Bungee Jumping! Bungy Jump from the Kawarau Bridge near Queenstown, New Zealand with AJ Hackett!
The Kawarau Bridge Jump experience
The Kawarau Bridge Bungy is a famous bungy jump location near Queenstown, New Zealand. It is a great place to do your first bungy jump because at 43 meters, it doesn't get much lower than this. Bungy jumping (or bungee jumping) is really a mental thing so don't worry about the height - simply stop thinking for a few seconds and jump off the ledge!
This is the first commercial bungy jump site in the world (since 1988) and it is operated by AJ Hackett, also known as the guy who popularised bungy jumping.
In this article I'll share my experience of bungy jumping from the Kawarau Bridge Bungy and what to expect when you do your bungy jump! It doesn't matter whether it's your first jump or whether you've lost the count. The Kawarau Bridge Bungy remains a popular location to jump due to its fame and spectacular surroundings.
Any bungy jump fan should be able to say that he or she jumped at the location that started it all!
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Step 1: Sign up, pay and get weighed
There are two ways you can do a bungy jump at the Kawarau Bridge: you can sign up and pay at The Station on the corner of Camp Street and Shotover Street but you can also drive to the bungy jump location yourself and pay there. The Kawarau Bridge is near a normal road so when you're traveling south towards Queenstown you'll see the bungy jump location as well.
When you sign up they weigh you and they will write your weight on your left hand. You need to take all the things out of your pockets. You also need to take off scarfs and other clothing that you are not going to wear while you jump. It is for your safety so the bungy jump masters (the folks actually connecting you to the rope) know the weight of who is going to jump.
In my case I didn't sign a paper before my jump but if you do higher bungy jumps (such as the Nevis Bungy which is 134 meter) you will also have to sign that you won't sue the company when something goes wrong.
You will also need to tell them any medical conditions that might influence your jump, such as heart conditions, panic or anxiety, et cetera.
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Step 2: Getting from Queenstown to the Kawarau Bridge
If you sign up in Queenstown then they take you to the Kawarau Bridge for free with a van. While you're waiting for the van you can use the free internet at The Station or have a look around but make sure you're back in time for your pickup. Together with all the other bungy jumpers you'll be taken to the bridge which takes about 20 minutes if I remember correctly. During this ride your nervousness builds up a little but keep it under control.
When you get at the site they recommend you to jump as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the less likely you are to jump! Some people first want to take a few looks, then they become too afraid and they don't jump. Also, you can't get your money back so you better jump anyway! I had already been to this bungy jump location the day before so I was familiar with what it looked like. I walked straight onto the bridge and I was really one of the first people of our group to jump.
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Step 3: Jump!
The moment you've been waiting for: your actual bungy jump. It was my first bungy jump and you simply have no idea what to expect. I climbed into the little place next to the ledge and this is where they connect you to the bungy jump rope.
Before you jump they ask if you want to hit the water underneath or not. This is not a very high bungy jump location compared to others so they can control how deep you want to hit the water. You can choose between 1) not at all, 2) a little bit (head), or 3) as far as your waist. I decided to hit the water a little bit. In most bungy jump locations you can't do this so why not go for it here!
So how deep is the water under the Kawarau bridge? Well, it's deep enough to in there as far as your waist. It's also safe enough to do a bungee jump there! I haven't seen boats there but it's the water is not that shallow either.
What does a bungy jump feel like?
Looking down it was actually a bit higher than it looked from the spectator's point of view but I had no choice. I had to jump. Now. I spread my arms and let myself fall forwards. It is a little hard to jump when you legs are tied together but I'm quite happy with my posture and how I fell. You feel yourself falling and you feel how gravity soon takes over. Once you are off the ledge there's no turning back of course haha!
The fall itself was really amazing. It was not as fearful as one might expect. The fall lasts only a few seconds and you feel yourself weightlessly falling towards the planet. You can see the ground coming towards you. It is what they call the "ground rush" that bungy jumping has but skydiving does not.
I remember putting my arms near my head to protect myself as I was about to hit the water. I smoothly hit the water and I get pulled out by the rope. I bounce a few times and then they lower me into a boat. They don't drag you back up like at some other locations, they simply unlock you from the rope and you have to walk back up yourself.
Step 4: Be the hero of the day
You walk back up still thinking what just happened. You can now collect your bungy jump certificate, a free T-shirt and a discount voucher for the shop. You can also pay extra to get photos and a DVD of your jump. They're a great souvenir from New Zealand to show to your friends!
After your jump you will get a free T-shirt with the name of the bungy jump location and the height. Each AJ Hackett bungy jump has its own T-shirt so you can collect them like trophies. When you show your certificate you will also get a 20% discount at any other AJ Hackett jump in the world.
Knowing what I know now I would probably jump from a higher location to make the feeling of freefall last longer. The Kawarau Bridge is well-known and it has a great backdrop for photos - there is something special about jumping over water. If you are really an adrenaline junkie then go for it. Find the highest bungy jump you can find and jump! And remember - fear is all in your head!
Be prepared when traveling!
Would you bungy jump? Have you jumped before?
I think bungy jumping is a great experience and you should try it someday!
If you do, let me know where you jumped and how it felt like! New Zealand is a great country to do extreme sports and there are various bungy jump locations across the country, including several in Queenstown, one in Taupo and two in Auckland.
Bungy Jumping New Zealand - AJ Hackett
- Bungy Jumping New Zealand AJ Hackett
AJ Hackett Bungy offers a number of different adventure experiences in Queenstown and Auckland. From climbing the Auckland Harbour Bridge to plunging from The Nevis, New Zealands highest bungy jump.
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