Three, Two, One…BUNGEEEEEEEE!!!

Three, Two, One…BUNGEEEEEEEE!!!

New Zealand just keeps getting better and better for us. We’ve already had beautiful beaches, rare wildlife, volcanic hotspots, breathtaking boat cruises and majestic mountains, but it was time for another New Zealand cliché… the Bungy Jump! For this we had to go to Queenstown – the birthplace of Bungy.

Queenstown is nestled beside the banks of the beautiful Lake Wakatipu which stretches for miles alongside State Highway 6. We took our time driving past the lake, stopping every now and again to take photos of the stunning landscape.

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Once we arrived in Queenstown we could see that everything here was geared towards adventure seekers and adrenaline junkies. Almost every shop sold trips and activities such as white water rafting, skydiving, canyon swings and bungy jumps. It was impossible not to get excited or ‘pulled in’ by the Queenstown vibe as we walked around the town.

Before we thought about indulging in anything reckless however, we went to nearby Frankton for a shower before parking up in town and walking round to the ‘i-site’. Here we picked up some leaflets on the numerous adventure activity options available as well as info on other things to do in and around town.

One of the top things on our New Zealand ‘to do’ list was to clap eyes on the rare and endangered National icon, the Kiwi bird – something that we had not managed to achieve so far. This was all about to change, as Queenstown is home to the Kiwi Birdlife Park! Here, we not only had the privilege of witnessing two breeding Kiwi birds at feeding time, but also saw a range of other native birds being looked after at the park. We both had audio guides which explained all about different indigenous species as we made our way around the park. It was a brilliant place and definitely worth a visit – if only to see the adorable Kiwi in action!

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After getting our wildlife fix we went to the AJ Hackett Bungy Centre to ‘ask some questions’ about the biggest bungy jump in New Zealand, the ‘Nevis’. A friendly Scottish girl behind the counter was really helpful and after talking to her for a while we found ourselves booking two jumps for the next day! As soon as we left the building we both looked at each other and laughed. “Oh well, that’s $500 down the drain, ‘cos there’s no way we’ll be going through with that!”

To take our minds off the potential death plunge / huge waste of money, we decided to take part in a distinctly Queenstown tradition – Frisbee Golf! Queenstown Gardens has its own free to use 18-hole Frisbee ‘golf course’ with chain baskets acting as holes. There are even set pars for each hole, which we tried desperately to beat! All you need to do is buy or rent a Frisbee from a local sports shop, we rented ours from Shoe Clinic for $5.

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Later that evening we sampled the Queentown nightlife before parking up beside Lake Wakatipu for the night – in a lovely spot that the police had pointed out to us.

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The next morning we awoke bright and early and immediately remembered what we had signed up to do at 10.40am that morning, the Bungy. We were both really nervous – we couldn’t stop the butterflies in our stomachs no matter how much we tried not to think about what we were about to do. The Nevis is 440 feet high (134 metres) and is positioned above a river which runs through a stunning mountain range. Neither of us had ever done anything like this before and kept telling each other that it would be ‘okay to back out’ if we wanted to. Of course, no one likes a quitter, least of all us, and deep down we knew that we would have to make the jump.

The AJ Hackett bus drove us out into the middle of nowhere and as soon as we arrived at the jump site it was straight down to business. Our harnesses were fitted and we were directed towards the cable car that would transfer us over to the main platform. At this point we were both feeling quite excited and I think the presence of other people quashed our nerves a bit.

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Once on the platform we both reacted in slightly different ways. Richard just went really quiet (getting “into the zone” as he called it) whereas I couldn’t stop talking. Richard jumped first – taking an awesome swan dive off the 134 metre platform. I could hear him yelling all the way down and he immerged looking thoroughly pleased with himself (as well as a little windswept!)

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I was so proud to see him plummet towards the ground, yet watching him made me painfully aware of the fact that I had to go next! Right up until it was my turn to shuffle towards the platform I felt fine, but as soon as I neared the edge my legs buckled and I found myself leaning back against the bungy operator for support. He asked me “are you sure you want to do this?” To which of course I replied “Yes”. “Well, you’ll need to use your legs then” he said. At that, I looked straight ahead, closed my eyes, held my breath and jumped.

I was so terrified that I couldn’t even scream! Instead I held on tight and gasped as I flew headfirst towards the river below. It was only when I was being winched back up and was able to look around that I allowed myself to let out a “Wooo!”

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I know that I’ve said this many times before on this blog, but THIS was without a doubt the number one highlight of our trip! Never in a million years would I have ever imagined that either of us would do a bungy jump – let alone the highest one in the country. We will never forget that feeling of fear, followed by pure exhilaration. It’s fair to say that if it wasn’t for all the things we have experienced over the course of this trip, we never would have gained the courage to go through with it. The only problem now is… I wanna do it again!

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