A massive flying fox said to be the world's largest and "most thrilling" is about to open near Taihape.

Slung 180m above the river bed in the Mokai Gorge, riders of the 1.1km wire can reach a giddying 160km/h.

The thrillseekers may feel like birds but they sound like airplanes as they rapidly gather speed, the screeching swoosh of the high wire act echoing back and forth between the 80m-high cliffs that define the Rangitikei River below.

Buckled and strapped into harnesses, which disturbingly resemble body bags, the riders are attached to the flying fox with "never fail" karabiner hooks.


Feeling more like a crying foxy baby than a flying foxy lady, I found the worst part of the ride was the anticipation.

But trussed up like a Christmas pork and with a woman reporter's pride at stake, I had no real chance of turning back.

And for the record, the initial swearing and squealing consciously abated as fast as they unconsciously started. It was FUN!

The ride was sooooo exhilarating on the way down, then sweeping below a bridge and up almost as high to the other side, it was too fast for fear.

After a stork-like delivery the flying fox eventually halts at its lowest point just 7m above the riverbed, offering a leisurely vantage point to hang around for some trout spotting.27-12-2003 05:00:00

Operator Mokai Gravity already offers bungy jumps and plans a swing bridge and other attractions at the site with its spectacular views of the Ruahine Ranges and Mt Aorangi.

Further information: See gravitycanyon.co.nz.