Believe it or not, bungy jumping was never on my bucket list. I’d seen it in film and heard the odd horror story, so the thought of being tied by my feet, jumping headfirst towards the ground, hoping the rope doesn’t snap on the way down… nahh, safe to say that never really appealed to me.
Cairns is home to the only bungy jump in all of Australia. AJ Hackett opened the world’s first purpose-built bungy tower here, in August 1990. Located 15 kilometres north of Cairns, it offers beautiful views of the rainforest and the Coral Sea.
Of course, I couldn’t see any of that.
I went with a group of friends from work, after the travel shops had closed. Despite all the research I had done on the tower and location, I had no idea what to expect. The sun had already gone down as we started driving over… suddenly it was real dark out.
The journey went by fast as everyone was chatty and excited about the night out. Some had been bungy jumping before, but there were a few of us who hadn’t.
We arrived at Cairns Bungy, and my heart started pounding as we walked the stone path up to the building. The reception was brightly lit, with colourful posters and AJ Hackett merchandise hanging on the walls. There were screens on the walls, and videos of past jumpers were on display. The staff were so friendly and energetic, telling us how awesome the first jump will be.
This made me more nervous.
We made out way over to the bar, when I first noticed the tower. At 50m, I didn’t think much of it. Mind you, it was dark and everything was beautifully lit up, so I was distracted. While some of my colleagues slowly made their way to the outdoor viewing platform practically under the tower, a few of the girls and I ordered a Moscow Mule each and made our way back to reception to get registered for our jumps. We quickly completed the safety forms and were weighed, and after someone put a few numbers on my hands in permanent marker, I was ready to go.
On our way to the bungy tower entrance, I slammed a quick tequila and started walking towards the stairs. Remember when I said 50m didn’t seem that tall or scary? Ha ha ha. Wrong. The walk up was probably the most difficult part. To start, I had to go past all my colleagues and could hear them yelling encouraging things like, ‘Go on Ally!” but it was “Don’t worry if the rope snaps, you’ll be fine” that really didn’t help.
Slowly but surely, I made my way up the never ending staircase to the platform at the top. A few other colleagues were being fit into harnesses for their bungy, and I watched in amazement as they jumped with no fear. I could only follow with my eyes for a few feet past their jump, as it was dark and couldn’t tell when they made if to the bottom safely… or otherwise.
I’m no time at all, I’m suddenly sat next to the platform edge and getting ready for my own jump. The first thing the staff asked was if I wanted to go in the water. HECK NO, I did not want to get drenched. With that sorted, they began to fit me into the equipment. It consisted of my own harness, a towel, a few different ropes being tied around my feet, and a GoPro attached to my hand. The bungy instructor said it was time, so I shuffled over to the edge. He explained the process and what I had to do next: jump. He started counting…
5, 4, 3, 2, 1!!
Hahaha nope. I didn’t jump. I was frozen, and just laughed, before asking for another few seconds. I looked down but it was so dark, I couldn’t really grasp the distance. I took a deep breath, my heart pounding. With no impending countdown and a minute to catch my breath, finally, I was ready.
Instantly, the fear I had been feeling all week turned into adrenaline and I was pumped. I dove right off that platform, face first into the darkness.
Having never done a bungy until then, one of my biggest fears was getting whiplash when I reached the end of the jump and being ascending again. I couldn’t have been more wrong; I felt like I was floating. It didn’t move very fast, and the whole experience passed slowly. I gracefully fell towards ground level, bounced up one, twice and then I was being lowered into a boat that would bring me back to the outdoor viewing platform.
THAT WAS INCREDIBLE. OH MY GOD. I CAN’T BELIEVE I JUST DID THAT. HOLY COW. I WANT TO GO AGAIN.
So I did.
My second jump was nothing like the first. No more nerves. I raced up those stairs and decided I wanted to try something new: backwards. After going though the same process of being fit into the harness, I stood on the platform edge again, facing the staff. He grabbed a small rope from my waste and told me to lean back. This time, I wasn’t scared, despite not being able to see anything. Again, the staff start counting…
5, 4, 3 –
He let me go, totally unexpected!
The fall was even better than the first. Not seeing where I was going added an extra thrill! The only real difference between my first and second jump was that I was spinning throughout this one. It made me rather dizzy, and I was glad when I was lowered into the boat.
Having completed not one BUT TWO bungy jumps, there was only one thing left to try… The Minjin Swing.
This is the world’s fastest jungle swing, and can take up to three people at a time. What makes the swing unique is that it swoops through the rainforest from 45 metres down to 1 metre in 3.5 seconds, reaching speeds up to 120km/h – talk about fast! Like the bungy where you are in control and have to make the jump yourself, once lifted to maximum height in the swing, we’re required to pull the cord. Trianne, Lisa and I went up together and screamed all the way down. Unfortunately, we don’t have a video of this, but I bet it would have been hilarious.
Would I do it again?
Want to actually see what it was like? Here is a video of my first ever bungy, and another of my second bungy. Big thanks to everyone at AJ Hackett Cairns, especially Coral and Roxy, you guys are the best. I wear my t-shirt with pride! I’ll be back soon, and hopefully Matt will complete his first ever bungy with you too.