Contact us at 0800-7-BIGSKY and we will 
surely answer your questions

Will we get wet?

Big Sky Parasail operates a 9 metre purpose built parasail boat. All flights start and end on the back  of our flight deck. So you don’t need to get wet. Not to say that we wont dip your feet at the end…If your keen. Some of our customers just want to get wet. So if your one of those adventurous people just let our crew know and don’t forget to wear your togs!

Whats your age limit?

The youngest that we can fly is 5 years old. We have a variety of harnesses so if the harness can safely fit your child then they can fly. Our minimum weight limit is 60 kgs. so if your kids don’t meet this they must fly with someone else. A child less than 12 must fly with someone older than 13 to fly the 1000′ flight. If all kids flying are less than 13 then we are restricted to the 400′ flight. So your probably asking. How old is the oldest person you’ve flown? That would be Leoni, she was 102!

Is it safe?

Parasailing has come a long way since it’s inception by the Germans in WWII. During the early 80’s it was taken from a backyard thrill to a beach side commercial application. Every punter had to run down the beach into the wind as the boat pulled or dragged you along. Problem being if the wind wasn’t blowing directly on shore the parasail would never inflate and if it did some people landed if the oddest places. Then the floating ramp was established. This allowed you to take off into the wind every time. Landings now became the problem as the ramps were stationary. To solve this operators stared to put motors on their ramps so they could match the parasail as they came down. Long story short…it was the invention of the hydraulic winch boat that solved all of these problems. This allowed the parasail to be inflated into the wind. The flyers to walk up onto the back deck of the boat with their harnesses on and be clipped into the parasail. Take off and landings were as easy as just letting the winch in and out. Making it safe and fun for everyone. NZ now requires all commercial operators to abide by strict set of rules that were established in 2012 in which Big Sky Parasail help set up in Wellington. 

What is a " Optional Freefall"

This probably the most significant thing that separates us from the other Parasail operators in NZ if not the world. Most operators give you just a straight up and down flight. The 1 thing that we have over all other operators is that we are a family owned and operated business. This brings 25 years of experience to the table. We have perfected the “Parasail Freefall” which is the art of stopping the boat and letting you parachute down 40 stories to the waters edge. Only to be whisked back up into the sky. We like to call it Taupo’s fastest elevator! It’s not a scary  as it sounds, it’s more of a slow surrealistic feeling. When asked everyone says that this was the best part of the their flight.


Cancellations can be broken down into 2 categories. Customer cancellations and company cancellations. In regards to customer cancellations we have a 24 hr. policy. If we are notified outside 24 hrs. we will honor a full refund. No refunds will be issued with in 24 hrs. In regards to company cancellations if Big Sky Parasail has to cancel due to weather we will make every effort to reschedule you. If we can not reschedule you we will give you a full refund. Weather can be defined as strong or gusty wind (>18 knots), thunderstorms or excessive rain (misty rain will not be canceled). The crew will make the final decision whether or not we will be canceling.  

Why do we need to check in 30 minutes prior to our booking?

Passengers are required to check in 30 minutes prior to their booking time. If you have not checked in by 15 minutes to your booking time we will try to call your mobile #; if one has been provided. If you have still not checked in by 10 minutes to your departure time and have not been contacted we will consider this a “No show” and depart the dock. No refunds will be provided as we are a very space limited vessel and we turn away passengers because your reservation holds the seats. It is very hard to stay on schedule if we depart the dock late and this has a ripple effect for all the remaining departures times.

How Long is the ride?

The parasail flight is 12 minutes long. Depending on how many groups are on the boat, you’ll be out on the lake for 25 – 60 minutes.

What do we wear?

This depends on whether or not you want to get wet. Wear your togs or bikinis if you want to get really wet! If not you can just come as you are and we can keep you dry. We always recommend that you bring a jumper or towel as the wind chill on the boat can get cold. We also provide wind breakers on-board if needed.

Why do you have weight restrictions?

The parasail gets it stability through the flyers weight. It’s a bit like a tail on a kite. If the minimum weight is not met the parasail will not have enough stability. The maximum weight is normally 200 kg, although this is approximate number. Depending on the conditions the weight might go up or down, . The skipper has the final authority and will let you know.

Who are the crew?

Lloyd or Lloydo (as everyone Taupo calls him) came to us in 2008 from the Bay of Islands. He was recommended by our good friends at Flying Kiwi Parasail. The first day he stepped on the boat he told me he really had a hard time inflating the parasail. I told him to forget everything that he had learned up there and we’ll start all over again. It was a blessing in disguise. Lloyd has come a long way since 2008. He earned his Skippers ticket in 2013 and now has become a partner in the company. Lloyd is the future of Parasailing in NZ.
Stephanie or Stepo (as her friends call her) help start Big Sky Parasail in 2003. Originally from Colorado Stephanie moved to Maui, Hawaii in 1993 and met Ian McKelvey her business partner in 2002. A year later they decided to travel to New Zealand and give Parasailing a try. They opened the business in the Viaduct Basin in 2003 and soon realized that Auckland was not going to be a good location for Big Sky. At the end of the summer season they traveled around the country to find a better location and choose Mt. Maunganui, where they up shop for 3 seasons. They then had an opportunity to purchase Pure Fun Parasail in Taupo and made the move to Taupo in 2007. “It’s been a lot of hard work and we’ve jumped through a lot of hoops over the years. But I’d have it no other way as Taupo is my home now and I love it!”
Ian started his Parasail career back in 1992 in Maui, Hawaii working for UFO Parasail. Because Maui has one of the largest Humpback populations from December to May parasailing is shut down during the winter for federal protections purposes. Ian decided to go to New Zealand in 1998 and help Start Flying Kiwi Parasail with one of his co-workers Rich DeRosa. In 2003 Rich convinced him that he should buy a boat and come down to NZ and give it a go. So he found a Premium 28 in Montana (The Big Sky state) and had it shipped to NZ. “We were so tight for money after the boat arrived that we couldn’t afford to re-paint it, so we named the company after the existing paint job and Big Sky Parasail was born.” Now after 25 years of being in the industry Ian along with his friend Rich and Queenstown Parasail established the New Zealand Parasail Association, helping Maritime New Zealand come up with a set of safety rules for parasailing in New Zealand making this one of the safest places in the world for this activity.