Frame by Frame: The Anatomy of a Bungy Jump

Frame by Frame: The Anatomy of a Bungy Jump

I’ve freely admitted that I backed out of the bungy jump in Rotorua. I also wrote of an opportunity to redeem myself in Queenstown, home of three different bungys. After almost a week in Queenstown, I still hadn’t mustered up the courage to jump. We were going to the Kawarau Bridge; my husband was intent on jumping at the original bungy…with or without me.

It was decided that our next-to-last day in Queenstown would be “the day.” Accompanied by Kiwi travel writer, Sarah Bond, and husband and wife photographers, Gareth and Shauna Roughley of Roughley Originals, we loaded up and drove the 20 minute drive out of Queenstown on Highway 6. I’d already decided that I wasn’t going to jump. Nope! I was ok with not crossing that off my bucket list.

The five of us rolled into AJ Hackett each armed with at least one camera; we were strapped. My husband walked to the registration where he paid and was weighed. It was explained to him that the money was non-refundable; it didn’t matter if he jumped or not. Above the cash register was a giant blue board with the prices and bungy jumper facts. The heaviest bungy was 235 kg (517 lbs), and the lightest bungy was 35 kg (77lbs). The oldest bungy was 94 years old, and the youngest was 10. Although interesting, I wasn’t ready to lay down my $180 NZD for yet another chance to chicken out.

Off we went to the bridge that stood high above the turquoise Kawarau River. Gareth stationed himself on a landing just above the river height. Shauna, Sarah, and I headed up to the bridge. We watched as other jumpers took the plunge, while my husband got outfitted in his bungy gear. He slid the nylon straps and metal buckles over his khaki cargo shorts and waited his turn. A former big-time rodeo star <sarcasm>, his nerves were akin to climbing on top of a bareback horse and waiting for the chute to open. It seemed as though jumping were easier though; riding a wild horse yields unpredictable results. He trusted in the knowledge of the staff and equipment of AJ Hackett. After all, there had been no accidents in over 20 years.

After a few shots on the bridge, Shauna headed down to another landing below the bridge. We were going to have this jump covered from all angles. About ten minutes lapsed and it was his turn. His legs were wrapped in a simple navy bath towel and more nylon straps. From there the heavy bungy cord was attached. A smile in the direction of AJ Hackett’s camera, and without a moment’s hesitation, he jumped.





AJ Hackett Staff







Bungy 5














Bungy20Shauna and Gareth Roughley, with their awesome skills, captured the jump beautifully. Check them out in the background with their super-duper cameras.

Bungy21“Alan, grab me my sunglasses!” –Mr. Chow

Exhilarated and in need of a beer, he was so happy to have jumped. It was a great way to conclude our wonderful week in Queenstown, and with new friends in tow, it was even better.


Special thanks to Shauna and Gareth Roughley for giving me their wonderful photos. Most of the pictures were taken by them…the really great ones are theirs. Click on them for an enlarged view.


If you’re a bungy fanatic (or hope to be one day), make sure you keep in touch with Sarah Bond. In two days, she did the Ledge Swing and Bungy, the Kawarau Bungy, and even the 134 meter (439 feet) Nevis Bungy and Swing. What a nut! She’ll be writing about it for none other than AJ Hackett!

Sit back and stay awhile