomorrow!

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