Experience the thrill of jumping from a platform hundreds of metres in the air, while catching glimpses of amazing scenery: this is Bungee. Once the bungee cord reaches its limit and springs back, you repeat the fall, albeit at a slower pace. As the adrenalin rush starts to fade you are lowered to safety; now all that is left, is to think when and where your next jump will be.
The creation of the first permanent platform by A J Hackett at Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown, New Zealand in the late 1980’s saw bungee jumping take off as an extreme activity. Variations on fixed-platform jumps are now also popular, as are leaps from hot air balloons and helicopters. Listed below are ten top bungee jumping locations.
1. Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge, Canon City, Colorado
The highest suspension bridge in the world is 321m (1053ft) above the Arkansas River. Bungee jumping from the bridge takes place during the Go Fast Games once a year, making advance booking a necessity. Adding to the dizzying effects of the height is the walk across the wooden boards to the jump site; looking straight down through the gaps you can see the river below. Take in the majestic view of the canyon walls, the distant river and the trains passing below before leaping into the air.
2. Nevis Highwire Bungee, Queenstown, New Zealand
Set between two hills and suspended on steel cables, the jump pod can only be reached by cable car. The drop looks much further than 134m (440ft) when viewed through the car’s glass floor. Take a minute to enjoy the scenery while your safety equipment is checked. The canyon you are about to jump into is wide at its top but narrows dramatically. There is also plenty of time to enjoy the scenery on the way back up too.
3. Colorado River Bridge, Costa Rica
A tropical rainforest with lush green vegetation as far as the eye can see, this is one of the most beautiful bungee locations. The bridge is 81m (265ft) high and has been closed to traffic for many years. As you stand at the edge of the bridge, heart-in-mouth, waiting to jump, you get to really appreciate the majestic nature of the rainforest. The site is a real must for adrenalin lovers, as once you have completed your jump you can try also rock climbing as well as paragliding.
4. Verzasca Dam, Val Verzasca, Switzerland
The dam is 220m (721ft) high with the huge Lake Vogorno as its backdrop. Since James Bond was filmed jumping here for the film ‘Golden Eye’, this has become one of the most popular bungee destinations. Now you too can be an undercover agent – if just for a few seconds. Courage and determination are needed for this one, as well as real faith in your equipment – beginners should think twice.
5. Volcano Bungee, Pucon, Chile
Not for the faint hearted, this jump involves leaping from a helicopter into an active volcano. The jump itself is about 106m (350ft) from the helicopter to the furthest reach of the cord. Be prepared to feel the heat, as you come within 200m (700ft) of molten lava. The excitement doesn’t end there: You then dangle from the cord beneath the helicopter as it returns to base, over 35 miles away. Jump and ride.
6. Blue Thunder Bungee, Centre of Gravity, Edmonton, Alberta
Located at a the World Water Park in the West Edmonton shopping mall and at 32m (106ft) above the wave machine, this is the highest indoor bungee in the world. Once you have committed to jump, you then get to select a full or ankle harness and can also opt for a full body dip in the pool’s 1.8m (6ft) of water. With shoppers stopping to look through huge glass windows and swimmers in the neighbouring pools, this must be one of the most intimidating bungee audiences.
7. Bloukrans Bridge, South Africa
Bloukrans Bridge is a single-span arch in the Western Cape above the Bloukrans River. As part of the Tsitsikamma national park it guarantees fantastic views. You can walk under the road to the top of the arch or use the Flying Fox, a zip wire, which will deliver you at speed to the jump site. After the countdown the jump of 216m (710ft) is smooth, as it utilises pendulum technology. After conquering your fear of heights, perhaps enjoy the rest of the Garden Route from the water in canoes, or take a walk into the mountains.
8. Ledge Urban Bungee, Queenstown, New Zealand
Imagine the fear moments before a jump, now imagine taking a running jump: the Ledge Urban Bungee takes you to this place. A runway leads to the edge, allowing jumpers to run, then leap out into the sky above Queenstown . If that isn’t terrifying enough, do it at night with the town’s lights twinking 400m (1312ft) below.
9. Bhote Kosi River, Himalayas, Nepal
A steel suspension bridge connects two sides of a valley through which the Bhote Kosi River races. Here, freefalling for 160m (524ft) is an exhilarating experience, made more intense by the view across the Himalayas. To keep the adrenalin pumping and see the river from a different angle, why not later raft its white-water rapids.
10. Victoria Falls Bridge, Zimbabwe/ Zambia
On the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, Victoria Falls is a spectacular sight, and stretches more than 1.6km (1m). The bridge is roughly 152m (500ft) above the Zambezi River and commands an awe-inspiring view. Plummeting towards the fast-flowing water, you soon appreciate the expertise of the safety crew and their equipment. A crew member retrieves you after the jump, then you are winched back up – all the while probably asking for another go.
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