I went bungee jumping in the adventure capital of the world. Here are 7 mistakes I made.

  • In June, I went bungee jumping in the adventure capital of the world: Queenstown, New Zealand.

  • The adrenaline rush was indescribable and worth every penny, but I did make a few mistakes.

  • I shouldn’t have had a big breakfast before my jump and next time I’ll remember to take Advil beforehand.

From skiing to skydiving, Queenstown, New Zealand, is known as the adventure capital of the world — and I experienced its thrill firsthand when I visited the city in June.

I waited in a floating platform for my turn to jump.

I waited in a floating platform for my turn to jump.Monica Humphries/Insider

Queenstown, New Zealand, is filled with adventure. The city’s visitors can choose from countless adrenaline-inducing activities ranging from skydiving to heli-skiing to paragliding, and it’s been named the adventure capital of the world by outlets like National Geographic and Conde Nasté Traveler.

With just three nights to explore the city, the pressure was high to find something thrilling.

And after scouring experiences, I landed on bungee jumping. I figured the activity would spark both fear and excitement, and I hoped it would push my limits to the test.

In search of an adrenaline rush, I decided to do the highest bungee jump in New Zealand — the Nevis Bungy Jump. While it was the most intense adrenaline rush of my life, I made a few easily avoidable mistakes.

Jumpers are carted off the the platform where they'll jump.

Jumpers are carted off to the platform where they’ll jump.Monica Humphries/Insider

In search of a thrill, I figured that if I was going to jump, I might as well jump from as high as I possibly could.

So I booked the AJ Hackett Nevis Bungy Jump, the highest jump in New Zealand and one of the highest in the world, according to its website. The jump starts at $155 per person and includes a complimentary bus ride from downtown Queenstown to the Nevis River Valley, where the jumping occurs.

The 440-foot drop involves an 8.5-second freefall into the valley. It was the most intense adrenaline rush of my life, and while I’d recommend the experience to any thrill-seeker, there are a few mistakes I made that others could easily avoid.

My first mistake was going by myself.

I was thankful to find a friend to share the experience of jumping with.

I was thankful to find a friend to share the experience of jumping with.Monica Humphries/Insider

As our bus climbed up the mountain to where we’d be bungee jumping, I could feel the mood shift.

It was clear that nerves were starting to overpower excitement as people anxiously bit their fingernails, bounced their legs, and whispered words of encouragement to one another.

As that feeling continued to grow, I felt shockingly alone. My nerves, too, were increasing, but I had no one to turn to for motivation.

Luckily, there was one other solo traveler in a similar situation. Rhea Gaegea told me her friend opted out of the jump, so she was by herself as well.

Quickly, I felt relief. As we strapped on our harnesses and were carted off to the jumping platform, I was thankful to have someone to turn to.

After the jump, we both agreed that our adrenaline rush was amplified by the ability to share it with another person. So if possible, I’ll be dragging a friend along for my next jump.

As my nerves steadily increased, I regretted my decision to eat a full breakfast.

The hearty eggs Benedict breakfast I had before bungee jumping.

The hearty eggs Benedict breakfast I had before bungee jumping.Monica Humphries/Insider

The morning of bungee jumping, I woke up hungry. I had a full day ahead of me, and I needed energy.

Plus, the owner of the tiny home I’d booked for the evening had hand-delivered a breakfast of eggs benedict, mushrooms, and spinach to my door.

Not thinking, I devoured the entire meal. And as I pulled up to the meeting point for bungee jumping, my stomach instantly started doing somersaults.

For the rest of the morning, I felt like I was on the verge of puking from nerves and sorely regretted my hefty meal choice.

Next time, since there will definitely be a next time, I’ll be eating something light like a bowl of cereal, fruit, or yogurt.

I made the mistake others warned me to avoid: I looked down before jumping.

The view from the height of where I'd be jumping.

