THERE ARE THESE THINGS IN LIFE THAT YOU HAVE TO CHECK OFF YOUR BUCKET LIST. I believe bungy jumping to be one of those cliché ones. To be honest, I am somewhat aroused by heights. The fear of death intertwined with the feeling of being on top of the world is extremely satisfying for me, almost addictive. Queenstown is the birthplace of bungy jumping so never in my lifetime would I forgo an opportunity like this. The Kawarau Bridge jump allows adrenaline fanatics to get dunked in the river, all while being watched over by buses of spectators.
All the excitement builds up since morning, when you notice the lack of appetite even though breakfast is your favorite PB and J sandwich. The short drive to the jump site becomes painstakingly long, you feel jitters, sometimes starting to doubt your own decisions. Life flashes by while you line up for the jump itself. While people in front of you go down with screams, you start to think of the best masculine screech you can come up with. Do you jump headfirst? Do you do a semi twirl for greatest effect? How do you smile for the photos while trying to keep your calm?
Minutes feel like hours and it is now your turn. The staff fastens rope over your legs while blurting out small talk. How would a comment about yesterday’s weather be helpful at all? You try your breathing techniques, your happy place thoughts, your buddhist recitals. Nothing seemed to work and alas it is your turn.
The dive itself is too quick to comprehend. I heard a cue, felt my legs weakened, and then it just happened. In no time, I was now swinging upside down, with faint cheers audible from the bridge. Jump was fast, but the swing afterwards was long and dizzy. Two persons would then “rescue” me with their rafts and bring me ashore. I completed my duty, another item to check off.
That’s me. The tiny blue thing. (Photo courtesy of Eric Chen)
QUEEENSTOWN IS TRULY AN ADRENALINE PARADISE. All sorts of activities to choose from, provided you have the cash to pay for it. The bungy jump was an unforgettable experience but I would not say that it is the highlight of the trip. One true highlight is the accommodation along our trip. We had pleasant experiences with our hostels and Haka Lodge is one of the best. This colorful hostel near town has a very personal and friendly reception. The amenities are very clean and good enough even though we had a full house.
More activities can be found at Bob’s peak. Gondolas bring you uphill to Luge, wheeled buggy racing on concrete tracks, bungy jumping and paragliding. Even if you are done with extreme sports, the restaurant and bar offers wide views of the night skyline. For me, one dive is enough for the day. I’d rather rest comfortably on my upper bunk bed, still high above, but safe and grounded.