*This site may contain affiliate links from trusted travel partners. When you purchase through a link on this site, I may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.*
I am not sure why jumping off large objects, rocks, or planes truly makes us feel alive—but I’m not complaining! Maybe it is the surge of adrenaline rushing through our bodies or the bragging rights, but these kinds of activities have well earned their place on most people’s list of things they need to do before they die.
And bungee jumping is no exception. This one might be just for the hard core adrenaline junkies, but it nonetheless deserves to be talked out on a bucket list blog!
My Bucket List Review of Bungee Jumping with AJ Hackett
|My Overall Rating||6/10|
|Who Needs to Add This to Their Bucket List?||Adrenaline junkies who love free-falling.|
|Best Time to Go||December to March|
|Group/Tour Required||Yes, please don’t do this by yourself.|
If you need more information, you check out all you need to know about my Bucket List Reviews.
Why Should Bungee Jumping be Added to Your Bucket List?
Now let’s quick chat about why on Earth you would willingly take a swan dive with nothing but a rope attached to your ankles. This was at least my internal discussion when I was standing on the edge of a platform with nothing below me.
Most people that I know compare this to skydiving. Let me be clear—this is a completely different beast to conquer. With my experience with skydiving, I didn’t exactly have a choice whether or not to jump.
This was mostly due to the fact that I was directly strapped to a qualified tandem buddy. I may have chosen to participate, but at the end of the day, it was he who jumped.
Bungee Jumping is a Mental Challenge
Bungee jumping is different and, in my opinion, it is more of a mental challenge than skydiving. This is because it is YOU who decides to jump; your buddy doesn’t do it for you. When you are waddling out onto that platform preparing to jump, every inch of your body seems to be screaming, “This feels wrong! You shouldn’t be this high up! You are going to die!”.
It takes a very mentally strong person to override these instinctual red flags and take the ultimate leap. I would not consider myself a person who is afraid of heights, but it even made my stomach a little queasy! Quick note–if you ARE a fan of heights, I would also check out this hotel in Peru that would be your dream come true.
The reason that I would recommend doing this activity before you die is that once you take control of your fears yourself and take the jump (quite literally!) it can feel extremely rewarding. After that mental and emotional victory, all you have left to do is…well…fall.
A small disclaimer (because I did say honest), I think that everyone should feel that mental victory, but this was pretty scary. I don’t think it is for everybody and I’m not sure that I would do it over and over again.
Where did I Go Bungee Jumping?
If I was going to jump off a platform and go into a total free-fall situation, I wanted to do it right! That’s why I chose the original home of the first commercial bungee jump: AJ Hackett!
Cause who wouldn’t want to take the leap in the adventure capital of the world: Queenstown, New Zealand? I know that there are other locations within New Zealand, but I’ll just focus on Queenstown for now!
To start, I had two options. I could go with a beautiful view from Kawarau Bridge Bungy or the higher Nevis Bungy.
If you are going on the bungee for bragging rights and beautiful photos, then Kawarau Bridge might be the option for you. It comes with some nice jump variation such as the water touch where they can give the rope just enough slack for you to touch the crystal clear blue water below. I also read that there is a tandem option.
This wasn’t an option when I went and although I don’t recommend it because I think you should jump yourself, it might be the only way some people will participate in this activity. Something is better than nothing!
Don’t get me wrong, any bungee jump is going to be a scary experience, but if this is a major fear for you then this option might be the place to start. It is beautiful, done by many tourists, off of a bridge, and is a 43m/141ft dive. All things considered, it could be a lot worse…
This sounded incredible, but when I compared it to the higher and much scarier Nevis Bungy, I had to go for that one (yes, I am okay…I think).
This baby is the highest in New Zealand—134m/440ft and 8.5 seconds of pure terror and adrenaline. Instead of diving off of a bridge, you are diving off a platform that is suspended in the air.
The whole thing including the bus drive took about 4 hours and I also purchased the add-on videos and photos because if I’m being truly honest with myself I’m just not sure I would do it again.
