Bungy jumping in Queenstown (part I): what you need to know before jumping

It’s inescapable when you’re in Queenstown. People sporting AJ Hackett T-shirts paired with a euphoric grin, high-fiving each other. That’s what bungy jumping in Queenstown does to you. The countless flyers and prospects featuring people hanging upside down, ankles attached to a rubber rope. The constant excited buzz of people telling tales of their braveries… It’s infectious!

Bungy jumping from Kawarau Bridge

Bungy jumping from Kawarau Bridge

Are you planning your first bungy jump and wonder how it all works? Let me give you a rundown of how the craziness evolves, step by step.

First things first: bungy jumping in Queenstown

If you’re keen to bungy, Queenstown is just perfect. The adventure capital of the world comes with stunning scenery, an excited atmosphere and heaps of exhilarated visitors. In short, Queenstown is THE place to throw yourself off a bridge!

Choice ay: bungy jump sites

You have 3 options with AJ Hackett: the “classic”, Kawarau Bridge, the world’s first commercial bungy jump, just a 20 minute drive outside Queenstown (43m); the Ledge Bungy, from a specially constructed “bridge” from Bob’s Peak (47m), only a short gondola ride away from town; or the Nevis Bungy, from a pod suspended by cables over a deep canyon, a 40 minute drive outside Queenstown (134m).

The fundamental difference between those three options, apart from the height of the jumps, is the ways in which you leap. At both Kawarau and the Nevis, your ankles are tied up and your rope is connected to your ankle harness. At the Ledge, however, your bungy cord is connected to the safety harness on your waist. So, to make your decision on the site easier, maybe have a think about your jump style, or how you’d like to jump off the platform.

It’s all about style: how to bungy jump

Kawarau bridge bungy jump

Swan dive off Kawarau Bridge

At the Ledge, the body harness allows you to run off the platform and do all kinds of crazy things in the air: somersaults, kung fu kicks, flips, twists, a cartwheel, etc. If you decide to go for Kawarau Bridge, you’ll be spoilt for choice on how to jump: forwards, backwards, a tandem with a friend, touch the water, be dunked in the water, etc. Staff will enthusiastically give you details on the many jump styles, so you can get some inspiration there. At the Nevis Bungy, 8.5 seconds of falling will probably make up for the lack of options in terms of jump style: forwards is the only way. Of course, if it’s too hard to decide, you can always combine all three locations, commit to the “Thrillogy”, and do all three bungy jumps in one day!

Ready to commit? Buy your bungy jump

You can buy your ticket at the bungy centre at Kawarau Bridge, at the AJ Hackett centre on Shotover Street in downtown Queenstown, or in other tourism centres offering activity bookings. In the summer months it is advisable to book a time and date ahead, but it shouldn’t be a problem during the remainder of the year to just roll up to the Kawarau Bridge centre and buy a jump on the day (I have done both). There are complimentary shuttle services from Queenstown to Kawarau Bridge and the Nevis Bungy site, whereas purchasing a jump from the Ledge does not include the gondola ride up to Bob’s Peak.

Proof of bravery: bungy jump photos and video

There are several purchase options available: “just” a bungy jump, your jump plus photos, your jump plus DVD, or the all inclusive package with photos and DVD. You can also choose whether you’d like your media material on a USB stick or on a DVD. No matter what package you choose, you always get a certificate and a T-shirt that is not for sale and only available to jumpers.

When you need help to gather courage

Kawarau bridge bungy

Slightly nervous before the bungy jump

Oh, and for the nervous: before you do the deed, head on over to The Winehouse and Kitchen, where the essence of bungy comes in glass bottles. Henry van Asch, the co-founder of AJ Hackett Bungy, owns the venue, which is situated right next to the Kawarau Bungy Centre. Do a little wine tasting, takes the edge off a bit. His wines are aptly branded “Freefall.” They also do the trick afterwards. Cheers!

Next steps: what happens when you bungy jump

Got these basics sorted and eager to know it all works from here? My next post will explain your bungy journey to becoming a jolly jumper in a few simple steps.

In the meantime, check out these links:

AJ Hackett Bungy

The Winehouse and Kitchen

Christina Hegele

About the author: Christina Hegele runs Sandal Road, a blog on her favourite destinations. It just so happened that 95% turned out to be about New Zealand. Follow Christina and her blog on Twitter, like her blog on Facebook, and subscribe to her Youtube channel. Alternatively, subscribe to her email newsletter at the top right of this blog.

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  2 comments for “Bungy jumping in Queenstown (part I): what you need to know before jumping

  1. 8 February, 2011 at 18:15

    Very detailed. Thanks for this 🙂

    • 23 March, 2011 at 19:00

      Thanks, Christopher! You gotta know your options if you want to bungy! It’s as easy as 5-4-3-2-1…!

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