I did my first bungy jump in New Zealand and I was petrified. By the time I’d left New Zealand I’d done three – the Auckland Harbour Bridge, the Ledge and the Nevis. The aim was to fight my fears. Did I? Well…no.
It was my Contiki guide Trys who talked me into doing the AJ Hackett Bungy Cairns. We’d just rounded off an amazing two-week trip from Sydney all the way up the east coast as part of the BEACHES AND REEFS tour.
VISIT CAIRNS WITH CONTIKI…
AND HAVE NO REGRETS
This trip was action packed. We’d done surf lessons in Coff’s Harbour, sea kayaking in Byron Bay, skydiving and jet packing in Surfer’s Paradise and high-speed sailing in the Whitsundays, and yet this was the one activity I was really nervous about.
AJ Hackett Bungy Cairns have really gone out of their way to inject a little humour at every chance they get. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the various signs scattered around the premises. It’s impossible to forget for even a split second what you’re about to do, so my advice is to get it over with and then bask in the after-rush while watching your friends squirm!
BUILDING THE SUSPENSE
As soon as we’d been weighed in and registered, I headed up to the top of the tower. I may still be a shaking wreck of nerves when it comes to bungy jumps, but through my past experiences I have gained a few nuggets of wisdom. The most important one. Just jump the first time they count down. It’s so much worse to overthink it.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that I almost lost it just climbing up the tower. You can see through the gaps between the steps and the mesh below the railings. Telling myself that this was the safe bit in comparison to what was to come did absolutely nothing to calm me. I started to grip the railings with both hands and slowed to a careful and reluctant snail’s pace until I finally reached the top, only to discover that there was no queue! I was next!
MOMENT OF TRUTH
Not having to watch anyone go off from the top was a blessing. I had no time at all to question the sanity of what I was doing. The crew started to tie my feet together using a towel for padding (that was a first!) and before I knew it, the moment of truth was upon me. Jackson 5 blared out of the speakers as I shuffled forwards towards the 50 m abyss.
I looked out at the horizon (never look down!), allowed the guy behind me to prize my hand from the support beam, waited for the coundown and leapt forwards in the knowledge that the only thing scarier than plummeting head first towards a tiny lake was teetering on the edge of a ledge playing over various scenarios in my head that were probably worse.
My proudest ever bungy moment came two seconds later. Having been pretty much mortified by my lack of elegance and coordination on every other jump I’ve done, I finally mastered a perfectly vertical, straight-bodied fall! Don’t ask me how. I’m certain I couldn’t do it again.
ON THE REBOUND
My elegant posture was shortlived. As the rope reached its maximum length, it recoiled, throwing me sideways and spinning me over and over again until I had no idea which way was up. Check out my balled up fists though. I think I thought I was Superman at this point!
Finally, it was time to be rescued from the madness. This was another bungy first for me. Whenever I’ve jumped before, I’ve had to pull a cord that releases my legs and allows me to swing back around into a sitting position. I’ve then been hoisted back up to the platform and released from my harnesses.
AJ Hackett Bungy Cairns has a boat! Being rescued is much more preferable, not least because you don’t have to tackle your fear of heights again.
As I was pulled to safety, I had to bend my neck and mimic a forward roll until I was lying on my back on deck and waving up at the next victim on the platform above. My legs needed half a minute to regain their ability to support me, but nobody was any the wiser.
USEFUL INFORMATION ABOUT AJ HACKETT BUNGY CAIRNS
– AJ Hackett offer door-to-door transfers from all accommodation in Cairns and the Northern Beaches.
– There’s a 16-option ‘Jump Menu’ for seasoned jumpers. You can do it in fancy dress, go off backwards or hold on to a bar until your arms get tired and you drop!
– This is the only site in the world that offers ‘all-day’ jump packages – if you think you can handle it!
– If you’re especially crazy, you can do a BMX jump from the tower roof!
– This is the highest scenic viewing platform in Cairns. You’ll just have to re-climb the 196 steps if you want to capture it on your own camera after your bungy.
– If you manage to jump, you’ll receive a gift certificate and a successful jumper’s t-shirt. If you don’t, there are plenty of embarrassing alternatives for your friends to buy you from the gift shop.
– There’s a bar for you to buy your celebratory (or pre-jump nerve-calming) drinks from.
– You can purchase photos and GoPro videos. One of the videos is taken by a guy on another platform who commentates, while the other is captured via a GoPro attached to your arm.
– Why not get a combo ticket and give the ‘MinJin Swing’ a go too?!
My jump with AJ Hackett Bungy Cairns was an optional extra on Contiki’s Beaches and Reefs Tour from Sydney to Cairns, which was sponsored by Contiki. Any opinions expressed are a genuine reflection on how I felt about the experience. To find out more about AJ Hackett Cairns, visit their Facebook page.