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Paragliding at Barnett Park
in Christchurch, New Zealand

10 March 2017 | Mri & Rob Grout

Type: InlandDifficulty: Beginners
Wind Direction: N-NEWalking Distance: 10 ft/3m
Paragliding: Ridge SoaringTop-landable: Yes
Elevation: 1312ft/400mBottom-landable: Yes

Dangers While Paragliding at Barnett Park

  • Do not fly this site in strong winds. According to locals, you do not want to fly here if you can easily groundhandle at launch.
  • Do not fly in a NW as paragliding at any site with a westerly wind in Christchurch will be extremely rough. This is due to the wind coming over the mountains. Rob tried this once (though at a different site) and only managed to crash into a barb-wire fence instead of getting blown into the sea and dying.
  • There are some power lines running through Barnett Park paragliding site about half way between launch and landing. However, they're fairly easy to cross.

Barnett Park Launch Area Description

Rough coordinates of the lower launch site: -43.586448, 172.730713. There is space for 1-2 cars to park off the side of the road. You have to climb over a barbed wired fence, so make sure you clear it nicely as I ripped two pairs of trousers on it. Then you just pick a spot to launch. It's a wide and gently sloping hill full of sheep poo, a few sheep themselves, and some knee-high tuffles of stiff grass. There is also the occasional rocky area scattered throughout so beware of landing badly on those.

I do not know where the higher launch site is; however it is used by more experienced pilots as you have to clear a set of trees fairly quickly from launch. I've been driven there, but never launched myself.

Barnett Park Landing Description

Though Rob says top landing is definitely doable here, I don't think I've ever seen it due to how easy it is to land at the bottom and then hitch back up with someone else. It's also more of a beginner's site that shares the same wind direction as another close by and so the more experienced pilots (ie: those more comfortable with top landing) normally always opt for paragliding at Taylor's Mistake. For this reason I'll just be covering bottom landing at Barnett Park.

A large flat field awaits directly at the bottom of launch. From the air you'll see two different fields separated by a single row of trees. You want to land in the second half of it, so make sure you have enough height to clear them. The treeline is wide enough to easily do S turns and the field long enough to not overshoot if you begin your turns over that separating tree line. There is also car park at the other end of the park.

The only thing to avoid here are pedestrians, their dogs, and a fenced off section in the middle (if it's still there). However, due to the sheer size of the park, avoiding all of these things is really easy.

What do you think about paragliding at Barnett Park in Christchurch, New Zealand? Any other tips you'd recommend to other pilots?