What to Expect + My Personal Experience with Bungee Jumping
Before I get started, I would like to say that this is based off of my own personal experiences. Your actual experience is going to largely depend on the company you go with, your personal fears, and how well you handle being in a total free-fall situation.
Bungy Jumping with AJ Hackett
As I said early, I ended up choosing the Nevis Bungy. I arrived at the shop/bus station about 30 minutes early. This gave me plenty of time to walk around the store and accumulate a healthy amount of nerves.
The bus ride itself was filled with wonderful scenery before we stopped at the first stop at the Kawarau Bridge. I had just enough time to grab a coffee and flick myself on the forehead for not just choosing the shorter one off the bridge. Then it was back to the bus! We had a bit longer in the bus until we hit a dirt road that took us to our final destination.
Once we were there, I bought some warmer socks and we went through the stereotypical safety briefing videos. After signing some waivers it was time to get geared up and head to the platform.
Do you remember when I told you that you were going to be jumping from a platform suspended in the air? Well that means that you have to get to the platform suspended in the air. Not that it was scary or anything, but it was a little weird standing on a plate that was wheeled out in the middle of a canyon.
We then were finally to the middle main platform. There was an area where we could stand and hang out when we weren’t jumping. I was about 4th or 5th to do, which did absolutely nothing for my nerves.
What I felt when I Actually Jumped
Finally, it was my turn to take the leap. I sat in this reclined chair while 3 employees surrounded me. They hooked me up to all of these funky straps and ropes that I knew nothing about. It’s funny how I knew absolutely nothing about how they worked yet in the next 5 minutes, they would be responsible for my entire life.
After I was all hooked up, I waddled like a penguin to the edge looking to the horizon. Then I looked down, which I admit now was my first mistake. Trying not to think about it, the staff member told me I was all clear and I jumped without hesitation.
For a brief moment, I was really proud of myself for jumping! Then…I fell. Now if I am being honest I have never been a fan of the dropping rides at amusement parks and this felt just like one of those rides but 10x more intense.
My stomach literally felt like it was going to come through my throat. I couldn’t even scream because it felt like I didn’t have any air I was falling so fast. 8.5 seconds seemed to last a lifetime. But then, as with everything in life, it passed.
I was then hanging there by my feet glaring at the ground. Normally, you would pull a strap to swing you upright to enjoy the ride sitting upright. I, however, could not find the strap and did the entire journey hanging by my feet. It felt a little like getting reeled in like a fish but there was no complaints from me!
After they reeled me in and got me all unhooked, we got back on the platform to return to the lodge and watch our videos and photos. Easy, right?!
Tips and Recommendations
Jump Right Away!
I cannot say this enough: jump right when they tell you to! It is natural to hesitate when they tell you to jump because what they are telling you to do feels very unnatural and dangerous (even though you are strapped in and taken care of by professionals).
This hesitation only makes you overthink it more and makes it harder to jump when you eventually try again. Don’t think about what you are about to do. Just do. Let go and just jump.
Get used to the sensation (and see if you even like it)
If you have an amusement park that drops you (think the Tower of Tower at Disney), that is very similar to the sensation. Granted, this is more intense and you have less of an illusion of safety since you aren’t harnessed into a comfy seat upright (you are flying head first with the only contact point being your feet).
However, it might help just to feel a taste of it first. For those of you who haven’t felt this, it feels like your stomach is moving upward and it is quite a strange feeling. I personally don’t care for it but I know that some people enjoy the experience.
Maybe don’t eat a ton of food before
Previously, we talked about the feeling in your stomach that you get when you are free-falling.
I can’t imagine that it would coincide very well with a stomach full of food. I ate something small for the nerves and was completely fine, but I am glad that I didn’t have a full-fledged meal. \
Purchase the photo and videos
If it is in your budget and especially if you don’t see yourself doing bungee again, I would recommend getting the video/photo package.
In all of my travel photos and videos, my bungee video is easily the number one thing that people want to see. And most of the time, they will watch it several times just to believe it!
Are you interesting in going bungee jumping? Don’t forget to share the love and share it below!