In 2018 I headed to New Zealand, convinced I’d never do a skydive or bungee jump.
And for the first half of my trip, I was still totally convinced I’d never do one. I’m not scared of heights or anything – it just wasn’t something I was interested in doing.
But when we arrived in Fox Glacier on New Zealand’s South Island, the skydive sign up sheet came round. And my friend and I thought; why not? It was a totally spontaneous decision, which – for anyone who knows me – isn’t something I do very often. We signed up for the skydive taking place the following morning, and I was actually pretty excited.
So the morning of the jump came, and we headed out to meet the guy who was picking us up to take us to the skydive centre. And low and behold, it got cancelled. The wind was too strong and it was too overcast to be able to complete our skydive that morning. So we waited. And waited. And finally we headed out for our second attempt – which also got cancelled. So we headed over to explore Franz Josef Glacier and chilled out at the Lake Matheson Café, where we finally received the long awaited phone call telling us our skydive would be going ahead – in 20 minutes! After a mad dash to get to the centre, it was finally time to head into the sky and do the one thing I said I’d never do…
Here’s what happened next…
Once we arrived at the centre, we were weighed and kitted out in all the safety gear we needed. We met our Tandem Master who’d be jumping with us (shout out to Rodruigez), and were shown a brief safety video which went through each section of the jump giving us all the tips and info we needed to know! Our Tandem Masters then talked us through what was going to happen, how we needed to sit on the edge of the plane, and what would happen once we’d jumped out. I mean, if that’s not enough to make you nervous, I don’t know what is.
It was then time to head into the sky! The journey seemed to be over in a flash, it honestly felt like it took 20 seconds to reach 13,000ft. We shimmied our way to the edge of the plane, and I remember suddenly thinking ‘what am I doing?’. But it was too late to back out now, cos before I knew it we were free-falling.
And boy is free-falling a wild ride.
Before we headed up for the dive, the Tandem Masters told us that the best way to get oxygen into your body during the freefall was to basically scream. Which when you’re falling from a height, is pretty easy to do.
To be honest, I actually loved the free-fall! I feel like it’s one of those love or hate things. The thrill it gives you is insane – although I did feel like a right numpty screaming my head off. After around 20 seconds of free-falling, the parachute is released and you can take in the phenomenal views that surround you!
As a Lord of the Rings fan this was the moment I’d been waiting for. The mountains that surrounded us were the very mountains from the lighting of the beacons scenes.
As we continued our descent, my Tandem Master gave me the handles of the parachute so I could control it for myself – a little daunting, not gonna lie. But it was an amazing experience that I look back on most days!
After returning to solid ground, we headed back to the centre where we collected our t-shirts and video footage, as well as refuelling with a sugary drink (I promise, you’ll be glad of one)!
I’m so glad I made that spontaneous decision to put my name down on that sign up sheet. It’s hands down one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.
Would I do another one? To be honest, I reckon I would.
Would I recommend doing one? 100%!
My friend and I both chose to do the 13,000ft Tandem Skydive, with the Photography Package. This means you’re filmed by your Tandem Master, who’ll take pictures and videos throughout your dive, as well as interviewing you before and after! It’s so funny to watch it back and see how different you act before and after your jump! We also received t-shirts which were a great memento. We were given our footage on a USB stick which meant it was easy to keep safe throughout the rest of our travels.
If you’re planning a trip to New Zealand and you want to do a skydive, I’d highly recommend Skydive Franz & Fox Glacier. They were so friendly, super helpful and their Tandem Masters have tonnes of experience. Oh, the views you get are off the scale too. You can check out their website to find out about all their Skydive options here.