How to survive a Sky Dive in Queenstown, NZ
January 1, 1970
After all – that is the whole point of sky diving, right? To live to tell the tale and all?
When I signed up (and paid rather a lot of dollar) for my Sky Dive – I knew it was going to be one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ type of things
Having moved to Queenstown, New Zealand – also known as the ‘Adventure Capital of the WORLD’, my partner and I decided this would a be a pretty sweet place to have our ‘once in a lifetime’ experience and see these mountains (and Lake Wakatpiu) from above.
If you’ve been to Queenstown, you will know there is an endless list of adventure activities to do – so many in fact that you probably need to have won the lottery to fit it all in to a week’s holiday…
Lucky for us though, we’re pretty settled and have had plenty of time to save (or at least try to) and of course time to look into who we were gonna take that jump with.
Sky Dive Paradise seemed like the chap for us. Based in Glenorchy (or to you and I -the ever avid LOTR fan – Isengard) they jump out over the Lake with many a mountain in view – including the iconic The Remarkables in Queenstown, and even New Zealand’s highest mountain – Mount Cook on a clear day!
You know, Id love to be able to say that I was so so nervous beforehand, that I built all this adrenalin and apprehension and fear up beforehand … but in all honesty – I was just FREAKING EXCITED.
I could NOT wait until that Thursday when I would be jumping out of a plane.
When the day arrived, I literally jumped out of bed (and if you know me – I def don’t do that!) to check the weather – for obvious reasons the weather plays a big factor in the success rate of Sky Diving. Windy / shitty weather = no Sky Diving. *thumbs down*
Thankfully for us, we had a banging day – absolute blue bird – not a cloud in the sky and low winds – WE WERE ON!
(Road trip pic en route to Glenorchy)
So when we arrived at the runway, track, field, airport (whatever you want to call it) – we were welcomed warmly and offered to watch a safety video. Great – always good to know what you’re letting yourself in for. Even this didn’t affect my excitement!
We were then offered some long white jumpsuits (I now know where that term comes from in the fashion world – duh!), some sexy white hats and goggles and introduced to our ‘tandem’ sky diver.
Thank god for this guy! I know, I know – it’s obvious that you would be strapped on to someone, as after all we are jumping out of a plane at 15,000 ft! But it really did take the pressure off every thing. I guess compared to a Bungy jump where you literally have to throw yourSELF off a ledge, my experience was in the oh so very capable hands of my tandem instructor.
We decided to opt in and pay the extra for the photo AND video (I know – splashing out) but it was so worth it. We had a pre jump interview, quickly running through our expectations and any last messages to our family. I won’t show you this, as I was a complete dork and exuded no personality whatsoever.
It also included some fab photos from the plane – including this one:
The flight up to the 15,000ft (which might I add is the highest you can jump with a tandem – so we really were pushing the boat out here!) was awesome. We were crammed into this tiny plane with no seats or seat belts with just a shutter for a door but with a large window for you to look out at the scenery. We had superb weather with Lake Wakatipu the bluest I had ever seen. My co-jumper pointed out Mount Cook (although I was slightly unsure where / what he was pointing at exactly) and other landmarks and I had never realised how close Queenstown is to the coast! Apparently as the crow flies around 37km!
Anyhow, I was the middle jumper – which I was quite happy about as I thought it offered me the opportunity to watch the guy in front of me, pick up any tips and prepare myself for leaving the aircraft.
Ha! As if – it felt like no time at all between the shutter door opening, the first jumper leaving and then myself sitting on the edge of the plane with my feet dangling down.
Now I really thought at this point I’d be scared, apprehensive, or something! But no – it was almost like I was mind out of body. And thank goodness really as I don’t think I quite apprehended what I was about to do. Thankfully my instructor took charge and pushed us out of the plane, to which we somersaulted out and down falling at around 125mph.
To those of you who are thinking, ‘oh yes, I’ll definitely get the photos’ – please under no circumstance think that you are going to look good in your photos. They turned out to be the single most unflattering and ugliest photos I have ever seen of myself. But i LOVE them, as they encapsulate and portray all the emotions, feelings and happenings I went through in the 45 seconds (or as I felt it 1 hour) of free fall.
Here’s a sample photo:
Hashtag: Selfie Game Strong
So once we were falling and I opened my eyes and took in all of the uh-mazing scenery, I suddenly realised that it was particularly difficult to breath! I guess falling at 125mph does create a bit of wind in your nose. My ears needed popping, my throat started to become sore. I think at some point I must have decided to hold my breath, as all I can remember is waiting and WAITING for the parachute.
When it eventually came round however, I was rewarded with the most amazing experience. It was all of a sudden very calm, very peaceful and very tranquil. A Fantastic way to enjoy the scenery and to take in more of the view from above as we slowly swirled our way down to the landing strip.
My Top Tips for surviving a Sky Dive?
- Do your research on the Sky Dive company. Check out their TripAdvisor page to make sure they are capable of offering a fantastic experience! You can take a look at Sky Dive Paradise here.
- Don’t think too much about it. Seriously. The less you think the more you’ll enjoy and not waste time fretting!
- Do completely trust your tandem skydiver – he/she has probably jumped thousands of times and is there to take full responsibility. Just sit your head back and enjoy!
- Do pay the extra for the photos and/or videos – you will want to remember this special moment and of course share with your friends & families!
- Don’t be put out or put off if it get’s cancelled due to weather. After all passengers safety is of paramount importance! High winds, rain etc can mean postponing a sky dive – but trust me it’s SO worth the wait.
- Do have fun! That’s what this whole experience is about – having fun!
So for now it has been that ‘once in a life time’ experience – but I know I will 100% be doing another one – just not so sure when that will be!