Hurtling to earth from 12,000ft at 200km/h is an activity we though would never be included on our world trip, but we did it, and boy we will never regret it for a second!
As most of you know, in a previous life I had a terrible fear of flying, to the point where I almost refused to get on a plane even for an hour jaunt from England to Ireland. Thankfully, after a few sessions of Hypnosis I am relieved of that anxiety. Never in a million years did I ever believe I would be able to jump from a plane and free fall from such a height.
It is worth all the hype, the 45 seconds of high-speed free fall was the most thrilling experience we have ever felt and are ever likely to feel again. It almost didn’t happen. When we had the introduction and seen the video, I said I wasn’t doing it and that was that. No way hosey! Not because I was nervous at that particular point but I knew I would be when they opened the door hatch and would probably refuse to jump. But after some persuasion from Sam I signed up and, once we handed over our cash, there was no turning back.
Surprisingly, I never felt that nervous. I was last to board which meant I was first to jump – all I needed – and as the plane took off the tension did build a little. Sam kept asking how I was, but I was still surprisingly calm. I kept a watchful eye on the pressure gauge and as the needle rose my anal contractions followed. Then a green light came on and it all happened in a flash – door opened, I shuffled an inch or two to the left until my legs were dangling, head back and we were off. A 3–4 second period of sensory overload, no idea where you are, but then it all kicks into place and you can’t believe what you are seeing – flying like a bird. Wow. Awesome. Incredible. 45 seconds feels like half an hour. When they pull the parachute you glide for further 3–4 mins; take in the views while your body deals with the adrenalin rush/overload. Before long you are touching solid ground again – some 5 mins in total. What an experience!
Not until we were enjoying a refreshing drink did Sam tell me that she secretly arranged for me to jump first! I feel betrayed!
Not only has this trip been the best decision we have ever made, it has changed our lives forever and probably in ways we will never know. We see and act differently without knowing. I suppose this is the ‘enrichment’ everybody keeps talking about. I would never have done this jump 12–months ago that’s for sure! This was a real high for us both and we savoured every minute.
Wait until you see the video, I’m like a lunatic in the air while Sam is as quite as a mouse. We’d do it again tomorrow. Oh, and we have the t-shirts .
Parade past golden-sand beaches, rocky outcrops and turquoise inlets, by foot or by kayak (Lonely Planet).
We did both. We hired a sea kayak on the first day for a half day and explored a section of the coastline, nothing to strenuous just drifting from island to island. We were lucky enough to spot a colony of seals, two in fact, and it was great being able to get up close with the kayak. They weren’t at all scared, just played among themselves – a magical experience.
On the second day we went for a walk along the famous Able Tasman Coast Track which stretches 51km. We only lasted an hour or so before the heavens opened and we had to retreat. None of us wanted a strenuous walk so when the rain came it was a welcome excuse to head back.
For us, the national park is stunningly beautiful and well worth a visit. Its most striking feature are the golden sand beaches, they are incredible. Sadly, we have no pictures that do them justice. When you stand on a cliff edge and look across a bay it is truly beautiful – hard to take good (or any) pictures in the rain. We also spotted a bird native to this area of NZ, the name escapes me but I’m sure you bird lovers will be able to remind us – not a particularly beautiful looking bird at that!
A relaxing couple of days!