Last weekend I did my first bungy jump – the Auckland Harbour Bridge Bungy. I let someone tie a rope around my feet and willed myself to take a headfirst leap into thin air from a small metal cage attached to the side of the Auckland Harbour Bridge…
If you’ve done a bungy jump before and are wondering why I’m making such a big deal out of it, you should know that I’m so scared of heights I actually had to sit down and hold the seat in the centre of my pod on the London Eye because my legs were too shaky to stand. But everyone says, of all the things to do in New Zealand that get your blood pumping, a bungy should really be top of your list.
I’d been staying in my sister’s room in Auckland. Her words of encouragement went something like this:
Elin: ‘Think about it logically. What are you actually scared of?’
Me: ‘Um, launching myself from a massive height and flying through the air headfirst??!’
Elin: ‘But it’s silly to be worried about that. If you’re worried about anything it should be the cord snapping.’
With these thoughts in mind, we strolled over to the pickup point at the Maritime Museum in time to meet the previous group as they got out of the bungy van.
‘It’s fine,’ said one smug guy. ‘Only one of us needed a medic!’
GETTING SET UP
On arrival at the bungy centre, we had to fill out a form with personal information, which they joked was to make sure they spelled our names correctly on our toe tags! Then they weighed us and wrote our weight in fat red marker pen on our hands. No secrets between bungy friends!
With harnesses attached, we each grabbed a helmet for the walk along the lower platform of the bridge. They suggest you don’t take anything with you since a lot of mobile phones and car keys have apparently taken a dip in the sea during bridge walking and bungy tours.
WALKING OUT TO THE PLATFORM
If you’re thinking that the scary fun starts when you arrive at the bungy platform, you’d be wrong. It’s a fairly long walk along a thin metal-gridded walkway, and you can see the swirling ocean through the gaps by your feet getting further and further away as you gain height.
Now I’ll let you in on a little secret so you can mentally prepare yourself and/or eat a few strategic burgers before your jump. The bungy staff give the impression that the jump order is random, but they actually start with the heaviest and work down, since it makes it easier to prepare the rope each time. If you want to get it over and done with, it pays to be heavier!
Just before they called my name, I spotted a sign with a list of celebrities who’d done the jump before. It was exactly the motivation I needed…
If Justin Bieber could do it then so could I.
By some miracle, at the end of my first countdown, I leapt from the platform. For that, I’m really chuffed with myself. Having said that, I definitely need to work on looking more brave/cool in my adventure activity photos. Spot the sister with the biggest fear of heights…
There’s a rope to pull that releases you so that you spin back around to a sitting position. Remember to listen to the instructions on how to free your legs after your jump, or you’ll be winched all the way back upside down!
Once everyone has had their turn, they offer you a second bungy for half price, and you can try different jumping styles or request to be dunked in the water. There’s a variety of photo and video packages to purchase after the jump, including photos online and/or in print and a DVD. They say that if you request any of these before your jump and they mess up with the camera, you can do another jump for free!
Now it may be common knowledge that I like a good bargain, but I’d achieved the unthinkable and got the T shirt (literally). Even free of charge, I wouldn’t have put myself through that level of fear twice in the same afternoon! As for the rest of my trip, though…watch this space!
GETTING TO AUCKLAND
There are so many exciting things to do in Auckland, of which the Auckland Harbour Bridge bungy is just one, that you will probably want to set aside at least a few days there.
Many people arrive in New Zealand via Auckland’s international airport. If you’re already in the country, Intercity Buses provide services to and from the following popular destinations (rough times in brackets): Paihia (4 hours); Hamilton (2 hours); Rotorua (4 hours); Taupo (5 hours); and Wellington (11 hours). Click the banner below to find out about their day trips and various bus pass options.