Queenstown on the south island of New Zealand is one of the adventure capitals of the world, and also the home of the bungy jump. It’s now home to the Nevis bungy, which is the highest in New Zealand at a crazy 143m (or almost 470ft).
Given I’d gone all this way, I figured that I should give it a go, so whilst pre-drinking on New Year’s Eve, booked myself a jump for first thing on my first full day in Queenstown.
I instantly had buyer’s remorse, but it was beyond the cancellation deadline so figured what the hell.
The day itself rolled around – I’d booked the 08.00 departure and the email asked me to be at the centre in Queenstown 30 minutes prior.
So at 07.30 I walked in where they were still setting things up. They asked me to register at one of the iPads and then join another queue to be weighed. This apparently is very important, so they did it twice, writing in permanent marker my weight on my left hand (82kg) and underlined it to show they’d double checked. On my right hand they wrote the bus number that I’d be on.
For those squeamish about knowing how much you weigh, there’s no getting around it, it’s mandatory for safety reasons. I was a little horrified as I’d not been working out as much as I normally had, and clearly been eating too much!
There must have been roughly 20 of us in the first group so we all chilled out until 08.00 rolled around and they loaded us into a bus that would take us to the site, around a 45 minute drive away from Queenstown.
They played a bunch of videos and info about what we’d be doing during the journey as all of us were getting progressively more nervous.
The bus eventually pulled up to the bungy centre. To the left was the building for those that would be doing the bungy from, and from the right, where those who were going to do the swing and catapult.
I wandered in and was greeted by another of the very friendly staff members. Lockers were available to put your stuff into and then they led me back outside to get into my harness.
Once that was done, we were walked out to the back of building to see where we’d be jumping from. The bungy location was essentially a hut suspended from wires across a gorge. It was accessed via an open cable car style lift that was winched back and forth between the mountain and the hut suspended in the middle.
Once safely across and into the hut, they explained what would happen; namely we’d be jumping in weight order, with heaviest to lightest. There was one person heavier than me who was actually blind (and had been here with a friend). I was next equal with someone else, who generously offered for me to go first so he could go before his mates.
After having our harnesses checked a second time, we were let through a gate and say in what was almost like a dentists chair, right be the edge. I started to feel very sick by this point. 134m was high. Very high.
They proceeded to explain a number of important points about the jump. Firstly, they wouldn’t push us – we had to jump by ourselves. We should actively jump forwards and hold our arms in front of us, otherwise at the nadir you could be jerked uncomfortably. Finally, once you’d bounced a few times, there’s a rip cord at your feet which you need to reach up and pull, so that your feet detach and you don’t get pulled up upside down. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t, but it’s less uncomfortable.
With all that taken in, it was my turn. Fuck.
I was checked a final time and told to shuffle forwards to the ledge. This was possibly the hardest thing. There’s was nothing supporting you – it was just open with the sun sparkling and shining down on the gorge a long way below. I felt myself unconsciously holding on to my own harness just so that I could hold onto something.
I made it to the edge. The irritatingly chirpy and fearless member of staff counted me down. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. Bungy.
I like to say that I leapt forward, but I sort of shuffled off the edge.
I was falling and then my descent started to slow. Bounce. The world tumbled around me. I wasn’t dead. Second bounce. Oh, it’s actually kind of pretty around me. It’s a gorgeous morning. Third bounce. Right, reach up, pull the cord. With a bit of a jolt, my feet detached, and I wasn’t upside down anymore. My harness shifted its weight and I was still ok. After perhaps another ten seconds I started to feel the rope whirring and I was being lifted back into the cabin.
I made it back inside, the team detached me and I was back the other side of the barrier and ‘safe’. What on earth had I done. They asked me if I wanted to do it again. Fuck no!
After a few more minutes some of the group had done their jumps as well and they asked if we wanted to go back and out of the cabin. Yes please!
Buses back to Queenstown departed every 40 minutes and I had roughly 30 to wait for the next one. I’d paid for the photo and video package so they gave me the link to where they’d be stored, plus a goodybag with a t-shirt in it.
I returned to town and was still buzzing so figured I would make use of the energy and dropped in at the fantastic CrossFit Queenstown, a short walk from town.
Am I glad I did it? Sort of. Would I do it again? Absolutely not.
I’ve ticked the box, it was fun I suppose (although that’s probably not quite the right word). If you’re in Queenstown it’s definitely something you should put on your list of things to consider, although it’s nuts.
For those that want to see, this is the video of me jumping.