Updated: 10/30/2018 | October 30th, 2018
I hate heights, which is 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 biz, 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 canyon swing, a large gravity-powered pendulum that drops people into a canyon and lets them swing back and forth.
When I was visiting Cairns, Australia 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 canyon swing they had there. In fact, not only did I do the canyon 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 canyon 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 Cayon 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 to jump 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, 364 days a year (they close on Christmas).
Transportation is included in your ticket, with multiple pick-up points available around Cairns. They’ll pick you up at a place convenient for you. Make sure to book in advance so you can choose your ideal time and secure a spot on the shuttle.
Single jumps start at 159 AUD for adults and 139 AUD for students and children ages 10-14. For an additional 99 AUD, you can also purchase photos and video (including POV footage) of your jump. The canyon swing is 129 AUD for adults and 69 AUD for children and students.
Book Your Trip to Australia: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. 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.
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay elsewhere, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. I use them all the time. My favorite places to stay in Cairns are:
- Gilligans – This is biggest hostel in Cairns. Come here to meet people and party.
- Asylum – An all around solid hotel with friendly staff and comfy beds.
- Calypso – This is a bit outside the city but the staff is friendly and it’s quiet.
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. I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. 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 travel – and I think will help you too!
Photo credit: 1