New Zealand is an incredible country. The best way that I can describe it is that it feels undiscovered, like you could see a dinosaur walk past you any minute. It is full of amazing natural beauty and has something for everyone. I went backpacking around both islands with my friend Louise for about 6 weeks during our round the world trip. One of the highlights for me was our skydive in Wanaka.
Wanaka is a small town on the shores of Lake Wanaka on the south island about an hour away from Queenstown. It’s a beautiful little town. Myself and Lou were lucky enough to have our college friend Kate meet us and also Gary, who is Louise’s now husband.
|Still as good friends today as we were back then (maybe even better)|
Throughout our travels I had always said, with 100% conviction that I would never do a skydive. It wasn’t even an option for me. Then, like so many other travelers before and after me, something happened to me in New Zealand. It’s the adventure capital of the world and doing a skydive is almost normal here. Once we got to Wanaka, before I even knew what I was doing, Kate, Louise and I signed ourselves up for a skydive the next day.
I was so nervous that entire night, I still couldn’t believe that I would be throwing myself out of a plane the next day. That morning we woke up and went to check with reception that the skydive was still happening. Unfortunately (or luckily, I wasn’t sure) it was too windy and they postponed it for that evening but there were no guarantees that it would still happen. We would just have to return later in the day and see how the weather was. I breathed a sigh of relief and hoped a little that it would be too windy later in the day.
So instead of the skydive we decided to go and visit Puzzling World in Wanaka. If you ever go and visit Wanaka, make sure that you stop by Puzzling World. It’s full of optical illusions and a huge outdoor maze.
We had so much fun and we had convinced ourselves that the skydive would be cancelled so when we got back to the hostel and were told that it would indeed be going ahead I think we all died a little.
We drove to the skydive site and were so surprised at how routine it was. Planes were going up every 15 minutes or so and the instructors were doing over 20 dives a day!
We had expected to have a lot of time learning what to do but really all we had to worry about was just to get out of the plane and how to land as we would each be attached to an instructor doing all of the work.
|Our names were on the computer…there was no turning back now!|
|The three of us just before getting on the plane (don’t let those smiles fool
you, we were petrified!)
We got in to our tiny plane and because I was the last to get in I was going to be the first out. Going up in the plane was the most frightening experience of my life, the plane kept getting higher and higher. At one stage I turned to my instructor and said “wow, we are high”, to which he responded “yeah, we are about halfway up”
|In the plane and ready to go.|
Then it was time to open the doors, a mini heart attack later and my legs were dangling from the plane. I was beyond terrified at this stage and had my eyes closed but was forced to open them for the camera. Before I knew it, my instructor counted to 3 and we were rolling out of the plane. The second that we were out of the plane all of my fears were gone and it was replaced with an incredible adrenaline rush.
|haha this photo sums up how I was really feeling, completely panicked!|
|But once we were out of the plane it was incredible!|
I was floating in the air looking at incredible snow-capped mountains and feeling invincible. I could have gone straight up in another plane and did it all again at that stage. The serenity while you are floating so high up is otherworldly. After I landed I waited for Kate and Louise to land and we all just hugged and jumped. None of us quite believing what we had just done and all of us pumped up with adrenaline.
|Feeling on top of the world.|
|Reunited and you can see the adrenaline in our faces|
Still, to this day I think it was one of the best days of my life and a moment that I’ll never forget. I was so happy that I managed to do the very thing that I feared.
How about you? Have you ever done a skydive? Do you think you ever will?