After leisurely stepping off the tallest man-made structure in the Southern Hemisphere earlier in the day I decided do something else that I would get the adrenaline flowing: bungy jumping.
At this point in my life I had only dreamed of doing such a thing – I hadn’t even been sky diving yet – and I knew that before I left New Zealand that I would have to bungy.
I remembered, from by brief chat with the Sky Jump employee atop the Sky Tower, that the Auckland Harbour Bridge had a bungy platform. After my jump, I went back to my room to drop off a few things and to pick up a map. I gave it a slight glance over and then decided that all I needed to do was follow the road that led to the bridge. I left the map in my room, grabbed my camera and jacket and began my trek.
About 40 minutes later, I arrived at the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
From that shot you can’t even tell that there’s a bungy platform. It looks like a very normal bridge…that people jump off.
After watching an informational/safety video and being strapped into my harness, it was time to walk out. It was a very easy walk that wasn’t painful at all. Looking down at the blue water was rather relaxing and, in all honesty, the drop didn’t look that daunting from there. 40m didn’t look that bad at all. Didn’t being the operative word.
That was until I started watching the other people in my group jump and I stuck my neck over the ledge and saw the water below. Yeah…it was further than I thought.
When it was my turn, I sat in a chair and laughed nervously as they strapped my feet in and checked my weight with that of the corresponding bungy tether. That’s when a strange question was asked.
“Do you wanna get wet mate?” He asked with a pleasant Kiwi accent.
“Yeah! You wanna touch the water?”
I paused. I thought that this may be the only time I am ever going to be in Auckland so I better go big or go home.
“Yeah! Like, this (pointing to my chest) high.”
He laughs “Yeah! Alright, we’ll get you wet!”
Next thing I know, I’m inching my way to the lip of the platform and the instructor is telling me to keep my arms atop my head like I’m diving because it will make an easier transition into the water. AKA my head won’t slap the water on impact.
They began to count down and once they got to two I stopped them, took a deep breath and then told them to start it up again. The countdown continued and once they got to one they yelled “BUNGY!” and I jumped.
My hands were above my head, my eyes transfixed on the water below getting closer and closer, the wind whirred by my ears and then SPLASH! The icy cold glacier-runoff water that was the Auckland Harbour completely surrounded me and then I shot out just as soon as I got in.
I didn’t end up going in chest deep. I went in thigh deep.
As I slowed down and dangled above the water, slowly dripping, a man in a jet ski rode underneath me, gave me a thumbs up and said “Awesome jump!”
Awesome jump, indeed.
Roughly 200km North of Brisbane is Fraser Island. A peaceful island listed on the Australia National Heritage List that is protected because of the islands significance to the country. Essentially, it’s an important landmark whose value is seen beyond just physically being there. I had the privilege of traveling to the island on a day trip back in November 2007. It was very easy to coordinate travel – booked a spot with the company, arrived at the Roma Street station and hopped on a bus that took us out to the island.
I admit to sleeping some of the way on the way out because it was rather early, but I was awake when we came upon the ferry that would take us to and from the island. Our bus drove right on and we were allowed to walk around and marvel at the scenery.
Once on the island our bus took us on a ride. The vehicles are equipped to handle the sandy surface of the island and while there were, naturally, a few bumps along the way it was a pleasant experience.
Our first stop was to the Wanggoolba Creek and Boardwalk. A lush, dense area of the island that is surrounded by ferns and other native plants. It says that there is a creek there, and it’s there, you can hear it, but upon first inspection you see nothing. It looks as if it is just sandy, dry creek bed. When in fact, the water is so pure and clear that you have to physically change your perspective in order to see it flowing.
Even now, I look at that above photo and wonder where the water is.
From here we traveled up a sandy path to possibly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, Lake McKenzie. It is a pure, freshwater lake that is filled only by rainwater. As soon as you step onto the main beach you hear the difference, a suction-like sound with each step. That is due to the pure-silica sand. The sand is what gives the lake its shine and glimmer. I was told that if I were to take the pure-silica sand and rub it on my body that it would smooth out my skin. It was an odd sensation at first but I could not deny that my skin felt softer and more refreshed after I was finished.
Swimming in pure water like that of Lake McKenzie was unlike any other swimming experience I’ve ever had. There aren’t any impurities in the water, no animal byproducts, and no plant life of any kind because the lake cannot sustain it. When I opened my eyes underwater I could see forever. I still haven’t experienced anything like it since.
As I reclined on my towel, taking in the scenery, I knew that this was the perfect way to end the day on Fraser Island.