Top 10 bungee jumps in the world

Get down … Kawarau Bridge, Queenstown, New Zealand.

At the time Hackett was running a struggling ski shop but inspired by British daredevils The Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club, Hackett had begun experimenting with the adrenaline activity.

Together with his friend and fellow Kiwi Chris Sigglekow, he had started doing tests with latex rubber, climbing equipment and parachute harnesses. There was no back-up, just two guys pushing their luck.

“I used to do a lot of climbing so knew about ropes,” says Hackett, “but we wanted to figure out if it could be predictable, so that we could go to greater heights.

“To see who would jump first we drew straws,” he explains. “Chris lost,” Hackett adds with a grin. “But we weren’t nervous – the first jump was only 19m – it was more about hoping it would work.”

It did work and, within a year, Hackett was on a French ski tour with teammate Henry van Asch, jumping bridges up to 150m high in his spare time. In 1987 Hackett made headlines around the world, getting arrested for jumping off the Eiffel Tower.

Hackett and van Asch quickly realised there was money to be made and, as skiers, New Zealand snow hub Queenstown seemed an obvious starting point. On 12 November 1988, the Kawarau Bridge bungy site (Hackett prefers bungy to bungee) opened for business. On that day 28 people took the plunge.

Since then, more than three million have followed suit at 15 Hackett sites around the world. Every one of them has lived to tell the tale.

Millions more have jumped at over 50 other bungge sites across almost as many countries. Accidents have happened, but they’ve been rare. The thrills meanwhile, just get bigger and more extreme, the craziest of which has to be Chile’s £7,800 Pucón jump, a six-day trip which involves leaping from a helicopter towards the bubbling lava of a live volcano, before flying the 35 miles back to town, still bouncing around on the bungee.

If that’s a little beyond your budget, then here, in no particular order, are the 10 best jumps currently on offer.

Kawarau Bridge, Queenstown, New Zealand

While its 43-metre drop might now be considered light on scares by serial thrill-seekers, the Kawarau’s status as the place where it all began is undisputed. More than 650,000 people have taken the plunge from this historic suspension bridge, with many dipping their heads in the stunning turquoise waters below. It’s also the only Queenstown bungee that can be done as a tandem.
+64 3 450 1300, bungy.co.nz, single jump £92 including T-shirt

The Nevis, Queenstown, New Zealand

The Nevis, Queenstown, New Zealand

Photograph: AJ Hackett

A title contender for the world’s most terrifying bungee jump. The secret for this one is in the build-up: you start in a four-wheel drive and head up, up and up the bumpy mountain road until you arrive at the stark and stony Nevis gorge, in the middle of which, 134m up, hangs a cabin, blowing in the wind, which you reach courtesy of an open-air cable car. You’ve then got eight seconds of freefall ahead of you.
+64 3 450 1300, bungy.co.nz, single jump £134 including T-shirt

Victoria Falls Bridge, border of Zimbabwe and Zambia

Bungy jumping off the bridge at Victoria Falls

You’d be hard-pushed to find a more spectacular setting in which to take the leap of faith than here. You stand, in no man’s land between two countries, atop the old railway bridge that Cecil Rhodes ordered to be built. Behind you crash the mighty falls, known to locals as “the smoke that thunders”, while 111m beneath crocodiles circle in the Zambezi river.
+260 213 324231, victoriafallsbungee.com, single jump £81

Verzasca Dam, Ticino, Switzerland

If you’ve ever dreamt of being a real-life James Bond, this is the jump for you. Made famous by the dramatic opening to 1995’s GoldenEye, Pierce Brosnan’s first outing as 007, this bungee involves plunging down the 220m-high concrete wall of the dam. The landmark, built in the 60s and officially known as the Contra Dam, doubled as a Soviet weapons facility in the film, but in reality houses a hydroelectric power station.
+41 91 780 7800, trekking.ch, single jump £132 under-20s, £173 20 or older

