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iFLY Indoor Skydiving Gold Coast at Surfers Paradise lets you go skydiving without the risk (or exorbitant cost) associated with jumping out of a perfectly good aeroplane. When you’re flying inside the iFLY wind tunnel, you experience the thrill of freefalling 14,000 feet for around a minute, just like a real skydive.

The vertical wind tunnel is specially designed to push air vertically into a tube where skydivers hover as if they’re in freefall. This is done by using multiple fans that run at 450 horse power each and generate the wind speeds needed for an indoor skydive. iFLY is located in the heart of Surfers Paradise and a great activity for an adrenalin rush or if you get bored with the beach. It’s also perfect for when the weather turns bad as iFLY is completely indoors. It’s best to buy your ticket in advance for the best deal.

Ready to fly at iFLY Gold Coast
Ready to fly at iFLY Gold Coast

When we arrive at iFLY our family of two adults and a teen is greeted by one of the staff and given a brief rundown about the iFLY experience. The first step is signing the electronic waiver where you acknowledge that iFLY is an adventure activity that has some risks. However, it’s got a lot less risk than jumping out of an aeroplane and hoping your parachute opens. It’s a lot more comfortable and a lot less scary too.

The most important things to declare are health issues which could increase the risk of heart attack and any neck or shoulder problems. Weight is also important as the tunnel can only work within a certain weight range. If you are under 180cm tall, the iFLY weight limit is 105kg. If you are over 180cm tall, the weight limit is 115kg. If you are over 115kg but weigh under 135kg, you can still fly but it is important to let the staff know so they can get the correct wind speed.

iFLY Gold Coast
Teen flyer at iFLY Gold Coast

One great thing about iFLY is kids as young as three can go flying and there is no upper age limit. iFLY is also one of the world’s most inclusive adventure activities for people with a disability. Check out iFLY’s Accessibility Page for more information. The next step is choosing the iFLY package that suits your budget.

It’s usually cheaper to fly during the day and on weekdays. You can add extras on the day like a high fly where you spin to the top of the tube with the instructor for an additional $15. Separate packages include photos and videos of your flight and extra flight time. Our family had already tried iFLY previously on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Ovation Of The Seas. Were we still excited to fly? You bet! iFLY is addictive, and the more you fly, the more fun it gets.

Flying with my Michael Jackson glove

If you have tried iFLY on a cruise ship, the iFLY experience on land is even better (not to mention easier) as the tube is larger and wider. We noticed the difference between the two and found it much easier to iFLY in the larger wind tunnel. Another bonus is you’re not on a swaying ship which can also make a cruise ship iFLY experience trickier.

At the start of the flight experience, we met our instructor and were shown a briefing video about what to expect during the flight in the tunnel. This includes hand signals used by the instructors due to tunnel noise, as you can’t hear or speak, although I am told you can still scream if you like. Just be warned your cheeks will flap in the photos if you open your mouth which could blow your cool image.

After the video and any questions, you get dressed in a flight suit which goes on over your clothes. You have to take off all jewellery, watches and the like, so these don’t become projectiles in the tunnel. If you are like me and have some rings that don’t come off easily, you can ask for a glove and wear it Michael Jackson style on one hand. You are also equipped with a helmet, disposable earplugs and goggles.

Next stop is the tunnel, where your group lines up in the outer tube on a bench and gets ready to fly. The instructor takes one person at a time to fly, starting with teaching essential stability before he lets you fly more independently on the second flight if you’re ready to try this.

Getting the hang of it at iFLY Gold Coast
Getting the hang of it at iFLY Gold Coast

Each flight lasts about 50 seconds. Why not longer? Basically, iFLY is designed around the freefall time of a skydive from 14,000 feet, but it’s also to do with the cost of operating the power hungry beast of a fan. The International Bodyflight Association has a beginner’s iFLY video which provides some good tips for how to stay stable in the tunnel if you’re staring out or want a refresher if you haven’t done iFLY for a while.

So, do you get bang for your buck for a 50 second ride? In short, yes you do! This is a great experience that is worth every cent. I’ve also skydived for real on a tandem skydive and think iFLY is an excellent introduction to what a real skydive is like without the sheer terror of falling out of an aeroplane (and the discomfort of getting a massive ‘wedgie’ when the chute opens).

Exit though the iFLY Gold Coast gift store
iFLY gift store

Once you’ve tried iFLY, you will soon be contemplating how to master all the cool iFLY moves and tricks. It’s much easier than you might think. Our instructor said that with just 10 minutes or so more in the tunnel we would all be able to fly without an instructor. So, wriggle yourself into a jumpsuit and take that flight. You won’t regret it and – unlike tandem skydiving – iFLY Gold Coast is a wedgie free adventure activity.

Disclosure: The writer visited iFLY as a guest of the operator and Gold Coast Tourism.

Looking for some Gold Coast accommodation? Read our reviews of the Hilton Surfers Paradise, Oaks Calypso Plaza, The Darling, Surfers Paradise Marriott, Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, The Star Grand, voco Gold Coast, Wyndham Hotel Surfers Paradise, AVANI Broadbeach Gold Coast Residences, Rydges Gold Coast Airport, Oaks Gold Coast Hotel, JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa, and the retro La Costa Motel. If you’re visiting the Gold Coast, don’t miss our Ultimate Guide to the Gold Coast.

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Dr Tiana Templeman is an award-winning food and travel journalist, travel author and media industry academic. She is the creator of The Travel Temple, writes for Australian and international media outlets and appears on radio talking about where to go, what to see and travel industry trends.