The view from the height of where I’d be jumping.Monica Humphries/Insider

Leading up to the jump, I chatted with other travelers and locals. As we talked about my plans to bungee jump, multiple people warned me that the biggest mistake is looking down before jumping. Peering down ignites even more fear, I was told.

Instead, people recommended I look ahead when I jumped. But unfortunately in the moment, I couldn’t avoid a glance down. The warnings were right — seeing the 440 feet I was about to drop made me even more nervous to jump off the edge.

Eventually, I built up the courage to make the jump, but next time, I’d save myself the pep talk and look straight ahead.

I forgot to put my hair up, which left it in a post-thrill, tangled mess.

After jumping, I realized I should put my hair in a bun or braid.

After jumping, I realized I should have put my hair in a bun or braid.Monica Humphries/Insider

If I go a few days without brushing my hair, I’m left with what I call a “rats nest.” And while I know my thin hair tends to tangle easily, I unfortunately didn’t think twice about my hair when jumping off the platform.

As I bobbed up and down above the river, I instantly regretted the oversight. The combination of the wind, rain, and bouncing left my hair in a knotted mess when I landed back on the platform.

That night, my bedtime routine took more time than usual. It was tough to brush out my tangles, and I wish I had remembered the simple step of putting my hair up that morning.

I didn’t think the jump would rock my brain so much, and I should’ve taken Advil beforehand.

A person dangles after their jump while another person waits.

A person dangles after their jump while another person waits.Monica Humphries/Insider

As I dove off the platform, I immediately let out a blood-curdling scream followed by hysterical laughter.

Free falling was indescribable, and as I bounced upside down, all I could do was smile.

But about a half-hour after the jump, the adrenaline rush was replaced by a steady headache near the temples of my head.

I hadn’t considered how bouncing around would affect me, and I should’ve taken Advil or Ibuprofen before the jump. I also forgot to bring it with me for the day, so I stopped at a drugstore once I reached Queenstown to pick some up.

As a precaution for future jumps, I’ll take some headache medication beforehand.

I didn’t expect the bungee jumping to be a daylong event, and I had to skip other activities I had planned for the day.

I jumped into the valley where I free-fell for 8.5 seconds.

I jumped into the valley where I free-fell for 8.5 seconds.Monica Humphries/Insider

For a jump that lasts just a few moments, I was shocked that the entire trip took so much time.

Since the actual jumping location was about 45 minutes from the meeting point in Queenstown, the entire experience took more than four hours. I failed to spot that on the AJ Hackett website and had planned to hike or find a jet boat ride once we were back.

Unfortunately, by the time I arrived in Queenstown the other activities I’d hoped to check off my bucket list were full for the day.

When I bungee jump again, I’ll allow for more time.

I’m glad I jumped, but if I had the choice, I’d rather jump during summer.

I imagined that the mountains would have a more lush and dramatic feel during New Zealand's spring season.

I imagined that the mountains would have a more lush and dramatic feel during New Zealand’s spring season.Monica Humphries/Insider

July marks winter in New Zealand, and as we filed out of our bus, a light drizzle started. While I was thankful it wasn’t snow, I was freezing while I waited to be strapped into a harness and ushered out onto the jumping platform.

Since so much of the experience is outdoors, it was a touch harder to enjoy it while my teeth chattered from the cold.

After finishing the jump and seeing other pictures of the Nevis Bungy online, I noticed that the valley is lush and green during spring and summer. I think if I had jumped during a season other than winter, my views would’ve been more scenic.

If possible, I’ll prioritize jumping during the warmer season next time.


Luckily, I didn’t make life-altering mistakes and left the Nevis Bungy eager to return for more thrill.

The excitement on my face after finishing my jump.

The excitement on my face after finishing my jump.Monica Humphries/Insider

The bungee jump was the loudest I’ve screamed, the highest I’ve fallen, and some of the most fun I’ve had in a long time.

Other jumps around the world are on my bucket list, and next time, I’ll make sure to tie up my hair, pack some Advil, and eat a lighter breakfast.

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