A bungee/bungy jump is something that I always wanted to do and living in New Zealand, home of the world’s first permanent commercial bungee site near Queenstown; I knew that this is where I would need to take the leap of faith!
Bungee jumping has its origins on the small Pacific island of Vanuatu, where young men would dive off tall platforms with vines attached to their ankles, as a rite of passage into adulthood.
As a celebration of completing my degree, I decided to do the jump at Kawarau River in Queenstown. This site has been open since 1988 (almost as old as me!), and at only 43m high, it was not too daunting for a first attempt! Jumping off a suspension bridge into a river also seemed a bit more attractive than a rock solid floor.
When I turned up to jump, I was weighed (and have my weight written on the back on my hand in huge lettering – luckily was not too embarrassing) and then had to wait my turn. On the suspension bridge, there are two sides where you can jump from, all to do with the balancing of weights. I was on the lighter side (after three years of student drinking) and had to wait my turn.
Ready, Steady, Go…
I then stepped onto the platform and had a chat with the guys as they got me prepped to jump. These lads are legends, apparently used to many nervous tourists. My final instruction was to leap as if I was trying to jump to the bridge in the distance (the road into Queenstown). The Australian guy in front of me went to drop and then hesitated. I knew that if I paused, then I would not end up jumping, that little rational voice in the back of my head would have won! I leapt … what a fantastic thrill, to be free falling. My mum told me that she had almost had a heart attack watching me and the buzz of adrenaline that I had afterwards, I could have quite easily jumped again!
That evening my back did feel quite sore, once the effects of the adrenaline wore off, I suppose it was due to the whipping motion, but this went away within a day or two.
Queenstown and New Zealand are famed for their adventure tourism, and the bungee was how this notoriety started, well worth doing!
Any eagle eye Lord of the Rings fans will also notice that this river was used for the Gate of Kings/Pillars of the Kings at the end of the Fellowship movie.