“Strap yourself to a beautiful stranger!”
Those are the words I first read when we arrived at Skydive Wanaka. It’s 2 hours away from Queenstown where we originally planned to skydive, but we were transferred to Wanaka due to the unfriendly weather at Queenstown that day. Even at Wanaka, the wind was quite strong that we had to wait a couple of hours to make sure it’s safe to fly and jump.
Well, let’s cut to the chase, what was it like to jump from an aircraft more than 4.500 meters high off the ground? Well, it’s windy, and cold, and nerve-racking. There are 3 options of altitudes you can choose, either 9.000 ft (2.743 m), 12.000 ft (3.657 m), or 15.000 ft (4.572 m). Considering I might just do this once in my lifetime, I picked the highest with 60 seconds of free fall at 200 km/hour. Yes, you might need some Tolak Angin and Antimo before you fly, just in case!
A few moments before we went in to the aircraft, I was introduced to my “beautiful stranger”. My tandem skydive instructor was Patrick. I would be strapped with him for the rest of the skydiving process. The adventure began with hopping on to a tiny little aircraft with about 16 passengers sitting in line. My fifteen-minute scenic flight was filled with trembling thoughts and regrets. When my friends and other people were jumping out of the door one by one, I took one deep breath to make sure I was ready to do it (I still wasn’t, even when we were already sitting on the edge of the aircraft door, but at least I’ve tried).
When you’re looking at landscapes thousands of meters below you while you were plummeting to the ground, your mind might go blank for a while. All I could remember from the experience was my pounding heart, the really strong wind coming from every angle possible that you could barely move your hands, and my skydive photographer that was on a laying position as if the wind was his bed.
Once the free fall was over and the parachute successfully opened, I was finally able to take in the stunning surroundings. It’s like you’re looking at a view from different dimension. Lakes, mountains, and rivers were displayed for your eyes at altitude.
The whole experience was definitely unforgettable – including the “aftermath” where I felt nauseas due to the strong wind and the briefly-whirling parachute. I did sit down for a while to take in what I just did. I just jumped out of a plane and flew in the sky, high above the clouds.
So, how much does the skydiving cost? The price range is about NZD $299 – $439 (does not include the photo + video package). But yeah, for checking off my number 1 bucket list, it’s a price I was willing to pay, and there’s no place better to do it than in New Zealand!