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I hadn’t planned on including a Bungy jump in my life. Strapping a string to my ankles and jumping off a ledge? No thanks! But when we arrived in Queenstown on the Kiwi bus, I mistakingly watched the AJ Hackett promotional video at their offices in Karawu Bridge.
When I saw their story and how awesome it looked (and they made it sound) I felt compelled to jump like so many had done! I really don’t know what came over me, all of a sudden all that jumbo about safety just escaped my mind – just goes to show the power of advertising, eh?
A lot of Kiwi travellers had booked before hand to jump the Karawu bridge bungy, which is around 43 metres high. This was the first original bungy jump established by AJ Hackett and is still their most popular jump today. You jump off the ledge over the river and as you fall and bounce a few times, you’re gracefully collected in a raft waiting for you at the bottom.
I saw this one and thought, “If I’m going to do one Bungy jump in my life, I’m going to make it a crazy one” so, I decided to go for the Nevis, the third highest Bungy jump in the world! Had I just made a terrible mistake?
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The Nevis Bungy
The Nevis Bungy is a whopping 147 metres high and you jump down into a canyon gorge. It used to be the highest in the world but AJ Hackett have now established Bungy’s in Western Cape, South Africa (216m) and Macau Tower, China (233m) – the current highest in the world.
But 147 metres is not to be contended with, when you’re on that ledge – you will feel it’s 100x higher!
Before you Jump
- Book: You will need to book through the offices which are in Karawu or Queenstown centre. They will then weigh you to determine what sort of Bungy cord you need. I would say don’t worry about anyone knowing your weight, but they write it in a big marker on your hand! Sorry!
- Pay: The Bungy will cost around $ 275 NZ or around £150! If you’re on the Kiwi experience this will be around £100. But it is so worth the cost to have those all important bragging rights. Plus you get a free ‘I jumped’ t-shirt..all worth it ;)
- Time: Make sure you can make your time and appointment. Have a little think about what time you’d like to jump. I tried to get mine done as early as possible in the morning as I didn’t want to have butterflies all day! Also, make sure you’re not too hungover from the night before, it is Queenstown after all. You do not want to blow, half way down – not a good look for those photos.
Getting to the Gorge
The Gorge is located on privately owned land and so you will be picked up from the Queenstown office and dropped off there. If you booked through Karawu, they may also do a pick up from there. While you’re on your way, they will have a video of what to expect from your experience. They will also give some reassurance around their safety procedures! Which was highly appreciated by a very anxious me.
Want someone to go with you? You will need to pay $50 for someone to witness you!
While you’re waiting
When you arrive at the gorge you will be given a harness which you will need to wear. You’ll also be watching videos of those who are jumping before you! It is interesting to see peoples faces and poses as they fall. They give you a little pep talk before you make your way to the ledge and explain a few things such as when to pull your cord out to go right ways up and a bit about what to expect. Again, by this point you’re probably going out of your mind, so they do like to repeat themselves to make sure you take it in!
Getting to the Bungy ledge
When your time slot is called you make your way over to the Cable car which hangs over the gorge. You heard me, a cable car…in the middle of the canyon. How awesome is that?!
A tour guide will greet you and you will go in a mini cable car over to the big AJ Hackett bungy car. eek! This is when my heart was racing. I just kept looking down.
In the Cable Car
When you reach the cable car there is a definite atmosphere in the air. A nervous, excited energy and the staff are there to support those that are scared to take the leap. You line up with your fellow jumpers and one of the staff will give you your padded cuffs. Make sure you put these on and they’re on properly. These will protect your ankles as you fall and the cord stretches.
As the queue went down and down, I finally realised that it was now… me!
TAKE. THE. LEAP (Trust me)
So, at this point I was out of my mind nervous!! But, I have to admit it felt like a blur. They will assign a cord to you according to your weight (which again, is nicely placed on your hand) and they will attach this cord to your feet. When they’re happy that you’re set, they will then take a picture of you before you jump.
Now, the awkward penguin waddle to the ledge. This is probably the hardest part, trying not to fall before you’re even meant to! But the friendly guys will give you a hand if needed.
Now… it’s all down to you!
My only advice can be. Don’t think about it! If you think too much and you stand there too long, you will freak. Just don’t look down, reach out and take the leap. Trust, that you will be safe!
When I leapt off the ledge and plummeted down to the gorge, it felt like it lasted a life time! It was only 8 seconds, but they were the best 8 seconds! It felt like I was flying. Such an adrenaline rush!
The part I was most worried about was pulling my cord out after the jump! This is to stop you doing the ‘crucifix walk of shame’. You need to pull your cord on your second bounce to sit up right in your harness. If you don’t, you’ll be dragged up, head down… not a good look and you may get head rush.
It feels so unnatural and it’s what you’re body doesn’t want to do. It feels unsafe and naturally, you’re about to fling yourself off a cable car into a gorge! But all I can say is, DO IT. DO IT. DO IT. It doesn’t hurt at all, I could hardly feel it on my ankles.
After the jump
After you come back, you can purchase some evidence of your bravery! I decided to buy some snaps as I knew I wouldn’t be doing anything like that again! You’ll get a little bundle with your t-shirt and a certificate anyway from the guys at AJ Hackett but if you buy photos or video you’ll be given a keyring with your code to see your photos and some Bungy cord attached. Aw, so cute!
I wouldn’t say I would jump again, as it was terrifying! But, I’m so glad I decided to take the leap. It was a tick of this very new addition to my bucket list and something I will never forget !