After a few weeks of what felt like endless toil in Dunedin, Hicksy and I decided to take a trip to Queenstown for some much needed shuteye. Not the kind of shuteye, however, that one expeiences when wrapped in a cosy duvet, safe from the world. The kind of shuteye I’m talking about is of the squeezing-one-eyes-shut-because-reality-is-too-darn-scary-to-be-looked-at variety.
Known as the Adventure Capital of the World, Queenstown feels like it has everything. You can skydive, ski, snowboard, race luges, bungy jump, jet boat, hang-glide, white-water raft or even go on a 4-wheeler Lord of the Rings tour if it takes your fancy. If there’s an extreme activity you can think of, you can almost be sure it exists in Queenstown. If chucking yourself off/down/under things isn’t your thing, then despair not my feeble friends, for there are cruises, wine tours, walks and a variety of other activities for the more serene soul, many of which we enjoyed with my parents on the Great South Island Road Trip.
As our trip was in Summer, we weren’t able to ski the surrounding mountains, so we looked for some other way to get our adrenaline on. Activities can get expensive, so we looked at combo deals, which ended up saving us a fortune. We went for the Awesome Foursome combo, which cost NZ$600 each. This is a package that gives you a bungee jump, whitewater rafting, a helicopter ride and a jet-boat ride all in one day. Some may call it a quick way to a coronary, I call it a fantastic cure for a hangover and the most effective cure of all was the Nevis.
The Nevis Bungy
Queenstown has three bungy jumps available, all run by AJ Hackett. The bungee in our deal was The Nevis, and at 134m it is New Zealand’s highest bungee jump.
The Nevis Bungy Jump is, hands-down, the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Beforehand, I thought it would be a breeze (so to speak). Nothing to it, you jump, you’re safe, rationally speaking there’s nothing to be afraid of. A lovely opportunity to take in the view and all that.
The problem is, fear doesn’t listen to rational thinking. Try telling your racing heart and churning stomach that there’s nothing to be afraid of as you shuffle to the edge of a rickety cable car and stare at the 134m abyss below.
The jump-site is only accessible by 4-wheel drive up a private mountain road, and then once you’re at the top you jump in order of weight, from heaviest to lightest. Being the only female jumper in a pack of big strong men (Hicksy not included – he jumped after me), this meant that I was almost at the end of the queue.
Watching people plummet one-by-one into the canyon before me did nothing for my nerves, and by the time it was my turn I was in a bit of a fear-induced coma. They strapped on the elastic band (because essentially, that’s what it is), told me to wave to the camera, and then (and I’m 99% sure of this) Blondie from the czech republic pushed me to my doom. I had all kinds of clever things to shout out as I gracefully glided through the air, but in reality there was nothing graceful about my 8.3 second descent, and the only sound that came out of my mouth was a guttural, blood-curdling scream. As far as scenery goes, the only thing I took in was huge gulps of air, and possibly a fly.
And why doesn’t anybody tell you about the bounce?! It’s like doing the whole jump all over again!
This was not the fun, ‘wheeeeee’ kind of scary that one feels on a roller-coaster ride. This was not a ‘thrill.’ This was fear, real fear. It felt like it lasted forever! As they winched me back up to the rickety cable car I felt the adrenaline kick in just in time to watch Hicksy take his turn. I must admit, he was a bit more fearless. A bit more graceful. Or perhaps just a lot better at pretending that me.
Have a look at our videos and decide for yourself:
And Hicksy the Graceful:
In parting I would also like to add that I was not afraid of heights before this jump. I now am. Something about knowing how it feels to nosedive 134 meters makes me a little wary of all that empty air. Perhaps skydiving will be different…