Would you rather bungee (“bungy”) jump or skydive?
I was shocked by how many people said they would much rather skydive because they thought it was less scary and safer than bungy jumping. This was so wild to me. Bungy jumping is significantly lower than when you sky dive out of an airplane. The argument was then that the only thing preventing you from falling to your death was a cord. Despite the resistance and attempts to scare me out of it, bungy jumping was the one thing I had known I wanted to do coming to New Zealand.
Bungy jumping was commercialized in New Zealand in 1988 by an infamous adrenaline junkie, AJ Hackett. You can still jump the original bridge jump in Queenstown. My friends and I thought if we were going to bungy we were going all in so we went for the Nevis jump. The Nevis bungy is 3 times higher than the original at 134 meters (440 feet or about a 40 story high building). The days leading up to the jump I was really equally excited and freaked out. This was going to be the craziest thing I’ve ever did.
The day of the jump that ratio had turned more into freaked out with a tiny bit of excitement. Was I actually going to do this? Why? The why I really couldn’t answer. We were checked in at a shop in town, weighed, and then bussed over 40 minutes to the Nevis Playground. With each passing minute I was internally panicking more and more, but I couldn’t back down! I was the one who had wanted to do this and had gotten my two mates to join. They were so excited particularly Iris, who has learned that she’s a major adrenaline junkie whilst traveling around New Zealand.
Looking over the jump wow it was high and in the middle of a canyon. Not to be morbid, but if something were to go wrong there was no chance of surviving. The comforting thing was that there hadn’t been any casualties with AJ Hackett ever. So I wasn’t exactly afraid of dying I was more worried about what was wrong with myself to actually jump off the ledge. The operators will not push you so if you want to bungy it is fully your decision and action.
When we got to the site and were harnessed I started to feel a little better. The harness was sturdy and felt substantial. Then six people at a time you ride over to the middle of the canyon via a little sky gondola. That’s when you really get an idea of how high you are. Once at the station the operators get to work with giving you more equipment, checking harnesses, etc. all while blood pumping music is playing. The goal is to get you hyped. It wasn’t working for me I was still scared and this time I knew I was one step away from my turn to jump.
All the workers were incredibly personable and fun. You felt like they really did know what they were doing and totally safe in their hands. There was also a lot of equipment and not just “one cord” like the bungy haters would argue. At that point I knew it would be okay and just a matter of going. The best advice I was given when we had first gotten to the station was that when you hear the countdown, “5, 4, 3, 2, Bungy,” just go for it and don’t hesitate. If you were to pause at bungy it just makes it more difficult to actually jump. At the ledge I was waiting for my bungy cue and then I flew.
It was the coolest feeling and at that point you felt almost weightless. I think the scariest part (besides the jump) was the first bounce back when you finally stop free falling, it kind of brings you to reality and you suddenly feel like a fish out of water, but in the best way. After the third bounce back you release your legs so you are no longer upside down and finally enjoy the ride back up. For that moment it’s just you and nature and you can only hear birds among the stillness of the canyon.
Then you’re back at the platform area with your friends, the energized operators, pumping music, and you feel on top of the world. You did it! I did it! Conquered something that really scared me and loved it. In addition to the highest bungy jump in New Zealand, the Nevis Playground also has a swing and catapult. After the bungy I was down to do both, but that will have to wait for the next trip.
I 100% recommend doing a bungy jump in Queenstown. AJ Hackett’s tagline is: Live More. Fear Less. If that’s not advice to live by I’m not sure what is.