No Regrets! Bungee Jumping in New Zealand

Queenstown New Zealand

Absolutely not.

No way. 

Not going to happen.  

Not on my watch.

For six months, those were my standard responses each time Delaney and Riley asked if we could bungee jump in New Zealand.  Even Dale was on their side.  It was always three against one.  However, as mothers everywhere know, momma always has the final say so.  And this momma said, “Not until you’re 18 and can sign the waiver yourself.”

End of discussion.

AJ Hackett Bungee Jumping Platform
Kellie giving her pre-jump Hunger Games salute

So how is it that I now find myself with my ankles strapped together, shuffling to the edge of a 2’ x 3’ wooden platform, perched 141 feet above a swiftly moving river?

I guess you could call it the Queenstown effect.

Queenstown, New Zealand is known as the Adventure Capital of the World.

It holds this title by offering 220+ adventure activities, more than any other city of its size in the world.

Queenstown is one big Fountain of Youth, or Fountain of Stupidity, depending on how you look at it.

Skyline Luge Queenstown New Zealand
Queenstown Skyline Luge

Bungee Jumping

It was our third day in Queenstown.  We had already experienced the super fun Skyline luge and jet boating, two of the more popular adrenaline producing activities in the area.  However, the true badge of honor for an adrenaline junkie, is to bungee jump in Queenstown.  The bungee (or bungy in NZ) craze originated on the Karawau Bridge in 1988.  In the past 25 years, over 2,000,000 people have earned the bragging rights that come with jumping or diving off the Karawau Bridge.

After much begging and pleading from Delaney that bungee jumping is the only thing she really wants to do in New Zealand, I agree to look into it.  Dale and Riley are pumped too.  I think they are insane, but with over 2,000,000 successful plunges, I guess it is safe.  In fact, it’s probably safer than crossing the street in Vietnam.  Unfortunately, a visit to AJ Hackett’s shop in Queenstown left two of my adrenaline junkies disappointed.  Neither Dale nor Riley meet their criteria.  Dale is rejected due to his two detached ACLs, and Riley doesn’t weigh enough (minimum weight of 77 lbs).  They are heartbroken.

Delaney, on the other hand, is more excited than I’ve ever seen her.  “Giddy” doesn’t even begin to describe her.  I’m left wondering what happened to my daughter who wouldn’t even ride a roller coaster a year ago.

Karawau Bridge New Zealand
Karawau Bridge–Home of bungee (bungy) jumping

We drive to the bridge early to watch other jumpers before Delaney’s 12:30 appointment.  Standing on the observation platform watching people jumping, diving, or flinging themselves off the bridge, I think to myself, “It doesn’t look that bad.”  

Meanwhile, tears of disappointment stream down Riley’s cheeks.  Dale would be crying, too, if it was socially acceptable.  Yet here I am, completely able to jump, and I’m just being a big chicken. That’s when I know…if I pass up this opportunity I will regret it for the rest of my life.

The Moment of Truth

My life list of regrets is already long enough.  My goal is to stop adding to that list.

I have two choices before me:
1) I can choose to be afraid, or 2) I can choose to live life without regrets.

I choose option 2.

Fear is a funny thing.  Once I decide that I won’t give in to fear, fear loses all its power.

Now I’m standing on the famous Karawau Bridge, feeling slightly geriatric as I’m surrounded by people half my age.  However, I don’t feel old; I feel alive.  The rush that comes from getting out of my comfort zone is intoxicating.  As the Jump Master wraps a towel around my ankles and binds them with a strap, I ask “So how old is the oldest person who has ever jumped?”

“94” he says.

Wow.  How cool is that?!  That’s the kind of life I want to live.  That’s living life all the way to the end.  That’s living without regrets.

And with that inspiration in my head, I shuffle to the edge of the platform, give a Hunger Games salute to my family, spread my wings and soar like an eagle.

No regrets.

29 thoughts

  1. Just watching the video took my breath away!! But what an amazing experience the jump was, and your whole trip has been. I love following your blog. What great memories you’re making, and that is what life is all about.

  2. Ok- seriously, don’t you think you could at least post a picture of yourself looking like an amateur? Falling, flailing, screaming obscenities, etc (much like what I would look like) … yet you didn’t. You look completely composed and extremely graceful. You look like an acrobat! How in the heck do you do it???

    1. Jenna, it’s funny that you say that because we watched so many people do exactly what you just described. I think it was Dale who said, “If you’re going to do this, try to make it look good.” 🙂

  3. Wow! That is definitely something. I would love to do that someday! I hope y’all are having a great time! We miss you here. Tell Riley I hate she couldn’t jump and that we all say hello back in Birmingham! Keep us updated!!
    Anna C

  4. Awesome for you and Delaney! It looks like such a rush… Sorry for Riley and Dale. I know how much Dale loves things like that. I’m sure there was a tear of disappointment you did not see.

    Keep enjoying the adventure!

    Jackie C.

      1. Jack,
        I’m still crying that I couldn’t jump. After my impending 6th knee operation next month, maybe you can fly back to NZ with me once my ACL has been rehabbed!
        Hope all is well with you in the Rocky Mountains. It will be a while before I can ski with you again.

  5. Did it jerk your neck and shoulders? I would worry about that because of my migraines and shoulder surgery. Also, did Delaney do it?

  6. WOW! I’m so impressed that you found the courage to do this. Given the choice between making that jump and living with regret, well… I’d love to think I’d make the same the same choice you did but I’m just not sure I could take the plunge! So thrilled for you that your family is getting the make such amazing memories!

  7. Unbelievable and so glad you did this you would have been crazy not to!! Also love that Rhiannon is playing in the background on this video! Amazing and hate the others missed it! 🙁

  8. No worries Riley, you can go with the Baum’s when we do it, because there is no chance, I am letting your old Mom jump with out me! Pick something only peacnuts can do next, that’ll show them all!

    1. Yep, we’ve already discussed bungee jumping with the Baums when we go to Africa. Riley just needs to pack on about 10 pounds. Too bad I can’t give her my muffin top. That would work well for both of us.

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