AJ Hackett - 'Secrets of Bungy Tours - Behind the Scenes'
5-4-3-2-1…Bungy! If you reckon you’ve got the balls to jump off a bridge with nothing but a piece of elastic – yep OK, a very strong piece of elastic! – the original home of bungy is AJ Hackett in Queenstown.
The Kawarau Bridge Bungy Centre had a multi-million dollar re-development, which was finished in January 2004.
One of the latest additions to the new centre is a guided experience called ``Secrets of Bungy Tours – Behind the Scenes’’. It’s for those who want to have fun and learn more about bungy without their feet leaving the ground. It’s also great for those about to jump so you can see what you’re getting yourself into!
On the first part of the tour, I got to find out the history behind the bungy jump and where it all started, from the people of Vanuatu in the Pacific who threw themselves off the tallest banyan trees as part of an annual custom coinciding with the Yam harvest on Pentecost Island.During a video screening, I found out that the ancient ritual practiced on Pentecost Island eventually inspired the Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club to try a few experimental jumps back in the 1970s.AJ Hackett saw a video of this group in action, and his imagination took over. He teamed up with a fellow speed-skier Henry van Asch, and they went on to develop bungy into the modern adventure it is today.
"hurtle through the valley at break-neck speeds"
Back in the 1988, the boys opened the world’s first bungy operation off the Kawarau Bridge, which was licensed to operate for just 30 days.During that year, a total of 28 people paid $75 each to leap off the 43-metre bridge with a bungy cord attached to their ankles.AJ Hackett later opened its second operation – The Ledge Urban Bungy – at the top of the Queenstown Gondola, 400 metres over the city, where it’s also possible to do a night bungy. Woooooaaaaaah!!!
In July 1999, AJ Hackett Bungy opened the highest bungy in the southern hemisphere – The Nevis Highwire, at 134 metres.With the Ledge Urban Bungy becoming so popular, another dimension to the site was added with The Ledge Urban Swing, which opened in October 2000, and gave people the chance to sail 400 metres over Queenstown.
The latest addition is the Nevis Arc, right next to the Nevis Bungy. You can go forwards, backwards, alone or with a friend. For starters, you’re suspended high above the valley floor and release yourself, let your mates release you or leave it up to the Nevis crew. Get ready to experience a massive rush of adrenalin as you hurtle through the valley at break-neck speeds in a 300 metre arc!
• AJ Hackett Bungy is based at the Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown. Pick-ups are available from central Queenstown.
• With the many options available, you might be keen to do a combo deal. There’s a Nevis Arc and Nevis Bungy Combo, where you will enjoy a 4WD journey to the stunning Nevis Valley before getting to experience both for $350.
• Or there is the 3Thrillogy, where you can get the ultimate bungy rush by doing three very different bungy rushes – the Kawarau Bridge Bungy, Nevis Highwire and Ledge Bungy for $425.
• And why not check out the Ledge and Luge Combo, where you can head up to the Skyline Gondola and luge ride down, and while you’re up there check out the Ledge Bungy or Swing as well!
• For more information about all the options available call +64 3 450 1300 or Freephone 0800 BUNGY JUMP (286 495) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.bungy.co.nz
Rachel stayed at Base Backpackers Discovery Lodge at 49 Shotover Street, Queenstown, which is a great central location. Reception and internet is open 24 hours, and there’s an Altitude bar open daily from 4pm until late. There’s also a travel desk open from 8am until 8pm daily. For more details call 03 441 1185 or email: email@example.com