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Ah Skydiving. What’s not to love about throwing yourself out of a perfectly good aeroplane? And where better to do it than Taupo, New Zealand’s unofficial Skydiving capital. So maybe you need some convincing? You shouldn’t. Skydiving is quite simply the best sport in the world and with three Drop Zones to choose from you are spoilt for choice here in Taupo.
There is something truly liberating about scaring the bejesus out of yourself and let’s be honest, if it’s not scary it’s just not that fun. Who remembers their last trip to the supermarket? No one. Because it’s boring. Skydiving on the other hand is anything but; it's jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring, terrifying, exhilarating fun!
And for the remaining doubters, be assured this sport is all about the living not the dying! So pack a sense of adventure and choose from the skydiving options available, you can jump from 12 thousand feet or 15 thousand feet, have a camera on you the whole way, or choose the ground photos only. Whatever you choose, Skydiving is a unique opportunity to face your fears, conquer the laws of mental logic and strap yourself to a complete stranger whilst you do it.
So what is skydiving exactly? It is quite simply the most epic adventure you’ll ever take. Skydiving is made up of several parts but in a nutshell, you are strapped to a highly experienced jumpmaster, taken for a brief but real flight to altitude (oxygen-assisted at 15 thousand feet!) and then the door opens and urm… out you go….
It is now your skydiving experience really begins, in Freefall- this is the bit where you and your man are quite literally plummeting to earth, it’s fast and furious, you can barely catch your breath but you’ll see awesome views of the unique Taupo landscape beneath you, obviously:
a) the HUGE lake, and
b) World heritage, often-snow-capped mountains.
Your freefall ends when your guy or gal pulls the chute at around 5000ft. You go from around 200kmph to zilch and you are under the canopy - look up and there is your parachute (and breathe!) now you can talk to your jumpmaster, that’s if you can get your words out, generally there is just a lot of yahoos and wahoos but that’s ok, they know it’s awesome you don’t have to tell them!
If you’re lucky you might get to assist with a bit of the steering to help your canopy back down to landing and under the instruction of your new-best-friend-tandem-master you’ll prepare for landing and meet sweet, sweet Mother Earth once again.
So what are the recommendations?
For a start; the higher you go the better the experience and hey, if you are going to obligingly chuck yourself south from a perfectly functioning aircraft why not go as high as you can? 15 thousand feet will give you approximately one whole minute of freefall.
Don’t think a minute is a long time? Wait until you are plummeting to earth at a rate of knots in a fresh Taupo breeze! One minute of freefall provides you with the absolute maximum time to question what you are really doing up there falling through the sky whilst everyone else is happily ensconced in deck chairs on the lakefront enjoying a latte.
If one minute is perhaps a little too much, 12 thousand feet will be yours, a flighty 40-odd second freefall and a little less time to worry about things that will never happen (statistically you are more likely to get hit by a bus and judging by any bus driver I have ever met, I’d say that’s a given.).
I wouldn’t hesitate to say GET THE VIDEO! Really, when are you ever going to be doing this again? Will anyone really believe that you (Little Miss/Mr Scaredy-Cat) went Skydiving? What if you were to forget to empty your pockets? At least you’ll have evidence for that travel insurance claim for your recently purchased iPhone…
In all seriousness there are two very valid reasons you should get a video: You mightn’t remember a thing. It’s called sensory overload and it means in all the excitement your brain does a bit of a ‘pfft’ and well your memory blanks. Seeing it on instant replay, your face as you fall out the doors, your arms as you flail and try to catch gravity, that huge grin when you look up and see the canopy has in fact opened and you aren’t dead, the hugs of relief you’ll give your tandem master when you land on solid ground, it’s all priceless and you will watch it over and over again.
If you choose to have Freefall video- a camera man fly out with you (as opposed to the handy-cam option, where your tandem master films you from a camera on his hand) you get the crazy-cool opportunity to watch them fly around you, you can usually grab their hands to shake hello and when your parachute is pulled, you’ll realise just how fast you are going when you watch them fall away below to oblivion (don’t worry they have their own chute!).
How do I know?
Now trust me I do know what I am talking about; I visited here 10 years, ago did one jump, then went straight back up and did another (raiding my "only-for-emergencies" travel fund), then ended up getting my licence! It really is that cool.
Taupo is the perfect place for your Skydiving adventure, each company boasting their own unique experience: you can get picked up via limousine, have your video conveniently uploaded to flash-drive or jump from a custom designed plane - you choose. Skydiving is truly the greatest experience to complete whilst you imbibe in some spirited Taupo hospitality. So why Skydive? Why not.
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