Bungy Jumping and Luging in the Clouds

Last day in Queenstown, let’s go out with a bang! Or a snap… Hopefully a bounce. Yes, today we are getting ourselves up the gondola for a day of adrenaline kicks with a bungy jump and some downhill fun on the Luge. However, this bungy jump story doesn’t quite end like most bungy jump stories… We’ll explain…

Snow day in Queenstown

It’s spring here in Kiwi land, yet when we open our curtains in the Nomads hostel, we are greeted by snow! In the town, covering the mountains… Queenstown is having a snow day! We can’t wait to see what the views are like from atop the Skyline Gondola. Queenstown covered in snow? It’s got to be beautiful!

When we approach the bottom of the gondola and see gondola capsules rising into white nothingness, we suspect the views are not going to be quite like what we pictured. But… like any day in New Zealand, the weather will dramatically change later.

Facing our fear

After a photographer takes a shamelessly touristy photo as we enter the gondola (Mum and Dad, postcards will be coming your way soon), we marvel at the snowy views we can see until we are surrounded by cloud. All is white… This is going to make an interesting bungy jump which we are both sh*tting our pants about by the way. Robin has shown on many occasions on this 356 days doing 365 activities that he’s petrified of heights. Yet, he has skydived, then skydived again, climbed in the Waitomo Caves, monkeyed in the treetops of Wellington, and only the other day he ziplined from the top of this very gondola. How he is going to throw himself from a height, we don’t know. As for Laura, this is her first bungy and there is a reason this is her first after three years of living in New Zealand… She chicken!

Lapping up the views

We have a bit of time to kill before our scheduled leap into the clouds, so we go out on the Skyline viewing deck to check out the views… Ok, we know we are milking the fact there is NO views this morning, but we are actually finding the whole thing pretty hilarious. (Please refer to images for further details).

As for the Luge track that we are meant to be speeding down today, the Skyline guys are clearing the snow away. But the snow on the Luge viewing areas, they are still up for grabs. Snowball fight anyone?

We distract ourselves with mini snowmen and snowball fights until… the time has come.

Snowmen, Jelly Belly men and French men Snowmen, Jelly Belly men and French men
The views of Queenstown are absolutely stunning! The views of Queenstown are absolutely stunning!
Robin on the edge of The Ledge Robin on the edge of The Ledge
The face of fear! The face of fear!

Our bungy style of choice: a sack of potatoes

We check in at the AJ Hackett’s The Ledge Bungy, a bungy jump designed a little differently from the rest. Instead of being harnesses in at the ankles, this bungy is harnessed around the waist, allowing adrenaline junkies to run and do whatever style of jump they want. The possibilities are endless! But, with a fumbling French man who is literally now bumping into a clock in the AJ Hackett office and smashing it, and a politely scared English girl who doesn’t even know if she’ll make it off the edge, we don’t think we are likely candidates for using The Ledge to its full potential. We’ll see…

Weighed up and ready to go, we are the third and fourth bungy jumpers of the day. Yep, it’s still cloudy as f*ck. Yep, we are actually going to be jumping into the abyss… Man, this is not going to be easy.

3… 2… 1…

Robin volunteers to go first. He’s weighed one more time, harnessed up to the soundtrack of easy-listening love songs (seriously, guys?!), then, for minimum overthinking time, the jump masters get straight to it.

“3.. 2… 1…”

Robin runs… then stops just before the edge, turns around and runs back into the furthest corner from the edge he can find. Robin runs into the corner of the platform shaking like a sh*tting dog. The jump masters give him a pep-talk to get him back up again…

Fear… pure 100% fear

One more time, 3… 2…1…” Robin runs, feet over the edge, body almost over and… he holds onto one of jump masters. The other jump master quickly pulls back Robin’s harness before he takes one of the guys down with him. (Of course, that wouldn’t happen. Everyone is safely strapped in here at AJ Hackett).

Laura and the jump masters try to talk to him but all we get is a glazed-over face. A bungy jump is all about mind over matter and, well, Robin has lost his mind.

“I’m a doctor!”

He is taken away from the platform to sit down, and one of the other bungy jumpers sees his time to shine: “I’m a doctor!”

