Stepping onto the ledge, looking down beyond my naked body, a yellow raft eagerly awaited my descent. 43 meters below, the Kawarau River glared back at me, seemingly taunting my nerves. I wore only a pair of socks and my New Balance trainers; the towel had been removed from my waist, baring all, and a lengthy bungee cord had been attached to my ankles.
No turning back now.
I did not experience the fear and distress I had been anticipating for over a year. I was enthused! This was to be my first bungee jump and the lovely staff at AJ Hackett had somehow talked me into jumping nude. “Better get your soldier angry!” Regan exclaimed. “No, maybe just a bit annoyed!” It was far too cold on this winter morning to attempt to show off.
“Look over there!” the other man on the ledge shouted as the camera man clicked the shutter. Shoot. I forgot this was being recorded.
The three second countdown passed far too quickly and, as the word “jump” departed his lips, I spread my arms and fell forward in a beautifully orchestrated swan dive. As the surface of the water plummeted towards my face I found myself reaching! I wasn’t scared. I wanted more! I was thrilled, disoriented and in complete and utter shock. I did it, and I loved it!
As I swung from the rope I screamed in exhilaration, intoxicated by the adrenaline. The man in the raft, who had now maneuvered his way underneath me, looked at me and said “mate, you better cover that thing up!”
I was lowered into the vessel, brought back to shore, and brazenly begun my ‘walk of shame’ to the front desk where Kate was holding my clothes hostage. Men, women and children stared at me in horror as I ran past, covered by nothing but my own two hands. This was supposed to be a family show! Too late for that.
I retrieved my clothes, dressed, and sighed with relief. As I stepped into the foyer I was greeted with a DVD of my jump and a number of very unflattering photos. I tucked them away and joined the rest of the group outside as a spectator.
I had not known what to expect on my first bungee jump, but the staff at AJ Hackett, namely Myriam and Regan, the leaders of our group, had instilled excitement and a sense of calm into most. Others still wavered, fearing the jump, imagining what would surely become their demise. Everybody at AJ Hackett was obviously well-versed in relaxation techniques as a number of people in our group needed some cautious reassurance. It was well received and everybody completed their jump.
The Nevis Bungee
134 meters above the Nevis River, a small “room” is held in suspension by a set of cables attached to the cliff’s edge on either side of the river. The Nevis Bungee, at 134 meters (440 feet), seemed far higher than I had originally imagined, but I was filled with vivacity. Of course, as I approached the ledge, I second, third and fourth-guessed myself. This is the second highest commercial bungee jump in the world! Being the risk-taker that I am (some just call me stupid!), and after a few deep breaths, I jumped with minimal hesitation. It occurred to me that the longer I were to stand there, the more I would frighten myself.
Who cares anyway? This is what living is all about!
The eight second freefall felt like an eternity at the time yet, upon its completion, felt like it was over in less than that.
The Nevis isn’t so much about fun as it is conquering one’s fears and overcoming self-doubt. Don’t get me wrong–it’s definitely fun. But the other jumps are a bit more lively and feel a bit less serious. One member of our group, though able to jump the Kawarau Bridge that morning, could not force herself to take the plunge. It’s all personal preference, though, and if you can’t do it, you can’t do it. Nobody’s making you. For me, though, the Nevis was an exhilarating experience; it was a once in a lifetime materialization of panic, anxiety, veneration and reprieve.
The Nevis Swing
After lunch we walked our way across the bridge to AJ Hackett’s latest creation–the Nevis Swing (a.k.a. Nevis Arc). This here is the highest swing in the world, sitting level with the mountain-tops at 300 meters above the river. As some hip-hop mash-ups played in the background, one very excited man and one hysterical woman clipped themselves in.
The interesting bit about the swing, which makes it far more attractive to those less willing, is the release mechanism. Rather than jumping by one’s own volition, a staff member (or devious friend) can press the button, dropping you 70 meters before transitioning into the swing portion of the fall.
