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Nevis bungy or Nevis Swing? How about both!
Nevis bungy or Nevis Swing? How about both!
My Nevis bungy experience wasn't without complications... One gloriously sunny yet windy day my friend and fellow adventure junkie, Christel, my Mom (who was visiting from the UK) and I excitedly set off to venture over the Crown Range from Wanaka to Queenstown. We weaved the windy roads that separate the two towns, passing the Cardrona ski field, our usual destination of choice over the winter season. That days' trip however was for a much more exhilarating experience than launching myself off a 70 foot kicker on my snowboard! Being pretty well known for my fearless exploits by friends and family, I wasn't nervous in the slightest, having done a few bungys before and eager to get the biggest one in the Southern Hemisphere, under my belt – The Nevis Bungy at a whopping 134m!
We joined the masses of backpackers excitedly queuing up at the AJ Hackett desk in The Station Building, ready to participate in their chosen bungy. When it came to our turn to check in, I'm pretty sure Christel, handing over her passport, thought she was about to board an international flight somewhere! Weights were taken, waivers signed and the tell tale sign of anyone who's done a bungy that day - our hands were stamped with our weights and we were ready to go! As we had a quick 20 minutes to pass before boarding the transfer to the Nevis Gorge we popped to the bar next door so Christel could calm her nerves with a beer or two!
We all boarded the AJ Hackett bus for our 45 minute drive to the Nevis Gorge via the Kawarau bungy Bridge, home of the world’s first commercial bungy jump and the first stop. As we pulled off the main road the AJ Hackett bus, adapted for the winding roads with a huge sheer drop to the left, came into its own trudging up the hill. Passengers laughed nervously when they saw the drop but the driver was clearly well practiced with this route! Once near the top the jump pods came into view. Small cabins suspended in the middle of the gorge by metal cables seemingly floating in the middle of nowhere!
We jumped off the bus and were greeted by the staff, checked in, fitted with our harnesses and put into groups. My Mom, who was joining as a spectator, was also fitted with a harness. This is a great option for people who aren't quite crazy enough to do the bungy jump. $50 covers the cost of transfers and they get to join you out in the pod! The excitement was palpable... until that is everything was put on hold due to excessive winds! The excitement faded as everyone began to wait for the wind to die down and jumps to proceed. But it didn't! The wind only picked up, the tussocks were going wild, the dust was flying and group by group people gave up. We returned to Queenstown deflated and feeling slightly disappointed by Mother Nature’s affects on our big adventure! Not to be deterred, we rebooked for attempt number two first thing on a Sunday morning when, fingers crossed, the conditions would be perfect! Whilst it's rare for a bungy to be cancelled, I would recommend booking any weather dependent trips in Queenstown for the beginning of your holiday, that way there's plenty of time to reschedule.
Again we drove over to Queenstown, this time with Christel behind the wheel (probably more terrifying for us passengers than a bungy jump), picking up a hitch hiker en route who was very impressed with our early morning endeavours! Being well versed in the check in and transfer procedure we thought we'd mix it up this time and opted to drive to the Kawarau Bridge ourselves to be picked up by the bus and proceed to the Nevis site. When we got there everything was set to go and our excitement levels started to increase at the thought of finally taking the giant leap. We were fitted with harnesses, given a briefing and put into groups ready to head over to the jump pod. Five of us stepped in to the cable car to take the journey from the safety of the mountain top to being suspended in the middle of a huge gorge! Riding over we began to get a view of our impending doom and the shear drop below us. A seemingly tiny river ran below and before we knew it we were ready to get into the pod, closer to doing the jump than we had ever been! Inside, the latest tunes pumped, hyping all the jumpers up for the experience of a life time. The staff were fun yet professional, which is just what you need when you feel like you're putting your life in their hands!
As we waited for our turn, we nervously watched fellow thrill seekers plummet to earth through the glass floor of the pod. Their screams of excitement filled the air and huge grins covered their faces when they returned - mission accomplished! Finally it was my turn! I hopped over to the chair to get strapped in, wiggled on over to the platform ready to take the leap. I took in the spectacular surroundings and smiled for the obligatory photos, so hyped I was finally getting to jump! I took a giant leap into the void below and flew through air, the feeling is incredible, just soaring, plummeting towards the ground for the 8.5 seconds of free fall! Somehow I gathered a momentum that also sent me spinning round and round disorientating me so that I was unsure if I was going up or down. I bounced, once, twice, three times and as the instructor had said, reached for the safety pin to release my feet and return me to the seated position for the ascent back up. Slowly I started to ascend back up to the pod looking around and down at the incredible scenery. I returned, satisfied, heart pumping, with a huge smile plastered all over my face!
As soon as we got back to the check in desk at the base building above the gorge, we decided to attempt the Nevis swing together. Why not do the biggest swing in the world when you've gone all that way?! We were lucky enough to be squeezed in so we walked over to the swing platform, which is just over from the Nevis bungy. The guys strapped us in, chatting away seemingly without a care in the world, guiding us and filling our brave little hearts full of confidence, and then in no time, we were ready to go. We sat back in the harness, being told the last important bits and pieces. “Just sit back in your harness a bit more”, we obliged... “Oh what's that? Why's that not attached?” They said to me as they started to pull us towards them to take a closer look, or so I thought... Then out of nowhere we dropped and began plummeting backwards (our chosen swing type), duped by the guys up on the platform! We were soaring through the air laughing and smiling, hearts racing! We swung back and forth across the gorge laughing at each other, adrenaline pumping and very glad we made the decision to try out the swing! I thought the bungy would have been much more of an adrenaline rush than the swing but I was wrong!! It was such an enjoyable experience, totally exhilarating and you could really take in all the amazing surroundings. Sharing the moment with a friend makes it even better! We were reeled back in, thoroughly ecstatic and also proud our ourselves, thrilled with the days accomplishments.
After our bungy and swing, we purchased our photo and video packs. Wow, they really do capture some awesome footage. We grabbed the evidence along with our free t-shirts and caps and were ready to return to our friends to finally tell the tale of the Nevis Bungy and Swing! The whole experience was great from start to finish and the AJ Hackett team does a fantastic job of making you feel safe and comfortable at all times whilst still being professional, keeping it really fun! Definitely a must do whilst in Queenstown! Oh and to answer the question, 'should I do the Nevis bungy or the Nevis swing?'. Simple, do both!!
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