I‘ve always loved the idea of doing a Bungy jump because I’m obsessed with the idea of flying. As a relatively sane(ish) person, I realise this isn’t really possible, so don’t worry, I’m not trying to fashion myself some wings out of bird feathers glued to cardboard. But, if Stan Lee started granting Superhero wishes to regular citizens, I’d be in line asking for the ability to fly.
Granted, bungy jumping isn’t as much flying as it is safely plummeting toward the earth with an extremely high chance of survival, it’s a great way to get that flying buzz. So, when we started planning our trip to Queenstown, I asked the guys at AJ Hackett Bungy if we could come in and throw ourselves off a bridge. They said yes.
Choose your weapon
Alright, so AJ Hackett guys aren’t messing around. They have three different jump sites around Queenstown, depending on what kind of sick thrill-seeking action you’re into. The Nevis Bungy and swing, which sees you dangling on a wire cable 134m off the ground and is also home to the world’s largest swing, which whips your screaming body through the air in a 300m arc. The Ledge, at the top of the Skyline Gondola, with panoramic views of Queenstown and allows you to jump at night. Finally, Kawarau Bridge, the birthplace of Bungy, where you casually jump off the bridge toward the water.
I’ve done a skydive before, but that’s a totally different beast. With a skydive, you don’t really see the ground as a real thing, it seems so surreal, and you’re strapped to another person who pushes your frozen body out of the plane for you. With a Bungy, you gotta jump yourself off that ledge. Keeping all this in mind, I opted for the Kawarau Bridge jump for my first time.
Feel the fear and do it anyway
The morning of the jump, I kept forgetting about it. Then it’d creep back into my mind along with a little pang of nerves, which I’d push away and try to forget about. When we arrived at the jump site, 20 minutes from Queenstown, it all started to set in and I got a bit jittery. The team on site were awesome, getting us all ready to go and talking us through the whole process, distracting us with a fun, relaxed vibe.
We walked out to the bridge and I told Matt I wanted to jump first. One of my best friends had worked at this exact jump site and told me to just keep looking out and not look down when I got out to the ledge. So, as the guys wrapped up my legs with towels and Bungy cords and my heart began to explode into a series of rhythmic palpitations, I focused on keeping my head up.
By this stage, I was back at the place where terror and excitement mix together to form one hell of an adrenaline rush. The guys helped me hop onto the ledge and I very, very, very slowly wormed my way out to the edge of the platform. They instructed me to smile for the camera and I somehow manage to contort my lips into some semblance of a grin and give a little wave. It’s go time.
Time to jump
So there I am, standing on the very edge of the platform, shaking and only 90% sure I’m going to be able to do this. I’m not one to quit, so I know I’m not turning around and walking off this bridge, but I also know how scared I feel and it’s a little overwhelming. In my mind, I’d pictured myself strolling out to the bridge all brave and fearless and swan diving off it like a professional diver. My current state could not be further from that.
A crowd of people have gathered to watch, all of them crowding around, staring open-mouthed at the crazy girl who thinks it’s a great idea to jump off a bridge in New Zealand. I take a little comfort and pride in knowing that there’s only me standing on the bridge about to jump and 50 of them who can’t bring themselves to do it. I feel a bit brave.
The guys start the countdown, “Okay, Phoebe. Let’s do this. You’re going to jump in 3…….2………. ONE!” I don’t jump. I just stand there, shivering a little. I apologise profusely and feel like a real wimp. The guys are super supportive though and I know, at that moment, that I don’t want to feel like a wimp again. There’s only one way I’m going to get off this bridge and that’s by jumping off it. “This is it, Phoebe. You got this. You’re going to jump in 3……….. 2……….. ONE!”
I scrunch down and roll off the edge of that bridge, much like how a sausage rolls off your kitchen bench top. It’s not pretty, but I do it. The crowd screams. I’m flying through the air and I can’t scream because I’m not scared anymore, it just feels AWESOME. I reach my hands down toward the water and can’t stop smiling, it feels amazing. The bungy cord catches me and springs me back up toward the bridge and I suddenly realise just how fast my heart is beating. I feel ALIIIIIIIVE. I feel like I need to go donate some blood or something, be a more active member of my community, start a fundraiser! I don’t know what I’m saying! I’m high on life, man!
A whole new me
The guys in the boat below hold up a pole and I grab it as they pull me into the boat. My legs are jelly, they’re shaking so much I can’t really stand up properly, so I grab onto something to help me. I walk up the stairs, back up to the jump centre, holding onto the handrail the whole way up. My heart is pounding and I can’t stop smiling, I want to do it again and again.
I can see, now, how Mindy got so hooked on doing it and why she loved working here so much. It’s awesome! I want to do a bigger jump! I think this means I’m hooked on the rush.
For the rest of the day, I walk around all puffed up like a penguin, feeling like I’ve just won a Championship Fight or something. I’m Ronda Rousey! We celebrate our hero-like attributes with a big lunch of burgers and beers, talking about the experience over and over. It was awesome and I can’t wait to do it again.
Thanks so much to the generous team at AJ Hackett Bungy for hooking us up with the jumps, we had the best time and your staff were so friendly, professional and great at helping calm the nerves and get us set to have an amazing experience. I can’t recommend AJ Hackett Bungy enough, it was so dang fun.
Rather than just seeing photos of me dangling around like an old tea bag, I want to leave you with an image of just how cool bungy can be. Here’s a photo of my best babe, Mindy, flipping a BMX off a bungy platform, like a total badass. This photo really captures why I love her so much, she’s so fearless and cool! Seriously! While I’m rolling off the ledge like an incompetent snail, she’s riding off it and backflipping a bike. Amazing.
If you’re thinking of doing a jump of your own, I definitely recommend AJ Hackett Bungy. If it’s your first time, you’re in good hands. Just do some research and decide which jump is best for you. I liked the Kawarau Bridge as a good starting point for me.