The man on the ledge reached out to the woman and cried “oh wait, I forgot to clip your harness!” At this very second, he also pressed the big green button, instantly dropping the couple out of my sight. I tried to locate their position within the massive valley but I was unable to find them. It’s just that big.
Next to “drop” was myself and Roy, a friend in need of some convincing to harness ourselves upside-down and backwards. A few one-liners and a couple jabs at his masculinity unhurriedly reshaped his stance and we suited-up, locked in to the mechanism and let our hands go.
Sitting down hardly seems natural for 160 meters in the air. Roy struggled with a wedgie as we positioned ourselves upside down. Even with a three-second countdown, it’s impossible to know the exact moment when that button will get pressed, hurling you into a 300 meter arc. The anticipation after the word “one” is massive. And then…
Blood rushed to my head as I was hit with numerous G-forces, hitting speeds of up to 150km/h. The ground came closer and I swear we just barely brushed it. As we hit the apex of the swing we relaxed, waited for the calm and flipped ourselves upright. Number three: check. And knackered.
With one jump left, though, the day isn’t quite over. The Skyline Gondola, on the way to the top of Queenstown Hill, is furnished with incredible views of Queenstown from 400 meters above it.
One jump to go.
The Ledge Bungee
This bungee jump, at a comfortable 47 meter drop, gives the more experienced an option to jump freestyle. Fall from a handstand, ride a bike off the edge or do any sort of flip you might be able to muster. I chose the latter and went for the gainer!
As the man unclipped my harness from the safety line he looked at me and reassuringly asserted, “commit, then jump.” And that’s exactly what I did.
What this man failed to realize, though, is that in just three words, he had just encapsulated the entire day. The whole experience was about commitment. Commitment to oneself, to overcoming fears, to letting go of everything we once knew and creating a new perception of ourselves.
These are the moments that change you.
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Total freedom…. free-flight, free-fall, freely nude !!! …and later, free to recall defying death itself. This has GOT to be the most exhilaration a mind and body can experience! Simultaneously, the tranquility of being surrounded only by air, must be indescribable ! …. on the “bucket list” for my next trip to New Zealand !
Wow! This looks absolutely amazing. And, LOL, I like how you have used the smiley – it cracked me up. PLus,a great write-up too. I just shared this with my girlfriend and she is sort of an anti-nudist, but somehow agreed to join me for a similar stunt during this new year. Although, we will be visiting a local bungy jumping place. Will share photos, of course after appending the smileys, LOL. Thanks!
Haha! The smileys are necessary 😉 Have a great time!
After read this article i am really excited to do this even i know i cant because i afraid also ?
Nudism + Adrenaline ? My Dream activity. You, Jeremy Scott, are my new inspiration. ??????
Hahahaha I’ll take it! ?
tours without adventure is worst .we should do a lot of adventure for our entertainment. This site inspired me to do a lot of risky challenges and adventure . Thank you for ur inspiration
Just one question. Where do you hook the carabiner?
Hahaha this is brilliant! You absolute tinker.
Haha=) as if bungy jump alone was not crazy enough)
This is awesome! I’m headed to New Zealand in September and I want to naked bungee jump so bad! Are you allowed to just ask when you go to do it?
You’ll have to ask and find out!
Well that was a heck of a post – I guess naked bungee jumping is next on my list now! hahaha
I dare you 😉
Imagining a whiplash sound Jeremy LOL! Looks like a blast dude!
Haha pretty much 😉
Just looking at the photos fills me with dread :O But it also looks awesome! I’ve never been, but I think I’m going to eventually. You’re 100% right though, you just have to commit and then jump.. Very cool post 🙂
Love it! Did the bridge a couple of years ago, and I’ve been planning to do the Nevis next time I’m home. You’ve sold me on the swing as well though!
Discovered you thanks to A Risky Company. I’m scared to bungy, but I’ll try to think of something else to do nude.
I am completely amazed and amused 🙂 You are officially my hero!
