When we talk about extreme sports, Skydiving tops that list. When we decided to visit New Zealand, Skydiving was on top of our bucketlist. We wanted to skydive with the best company & best views, so we finalized our Skydiving adventure with Taupo Tandem Skydiving. This company is based in the North island of New Zealand in a town called Taupo. Taupo is about 1 hour away from Rotorua.
The best way to travel across New Zealand is by InterCity bus. It is a very effortless & pleasant way to see the beautiful landscapes of New Zealand while traveling. We took a bus from Rotorua to Taupo in the morning. Once we arrived in Taupo, our transfer van was waiting for us. It was a big Limousine Hummer! I have never seen a trendier transfer vehicle than this.
In about 20 minutes, we reached Taupo Tandem Skydiving’s hanger. The registration process was quite simple & fast. Once we registered, we were taken to the actual hanger. Here, their team readied us with all the necessary equipment for Skydiving. We loved the friendliness of their staff members. They knew how to calm people down about the activity & it actually worked. We kept our bags & belongings in the designated lockers & got ready for the activity to begin.
Like many people around me, I also have a bucket list of experience that I want to go for at least once in my lifetime. Skydiving was sitting right on top of that list. When we were planning our trip to New Zealand, I was so excited because that is known as the safest & one of the most beautiful places in the world from where one can skydive. After some research, we decided to skydive with this company called Taupo Tandem Skydiving which is located in the North Island of New Zealand.
The idea of jumping from 15,000 ft is pretty exciting and that’s what I wanted to experience. I had seen videos of my friends skydiving around the world & I thought, “this looks easy enough because there you are attached to a guy who has jumped probably 10,000 times before this!” I was proven wrong by the experience later on though. At Taupo Tandem Skydiving, safety comes first (and it should because people are jumping from the plane here).
I was properly packed into a flying suit which was a bit uncomfortable at first but well, it was necessary in order to skydive. I met my Tandem Master (the guy who jumps with you) & he was very chirpy and excited to do this. There was a bit of nervousness & a lot of excitement. After all, the no. 1 item in the bucket list was about to be ticked off. As our plane arrived, my tandem master asked me to pose for a few pictures & signaled me to start walking towards the plane. It was very different from all the planes that I had seen.
This plane started climbing up the altitude & my tandem master kept the track of it on his watch. He was mentally prepping me up for the activity with his instructions & jokes. He was securing all the straps hanging on to me as well. I did not know what to expect once the plane reached at 15,000 ft. I had never done such a thing in my life so there was literally no comparison as well. The door of the plane opened and my tandem master told me that he was going to hang me outside the plane but I shouldn’t worry because I was safely attached to him.
Honestly, I didn’t understand the gravity of that sentence till he actually did it. My whole body was hanging out, the camera person asked me to smile & wave which I didn’t because I was too involved in the landscape I could see below. With a countdown of 3, 2, 1, we jumped out of the plane. Out of a freaking plane cruising at an altitude of 15,000 ft. It was a free fall for a minute so no parachute, just falling down.
I remember hanging out of the plane & I remember seeing the plane from below. For the first few seconds, I was too uncomfortable because of the suit, and the cold breeze. I was not understanding anything but that was for just few seconds. I came back to my senses & WOAH! Where was I? I was over Lake Taupo, I could see the mountains, the lake, the town & the clouds! I was piercing the clouds & the wind, going down with such a great velocity! It is too difficult to explain it in words.
After that one minute of pure adrenaline, the tandem master opened a parachute & it was a 3-4 minutes ride back down. This also made me remember my Paragliding experience in Interlaken, Switzerland. I was hanging there between the sky & land, with a big grin on my face because I had finally skydived. What a fascinating experience it was! I would definitely recommend you to check out Taupo Tandem Skydiving during your New Zealand trip because of their safety measures, their tandem masters, and the view that you can get from the top. Taupo is really beautiful & on a clear day, you can get to see both coasts of North Island while skydiving! If you are feeling more adventurous, Taupo Tandem Skydiving also have an option to jump from 18,500 ft. That option, I have kept open for the next time.
