I am slowly inching my feet towards the edge of the wooden platform when I catch a glimpse down of the river below. Perhaps I gasp out loud or my body tenses but the instructor tells me to look up like he knows the thought – “I can’t do this” – has just entered my head.
I am at the Kawarau Bridge, just outside of Queenstown and I am about to do my first ever bungy jump (and probably my last!) AJ Hackett Bungy run the show around here and I have purposely picked this location as it is the original site in New Zealand and it is over water, which I thought would make it easier to jump instead of looking at solid ground. However 43m is still very high and from the view of the platform numbers don’t mean much at all. Can I do this?
I can hear the cheer of the Contiki crew watching from the viewing platform. I’m the last to jump from the group who decided to do this today. This isn’t a spur of the moment decision for me. I’ve been considering this jump for three years, since we first looked into New Zealand for a holiday (our annual leave request was denied and then a whole bunch of things happened, like getting married and more travel before we finally made it here). In my head I have always thought if I came to New Zealand I have to do a crazy activity and it has to be the bungy jump because, let’s face it, it is kind of iconic to New Zealand.
And here I am. I know I have to jump on the countdown or else it probably won’t happen. I don’t even know if I have the strength in my legs to jump off and I clearly look terrified. But the moment is here. I’m looking up as he counts down and I jump with my eyes closed and don’t open them until I feel the bounce back up. It was a slightly awkward jump but I did it and I am now bouncing around, hanging upside down by my feet.
I had real concerns that this was going to hurt and in the lead up to my trip I asked every person I knew who had done a bungy if it hurt – everyone said no. And no, it didn’t hurt. I also had concerns about my feet slipping out – “what do you mean they wrap a towel around my ankles?” – but watching them secure me in I knew that there was no way my feet were coming out. And if the bungy cord broke? Well, it was a calculated risk and with their safety rating the odds of things being just fine were absolutely in my favour.
Did I like it? I loved that I had done it but no, I did not enjoy hanging by my feet and bouncing around. Considering my huge fear of heights, I’m pretty damn proud of myself. If you are thinking about it – DO IT. It makes a great story to tell people………
*this jump took place in February 2014*