on Apr 14th, 2006
This morning we’ll be setting off to Queenstown for the long Easter weekend (we get Monday off too). Queenstown is located about 6 hours south of Christchurch and is a top tourist destination, along with being considered the adventure activity mecca in a country filled with extreme sports. We’ve planned to check out the whitewater rafting, jetboating and a day long hike on the Routeburn Track. There is loads to do in an around town so I don’t expect a lot of lounging around on this trip! And that all of this is nestled in the mountains near a picturesque lake doesn’t hurt.
Kiwis like their extreme sports and bungy jumping would qualify as such. The commercial version of the activity was (I’ve been told) born in New Zealand–in Queenstown no less! The original jump still operates there, but so do dozens of others. I skydove in 1998 as a thing to try, and bungy jumping has been on the list for years so I figured if I don’t do it in New Zealand, I probably won’t get around to it at all. Choosing a jump wasn’t too hard. There is price (ranging from expensive to very expensive), height, ambiance and gimmickry (i.e. night jumps, naked jumps, jumping from a parasails, etc.) Since I don’t think it really takes any skill, and I’ll probably bother only once or twice in my life, I decided to go for the highest static jump I could find. It just so happens that the supposed highest static jump in the world is in Queenstown! That’s good and bad, because I committed myself to do it, but after looking at lots of pictures of it and talking to lots of Xtreme people who refuse to do it because “it’s just too high”, I’m really getting queasy. The Nevis Highwire is not the typical jump from a bridge or off a ledge. Rather, AJ Hacket–the bungy empire in NZ–spent millions building a jump pod suspended (photos: 1, 2) about 134m (440ft) above the Nevis Gorge. At this height you get to enjoy an 8.5 second free fall. There are purportedly all sort of innovations and patents surrounding the whole system, but I don’t think many care because it’s just so damn high!
I’m booked on this jump and they have my credit card number. Monday morning I’ll go do this and Angela will watch (maybe). It’s all supposed to be safe and certified, but writing a pre-jump blog seemed nonetheless like a good idea. I hope to write the next post too!
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