The Scariest Thing I Have Ever Done

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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.

Nevis Highwire Bungy, Queenstown, New Zealand

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.

Taupo Bungy
Going for the water touch in Taupo!

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

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?”

Nevis Bungy, Queenstown, New Zealand

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.

Terrifying, right?

Nevis Bungy, Queenstown, New Zealand
I may not look scared, but I was terrified.

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.

Nevis Highwire Bungy, Queenstown, New Zealand
I cope with fear by acting silly…

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.

Nevis Bungy

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.

Nevis Bungy, Queenstown, New Zealand

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.

Nevis Bungy, Queenstown, New Zealand
I'm alive!

The Nevis Swing

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.

Nevis Arc

The Nevis Swing is unlike any other swing you've ever been on!

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…).

Nevis Arc

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.

Nevis Canyon

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.)

Nevis Bungy:

Nevis Swing:

READ NEXT: Completing the Bungee Jumping Trifecta in Queenstown

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.

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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108 Comments on “The Scariest Thing I Have Ever Done

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  1. oh my.. just reading that made my palms sweat and once I got to the videos my heart was racing. I have a bungee jump in a month or so in Cairns, Australia. I am having nightmares about it already. Not certain why I am scared, however from my experiences I am scared of heights but that scare is relatively mild. However, I am very concious and scared for my safety and I think thats where both phobias come in to haunt me in the run up to this bungee jump, making me wonder wether I will back out last minute.

      Well I hope you go through with it, Alex! You’ll feel really accomplished if you do!

    Had a heart attack watching your arc! Can imagine how great – is that the right word? – you might feel afterwards having conquered your fear though. And the adrenaline rush. You are so brave! I couldn’t do it!!

      The adrenaline rush and feeling of accomplishment afterwards are amazing – better than any drug anyone could ever take!

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    I always considered trying bungy jumping at some point in my life, but high places aren’t exactly my favorite places. I figure if I’m going to face my fear of heights, then I might as well go all out and just try skydiving.

      I’ve actually heard some people say buggy jumping is scarier than skydiving! Mostly because you’re more aware of the height when buggy jumping, and you physically have to do the jumping yourself, as opposed to being strapped on to someone else.

        I definitely think bungee jumping is scarier! I went sky diving and bungee jumping (video of it on our website) over the course of 2 days in New Zealand and definitely found bungee jumping to be much scarier – mainly as you said because with bungee you actually have to push yourself off as opposed to sky diving where the instructor just lets you know hes going to push out of the plane and you have no choice in the matter!

    I’ve yet to do that…was it fun? Beautiful scenery.

      It’s a challenge and an absolute adrenaline rush. Not sure if I’d call it “fun,” because I was terrified for about a day beforehand, but it was absolutely worth it in the end!

    I’m fifteen and we’re going on a holiday to new zealand towards the end of this year, argh i want to go bungy jumping,i’ve never jumped before but i love adrenaline things, haha but i’m scared but i know i’ll regret it if i don’t do it . It will be fun, I think i’m going to queenstown or i could go to the shotover one. I don’t think i can quite do the nevis yet, what’s the first freefall part like?

      Oh how exciting!! That will be a really fun holiday. And, if you like adrenaline activities, you definitely should try bungy jumping! It truly is a rush. For your first time, one of the best places is the Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown — it’s where modern-day bungy jumping was born! Plus, it’s a very memorable spot.

      The Nevis is definitely terrifying, I won’t lie. Lol. The freefall at Nevis is intense! Crazy long (like 8 seconds), and takes your breath away. If you’re a little scared about it, I’d definitely suggest a more tame jump for your first time!

    Forgot to mention that this is exactly what I think of when I think of bungee jumping. The rope breaking and landing in croc-infested water with my feet tied together!

      Well, that’s why you don’t go bungy jumping over croc-infested rivers. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Or rather, that’s why *you* don’t go bungee jumping over croc-infested rivers. It’s why *I* don’t go bungee jumping at all!

        More seriously, it’s amazing that gal came out if it with little more than a truly adrenaline-laden experience. She’s one lucky girl….

          It really is amazing that she had no major injuries.

          But as far as using this example to scare people off of bungy jumping… yes, it’s terrifying and unfortunate, but if you compare the number of bungy accidents each year with the number of car accidents each year (or even the percentages), it’s actually much more dangerous to drive to work each day than jump off a bridge with a big elastic band tied around your ankles!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

          You are, of course, totally correct, and I was more joking than anything else. Nobody should use this accident as a reason not to try it if they are so inclined!

          While I’m not inclined to bungee jump it’s not because I’m afraid things will go wrong – I just prefer to get my adrenaline in more active ways. I’ve come close enough to dying in the mountains and white water kayaking to suit any adrenaline junkie. And I’ve fallen enough times rock climbing to be totally “over” any feelings that could be construed as positive when it comes to the sensation of falling!

    I love re-watching this. “Oh SHIT …..”…

    I have wondered a couple of times – what safeguards do they take to ensure someone suicidal doesn’t just jump by when not tied in, and do a one-way jump?

      Well, you put the harnesses on inside the building, before you go outside. And while you’re on the platforms, the people working there always have you clipped onto some sort of rope or another. They really are quite safety-conscious. Plus, you have to pay before you even get to the jump site…

        Makes sense. I’m sure that they are at least slightly concerned about suicides, while mostly being concerned about people doing immensely stupid things before they’re safetied!

        I’m not sure paying in advance is likely to discourage suicide, but being clipped in certainly will ๐Ÿ™‚

    We were just talking about our bungee jumping experience last night. The setting wasn’t nearly as beautiful as yours (it was over a huge swimming pool in South Korea) but just as scary. We were only hooked up by our legs and was terrifying! Don’t know if I’d go that route again. Your photos are awesome and there’s one where you’re in mid air and it doesn’t look like you’re hooked up to anything! Crazy!

      The Nevis was perhaps the most intense and terrifying thing I have ever done. And yet it was also SO fun. Bungy jumping over a swimming pool sounds a bit odd… there’s one spot in NZ you can jump basically over a car park, though, so I suppose there are weirder locations! Lol.

    Wow. I love giant swings, so I definitely want to do the Arc!

      It’s the mother of all giant swings, that’s for sure! Really fun though.

    Wow. No, I wouldn’t try it, because I’m sure I would die of heart attack mid-bounce. ๐Ÿ™‚ And even if the odds of a catastrophic accidental plunge to your death are miniscule, why tempt fate? You are obviously much braver than I am!

    Wow… I’m just scared just looking at this….

      You know what? It even scares ME a little bit to look at these photos and watch the videos now!

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