Bungy jumping - A Classic New Zealand Adventure

You’re standing on a ledge with ankles bound together above a sheer drop of more than a hundred metres. You shuffle forward and a split second later you’re screaming and in freefall…welcome to the world of bungy jumping!

The sport of bungy jumping ( also referred to as bungee jumping ) is historically traced to a manhood ritual in Vanuatu where young men leap off bamboo towers with springy vines tied to their ankles. The modern version has somewhat more predictable results however, with stringent scientific testing done on the fabricated rubber band cord used by commercial operators. The Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club experimented jumping with elastic cords in the 1970’s and then two Kiwis, A.J. Hackett and Henry Van Asch started their own experiments with a variety of latex cords and started bungy jumping on their own with a view to commercialising the activity.

They performed a number of high profile jumps including one from the Eiffel Tower in the early 1980’s which ensured plenty of publicity and they went on to create the world’s first commercial bungy jumping site in Queenstown before going on to create a global empire. Visitors to New Zealand can now go bungy jumping at locations all over the country, with leaps from the Auckland Harbour Bridge, the Sky Tower, Rotorua, Taupo and South Island classic bungy jumps such as Skipper’s Canyon and the Nevis High Wire.

A rigorous safety code of practice is followed in New Zealand so bungy jumping is considered a relatively safe adventure sport. Along with a scenic alpine flight and a jetboat ride – it’s an essential part of a visit to New Zealand’s South Island.

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