While you might not exactly call me a “daredevil,” there's no denying that I do have a healthy appetite for adrenaline. There's a reason that I have been bungy jumping three times and why I have things like “swimming with sharks” on my bucket list. I like the rush. I like the challenge. And, I'll admit, you do automatically gain some cool points when you throw yourself off a bridge or out of a plane.
But just because I enjoy things like zip-lining and whitewater rafting doesn't mean that I'm totally immune to the fear that often goes along with these activities.
In fact, despite having done it twice before, I think it's safe to say that my third bungy jump was the scariest thing I have ever done.
It was back in May, during my Blog4NZ trip around New Zealand. I was in Queenstown, the little southern resort town where adrenaline junkies like me go to get their fix. I love Queenstown. For being as small as it is, it certainly packs a punch — and that punch includes a ton of crazy adventure sports, from jetboating to skydiving to bungy jumping.
I've bungy jumped before in Queenstown — off the 43-meter-high Kawarau Bridge, which is where modern bungy jumping was “invented” by A.J. Hackett back in the 1980s. I've also been bungy jumping in Taupo, where a 48-meter-high platform offers up the country's tallest water-touch.
But kiwis — especially the adventurous ones — are constantly looking for ways to up the ante; to outdo their own craziness.
A.J. Hackett, not content to have invented one of the world's more ridiculous sports and be operating in locations all over the world, dreamt up the Nevis Highwire Bungy.
The Nevis Bungy, located in the stunning Nevis Canyon, is the mother of all bungy jumps. With a 35-minute backcountry 4×4 ride necessary to just get to the jump site, this is not a jump for the faint of heart.
And did I mention the cable car required to get you out to the “jump pod?”
Or how about the fact that this jump is 134 meters high??
That's 440 feet. That's more than 40 stories. That's 3 times taller than the Statue of Liberty.
I'm still not quite sure how I talked myself into doing it. But it probably had something to do with the fact that I had a free pass for both the Nevis Bungy and the Nevis Arc (a giant swing) as part of my Blog4NZ prize. Bungy jumping is NOT cheap, so to be able to do something like this for free was simply too good to pass up.
But that doesn't mean that I didn't have to psyche myself up for 2 days before even going to book my jump…
After that, there was no backing out. Was I nervous on the ride out to the canyon? You bet. Was I scared riding in the cable car out to the jump pod? Absolutely. And do I still get butterflies looking at my bungy photos or watching my jump video? Umm, hell yes.
But, once I was out in that pod and having my gear put on, I became strangely calm. This was just another challenge that I was going to overcome, and I knew I could do it.
And, even though I seriously thought I might die as I penguin-waddled my way to the edge of the jump platform, I jumped obediently on the count of 3.
Even though I've been bungy jumping before, nothing could have prepared me for the Nevis rush. Falling 134 meters is insane. You're going so fast that the breath is literally knocked out of you — I jumped screaming, but that scream was caught in my throat after about a second. Not to scare you, but I've heard of people actually blacking out on this jump because of the intense head-rush.
Oh, and did I mention that, unlike at other bungy sites where you are lowered head-first into a boat after your jump, at the Nevis you are reeled back up to the jump platform? Because you are. Which means, unless you want to be dangling upsidedown for 2 minutes, you have to release your feet from the bungy cord…
… That's right, you have to pull on a cord as you're dangling bottoms-up in a canyon that releases your feet so that you end up in a sitting position in your bungy harness.
Somehow, though, I survived. Actually, everyone who's conquered their fear at the Nevis has survived.
So what did I do to celebrate? I went over to another platform, where I hung myself upsidedown in a giant swing harness 160 meters above the Nevis River and was launched in a 300-meter arc in the world's largest swing.
Fun? YES. It would have been even more fun if I'd had someone to swing with me. Then we could have gone tandem in a compromising position like “Honeymoon” or “69” (yeah, use your imagination on that one…).
So, bottom line, would I recommend these Nevis adventure sports to others? Absolutely. But be warned that it might be the scariest thing you will ever do.
And now for the videos! (Excuse the extremely low quality… I literally had to MacGyver these things in order to upload them. But you get the idea.)
So what do you think? Would you try the Nevis Bungy or Arc?
Disclaimer: I received a free pass for both the Nevis Bungy and Nevis Arc, care of A.J.Hackett, as part of my Blog4NZ prize package. But as always, all opinions are my own.