Bloukrans Bridge, Tsitsikamma, South Africa

Set amid the nature reserves and ecological riches of South Africa’s Garden Route, the 216m-tall Bloukrans Bridge is the highest bridge bungee in the world. Those harbouring second thoughts, while looking out at the surrounding mountains and distant sea views, can steel themselves with the knowledge that the likes of Prince Harry and Jack Osborne have done the jump and survived.
+27 42 281 1458, faceadrenalin.com, single jump £48

Macau Tower, Macau, China

At 233m and in the heart of the far east’s gambling capital, this is the world’s highest bungee jump from a building. You leap from the outer rim of the giant tower, with mainland China just visible if you squint. Hackett and his team had to develop a “second-generation bungee cord” for the site, due to the height and need for it to fall straight, rather than swing.
+853 8988 8656, ajhackett.com, single jump £210 including T-shirt

The Last Resort, Tatopani, Nepal

The Last Resort, Nepal

Photograph: Alex Treadway

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Located on a ridge overlooking the rapids of the Bhote Kosi river, about 60 miles east of Kathmandu and just seven miles from the Tibetan border, this adventure-mad resort is home to whitewater rafting, canyoning and the country’s only bungee jump. It is surrounded by jungle and you plummet 160m from the bridge towards the raging Bhote Kosi below.
+977 1 47012477, thelastresort.com.np, single jump £62 including lunch and transport from Kathmandu

Niouc Bridge, Val d’Anniviers, Switzerland

Nicknamed “Spider Bridge” due to its cobweb of cable wires, the 190m-high Niouc is the world’s highest suspension footbridge and one of the loftiest jumps in Europe. Before diving from the shaky structure, you can take in the typically vivid blue skies as well as the sublime views of the Navizence river and surrounding Alpine peaks.
+41 79 447 28 00, bungyniouc.com, single jump £142

Extremo Park, Monteverde, Costa Rica

Costa Rica zipwire

Latin America’s highest bungee jump is also one of the newest. Adrenaline junkies leap from a tram suspended by a series of cables, which stand 143m above the Central American cloud forest, totally exposed to the area’s often wet and windy conditions. It’s set in a park that also lets you explore the jungle canopy with an extensive circuit of ziplines (pictured) and a Tarzan swing.
+506 2645 6058, monteverdeextremo.com, single jump £38

Europabrücke, Innsbruck, Austria

This huge structure, the name of which translates simply as “Europe’s Bridge”, stretches 657m across the Wipp Valley, rising 192m above the Sill river, just south of Innsbruck. Carrying the Autobahn that stretches through the Alps between Austria and Italy, the bridge was, from 1959 to 1963, the highest on the continent. Standing on its edge will perhaps be the smallest you’ll ever feel.
+43 316 688 777, rupert-hirner.at, single jump £125

If you have a video of your own bungee jump, we’d love to see it. Click on the blue ‘contribute’ button to take part

What I learned about fear after bungee jumping for the first time

Bungee Jumping at Victoria Falls

A few months ago, while vacationing in New Zealand, I bungee jumped off the famous Kawarau Suspension Bridge, plummeting over 140 feet and dipping slightly into the icy cold water of the Kawarau River. Known as the birthplace of commercial bungee jumping and just a 20-minute drive from Queenstown, it was one of the most exhilarating, terrifying and important moments of my life.

As I look back on that day, continuously answer questions from friends and family about my sanity and review the photos and videos, I keep going back to what I learned about myself and about life in that short window of time. Here are the six things I took away from the experience.

1. Be kind and support one another — it goes a long way

A particularly relevant takeaway for the current moment, this goes way beyond bungee and is one I think all of us could do much better at every day.

When I arrived on the bridge where they harness you up, there were two women in front of me, one from England who’d completely psyched herself out and was shaking after standing there for 20 minutes. Another from Australia who’d just arrived, saw the other girl freaking out, and immediately went into her own state of panic. This didn’t help my nerves, but I was mentally ready. We all started talking, emphasizing what a beautiful place we were in, how lucky we were just to have this opportunity, and convincing ourselves that of course we could do this. Also, shoutout to the jump team who I’m sure deals with this regularly and was nothing but supportive. From there, the three of us jumped in succession.

