Howdy sports fans! Well, now that I’m back in Queenstown after a few days of hiking, and before I head back out on the road, I guess I should fill you in on the last few days of adventures that I was on. Last time you heard from me, it was Valentine’s day. After a delicious meal of Rack of Lamb prepared by Mark, we decided to hit the town for a few hours of up-to-no-goodness. The only problem is that it was pouring rain. So, in order to get ready, we decided to have a bottle of wine and a few beers before heading out. That worked out okay, but the problem was that I had to get up early the next morning to head out for some bungy jumping. Yup, adrenaline day 2 was all about bungy jumps! I was heading out to the Kawarau Bridge for the original commercial bungy jump, and then to Nevis, a high-wire bungy which is the highest in NZ at 134m. I put together a little map of the day, to show you where these are, and there are also all kinds of pictures up for you to look at. Read on mates!
There really isn’t all that much to say in this post about the jumps. These two were part of the ‘thrillogy’ that I had signed up for, where you get to do all three of the AJ Hackett bungy jumps in Queenstown. You’ve already read about my Ledge bungy experience and Canyon Swing, so by this time, I should be a pro at this sort of thing, right? Well, not exactly, as it never feels natural to throw yourself off manmade structures into the void, but off I went anyway. First thing in the morning I checked into Bungy HQ to get weighed and to wait for my shuttle bus. All in all, there were 7 of us that were doing multiple jumps that day, so we were sticking together for this jump and then taking another bus together to the Nevis site.
The drive out to Kawarau was pretty uneventful, but the view of the bungy site was pretty cool. That bridge was rebuilt just for the purpose of turning it into a commercial bungy site, and now they’ve also added on a bungy center, where they have a museum for all things bungy, as well as taking people behind the scenes. However, that wasn’t included in our package, so we didn’t get to see behind the glass doors. Oh well, we were getting the real deal anyway. In no time flat, I had my ‘boarding pass’, and was headed up to the bridge. As it was early, I was one of the first jumpers, and there was very little crowd gathered. A nice french fellow strapped me all in, and before I could say ‘shit’, I was on the edge and jumping off, or rather falling off. I had requested a ‘water touch’, but they told me there was a good chance I wouldn’t make it, as I was too light. They were right. I put my hands up as if to dive, but didn’t make it. Too bad. I saw others get dunked pretty far down, and it looked fun. However, since it was a little chilly, I didn’t mind too much.
One of the guys in our group also decided he would go naked. I’m not talking about doing it for a free jump either. He just wanted to go naked. And you know what? He did. I’m glad to say that I didn’t actually catch it. However, I did see him do the walk of shame back up the long walkway totally buck. Good on him, but I just didn’t have the nerve to do it. He was pretty pleased with himself too. I treated that jump as a warm-up for the big time at Nevis. I decided I’d buy the DVD of my jump from Nevis, and wanted to make sure that I had a good dive. Kawarau was altogether too short of a jump, so I was looking forward to Nevis, in spite of the terror it would no doubt inspire. So, off to the bus for the next jump site.
We got on the Nevis bus, and were back on our way. On the way, the driver entertained us with a CD of Flight of the Conchords, the New Zealand duo that reminded me of a cross between Jack Black and the Arrogant Worms. Of course, it couldn’t really change the fact that we were driving up a really steep road up to a canyon, where there would be a gondola ride to a suspended sky pod which we would be jumping out of shortly. At the top of the road, we were greeted with the sight of a little hangar, which served as the Nevis HQ. Outside the back door, danger awaited us.
It wasn’t long before we were putting on our full body harnesses for the ride over to the pod. The jumpers would be going in order of heaviest to lightest, so I had the opportunity to watch a lot of other people jump before me. They looked really cool doing it, but I couldn’t help but notice that we were a long way up in the air. D’oh! We still did the jump from the feet rather than the full harness. It was just there to tie us in to the gondola and as a safety measure up in the pod. When my name was finally called, I suddenly felt pretty nervous. They stuck us in a chair that resembled a dentists’ chair to get ready, and that’s when it hit me. As I was waddling to the edge of the pod, my stomach was doing flips. Of course, I had done this to myself, by looking down, it’s really scary. However, when they finally did the countdown, I had no choice but to go for it. Luckily, on the playback, my form was pretty good. I was really pumped once I hit the bottom of the jump many seconds later. It was definitely one of those moments where you tasted death, but then felt full of life.
They pulled me back up, and I had the hugest grin on my face that stayed on for quite some time. We watched a few more jumpers, then were shuttled back over to the HQ where we were treated to free hot dogs and drinks. The video was awesome, so I bought it. So ended the second of my thrill-seeking days. To cap off the day, I hastily packed a day pack full of stuff to tramp over the next three days. I also made a little sign for the hitch-hiking, and hit the road. This night, I’d be in Glenorchy, and the next 3 days I’d be hiking the Rees-Dart Track, as well as the Cascade Saddle. Of course, you’ll have to read the next post to hear more about that. Till then, you kids stay cool.