Ramblers is a great place to do your AFF course and has a perfect environment for students: quiet during the week so you get maximum uninterrupted time with your instructors and busy at weekends so you can learn lots from others. Whether it's the big boogies, crazy weekend parties or free learning curve camps every couple of months, there's always something going on here, with the emphasis being on skydiving progression, staying safe and of course, fun! Overall, Ramblers really is a great DZ. No matter if you've got no jumps or if you're a 10,000+ jump skygod, you'll receive a super-friendly welcome! Hopefully I'll be there for Equinox 2006!
Hiya, I've just come back from New Zealand and jumped at Skydive Abel Tasman on the South Isand and at Skydive Auckland (in Mercer). Both are nice drop zones and very professional so I think you friend is gonna be fine at either. I'd sway towards Skydive Abel Tasman if your friend is doing a tandem simply because the views when jumping out over the National Park are totally awesome! Some friends of mine did tandems at the Franz Josef glacier on the West Coast and they highly recommended jumping there as well. There are also several skydive operators centred around Lake Taupo (middle of the North Island), and they offer the cheapest tandem jumps (NZ$160), although I didn't make it that far north. Hope this helps. Simon