None of us had ever met before and we may never meet again, but for one short stretch of time, we were the support group that we all needed. Be kind to one another. You never know how much it might help that other person.

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Related

TMRW x TODAY How this writer changed her relationship to fear and transformed her life

2. Trust the process

In a world filled with endless information, it’s easy to overanalyze and overthink everything. Buying a new car? Go read 9,000 reviews to see if you should actually get that model. Going on vacation somewhere exotic? Check the 1,300 listicles telling you what to do when you get there.

With bungee jumping, the longer you wait and the more you read, the more you’ll psych yourself out. Sometimes in life, you just have to trust the process (shameless nod to former Philadelphia 76ers GM Sam Hinkie here) and take that leap of faith. When I saw that over 38,000 people jump off this bridge every single year, I’d read enough. I signed up, drove to the site and followed instructions closely.

Take a deep breath, jump, and trust that everything will work as expected.

For more like this, follow TMRW on Instagram at @tmrwxtoday.

3. When faced with a “what if,” just do it

There are multiple times in life when you’re faced with a “what if” moment. Should you ask that person out? Should you accept that new job? Should you travel across the world on a whim?

A few years ago, I saw a quote from famed Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung that said “You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” That really stuck with me. There will never be a moment that I regret having jumped off that bridge.

4. Face your fears

Jumping off a bridge is terrifying. There’s no way around it. I’m not averse to heights, but I’d also never really contemplated something like this.

Fear will always be there. It will hold you captive and paralyze you if you allow it to. Bungee jumping forces you to jump — literally — in the face of your fears. When you shimmy out to the end of that platform and look down (I know, they tell you not to, but I did), you will be shaking inside. Push through it and the sense of accomplishment you feel will stick with you forever. (And that experience is a good analogy for how it feels to stare down and power through anything truly daunting.)

The writer, seen mid-jump.

The writer, seen mid-jump. Courtesy of Lou Dubois

5. Experiences can be priceless

It’s an overused cliché in travel these days, but experiences really do make a trip memorable. Spontaneously deciding to bungee is not cheap. It costs nearly $140 just to jump, and when you add in the photo/video package, that’s another $90. But you know what? It’s been months since I jumped and I still remember every moment as if it happened yesterday. When people ask me about the highlights of my vacation, it’s always the first thing that comes to mind despite many other amazing excursions.

If you’re inspired to try something that once seemed impossible, don’t rationalize your way out of it because of cost — it could pay off for months (or years) after you spend the $$$.

6. Take mental snapshots

Talk to many people who have bungeed and they’ll tell you that while the biggest thrill comes during the free-fall, that moment when the cord recoils and you oscillate up and down while hanging in mid-air is one of the most enjoyable moments in life. Time seems to be standing still as you spread your arms out and enjoy the moment before you’re lowered into the boat (at Kawarau at least).

I felt a sense of intense euphoria and accomplishment followed by peace and calm in that moment, and as my mind thought about what I’d just done, I literally started screaming from excitement. Every bit of what I mentioned above is so fresh in my mind that it might as well have happened yesterday.

While dwelling in the past or thinking about the future can often weigh us down, focusing on today and the now is what really matters most.

What I learned about fear after bungee jumping for the first time

Bungee Jumping at Victoria Falls

A few months ago, while vacationing in New Zealand, I bungee jumped off the famous Kawarau Suspension Bridge, plummeting over 140 feet and dipping slightly into the icy cold water of the Kawarau River. Known as the birthplace of commercial bungee jumping and just a 20-minute drive from Queenstown, it was one of the most exhilarating, terrifying and important moments of my life.

As I look back on that day, continuously answer questions from friends and family about my sanity and review the photos and videos, I keep going back to what I learned about myself and about life in that short window of time. Here are the six things I took away from the experience.

1. Be kind and support one another — it goes a long way

A particularly relevant takeaway for the current moment, this goes way beyond bungee and is one I think all of us could do much better at every day.

