We've been living a relatively low-key life since arriving in New Zealand in October, so I knew I wanted to do something completely different and crazy for my 30th birthday. That's where AJ Hackett Bungy came in.
I'm not sure when I decided I wanted to bungy (maybe I never actually made the decision?), but when the AJ Hackett company graciously offered to host me for my birthday jump, I couldn't say no. Not only was bungy invented in New Zealand by AJ himself, but the first commercial bungy jump location is right outside of town. If you're going to jump off a bridge, you may as well jump here. (Plus they have a superb safety record, which made me feel just a wee bit better.)
That said, once you decide to jump, you'll have to decide where to jump from. We had three choices: Kawarau Bridge, the original bungy spot; The Ledge, which overlooks Queenstown; or The Nevis, which is the highest bungy in Australasia.
Which jump would you have picked?
After talking it over with Rob, who said "none," I made the decision. If you're going to jump, you may as well jump big. Nevis it was!
Our bungy trip began with a 40-minute ride to the Nevis site, which is close to the "desert" of New Zealand. While the first 30 minutes of the trip were on the main road, the last 10 or so were when things became real. As our truck/bus climbed up a narrow winding dirt road, I looked out the window, all the while seeing the Nevis River, the one we were going to bungy over, getting farther and farther away below us.
Once you're on site, there's hardly time to be nervous. The AJ Hackett crew obviously knows how to deal with freakouts and seems to realize that the less time you give people BEFORE the jump, the better. (You get plenty of time after to take in the view, walk around, look at your photos, etc.)
As soon as we arrived, we got harnessed in, reweighed, and directed onto the cable car that took us out to the Nevis Bungy platform, 134m (~450 feet) above the Nevis River.
And then there was only one thing to do. JUMP. (If you watch my bungy jump video, you'll see that I hesitated quite a bit before actually walking out to the platform. But seriously, it was amazing. Do it.)
What I found most surprising was how smooth the actual jump was. There was no sharp pull on the bungy cord once it caught, only a feeling of sailing through the air with little concept of up or down. The feeling of zero gravity is amazing and like nothing we've ever experienced before. Rob kept saying he felt as if he was flying through a vortex, one that ended in the bright blue of the Nevis River below.
- Look out at the rocks. Nothing good happens when you look down.
- Tell yourself you can do it by counting to 8. That's it. It's over. You can do ANYTHING for 8 seconds, especially something this awesome.
- You pull the green tab with your LEFT hand. Otherwise this happens. (Although to be honest, coming up upside down was sort of fun!)
- There's no better bungy in Queenstown than the Nevis. Just do it. After falling for 8 seconds, I can't imagine only having the experience for 3, which is what the other bungy jumps offer.
More New Zealand
Have you bungy jumped in New Zealand? How high was your jump? Would you do it again? Do you think we're crazy? Let us know in the comments!