Each Thursday I share a travel experience from the past. With 4 years of non-stop travel and 3 years of part time travel I have a lot to get through! From the highs of skidiving to the depths of scuba diving – and everything in between, let me inspire you to try something new!
The adventure series – Issue 2
Keeping with the adrenalin theme, this weeks Throwback Thursday takes me back to Auckland, New Zealand where I Bungee Jumped & Skydived in 3 days! This week we’ll focus on the Bungy..
bungee jumping off the auckland harbor bridge
We had only a few days in Auckland as part of our first Round The World trip in 2010 – we were heading to Australia for Gavin’s sister’s wedding (and my first trip to Aus!) and RTW tickets had been cheaper than a UK-Melbourne return flight. Go figure! We had flown into Auckland, NZ from Santiago, Chile (my first flight over the date line, and boy did it knock me for six) landing in the early hours of the morning to a very drizzly and damp Auckland.
We had initially intended just to Skydive whilst in NZ, but the weather didn’t look promising, and chatting with the Skydive Company, they said we may not make it out at all. I was disappointed, but then again, who wants to skydive in the rain?! Working on the assumption we may not get to skydive, we started to look at what other adventure-y type options were available to us.
Ultimately we had to choose between the Skywalk/SkyJump at the Skytower or Bungy Jump off the Harbor Bridge – at the time funds were limited and we couldn’t afford to do both, and the Bungy was cheaper… Also, I think it was the fact that it was a ‘water jump’ that made me feel a little bit better. You know, because if anything went wrong, I can swim. I wasn’t going to die from diving into the water from a great height (In my mind anyway). But If anything was to go wrong if you jumped off something over concrete… splat. Not the same kind of outcome. Now before anyone gets offended, I know that the Skytower is and was perfectly safe and if I’m ever back in Auckland I would love to give it a try *hint hint Auckland Tourism Board!* but alas, these are the crazy kind of thoughts you have when you try to justify why jumping from one great height is better than jumping from another great height.
One exciting aspect of the Harbor Bridge Bungee Jump is that you get to walk through the structure of the bridge to get to the landing/launching point. Very cool. And so, hard hats at the ready, and attached to the safety wire, a group of us made our way through to the middle of the bridge.
Once at the launch site, you are weighed and measured. Not in a medieval ‘Knights Tale’ kind of capacity (if you’ve seen the film you’ll understand) but in a practical – how tall are you and how much do you weigh so we can accurately ascertain the correct weight and tension required to ensure you have the perfect jump – kind of way. They even wrote you’re weight on your hand so those of us who were feeling a little modest couldn’t alter the figures in our favour. (Not that I tried.. honest. And boy do I wish that was my number now.. but that’s a different story )
Anyways, you are then asked to sit in the ‘ready to jump’ seat where they ask you if you would like to touch the water, be dunked in the water – or just a regular jump with no water. I opted for the ‘water touch.’ I thought that would be pretty awesome to touch the water with my fingertips before bouncing back up – and so the bungy cord was adjusted accordingly. Then they attach these almighty weights to your ankles, along with the bungee rope, and you start repeating to yourself that everything will be fine. From my picture you can see I was pretty OK with the whole thing to this point.
Then comes the start of the scary bit. When you get down from the chair you immediately notice the weight around your feet and are forced to shuffle to the jump point. The Bungy staff help you along – and reassuringly – keep hold of the back of your harness so you can’t accidentally shuffle off the platform for an impromptu jump ahead of schedule. You see the thing with jumping off a bridge over the ocean which leads to a harbor – is there are often boats passing underneath you, which the staff are monitoring on screens on the platform to ensure you don’t jump straight into one.
The staff give you a few pointers about the best way to jump – out as far as you can with your arms spread at right angles to your body and keep your legs together – not that you have much of a choice on that one, with them being strapped together! And then the countdown beings. 5, 4, 3 – you can feel the adrenalin coursing through your veins as you find yourself still questioning whether you can actually do this.. 2 and then a shout from the other side of the platform. STOP. I felt my harness pulled sharply back – I may even have bent my knees to push off and was forced to stand up straight again – as one of the staff had spotted a small boat about the head under the bridge. Was that relief I felt? That I had dodged the bullet for a few more seconds – or annoyed that I had built myself up to go and had been stopped so close the edge?! Anyway, the staff made small talk waiting for the boat to pass – when did we arrive, what else were we planning to do etc etc, and then the countdown started again. 5, 4, 3, 2 1.
And I jumped. It was magnificent – called as one of the best of the day by the staff (or they may say that to someone in every group – but hey, I liked the praise) And it did look good, didn’t it?!
It was an exhilarating feeling, plummeting towards the water at great speed – the smile on my face was from ear to ear – and to top it off, my fingertips were about to graze the water. Fantastic. However, a water touch was not what I got. It seemed the staff had thought it may be amusing to give me a bit more than a fingertip touch. As my head and shoulders disappeared below the surface – to say I was surprised was an understatement. My mouth was open for a start and so I took in a large mouthful of sea water on the way down and had a bit of a splutter as I was bounced back into the air by the bungy rope. A few bounces later and after waving/chatting to a few passing boats, I reached up to my ankles and pulled the rope to turn my harness into a seat, which was then raised back to the platform.
As you can see – I’m rocking the drowned rat look – and I don’t look too unimpressed at being dunked. It wasn’t really so bad, even if I was a little mad for a split second as I was taking on unexpected seawater.
Fun and Exhilarating – I couldn’t recommend AJ Hackett Bungy enough. And it was a great way to tick a Bungy Jump off the bucketlist. Plus you get to appreciate this magnificent view of Auckland’s skyline as you walk along the bridge. If only the weather had been nicer..
Have I inspired you to bungy jump? (with either a water or concrete landing!) Or do you feel like a virtual bungy jump will be enough good enough for you?!
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Happy Travels :-)