Well followers, aka Mom, I’ve taken the last few weeks/months off from writing. I am sorry for that. Truth is, I’ve been very active and now have a large backlog of things I need to write about. Hopefully I start forcing myself to write more in my downtime to keep all of my followers, aka Mom, happy.
About a month ago my wife Mallory and I took a vacation to Australia and New Zealand for some fun and adventure. The trip included cycling, driving, beaches, camping, fishing and drinking with the locals. Having friends in Australia helped with accommodations and camping in New Zealand helped keep the cost down. It was the perfect plan until we ran into 3 straight days of rain resulting in a very wet tent, which meant our trip got upgraded!
I hope to write about Australia in another post and mainly focus on a specific activity originating from the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown New Zealand. Leading up to our trip I couldn’t get my mind off of all of the fishing I was planning on doing while there. I kept telling Mallory about how amazing all of the fishing was going to be, I am sure this was starting to get quite old. Mallory mentioned “Why not take a day away from the river and we could go bungy jumping!” I hesitantly shuffled the idea and said we’ll see what the weather is like when we get there. Well, the weather was good enough and we (Mallory) decided it was in our destiny to go bungy jumping. Queenstown is home to one of the larger bungy jumping companies, AJ Hackett Bungy, this is where we went for the time of our lives. Between the three bungy options available, two at about 40 meters and one at 143 meters. Mallory naturally picked the highest, known as the Nevis Bungy.
The morning of the bungy we woke up late and rushed from our airbnb spot on the mountainside to the town center to check in for the jump. If you are planning a trip to New Zealand, or anywhere for that matter, I highly recommend checking out airbnb.com for room rentals. We had great experiences all at very competitive pricing. I would love to link the exact place we stayed but, unfortunately, the couple we stayed with have moved, great couple! At the bungy (which I’m pretty sure is the kiwi way to spell bungee) headquarters we got weighed in and boarded the bus for the trek to the bungy location. Driving in New Zealand is fun. These roads are nothing like American roads, they’re small, curvy and you drive on the wrong side. The views can be pretty distracting too. The drive to the Nevis area takes you past one of the original bungy jump locations in the region, Kawarau bridge. As you drive by and realize that the jump is almost 100 meters (328 ft you Americans!) shorter than the Nevis jump a “oh shit” moment is realized. It was actually pretty funny, the entire bus got quiet and a strange feeling was shared by all of the occupants, except for the laughing driver. The final stretch of the drive takes you on some old farm roads to the top of a beautiful canyon.
You jump out of the bus, stretch the legs a bit and head into the bungy center to get reweighed. Once you’re checked in you get to step out the back door and revert immediately back into an “OH SHIT” moment when you see the gondola stretched above the valley floor. At the bottom you can make out what looks like a tiny river. A spectacular view entirely overshadowed by the realization you are about to jump off of a platform with an overachieving rubber band tied to your feet. The journey from the canyon side to the gondola is on a small metal bucket that can only fit a handful of people at a time. We could tell the guy riding over with us was pretty out of his element with is white knuckles clinched to the railing. From the time you exit the on-location bungy headquarters you’re basically hooked into some type of a safety device at all times. Right when we stepped out of the giant metal bucket into the gondola they were bringing a young chap up from his jump. Said young chap forgot to pull his foot release cord and made the entire retrieve upside down. After seeing his red face I made sure to make a mental note of the release cord. The gondola constructors were nice enough to put some windows in the flooring reminding us of the decision we just paid $200 for. As soon as I was starting to get comfortable the young strap-you-inner guy called my name and my heart tried to bounce out of my chest. I entered the gate and sat down in their setup chair. I’m pretty sure they did this on purpose, the back of the chair isn’t fastened so when you sit against it you feel like you’re about to fall backwards right out of the gondola! Well, if you weren’t attached to all of their safety gear. After being strapped in and double checked the dude helped me up and I walked, well waddled kind of like a penguin, to the edge. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a little freakout moment as I was approaching the edge. Before I knew it the guy counted to three and I was “jumping” surely to my death. This was a crazy feeling. I’ve taken some falls while lead climbing that mostly last a split second. I must have some unrealized timing mechanism where I realize my fall time has gone past the installed lead-climbing fall length, because at about two seconds of free fall I started to freak out. I remember screaming and the sound of air rushing past me. Once I felt the bungy bounce I went into an euphoric experience, screaming and yelling in excitement. Then I went for my foot release cord thanks the the red faced boy.
A neat little video I made of our jumps can be seen here: https://instagram.com/p/zoQvb7JLXv/?taken-by=limerd
During the retrieval process, a small mechanical device is lowered to pull you up, you get to have some nice peace and quite while your heart steadies back to its normal state. The setting is amazing – if you are in New Zealand you might as well just go to this location for the views. After I was pulled back into the gondola it was Mallory’s turn. My lady friend is pretty calm, cool and collected. She got strapped in and approached the plank without any hesitation. The helper counted down and she leaped out with arms stretched. Right after she jumped I heard the guy next to me sadly say “Her jump was way better than mine!” Her jump was a lot better than mine too! She got an awesome photo of her stretched out over far above the valley floor. Trust me, she lets me know who had the better jump too!
If you are going to Queenstown you have to bungee jump! Looking back on our vacation it was definitely one of the highlights! If you are interested in watching the videos of our leaps they are located below. Thanks for reading – hope you enjoyed it!