Yes! You’re up next! 😉
I think I might need a bit of persuading haha
First: nice bum.
Second: This looks like it was a lot of fun. Haven’t done my first jump yet (the only time I was very close to one was in Macau – the highest in the world I believe – and I was not ready to start there). After looking at this post though I definitely want to do it sometime soon.
I did that one too 😉
This article inspired me to to do the Nevis Bungy three times, Twice in my underwear (warm up) and then one naked, twice on the Nevis swing in my underwear, topless on the ledge bungy and the ledge swing. Potentially I took being naked in Queenstown a bit too far. But I had an amazing time, so no regrets! People always want to hear about it and see the photos too, so great conversation starter.
That is incredible! I think everybody needs a bit of naked time (which tends to happen a lot in Queenstown, anyway) so I fully support your naked adventures! I hope your photos are way awesome and not nearly as embarrassing as mine!
is it expensive?
A little, but it’s worth it! This is the stuff good stories are made of!
Wow very cool! I just did my first naked event as well, haha – but not nearly as adventurous.
Dare I ask what it was??
You. Are. CRAZY!!
Love it, glad you had fun – thanks for the smiley faces haha!
I had my audience in mind 😛
Wow, fair play! I’ve done a sky dive from 14,500ft uet I’m really not sure I could bring myself to do a bungy jump, let alone 4 in one day! Super awesome photos though 🙂
Yeah, they’re completely different experiences! Skydiving has the wow factor, bungy jumping brings the thrill. If you’re feeling particularly restless, I say give it a go!
Aaagghh the Nevis. I didn’t enjoy one second of the experience, but I don’t regret doing it! You put it well – it was all about conquering fear.
I totally loved it, although I can see why someone might not! Lots of fears were conquered that day. It was brilliant!
Found you thanks to A Dangerous Business. I’m afraid to bungy, but I’ll try to think of something else to do naked, lol.
I’ll thank Amanda personally! There are lots of things you could do naked. I’m not sure I’m the appropriate authority to advise you on what, though 🙂
This is definitely on my to-do list. Maybe not naked though. 🙂
Did you also get to try the Nevis Arc swing?
Sure did! There’s a paragraph in there about the Arc. What a rush!
Hahaha! That’s one way to do it!!!!! You’ll certainly never forget that bungy-jump!
Never! Such a good experience!
Terrifying–with or without clothes!
But so much fun! 🙂
OMFG! That was really crazy, buddy! Hahaha you gave a whole new meaning to doing it with style! 🙂
So, which jump did you enjoy the most? We did all except for the nevis, looked really scary so we’ll save it for next year! 🙂
You’re the man, Jeremy! For real, these are the moments that change us.
LOL style is just what I do! The Nevis was awesome but I loved jumping The Ledge because, at that point in the day, all fear had vanished and they let us jump freestyle. A running backflip was the perfect end to the day. Next time you’re out this way be sure to jump The Nevis! And do the Swing as well. Both so cool in very different ways.
That’s mad! Good to see you had fun though.
Nice smiley faces 😉 haha.
Such a good time! One of these days you’ll have to give it a go. Glad you like the smiley faces. It’s probably an improvement 😉
WOW. What a day!! 3 jumps within 12 hours? That’s impressive, my friend.
Even more impressive that you had the guts to do the first one naked! !!! I can only imagine the looks on the faces of those random strangers watching you. Hahaha. They sure got a show that morning!
Completely agree with you about the Nevis, too – it’s more about conquering the fear than the fun of the jump. But it was amazing. I’m so glad I did it.
One question though – did AJ Hackett add those nice smiley faces, or was that your doing? Lol.
Four, in fact! Well, one was more of a fall than a jump. The good thing about those random strangers, though? They’re random strangers!
And as for the smiley faces…that was my doing. Believe me–photoshopping my naked body was not the first thing on my agenda.
One word: Wow.
Fair play mate, fair play!
It was definitely a “wow” experience! Heck of a day.