Kawarau Bridge Bungy Jump in Queenstown, New Zealand

Action shot of someone bungy jumping off the Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown, New Zealand | Em Dashed

If I’m going to give anyone advice about doing a Kawarau Bridge bungy jump in Queenstown, let it be this: do not do it if you’re hungover.

Of course, we all handle our hangovers in different ways. I prefer to drink copious amounts of Coca-Cola and stay as still as possible. Other people might like to hang upside down over rushing water, slowly spinning in circles, waiting for people to release you from a giant rubber band and take you back to solid ground. Whatever. As the kids seem to say these days: do you.

In my case, I chose to save my hangover for the following weekend — my last weekend in Queenstown,* wherein I literally would have missed my flight from NZ to the US had my lovely roommate not woken me up with the immortal words, “Em, your plane leaves in an hour” — and I think that was…well, also a pretty terrible decision. A hangover on a long-haul flight sounds bad, but a hangover while waiting for several hours in Auckland for your long-haul flight is worse.

But I digress. We were talking about bungy jumping.

Person in mid-bungy jump in front of a rocky cliff face

Because I was in Queenstown, “adventure capital of New Zealand,” for nearly a year and half before I did my own jump, I don’t think I was quite as terrified as a newly arrived person would be. Not only had I met loads of people who had done a bungy and lived to tell the tale, I also witnessed a few jumps, met people who worked there, and basically de-mystified the shit out of the whole thing. Bungy jumping in Queenstown is just…what you do.

Bungy jumper in mid-jump with their arms spread out and eyes closed

The Kawarau Bridge is the first commercial bungy jump spot in the world, and one of three that AJ Hackett operates in the Queenstown area. If conditions permit, you can actually dip into the Kawarau River when you jump; on the day we went, there was too much debris for this to be safe, due to recent storms.

The main thing I took away from my bungy jump is that no one will prepare you but yourself. For some reason, I expected there to be a strategy. Or at least some instructions. I’m really great at instructions! I was a killer student. If the guy working at the bungy jump had told me to put my name and date on the top of the paper before starting the quiz, I’d have nailed that, no problem.

But shockingly enough…that’s not what happened. Instead, he made dental hygenist small talk with me as I walked out to the edge, told me to wave to the people watching, and then said, “Okay, go ahead!” I thought it was a joke, quickly realized how terrible that would be, and then jumped off the bridge before I could think anymore.

Which, to be honest, is probably the best advice I can give you. Forget everything else I wrote.

Just go.

Birds-eye view of a bungy jumper over the Kawarau River in Queenstown, New Zealand

* Queenstown and I have had a bit of an off-again, on-again relationship. It wasn’t over. IT STILL ISN’T OVER.**

** Eh, it probably is.

Want more Queenstown? I’ve also written up a winter guide and my top five don’ts for this weird, wacky little town.

Note: All photos in this post were taken by the crew at AJ Hackett and purchased by me afterward. Obviously. Because…how.

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