If the thought of jumping headfirst off of a bridge with your legs tied together makes your palms sweat and your face go green, you’re not alone. I never intended to bungy jump. I wasn’t scared per se… but watching Instagram videos of jumps was a surefire way to get my heartbeat up, so maybe I was just a little anxious.
Soon after arriving in Queenstown, though, I became intrigued by all the happy jumpers. You know the ones—they’ve got red and blue marker on their hands, courtesy of AJ Hackett, and walk around with an air of accomplishment. They’re thrilled to tell you about their jump—whether it was a fearless leap or a reluctant plunge that took them 10 minutes to be talked off the ledge.
After several encounters with accomplished jumpers, I decided to join their ranks and the idea of “I jumped off everything in Queenstown” was born. Not only would I complete a bungy jump… I’d do them ALL.
The Nevis Swing
I started my jumping journey with The Nevis swing, easing my way into this mission. There’s nothing easy about The Nevis Swing, though! It’s the world’s largest swing, and will take you from a launch deck 160 metres above the canyon floor along a 300 metre arc to the other side of the canyon.
I loved the Nevis Swing because it gives you the freedom to choose how to swing (forwards, backwards, upside down) and can be done with alone or with another person. I brought along a friend and we opted to go backwards. If I were to do it again, though, I’d go forwards for an extra adrenaline rush. There’s nothing like the feeling of your stomach dropping as you race towards the ground, swinging at 120 km/h!
The AJ Hackett team is awesome, and although I was eager to get swinging, my friend was a little nervous. (On my very last jump, 3 months after the swing, the bungy crew remembered how loud my friend screamed!) Instead of a traditional “1, 2, 3” countdown, they let us go before her nerves became full blown panic. By the time we realized we’d been tricked, we were through the first arc of the swing and having a blast!
Kawarau Bridge Bungy
The Kawarau Bridge Bungy was my first bungy jump, which was appropriate since the Kawarau Bridge is the world’s first commercial bungy. AJ Hackett and Henry van Asch launched this site as the “World Home of Bungy Jumping” in 1988… and 28 years later, we’re still throwing ourselves off the same bridge for a good time!
As excited as I was during the 20-minute bus ride and while getting harnessed up, I was completely unprepared for the fear that would take hold when I stood on the edge of the bridge. This anxiety led to a less-than- stellar jump, and you can see that I flopped around quite a bit in the video.
In addition to being the world’s first commercial bungy, the Kawarau Bridge bungy is special in that you can opt for a water touch. It was a dry season when I visited, but I’d go back to get dunked in a heartbeat! Everyone who jumps gets a boat ride, though, as the bungy crew lowers you into a raft and takes you to dry land.
The Kawarau Bridge Bungy is Queenstown’s only tandem bungy, so if you need a little extra help to jump, get strapped in with a friend and take the plunge!
The Ledge Bungy (Photo)
This just might have been my favourite bungy, as I was pretty proud of my double front flip. And the views as you’re raised back to the platform are unbeatable.
For the rebels out there who want to do things differently… this is your bungy! The full body harness allows for freestyle flips, twists, and flying leaps off The Ledge, situated 400 metres above Queenstown.
If you’re visiting Queenstown in the winter, be sure to check out the after-hours bungy options. Ski by day, bungy by night, and keep the adrenaline going the whole time you’re here!
The Nevis Bungy
I saved New Zealand’s biggest bungy for last… and it was worth the wait! It’s a 45-minute drive out to the bungy site, and a short gondola ride out to a suspended bungy pod over the Nevis River… plenty of time to psyche yourself out, or get completely pumped up for the jump.
Once you’re at the pod, you can watch other jumpers through the glass floor before hopping into a dentist-style chair to get prepped for the jump. Standing on the edge of the pod before the jump is enough to take your breath away… but the real fun hasn’t even started yet! One giant dive off the platform and you’ve got a full 8.5 seconds and 134 metres of free fall. Talk about a rush!
I wasn’t strong enough to pull the cord that would release me to a sitting position, so I got to enjoy the upside-down view just a little longer. I don’t think it was all the blood that had rushed to my head that made me want to jump a second time, though!
After jumping off everything in Queenstown, I’m hooked! The “I jumped off everything in Queenstown” package is valued at $860, but when you purchase them all together, you can experience the thrill for $500. Who’s going with me for round two?
Disclaimer: The bungy jumps and swing mentioned in this post were received free of charge. All opinions are my own, though, and I wouldn’t recommend anything to you that’s not awesome!
Brittany Kulick is a scuba diving ice cream aficionado and adrenaline junkie who left a career in marketing for an around-the-world trip in search of the best dessert and greatest adventures. New Zealand is her 46th country visited and she has no plans to stop traveling anytime soon. Check out The Sweet Wanderlust blog, Instagram and Facebook page to follow her travels.