Where John did his bungee jump....Look how big that fall is!!
So, John had always wanted to do some dare devil stuff. You know, bungee jump, parachute jump, maybe white water rafting, that kind of thing. So when the travel rep in Aucklands Youth hostel told me about a special offer being available in Taupo at the moment, he pricked his ears accordingly. The deal was called 'fourplay', and it worked like this. You get to do four extreme activities one after another, all in the same morning, all in four hours, with pick up and transportation to each provided. And the four activities were these. Bungee jump at 10.30, Huka jet (advanced speed boat) at 11:30, helicopter ride at 12:30 and parachute jump from 12000 feet at 01:30.
J about to take the plunge in Taupo, the first of his 'Fourplay' activities.
So after going to the toilet 3 times that morning, John kissed me goodbye and headed off. Sadly I couldn't go to watch due to the transport to the parachute jump site being by helicopter, which in a million years you wouldnt get me up in and so I relay the day's events to you from what John has told me:
The first stop was the Taupo Bungee jump site, which is done over a stunning river which is 98 meters below. He met up with a Scottish guy and a Northern Irish boy who were taking the plunge as well, and they talked about what we were about to do and traded messages for their families as well, just in case like. John said left them go ahead of him (out of courtesy, honest!) and eventually took his place for the plunge.
The view of Huka Falls from the helicopter.
He looked at the instructor blindly as he gave instructions which went in one ear and out the other...His brain was just telling him "Dont die" and trying to stop his bowels from emptying themselves. The worst part apparently was stepping out to the edge, as with the bungee tied around your anlkes you must take tiny steps out to the edge which makes you feel off balance. After posing for a picture which ended up looking like a rabbit caught in headlights he took a deep, meaningful, maybe final breath, and when counted down, he fell forward and dropped like a stone 96 meters to the water below. He survived, needless to say, although he nearly bust a lung in the process with the screaming, and when the girls in the boat below pulled him in he told them he was glad he didn't have breakfast that morning, and he ment it.
The view of Lake Taupo
So, next was the Hukajet, so called as it goes up by the Huka falls from the previous blog. He met up with a nice Welsh couple who were doing fourplay as well, and they were in their forties so he figured if they could do it he had no excuse not to. The boat powered us over the water at crazy speeds, with the driver swerveing in and out of trees and pulling 360's like there was no tomorrow. It was freezing cold but really impressive, and we finished it by skimming under the hukafalls and back into the dock with another full 360 at 90 miles an hour. John's underwear had dissolved at this point.
Next came the trip to the airport for our parachute jump, which was in a tiny four-seater helicopter. There were some amazing views of the countryside and over the nearby thermal park, as well as above the lake and the town itself.
The plane John did his skydive from.
Then the pilot decided their stomachs hadn't had enough punishment that day, so he pulled some loops and dives out of the bag to further disrupt the scenses, the fiend. He chauffered them over to the airport after 20 minutes like they were rock stars, and they then set off for the final, perhaps most daunting part of the day. It was just gone 1 o clock by now.
So, the one John had been really waiting for. Parachute jumps are so expensive in Ireland and Britain, it cost less to do the whole fourplay than a single jump without any pix or video would have done in Ireland. So he wasn't going missing this chance. He was suited up by the lovely girls at Taupo parachute club who told us that the suits were red in colour just in case the chute didnt open.
It ment less washing for them. Lovely. And since they were jumping next to the lake we were given life jackets, which we would have to inflate ourselves if needed by blowing into them when we hit the water. After falling from 12000 feet and hitting the water like a dart. Sure. Since it was a tandem jump he would of course be strapped to a bloke who would do all the parachuting opening business, and he met him 20 minutes before he went up. The bloke doing John's was a Kiwi who offered to buy him dinner first, which was nice. John's a classy guy...he wont strap himself to some bloke for anything less. He also met the camera man, who between them had done more than 8000 jumps, so he knew he was in safe hands.
They started the climb up in the small plane which was going to take 20 minutes, and of course it had the most incredible view of the lake and mountains which distracted John from the impending doom. The time came and they made their way to the open door at the front of the plane, and we sat there for a second while he told me we would go on three. He counted one, two.... and the bas*ard jumped before John could even say "I dont want to die!!!". John says the feeling was incredible, you can hardly grasp a breath from the air rushing past you at 200 kms an hour. They had 45 seconds of freefall before the chute snapped open with unbelieveable force, and then the most relaxing and scenic 4 minute glide to the ground. The view was breathtaking all over again, and such a change from the crazy 45 seconds before.
John talked, or screamed, to the instructor as we came down, actually making him miss the landing zone by a bit as he distracted him, but they hit the ground smoothly on their backsides. And so that was it. The day was over in that he had done the Bungee, Speedboat, Helicopter and Parachute jump, and it was only 2.30. John arrived back to me with a smile from ear to ear and a stomach that was ready to throw up on command.
Later that day we headed to the lakeside to get some pictures before having a nice meal in the Irish bar. We had an early night which John badly needed, and the next day we headed on to Wellington with magic bus, which is the most Southerly town in the North Island and was the place we were catching our ferry from.