Canyon Swinging in Cairns: Conquering My Fear of Heights

Someone jumping from a tall bungy platform in Cairns, Australia
Last Updated: 10/2/20 | October 2nd, 2020

I hate heights. Really hate heights. It’s something a lot of people find ironic considering how often I fly.

But anyone who has flown with me before knows that I’m a bit of a nervous flier. Any bump in the air and I grab onto the seat until my knuckles are white.

While I’ve gotten a bit better over the years, I still won’t even go near ledges or cliffs and, if someone does manage to get me up an observation tower, it takes me about ten minutes to walk toward the glass. I’m that scared.

As you might know, extreme sports are hugely popular in Australia and New Zealand. From bungy jumping to skydiving to scuba diving to rock climbing to whitewater rafting and everything in between.

People come to this part of the world to get outdoors and get an adrenaline rush. And no activity is more synonymous with this area of the world than bungy jumping!

Bungy jumping was invented by a New Zealander named A.J. Hackett in the 1980s. Taking inspiration from a ‘land diving’ tradition in Vanuatu, Hackett worked to figure out how to make land diving actually work in a safe and consistent environment.

Eventually, he and his colleagues took their product to France where they then jumped off the Eiffel Tower. This was illegal of course, which resulted in Hackett briefly spending some time in jail.

But that jump caught the attention of the world, and bungy jumping has been a common (if extreme) sport ever since.

A.J. Hackett is the biggest name in the bungy business, operating jumps all around the world, including the world’s tallest bungee jump in Macau which stands 764 feet above the ground. Naturally, as bungy jumping grew in popularity, other extreme activities were developed and followed suit. Enter the jungle swing, a large gravity-powered pendulum that drops people into the jungle and lets them swing back and forth.

When I was visiting Cairns with some friends, I got invited to visit the AJ Hackett Bungy Jump by Brett Claxton, then the head of Queensland’s Backpacking Association. While we are there, AJ himself turned up and we started talking!

He was an extremely interesting guy. I pictured him to be this big, burly guy but, instead, he was a short, hippie with a penchant for adrenaline sports!

After some peer pressure, I agreed to do the jungle swing they had there. In fact, not only did I do the jungle swing but I got to do it with AJ himself. How could I say no to that?

While the video below doesn’t have the quality, it definitely shows you want you can expect when you do a jungle swing in Cairns:

While I’m no adrenaline junkie, I have to admit it was a memorable experience. While it’s not for me, I can definitely see why bungy jumping has become such a popular activity. These days, no visit Down Under is complete without some sort of extreme sport.

So, if you find yourself in Cairns be sure to head over to AJ Hackett’s and take a leap. You won’t regret it.
How to Bungy Jump and Jungle Swing in Cairns: Logistics
The Cairns location is actually A.J. Hackett’s favorite place to hang out. They have built an impressive setup, offering 16 different styles of jumping, including the ability to jump blindfolded or from a BMX bike. There’s a bar on-site, and the place is open all day so you can book multiple jumps.

AJ Hackett Cairns is open daily from 10am-5pm. Be sure to book in advance as they do fill up quick.

Single jumps start at 99 AUD ($70 USD). For an additional 129 AUD ($92 USD), you can also purchase photos and video (including POV footage) of your jump. The jungle swing is 79 AUD ($56 USD).

Book Your Trip to Australia: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner or Momondo to find a cheap flight. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned. Start with Skyscanner first though because they have the biggest reach!

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. My favorite places to stay are:

If you’re looking for more places to stay, here for my favorite hostels in Australia!

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.

Want More Information on Australia?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on Australia for even more planning tips!

Photo credit: 1 – AJ Hackett