When I arrived on the bridge where they harness you up, there were two women in front of me, one from England who’d completely psyched herself out and was shaking after standing there for 20 minutes. Another from Australia who’d just arrived, saw the other girl freaking out, and immediately went into her own state of panic. This didn’t help my nerves, but I was mentally ready. We all started talking, emphasizing what a beautiful place we were in, how lucky we were just to have this opportunity, and convincing ourselves that of course we could do this. Also, shoutout to the jump team who I’m sure deals with this regularly and was nothing but supportive. From there, the three of us jumped in succession.

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None of us had ever met before and we may never meet again, but for one short stretch of time, we were the support group that we all needed. Be kind to one another. You never know how much it might help that other person.

Related

TMRW x TODAY How this writer changed her relationship to fear and transformed her life

2. Trust the process

In a world filled with endless information, it’s easy to overanalyze and overthink everything. Buying a new car? Go read 9,000 reviews to see if you should actually get that model. Going on vacation somewhere exotic? Check the 1,300 listicles telling you what to do when you get there.

With bungee jumping, the longer you wait and the more you read, the more you’ll psych yourself out. Sometimes in life, you just have to trust the process (shameless nod to former Philadelphia 76ers GM Sam Hinkie here) and take that leap of faith. When I saw that over 38,000 people jump off this bridge every single year, I’d read enough. I signed up, drove to the site and followed instructions closely.

Take a deep breath, jump, and trust that everything will work as expected.

For more like this, follow TMRW on Instagram at @tmrwxtoday.

3. When faced with a “what if,” just do it

There are multiple times in life when you’re faced with a “what if” moment. Should you ask that person out? Should you accept that new job? Should you travel across the world on a whim?

A few years ago, I saw a quote from famed Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung that said “You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” That really stuck with me. There will never be a moment that I regret having jumped off that bridge.

4. Face your fears

Jumping off a bridge is terrifying. There’s no way around it. I’m not averse to heights, but I’d also never really contemplated something like this.

Fear will always be there. It will hold you captive and paralyze you if you allow it to. Bungee jumping forces you to jump — literally — in the face of your fears. When you shimmy out to the end of that platform and look down (I know, they tell you not to, but I did), you will be shaking inside. Push through it and the sense of accomplishment you feel will stick with you forever. (And that experience is a good analogy for how it feels to stare down and power through anything truly daunting.)

The writer, seen mid-jump.

The writer, seen mid-jump. Courtesy of Lou Dubois

5. Experiences can be priceless

It’s an overused cliché in travel these days, but experiences really do make a trip memorable. Spontaneously deciding to bungee is not cheap. It costs nearly $140 just to jump, and when you add in the photo/video package, that’s another $90. But you know what? It’s been months since I jumped and I still remember every moment as if it happened yesterday. When people ask me about the highlights of my vacation, it’s always the first thing that comes to mind despite many other amazing excursions.

If you’re inspired to try something that once seemed impossible, don’t rationalize your way out of it because of cost — it could pay off for months (or years) after you spend the $$$.

6. Take mental snapshots

Talk to many people who have bungeed and they’ll tell you that while the biggest thrill comes during the free-fall, that moment when the cord recoils and you oscillate up and down while hanging in mid-air is one of the most enjoyable moments in life. Time seems to be standing still as you spread your arms out and enjoy the moment before you’re lowered into the boat (at Kawarau at least).

I felt a sense of intense euphoria and accomplishment followed by peace and calm in that moment, and as my mind thought about what I’d just done, I literally started screaming from excitement. Every bit of what I mentioned above is so fresh in my mind that it might as well have happened yesterday.

While dwelling in the past or thinking about the future can often weigh us down, focusing on today and the now is what really matters most.

Source https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2013/nov/12/top-10-bungee-jumps-world

Source https://www.today.com/tmrw/6-things-i-learned-after-bungee-jumping-first-time-t175949

Source https://www.today.com/tmrw/6-things-i-learned-after-bungee-jumping-first-time-t175949

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