Are you one of those people who added Sky Diving to their bucket list after watching the film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara? Well, being the Bollywood buff that I am, I definitely added Sky Diving to my list. And despite a couple of trips to Spain shortly after, it never really happened.
While planning our New Zealand trip, we knew that Sky Diving was a must on this adventure led trip. And so, without dealy we considered our options and booked our tandem flight with Taupo Tandem Sky Diving.
On the day of our trip, we took an Intercity bus from Rotorua to Taupo. We were picked in a cool yellow Hummer from Taupo iSite and we were headed to the airport. Even after getting our taste of adventure in New Zealand through Bungy Jumping and Nevis Catapult, Sky Diving gave us butterflies in our stomach. Obviously, it was meant to be next level insane!
I was so uncertain as to how I was going to put up with this. Especially, ‘cuz sky diving was not merely a step of courage, but preparing your body for a jump from the plane? Nope, never had I done that.
After a 15-20 minutes’ drive, we had reached the Taupo Tandem Sky Diving Center and had begun the check-in process. The next moment of fear was when I was signing off a disclaimer form, filling in my emergency contact details. How is one not supposed to think of all that could go wrong in the process.
With my heart beating faster, I stuffed my bags in locker and went forward to get suited. Honestly, I was expecting some kind of a training or tutorial before we geared up. There was a safety instructions video that gave us a hang of what was to happen. We were introduced to our Tandem Masters. Mine was Craig Mckerel. Within 20 minutes, we were walking towards our plane.
I told Craig, “Can I be honest? I am really nervous… actually scared and skeptical about this!”
Craig smiled at me and replied, “Don’t worry! I’ve done this before, I do this every day. You’ll be fine”
COULD I BELIEVE IT THAT I WAS ABOUT TO JUMP OFF A PLANE FROM 15000 FEET!!! AAAAAAAAA……….
Okay, then… breathe! (Even thinking about this, days later still gives me goosebumps).
A small yellow plane with 4 Divers, 4 Tandem Masters, 2 Photographers and a Pilot of course took off for their dive! Strapped up, tightened harnesses, head gear in place, oxygen supply to cope up whilst enjoying the view from the window. Within 5 minutes, we had reached the height of 15000 feet.
The town of Taupo, including the gorgeous Lake Taupo was beneath us.
I was the second to jump and I had decided to rely on the one person I was going to be clung on to for this adventure and more importantly, he who knew how this really works and how to land safe!
(To be honest, I was really hoping to not act stupid out of fear, like clenching my tandem Master’s hand. That’s a strict NO-NO for sky diving and can be a huge risk for both our lives)
1… We had reached the edge of the plane with the door wide open
2… I had hung my feet out as instructed…
3… We were off the plane!
Mid-air, we had turned upside down. The first 10 seconds felt extremely uneasy, the air pressure and gravity making acting against each other… We were hanging in there, flying! And while the crazy feeling began to sink in well we straightened up as Craig opened our parachute. I enjoyed some quiet moments soaking in the beauty of what lay beneath.
I was hanging in there. Smiling like an idiot. Was I loving the view? Craig asked. I sure was.
He quickly told me how the landing procedure would work so that I could get back to enjoying my view. Honestly, the view was only a part of what I was loving.
Sky diving is about the entire experience. The prep, the take-off, getting to the desired height, jumping off the plane and flying, opening that parachute and circling your way to the ground. There was a plethora of feelings that was sinking within. Mostly good, humble and beautiful.
Our landing was timed as Craig kept checking his watch. As we inched closer to the finish of 4 minutes, we made a straight and smooth landing, as if walking after flying.
There I stood on the other side of where we had started, waiting for other 2 to land while getting off my safety gear.
I was mesmerized by the whole experience. This time, it wasn’t about jumping off a plane and landing safe. This time it was about those 4 minutes in the air and all that went within as the heart kept beating faster and yet a sense of calm dawned upon me.
Days later, I still don’t have the right words to explain my experience. But the least I can see is that I loved it!
And I feel so grateful for getting the opportunity to do this!
Book your Skydiving experience with Taupo Tandem Skydiving directly from their official website.