"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience
in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do
the thing you think you cannot." - Eleanor Roosevelt
Day 4 – Wednesday
This was another big day for us. We woke up early and packed the man-van and headed back to Queenstown. This was only a three-hour drive and was another exciting drive. When we arrived at our hostel we checked in and got ready for our whitewater-rafting trip we had booked earlier in the week.
As we got to the rafting place we waited a few minutes then boarded a bus. We had a five-minute bus ride to “camp” where we received all of our gear, which was very similar to that of the kayak trip. This time we got helmets instead of hats. We then had a forty-minute drive to the top of the river where we were to start rafting.
As we started driving on this gravel road we realized this was the only road that we were not allowed to drive our rental car on in all of New Zealand. Just as we realized this our bus driver told us this was the 17th most dangerous road to drive in the world (I don’t want to see the other 16.) While I am not one to scared of these kind of things I was a little bit worried on this road. At one point the front wheel of our bus was off the cliff and it looked like we were going over.
It was nice to arrive safely and get ready to hit the water. We had some instruction and then got in the raft. I have been rafting in North Carolina at the Olympic Kayak Training Facility where there was lots of rapids and a couple times down the Little Miami river in Ohio and it was terrible because there were hardly any rapids. We were expecting big rapids and were really let down on the rafting as it was more like the Little Miami.
We spent a bunch of money on this rafting trip and were not pleased with the result especially since three of the guys had never been rafting before. Regardless we made the most of it as we always do and had a good time. After rafting we headed back to the room and relaxed as we had an even bigger day ahead of us for Thursday.
Day 5 – Thursday
Bungy Jump Day! This was the thing I was most excited about doing in New Zealand and was one of my main motives of going here for spring break. After all this was the number 3 thing I wanted to do while in Australia. We woke up at 9 (the latest we slept in all break) and walked down the street to visit our friends at AJ Hackett Bungy. We signed up to do our bungy jump and some of us signed up to do a canyon swing as well.
I along with Spenser and Jason signed up for the Kawarau Bridge bungy. The reason I signed up for this one was because it was the site of the first bungy jump in the world. It is also the only bungy jump in the world where you can get “dunked” in the water. This bungy was 43 meters high (141 feet.) Jeremy, Nick, Eddie and Rob chose to do the Nevis bungy which is the third highest in the world at 134 meters (439 feet.) While this bungy looked really cool, I felt getting dunked in the water was cooler than the extra 3 seconds of free fall.
We showed up to the bridge and walked through the building and they took are weight and sent us right to the bridge. It was until this walk that the nerves set in. Having jumped out of a plane at 15,000 feet you would think I would have no fear but I definitely had some butterflies.
We got to the bridge and they took Spenser and I and started attaching everything to our legs. Luckily they had some rap music blasting really loud, which put our game faces on. When they called me up I had to waddle to the edge like a penguin. Once I got to the edge the guy told me to turn to the camera and take a couple pictures for Cincinnati, which put a smile on my face. He then told me I was good to jump and gave me a 3,2,1 and I spread my arms and jumped off a perfectly good bridge.
Those four seconds of free fall was one of the greatest feelings I have ever had in my life. I ended up getting dunked to about my stomach, which made the jump even better. Bungy jumping wasn’t anywhere near as scary as I thought. I got a great thrill out of it but its really not an extreme sport, its more of a mental leap.
Anyone can do it, its just a matter that you believe in yourself, have faith that you’ll be able to defy gravity and do whatever it takes to end up safely on your feet. The chances of dying are one in a million. You have a one in 6,000 chance that you will die in a car crash in any given year. So I will challenge anyone that reads this to take a leap of faith and go bungy jumping in your lifetime. Don’t make any excuses, it will change your life forever and I will guarantee it. I am going to make sure my dad and brother bungy jump while they are in Cairns!
After this we headed over to the other bungy that the other guys were doing. This was also where the swing was. I ended up doing the swing in a tandem with Spenser, so we would go even faster. This is the tallest swing in the world and it goes across a canyon. You start at 109 meters up and drop 70 meters then your “arc” is 300 meters across the canyon.
I was actually more nervous for this swing because of the entrance. There is a tiny bridge that leads you to the ledge and I took one step on that bridge which is 109 meters above the ground and the whole thing shook. The wind was shaking it as well.
The scariest part about the swing is that they just put you in a harness and they told Spenser and I to sit back which means we basically sit down off the ledge, which really made my stomach drop. Once we were off the ledge and in the air I was more than ready to go. The drop was crazy fast but after that it was just swinging back and forth and was kind of boring. A lot of people prefer the swing more but I prefer the bungy a lot more.
After the full day of activities we went to the ice bar in the evening. It usually is $32 to go to the ice bar for an adult. We found a deal for $10 and it included a free drink. They gave us coats and gloves and we headed in. When we first got in we were like kids in a candy shop we thought it was awesome. We got our free drink which came in a cup that was made out of ice, and hung out in what we called the ice box (it wasn't very big.) After about fifteen minutes we were ready to go. It was a neat thing to do but as we had heard it is very overrated.