Kawanau Bridge – Home of Bungy Jumping

Seda: The Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge runs over the Kawarau River in the Otago region of the South Island of New Zealand, near Queenstown.

43 metres to the water!

As well as its lovely green waters and the impressive gorge, the bridge is also very significant for being the site of the world’s first commercial bungy jump. You can bungy jump in many countries and locations nowadays but Kawarau Bridge will remain special because it’s the “Original Kawarau Bridge Bungy Jump in Queenstown”!

Over a million people have jumped since Kawarau Bridge Bungy first started in 1988 and there has been a perfect safety record as no one has died or even remotely injured. Amongst the famous people who jumped off the Kawarau bridge, there is a 91 year old great great grandmother, who made the news at the time, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Tiger Woods, Jack Black and Billy Connelly have all bungy jumped in New Zealand. So, sounds like this is a bucket list item, a must-do in the area, but how about us? Were we brave enough? Did we do it?

Of course we did it! Both Andy and I bungy jumped off Kawarau Bridge on our last day in Queenstown, and we both loved it. On the way there, I kept saying to Andy “do you fancy jumping off a bridge with me today?” I’m not sure if he liked the question as he was turning green every time I asked!

I went first, the brave adrenalin junky that I am! Let me tell you this, once I got onto that bridge, I was terrified. It is like no other feeling! They sat me down at the platform and prepped my feet with all the clamps and hooks and scary things. I think sitting there listening to the great music playing, you really start getting in the mood by feeling the buzz around you, but once you stand up on that platform, OMG! What a feeling!

Once you jump, the rest is no fear, just fun! I enjoyed the fall into the unknown until I felt the smooth pull of the bungy and started swinging. I just didn’t want the moment to end. I wasn’t sure how long I could dangle there but unfortunately the boat came to pick me up as they do with everyone.

Andy: So, Seda went first as she wanted to while I stood and watched from the viewing platform and took pictures. I really didn’t have to wait all that long because as soon as you get up there they get you in a harness and get you in line. All the time others in front of you are jumping, and so it was her turn very quickly. She stepped out and gave me a wave but I could see she was a little nervous as she looked over the edge, and then across to me.

Showing a few signs of nerves

Before I knew what was happening she was at the edge and with just a moment of hesitation, she launched herself off the edge like a salmon! Amazing, and I was so proud of her as she’d never done anything like this before!

Inching forward towards the edge

As I was so determined to get some good photos of Seda’s jump I didn’t really get to see it as I would have liked, but as I put the phone away awaiting her return I heard some ladies next to me saying “That was a good jump”. Seda arrived back to me all out of breath which was a mixture of the adrenaline and the walk up the steep river bank with a huge smile on her face telling me how awesome it was.

And then of course it was my turn……

I took the slow walk up onto the bridge and got into my harness. In front of me was an American woman who had what looked like her Grandmother with her for “support”. She was constantly talking to basically anyone that would listen which got me thinking that she was incredibly nervous. I was hoping that there wasn’t going to be too much of a problem, but how wrong I was…

Seda: I could see Andy sitting on the platform ready to go but this woman in front of him just wasn’t jumping. All of us in the viewing area were shouting at her to do it but she just kept stalling and stalling. I could see the guys there trying to relax her but the young woman was not going for it. I was worrying for Andy as I could only imagine this adding to his nerves. Waiting there is no fun and the guys just put up with her hesitance far too long in my opinion. Poor Andy was waiting there for 15, maybe 20 minutes!…

Still waiting in the background wearing red

Andy: So, I sat there listening to the rather cool tunes they had playing on the bridge, but also having to endure this woman in front of me constantly saying “no no no, wait a minute” and “just give me a second”. It was rather annoying to have to wait that long, but to my own amazement, I wasn’t actually nervous believe it or not. About 20 years ago I did a few parachute jumps whilst I was serving in the RAF and so kind of knew the feelings I would have as I stood at the edge of the platform.

When eventually the woman in front of me decided enough was enough and totally bottled it, my turn finally came. The safety crew man said to me as I walked out to the edge “Now you’re not going to mess me around are you?” “I certainly hope not” was my reply. He had me wave to about 3 cameras and I gave a quick wave to Seda too. I took one deep breath and went for it! I figured from watching the woman hesitate in front of me that the longer you’re there, the harder it’s going to be.

It’s hard to explain what goes through ones mind whilst hurtling through the air towards a cascading river with an elastic band tied to your ankles, but there were a few expletives involved that’s for sure!

It was an amazing experience which I’m so glad we got to do in NZ at the home of bungy. As Seda said, swinging around on the end of the bungy is a great feeling seeing the water flowing underneath you. I didn’t want it to end either. Simply amazing!

Bungy jump? Been there, done that and literally got the t-shirt mate!!

These t-shirts are only given to people who beat the fear!

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