Australian couple Chris Bartram and Belinda Salem get engaged after skydiving in Queenstown. Photo supplied.
After completing skydives, more and more visitors to
Queenstown are taking away a fiancee with their souvenir
Nzone's business development manager, Derek Melnick,
estimates in the past year there has been a doubling of
people choosing to propose as part of a skydive.
Some pop the question in the plane, some bring specially
printed T-shirts asking their partner to marry them, some ask
the question once safely on the ground and others design
elaborate banners visible from the air.
On some of his jumps, skydive instructor Nick Dowling has
carried the engagement ring in a pocket.
Mr Dowling said he had taken ''maybe five or six people on
proposal jumps'' and with the rings holding so much
significance and value, he admitted to being ''a little bit
worried it [the ring] was going to come out''.
It was ''pretty cool'' to be part of the proposals, he said.
Last Tuesday, he took Australian man Chris Bartram (25) on a
jump as part of Mr Bartram's proposal to girlfriend of three
years Belinda Salem (23), who jumped with another instructor.
Mr Bartram had more than one triumph after the proposal. For
one, she said yes, and his fear of heights was quelled by
what he was about to ask.
''Usually, I'm scared of heights. I don't go on Ferris wheels
or rides at amusement parks,'' Mr Bartram said.
''Because of the reason I was there ... I didn't really think
of the fact I was jumping out of a plane. It kind of removed
all the nerves.''
His new fiancee was impressed.
''To jump out of a plane for someone when you don't like
heights - that's a pretty big deal,'' Ms Salem said.
The pair were due to jump on the previous Sunday but were not
able to because of bad weather.
Between Sunday and their eventual jump on Tuesday, Mr Melnick
and Mr Bartram were in regular contact, which Ms Salem
thought was ''a little bit strange''.
''I just thought he [Mr Melnick] must have heaps of tourists
who miss out on skydiving because of weather [but] now it
In fact, Mr Bartram had been in contact with Mr Melnick since
January, after he saw skydiving feature on a travel blog and
decided that was how he wanted to propose. The pair are from
Canberra and left Queenstown vowing to return to the resort.
Mr Melnick said there was now about one skydive marriage
proposal a month.
''It's quite rewarding for the staff,'' he said.
After last Tuesday's proposal, Mr Dowling said ''a lot of the
staff were out there clapping and cheering them on''.
The next day, a couple from Singapore also got engaged.
Earlier this year, a same-sex couple from the United Kingdom
became engaged after a skydive.
Mr Melnick said the resort had marketed itself well for
marriage proposals, honeymoons and anniversaries, which
contributed to the rise, but also ''people are looking for
that edge [when proposing]''.
He said skydiving and asking to marry someone were things
most people did once in their life, so it was perfect for
Now Mr Bartram has conquered his fear of heights, he said he
would like to do another skydive.