New Zealand gave birth to the bungy jumping craze on a little bridge just outside of Queenstown. You, also, can jump off this bridge if you’d like. New Zealand is home to many extreme sports and can proudly claim to have the worlds first commercial bungy jumping bridge.
While on your tiki tour of New Zealand, head about ten minutes outside of Queenstown to reach the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge. Your friends are family and welcome to watch here as well. Or you can just stop by and watch others do it. If you are a chicken.
Once you have paid the $205 fee the friendly folks at the desk will chat to you about your general health and weigh you in. It definitely seems like they are trying to figure out if you are likely to back out or, more importantly, have a heart attack while out on the bridge or while dangling a bungy cord from a bridge.
The process from there is extremely quick (likely to keep you moving and talking to ensure that your nerves are not going to get the best of you). Once you are out on the bridge they quickly get you into place and start tying up your feet by wrapping a towel around your ankles and securing it to the bungy cord. All the while they will chat about anything and everything to keep your mind preoccupied. They are pretty good at it too.
From there, you shuffle out to the edge. They tell you to wave to the camera. They start counting down. Quickly. And then you jump. The experience is great, with a quick soaring feeling more than a drop. The weird part is when you start bouncing up and down at the end of the cord.
You then see a raft below you and grab onto a long metal pole. They lower you into the raft and the inane questions start back up. Where are you from? How is the weather there? Again, I suppose they are trying to make sure you are lucid. Within a few seconds they have the harness off and have rowed up to shore so that you can start your trek back to the top.
All in all, it is a fun experience and well worthwhile. Not that I am in a rush to do it again.
AJ Hackett, the sport adventurer who commercialized bungy jumping after making it famous by leaping off the Eiffel Tower offers a few different locations throughout New Zealand where you can get your bungy jumping thrills.
AJ Hackett Bungy Jumping
Kawarau Bridge Bungy – 43 meters high – $205 AUD
Nevis Bungy – 134 meters high – $275 AUD
Ledge Bungy – 47 meters high – $205 AUD
Auckland Bridge Bungy – 40 meters high – $165 AUD