Tag Archives: Auckland

Like Andrew W.K., I Get Wet

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.

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.

Bungy Drop

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.

“Uh, wet?”

“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.

Bungy Wave

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.

Bungy

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.

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Getting High In Auckland

If there’s one thing you need to know about me, if you don’t already, it’s that I like to get high.

Literally, high.

Wherever and whenever possible I seek out the highest point(s) in a city and make it my mission to get to the top. Most of the time I’m successful, except for that one time I tried to go up the SkyTree in Tokyo only to be told that it was too windy but I still made my way to another observation deck elsewhere in the city. Every time though, it’s worth the trip.

Auckland was do different.

Auckland Skyline

The central tower in the city skyline is the Sky Tower. It’s the tallest man-made structure in the Southern Hemisphere standing at 1,076ft (328m) tall. The tower itself is a part of the SKYCITY Casino down closer to the ground. But for those looking for less of a gamble and more adrenaline, look up.

The SkyJump, at 192m, is a thrilling base jump experience unlike anything else. Similar to my Bloukrans bungy experience, I can say that the ride up was probably the worst part. I was put into an elevator and as I looked around I saw a square cut out of the floor and that square was filled with glass or plastic so that as the elevator climbed I could see the ground floor. The once bright white light that shone through became a dim afterthought once I was at the top.

When it was finally my turn to step onto the platform and jump I made the mistake of looking down. Big mistake, huge. I gripped the side railing like it was my lifeline as I inched out to the ledge. As I was being strapped and buckled in I looked down and saw a giant mat with a target printed on it at the bottom. That wasn’t much better…

To take the edge off I began to chat with the instructor. I asked her about local landmarks, the Auckland Harbour and what I should do/see next. She pointed out a few things to me and then she said that it was time to jump.

Sky tower

She then explained to me that as soon as I jumped I would be stopped and I would need to look up and give a thumbs up, because they were going to take another photo of me dangling above the city…charming…but exhilarating.

sky tower 2

Then came the descent.

Falling at speeds upwards of 85kph (52mph), the buildings grew around me and the once distant sounds of the city enveloped me once again as I landed on the mat. The instructor at the bottom unhooked me and said “We have some time before our next group arrives, would you like to go again for free?”

As if I’d say no…

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Melbourne

It’s Melbourne. Not Mel-born or Mel-bournee or any other butchering of the name of the capital of Victoria. Here’s some audio to support this:

Pretty simple right? Eh, not so much. I still here people mispronounce the name and maybe that’s because they’ve never been there or they just don’t know any better. Hey, I once watched a ‘Wheel of Fortune’ puzzle where the category was ‘On The Map’ and the last two words were ‘New Zealand’ and they had a few of the letters up top to let you know the answer was ‘Auckland’ – hell, it even got down to missing the ‘U’ and still the dummies couldn’t guess it…. You wanna know what happened next? I’ll show you:

“I still haven’t heard of it.”…….gahhh. Anyway, enough of  tangent, back to Melbourne.

Many consider Melbourne to be the cultural centre of Australia and I may or may not agree. I did not spend a whole lot of time there (actually only a day) but it’s certainly nothing like Sydney or Brisbane. Melbourne is home to the Australian Open held every January and if you didn’t know, it’s part of the tennis Grand Slam which also includes the US Open, the French Open and The Championships Wimbledon. But it, like Sydney and Brisbane, have museums and theatres but for some reason many label Melbourne the cultural centre. Maybe it’s because they hosted the Olympics back in 1956 and that was the first time the games had come to the Southern Hemisphere and it was also the first time they were held outside of Europe and North America. So maybe, just maybe, it all stems from that but I won’t comment any further because I’d rather not tick off the friends I have in Brisbane, Sydney, Perth or wherever else they might be around Australia.

Here’s a taste of what I saw, which was mainly exteriors because I was just walking around the city taking in various sights.

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