Queenstown: Bungy Jumping
If you’re planning to do a bungy sometime in your life, New Zealand is the place to do it. It’s world-renowned for its jumps, and has much higher safety standards than nearby countries like Vanuatu, where bungy jumping involves tying a vine to your foot and plunging from a tower. And if you’re going to bungy jump in the land of the long white cloud, you may as well go all-out and do the Nevis, which at 134m, is the biggest in Australasia. It’s going to cost you an arm and a leg (well, $240 at the time of writing), but the 8.5 second free fall is simply mind-blowing.
A shuttle bus leaves Queenstown twice a day to ferry people out to the ravine where the bungy takes place. The road is rocky, so if you’ve been out on the booze the night before, you may chunder (blame it on nerves). After weighing in, jumpers – and anyone who wants to watch – are pulled along a wire on a skycart to a platform suspended over the stark beauty of the Nevis River. Uplifting songs ranging from Tipsy by J-Kwon to Adele’s Someone Like You blast from speakers over the valley, and one by one, jumpers waddle out to the platform to take their leap of faith on the count of three.
A recent horror story entailed a girl who refused to jump for 10 whole minutes when her turn arose. Together with the instructor, her supportive friends ended up simply pushing her off the edge. Tried-and-tested advice is to pick a point straight ahead and don’t look down before taking the plunge.
If you’re not keen on the Nevis, or you’re keen on doing the Nevis and want something more, another good jump to do is the 46m bungy over the river. I was fortunate enough to win this bungy in a tequila-shotting competition (by far one of my proudest moments). Although it only gives two seconds of freefall, you get to be dipped in the murky brown river. They may tell you it’s just the tip of your head, but really, it’s all the way to your shoes.
If you do fork out the money to do a bungy, it would be a shame to walk away without evidence to show your friends and family; so as much as it pains me to say it I would also recommend buying the photos for NZ$45 – they really frigging milk it!