Bungy Jumping in Queenstown, where else?!
I knew I was going to be doing this thrillogy day as it's so called for just under a week before I actually went and it would be fair to say it was playing on my mind. Until I came to New Zealand I never wanted to do a bungy jump, in fact I never even considered it. Bungy jumping was something other people did, brave people, not people like me. However, after seeing the video of Paul and Ayumi (by now I hope you know who they are!) doing the Nevis I really wanted to challenge myself and that looked to be the way to do it.
I called up AJ Hackett initially just to try and get a famil for the Nevis but basically the rep said it's a whole day thing or nothing so, for free, I thought what the hell. We met in town at 8.15am and had to be weighed and sign our lives away. There were 18 people in total doing the day and no-one knew each other, we were all from different hotels and to be fair, nobody looked nonchalant!
We headed on a bus to our first stop, the Kawarau Bridge. This was the first commercial bungy sight in the world and opened in 1988. It's 43 metres high and looked pretty tame to me when we passed it on the wine tour a couple of weeks before. Standing on the edge was another story, everyone was just diving out there on 3-2-1 but when the bungy master counted me down I just screamed and grabbed his hand! He told me I had to go next time, statistically the less time you stand on the edge the less likely you are to chicken out so he counted me down again and I didn't exactly dive out but I went head first and down so that was the key. The first second was utter fear, I didn't really know what was going on, the only thing I could liken it to would be when you have a near miss in a car and your heart starts racing and you breathe really shallowly. Then a whole new feeling took over before the bungy cord pulled me back, it was just of euphoria I guess, I felt like I was flying, that there was only me and the river in the whole world and then the bungy sprung me upwards and I let out a huge woohoo. As the guys came to get me in the raft below I just felt lucky to be alive, I kept saying thank you.
I managed to grab a coke and my photos, video and t-shirt before heading back on the bus. Out of all the people on the day, only 1 girl didn't do any jumps, everyone else did everything. We went to the site of the Nevis where we were teased by doing the Nevis Arc first. The arc is the world's highest swing and effectively they pull the swing back to the highest point then let you go, much like a real swing except there's 70m of freefall first! I think I described it as a breeze in comparison to the K Birdge, mainly because someone else presses the magic button to release you so it was more like going on a rollercoaster for fear factor. The big thing with the bungy jumping is actually having the nerve to jump off yourself.
It was subway sandwiches for lunch, to be honest it could have been Jack Daniels sesame chicken strips and I wouldn't have noticed (wait, I take that back) as I was very, very nervous about the Nevis. The Nevis is 134m high and is the highest jump in Australasia. All the bungys went in weight order including this one so I had substantial amount of time to freak myself out. When it was my turn I was almost in shock, like an outer body experience and I just kept saying I couldn't do it and that I was sorry. But, then when the lady said "When I count down you have to jump when I say ONE as it's windy and if you go at the wrong time you might get caught up in the other cords" so, funnily enough when she said "ONE" I was off. The feeling was incredible, much like the K Bridge but more of the good s***. It was just amazing, I cannot explain the feeling at all but it was such a rush. As I came back up all the guys said they never thought I would do it, how about a confidence booster eh?!
We headed back to town snacking on choccy the whole way and headed for the Kawarau Jet. This is a high speed jet boat ride much similar to the Skippers Canyon jet we went on a few weeks earlier but in comparison to doing bungy jumping it felt a bit like a little yacht cruising on a calm still lake. It was bloody cold but the views from the lake were lovely.
Up the Gondala with us, I got to ride the actual gondola rather than being too skanky as before and walking up to the top, it was much more relaxing this way. We then went to do the Ledge bungy. This one is 400m above Queenstown and it feels like it too, they have positioned the pod in such a way that it looks like you might fall all the way to the ground when you jump off. Again I was close to last and was struggling, I'd had all my gumption sucked out of me and though I really wanted to have the guts to run and jump into the unknown I realised, after about 10 attempts at clearly not going anywhere fast that I just wasn't going to be able to do it. Instead the AJ Hackett boys offered to throw me, using the old leg and a wing technique I was gone. This was my least favourite bungy as the falling feeling wasn't the same but how many people can say they bungy jumped in the snow to boot?
I had some well deserved Pinot Noir and some Nachos with the gang and called Mum to tell her what I'd been up to, as you can imagine she was screaming as she was watching the video. And I'll tell you what I told her, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, it was awe inspiring and emotional in many ways and I am so glad that I did it but I'm never f**king doing it again!