Sunday, February 3, 2013

Skydiving Paradise

Posing on the way out to our jump site.
Somewhere along the way in my planning of our New Zealand trip, I decided it might be fun to try skydiving. I'm not sure how this came about; I think it started as more of a joke. I knew I had to bungy jump while we were there, and we planned to do the canyoning and jetboat ride, so plenty of exciting activities were already on the itinerary, but I kept coming back to the idea.

Zack is screaming affirmations at himself to pump himself up!
Zack had already been skydiving in the United States, but it wasn't an exciting location (to avoid offending readers from a certain state, I won't say where!). He was willing to do it again in New Zealand, and I figured if I didn't do it there, I probably wouldn't do it anywhere else.

This was before the ear pain set in!
I always thought skydiving was out of the question for me, because of my numerous ear infections as a child and a few burst eardrums as an adult. I was most scared of the pain that would probably come with the pressure change during the freefall, and I've always avoided scuba diving for the same reason (pressure changes).

Zack perfected his Maori face!
I decided to give it a whirl, and I booked us to skydive on January 1. What better way to bring in the new year? Unfortunately, the rainy weather didn't agree with our plans, and we had to put it off for a few days. But on Friday, January 4, we did it!

My knuckles say "I love NZ, 2013."

We jumped with Skydive Paradise, whose location is near Glenorchy. That meant that we got awesome views of mountains, water, and even some Lord of the Rings filming sites. After a fifteen minute scenic flight, we were at our jump height of 12,000 feet. By the way, the third person on our plane was a 70-something year old grandmother who got a 15,000 foot jump as a birthday present from her grandchildren! Anyway, skydiving was actually less scary than bungy jumping, because the guy on your back is in charge, and you don't really have to do anything. The most frightening moment was probably when your legs are dangling out of the plane right before your instructor leans out and you start falling.

We were above a layer of clouds when we jumped. Zack went first, and it was kind of alarming to see him sitting in the plane one minute and then totally gone the next. I found it difficult to breathe during the freefall. And yes, one of my ears hurt. A lot. But once the parachute was pulled, I was able to equalize the pressure with some yawns and plugging my nose and blowing out. Then I could enjoy the amazing views. Wow; it was incredible! My instructor did some spins, and I just looked around and soaked it all up. I landed smoothly on my feet and waited for Zack to reach ground too (somehow I beat him down).

Skydiving was definitely one of the most amazing things I've ever done in my life, and I'd recommend everyone do it just once. I don't think I'd do it again, partly because of the ear pain, and mostly because I don't think I could have nearly as awesome of an experience as I did in New Zealand, but it was so, so cool. It was my favorite thing we did on this trip for sure (swimming with the dolphins would be second). I've included our videos below, but if you only have time or the interest level to watch one, Zack's is better. I'm in his anyway, and he makes fun faces! If you are even remotely considering skydiving at some point in your life, DO IT!!! I promise you won't regret it; I don't! Update: Shout out to my parents and aunt and uncle who did this exact same skydive today (Feb. 5). They are living it up in New Zealand!


  1. Were the videos part of the deal? Very well done. Zack was hilarious. Great views. You looked petrified when walking to the plane. Can dogs go skydiving?

    1. You had to pay for the photo/video package, but we figured it was worth it for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. I guess I do look like I'm doing a death march to the plane. Actually, yes, dogs have skydived. Google it-lots of videos!

  2. So so jealous!!!! I am happy you and Zack got to do this.

    1. Aunt Jean, it sounds like you need to take a trip to New Zealand!

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