Next thing we know, Robin is lying down with his feet up waiting for the blood to go back to his head and for his senses to come back to him. He comes back round with one of the AJ Hackett helpers giving him water and looking after him.

The pure fear has defeated Robin today. Now, it’s Laura’s turn.

Laura’s REDEMPTION

Well, after that episode, surely there is no backing out. We have to do this! For BackpackerGuide.NZ! For our blog! For our life’s work! Lah-dee-dah!

As the easy-listening love tunes have been cut off for some reason, Laura is bobbing her head up and down, listening to her own theme tune of awesomeness in her head. Although she wouldn’t be able to see anything if she looked down, she does everything in her power not to look down.

Quickly and efficiently, the jump masters have her ready: “3… 2… 1…”

a scream to wipe out civilisation…

Laura’s body reacts before her brain can kick in. She runs until there is no ground to run on anymore. Freefalling like this is the most unnatural feeling in the world. Her brain catches up with her somewhere on the way down, so she let’s out an ear-piercing scream. Any sheep that once occupied this hillside are now dead. The gondola windows have shattered. Once a rope is lowered down and starts pulling her back up, all the birds have left New Zealand.

Back at the top of The Ledge, Laura’s legs start dancing by themselves (i.e. shaking a lot) and she can’t stop smiling. She can’t believe she just did that.

She did it!

So, Laura gets the free T-shirt, Laura gets the certificate, Laura gets the video and photo evidence (thank you Liza Cornish for capturing it all through the thick fog!) and Laura get’s to use this incident against Robin later…

The clouds finally part to reveal this! The clouds finally part to reveal this!
Rocking the Luge chairlift! Rocking the Luge chairlift!
Competition gets fierce on the Luge track Competition gets fierce on the Luge track

Luge, anyone?

Despite Robin feeling pretty terrible, we know one thing that is sure to cheer him up and get us back on track: the Luge! The Luge is simply too fun to be out of anyone’s comfort zone!

So what the hell is the Luge?

It’s downhill carting at it’s finest. You control the speed by pulling the handle bars backwards and forwards. Once you have a bit of confidence you can have all sorts of speedy fun with it.

So, first things first, we put on some delightfully colourful helmets then hop on the chairlift to the top of the two luge tracks. The clouds are starting to part, revealing some absolutely stunning scenery of Queenstown and its surrounding snowy mountaintops! It was worth sticking around up on Bob’s Peak just to capture these views!

chairlift banter

Halfway up the chairlift, a camera flashes. Now we have this sussed, we are going to have some pretty crazy chairlift photos.

At the top of the chairlift, we run off in a hurry to the queue for our first Luge ride of the day. The first ride has to be on the beginner’s track to get the hang of things and that one track is definitely enough to figure out how fast we are comfortable going and how competitive we want to be – very!

The race is on!

With four rides left on the big boys’ track, the race is on! Corners, tunnel, abrupt drops to catch more speed, we are using it all to over take each other again and again and again. Laura is Mario and Robin is Princess Peach in our own live version of Mario Kart!

You know what they say at the Luge? “Once is never enough”. That couldn’t be more true as we hop off the carts at the bottom of the chairlift and run around as quickly as possible to get back on the chairlift, pull some more ridiculous faces for the camera, and whiz all the way back down trying to screw each other in our carts as much as possible!

A fabulous burger joint in Queenstown you may have heard of…

Five turns are over, and it’s back down the gondola. We have worked up quite an appetite, so we figure, it’s our last day in Queenstown, we should treat ourselves to a massive burger… Where should we go???

Devil Burger! (You thought we were going to say something else then, didn’t you?)

While eating our Bottemless Pit and Blue Devil (and free fries thanks to our tour with Canyoning New Zealand the other day) we have never talked about a moment more on this trip so far than that moment on The Ledge this morning. For both of us, it just brought out feelings that are hard to find unless we actually did kill ourselves. It was all about pure fear and pure adrenaline. There’s nothing like it.

On that note, thanks for keeping up with this lengthy blog post today. As you can see, a lot happened! It’s definitely a day to remember. Join us tomorrow where we take the adventure to Te Anau, the gateway to the majestic Fiordland National Park!

Laura and Robin

Throw a banana at him, Mario!
Throw a banana at him, Mario! Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

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See you tomorrow!

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