Freefalling at terminal velocity from a massive 19,500 feet over West Coast Glacier Country makes you feel alive in a spine-tingling, hair-raising sort of way.

This is tandem skydiving at its heart thumping best. An adrenalin buzz with the added bonus of breathtaking views of the Southern Alps.

Tandem skydiving ‘New Zealand style’ in Glacier Country can be arranged at Fox township. A fully qualified instructor briefs jumpers on safety procedures and demonstrates the correct way to position arms and legs during the 180-kph freefall. The plane takes off over the lowland forest and wide shingle riverbeds and climbs to an altitude of either 12,000 feet, 15,000 feet, 18,000 feet or 19,500 feet. On the instructor’s signal (i.e. when he pushes you from behind) you roll forward into the rush of slipstream air and plummet into space, conscious of the violent airflow against your down turned face. For 45 seconds the earth gradually looms larger. Suddenly, the parachute opens and you find yourself suspended in space, gliding gently to earth, surrounded by stunning views of the Southern Alps.

West Coast visitor centres can arrange these awesome tandem or solo skydives. Choose a cloudless day if possible. It’s a real buzz to see every detail on the landscape with an eagle’s eye view. A number of aerial sightseeing companies also run skydiving courses.

Don’t miss this great opportunity. Every screaming second is a cosmic thrill.