Update as of August 11, 2014 the price of the Nevis Bungy has increased to $180. If you book through Planit NZ, I’ll take $10 off the price of the jump – just quote Backpacking Matt when booking!
A bungy jump is arguably one of the most difficult things you’ll ever have to do. To stand on the edge of a bridge and jump goes against everything that feels right. Every part of your body, your mind, your rational thinking conscience says, “no, absolutely not.” To overcome that voice in your head and make the leap of faith is one of the greatest feelings in the world.
The more you think about the jump, the harder it gets. The pre-jump experience with AJ Hackett’s Nevis Highwire Bungy gives you plenty of time to think – this makes for a truly epic experience.
After checking in for my Nevis jump in Queenstown’s city center, I boarded an AJ Hackett shuttle bus which took me and about 20 other jumpers outside of town. The first stop was Kawarau Bridge – home of the world’s first commercial bungy jump in 1988. At Kawarau Bridge, about 15 people left the bus leaving only five brave souls to make their way another 10 kms to the Nevis Jump site. Not much was said on the bus ride – I sensed that everyone was as nervous as I was about the upcoming jump.
After turning off the SH 6, a quick 10 minute ride up a dirt road left us at the base of a steep mountain. We got off the shuttle bus and were asked to board a smaller, 4WD vehicle which made its way up a steep and winding gravel road.
As we neared the top of this road, our driver pointed out the wide open canyon to our right. Suspended above the canyon on a cable was the jump pod where I’d soon make the leap. My heart skipped a couple beats and I began to get a feel for what was to come – a massive jump.
After reaching the top of the hill, myself and the other jumpers were fitted with a harness, our weight was checked again, and we were led to the cable car which would bring us out over the canyon to the jump pod. The jump pod itself features a glass floor which provides some stunning views of the river on the canyon floor.
When it was my turn to make the leap, I was positioned in a chair which appeared to either belong in a dentist’s office or a torture chamber. The bungy cord was strapped to my feet and I was given some last minute instructions for the jump. Of my biggest concern was the bit where I was to pull the cord to release my feet after the second bounce. This would allow me to be pulled back up to the pod in a seated position – as opposed to upside down. Seemed to be straight forward enough – unless perhaps you had just experienced 8.5 seconds of free fall!
After the instructions were clear, I ‘toed’ my way towards the jump point. A small, metal platform which juts off of the bungy pod. The cord was tossed over the edge leaving me again with the stomach turning feeling of what was to come. The jumpmaster counted down, “3, 2, 1, go Matt!” and I dove out, hands first, over the canyon below.
Words can’t begin to describe the feeling, the ground rush sensation you get as you plummet towards the canyon floor below you. I won’t even try. It’s a completely comfortable experience – no significant jerk as the bungy cord reaches it’s end. A smooth flow up, and again back down. The euphoric feeling is immediate, and lasts for hours after the jump. You’ll instantly begin thinking about when you can jump again.
The experience was a great one from start to finish. The team at AJ Hackett does a terrific job of both making you feel safe and comfortable. From the check in, to the harnessing up, to the jumpmaster who is your last contact before making the leap – everyone was professional yet fun. Both characteristics you want the day of your jump.
Thinking of taking the leap yourself? Here are some facts to get you started:
How high? 134 meters (440) – Australasia’s highest jump!
How long will you fall? 8.5 seconds
How much? The jump itself will cost you NZ$250 – all transport included. AJ Hackett also throws in a free shirt. If you want video and photographic proof, you’ll be out another $80. Not a cheap experience, but well worth it in my view.
Where? The check in for the jump is in Queenstown’s City Center at the Station Building. Allow about three – four hours from start to finish.
Is it worth it? Yes. It’s not a cheap experience, but well worth it in my mind. For $250, you’re getting a half day experience that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Taupo’s Bungy is pretty epic as well – but, you pay your $109, get your ticket, jump, and that’s you finished. AJ Hackett goes out of their way to make your jump an experience to remember.