Bungy Jumping at AJ Hackett in Queenstown

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Did you know Pacific Islanders invented bungy jumping in Vanuatu? A small group of people began building huge towers and threw themselves from the top with a few vines attached to their feet. The tradition is said to honor a mistreated wife that jumped from a tall tree with her husband. While he fell to his death, she was saved by vines.

Bungy jumping was later commercialized by AJ Hackett in New Zealand. You can now do it all over the world from various structures and heights. Last time I was in New Zealand, I "accidentally" signed myself up to bungy jump. My family wanted to visit the AJ Hackett location while we were in Queenstown and we registered for a series of Zip Rides online. When we arrived, a staff member applied a deal to the registration which resulted in a credit on the account. I did not plan on jumping off a bridge that day, but we did not want to let the extra money go to waste.

And so I signed myself up to bungy jump off the Kawarau Bridge. It is a 141 foot (43 meter) jump. Just a few years before, I cried on top of the Las Vegas Stratosphere and chickened out of the rides. But since then, I ziplined in Costa Rica and I felt a lot less afraid of heights.

During the peak season, there is even a bar right next to the bridge that sells shots of “liquid courage.” I was a little upset I could not get that boost of confidence but I made my way up to the jump anyway. The staff were super friendly and made conversation while getting me strapped to the cords. It almost erased my anxiety about the jump.

With a little encouragement (read: a gentle push), I found myself free falling toward the Kawarau Gorge. After about 30 seconds of bouncing back up and down gracefully, I was lowered to a raft. Then, you get to walk back up about a million stairs to the bridge area.

If you are looking for an adrenaline rush, bungy jumping is definitely a quick way to get it! Below are a couple extra tips from my experience:

  • There are no rules on what you have to wear. I jumped in the winter, so I was wearing jeans and a rain jacket. Wear something comfortable.
  • Don’t look down. Trust me. It isn’t scary while you are standing on the bridge looking straight out toward the horizon but as soon as you look down, it’s a whole new experience.
  • Research the company beforehand. We knew AJ Hackett was reputable because they are the oldest bungy jumping company in the world.

I definitely would not consider myself an adrenaline junky, but after this jump I was itching to take it a step further and leap off the highest bungy in New Zealand. The Nevis Bungy is still on my bucket list for the next time I visit New Zealand.


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