Update August 11 2014 – The price for the Taupo Bungy has increased and is now $169 NZD. You can read more about Taupo Bungy on my NZ Travel Guide and Booking Website Planit NZ by following this link. Book your bungy through Planit NZ, and get $10 off! Just quote Backpacking Matt when emailing.
New Zealand is home to a number of adventure activities – from skydiving, to white water rafting, to jet boating, to bungy jumping. Prior to my move to the Southern Hemisphere, I never seriously considered the act of throwing myself off of a bridge. Seemed foolish. Seemed dangerous. Seemed terrifying.
And it was.
Shortly after arriving in Auckland, I came to realize that it would be wrong not to toss myself off of a bridge. AJ Hackett established the world’s first permanent, commercial bungy jumping operation in Queenstown in 1982. As I wouldn’t be in Queenstown for a number of weeks, I decided I couldn’t wait that long to jump. My first leap would be in Lake Taupo, high above the Waikato River – 47 meters high, to be exact.
The traditional bungy jump often takes place off of a bridge – not in Taupo. The Taupo jump is off of a cantilever platform which juts out from a cliff over the clear blue waters of the Waikato. The view of the opposite shore of the river, contrasting with the steep cliffs on either side of the platform, makes you feel much higher than the 154 feet above the water you are.
I arrived at the jump site on a sunny, Sunday morning. A number of people were congregated around the viewing area watching the adrenaline seekers make the leap. With my nerves on edge, feeling slightly hung over from the previous nights drinking, I decided a New Zealand beer would be in order. As I nursed my Monteith’s Original Ale, I realized that postponing the inevitable jump wasn’t making things any easier.
After paying the required $109 for the privilege of defying death and jumping off a ledge, I was escorted out onto the platform. Taking a seat, my legs were bound together with a sort of harness. Attached to the harness was a carabiner. Attached to the carabiner was a rubber bungy cord. A frightening taste of what was to come, the cord was tossed over the edge of the platform. My stomach plunged as I felt the cord pulling on my legs.
I was told to stand up, and awkwardly shuffled my way to the edge. Trying hard not to look down to the waters of the Waikato below me, I listened to the last-minute instructions of the (hopefully) competent Taupo Bungy employee. I listened to him count,
“Three, two, one, bungy.”
And I leaped headfirst towards the beautiful water below me. It was a brilliant feeling. An instant rush of adrenaline that can’t be adequately described by words. An addictive rush that I guarantee I’ll experience again in the coming months.
Check out the video of my bungy experience: