“Well, nothing says ‘I love you’ like jumping off a bridge!”
This was the response I got from the staff member who was hooking up my harness when I told him that I was on my honeymoon. Meanwhile, on an adjacent platform just a few feet away, my husband was all tied up and ready to go, shuffling out to the edge. It was hard not to be nervous, after all we were getting ready to take a 43 meter freefall from a bridge down over the water. I had even done this before, at Killary Harbor Adventure Center in Ireland. But I still had some butterflies as my husband suddenly disappeared, the staff on his platform clapping and cheering for him.
I told the man on my platform about my last jump and how I hadn’t been happy with my form- my knees were bent and I pulled my arms in too quickly- and he gave me a few pointers so that this time would be better. Soon it was my turn, and I stood up and shuffled out, feeling much like a penguin with my feet tied together. He stood behind me, holding my harness to make sure I didn’t fall before I was ready. Then he pointed to a few different cameras and had me wave and smile and give a thumbs up before declaring me ready to jump.
Interestingly, I actually had the same visual in my head as the first time I jumped- Pocahontas gracefully and delicately falling from a waterfall, hair streaming out behind her, arms out to the sides. Once again, I am certain that I did not look nearly that graceful. I did, however, keep my knees a little straighter and I managed to keep my arms out. Bungee jumping is a really funny activity in that, for the first few seconds of the freefall, it is rather relaxing and not very thrilling. Then suddenly, you are going fast and the bungee catches and you are flying back the way you came and then you are spinning around and then somehow you can see your feet and then you don’t even know which way is up and which way is down!
The area surrounding this bridge was absolutely stunning, a view I admired not only from the top but from many different angles on the way down. When I landed in the floating raft at the bottom and the staff there unhooked me, I was dizzy in the best way possible. The sun was shining, the water was glistening, the warm breeze was wrapping itself around me, and the adrenaline was pulsing through me. In that moment I felt as though I could do anything.
If you find yourself in the Queenstown area of New Zealand and craving some adventure, don’t miss the Kawarau Bridge. The bungee here is actually the first ever commercial jump, and the staff are just incredible throughout the long and somewhat nerve racking process. You start inside, where you get weighed and questioned about any possible health issues. The staff member then writes your weight on your hand with a sharpie (considering this was the end of my honeymoon and I had basically just eaten my way through two countries, I did not even want to try to convert the number to pounds…) and directs you to a locker to store your loose articles. Then, you just show up on the platform whenever you are ready! There are no stairs or ladders to signal the impending doom (back in Ireland, someone had christened the staircase to our platform the Flight of Fear), you just walk out onto a scenic bridge that happens to have a bungee platform on it.
Once there, the staff check, double check, and triple check your weight before hooking you in to one of the two ropes and sending you on your way. They were chatty and relaxed and funny, keeping everyone there in good spirits. The person who jumped right in front of me on my side was a twelve year old boy. TWELVE! I was still hiding from thunderstorms when I was twelve! He was very nervous but ended up doing great.
In addition to the jumps, they have a zip line, a café, a store, and an absolutely stunning scenic viewing area for visitors to enjoy. We were most impressed with the photography system. After we jumped, we admired the view for just a few minutes before heading right in to one of the kiosks to see our footage. They already had it edited into a movie! There were three different cameras, one on a track that traveled back and forth to get different views, tons of still shots and a whole video from every angle! We couldn’t believe the quality of the photography and of course, we shelled out the extra money to purchase it!
The company has jumps all over New Zealand and even the world. Check them out! Bungy.co.nz