On the face of it, skydiving is ludicrous. You fly up in a plane only to jump out of it again and end in the exact same point you started. Why not just stay where you are? Well there’s something very appealing about it, as there are in all extreme adventures, because it’s something you’re physically not supposed to do. Hanging out of the edge of the plane at 14,000 feet, my body was screaming at me to stay put…but by this point I didn’t have much choice.
While in Australia, I signed up to a half day skydiving experience with the lovely folks at Sydney Skydivers. From a central location they threw a bunch of nervous looking backpackers into a bus and drove inland for an hour to a town called Picton. This was our jump site for the day and the bus was eerily quiet as we drove on to the airfield, most people checking to the sky to see what they were in store for.
Sydney Skydiving Experience
From the waiting room my name was one of the first to be called. I didn’t really want to go first, I felt kind of uneasy but I bravely stepped up to get prepped for the jump. This was to be a tandem skydive. Naturally if you don’t have experience in this field they’re not too keen on you jumping out of the plane on your own, so I was matched up with an instructor who kitted me out, gave me some very brief ‘training’ and ushered me towards the plane.
This all happened so fast I didn’t have time to take it in. Before I knew it, we were on a tiny 6-man single prop plane, not much more than a tin can with wings. In a plane that is so small you feel everything, and I mean everything. Every tiny bump and every strong gust of wind, which doesn’t help if you’re feeling a little nauseous already.
Related: Looking for other things to do in Sydney? Check out this article for inspiration
It took around 15 minutes to get to our intended jump height of 14,000 feet. For the first ten or so I was enjoying the view, luscious green Australian countryside, it was quite pleasant. Then something changed. As the instructor began his final checks and tightened every strap on my harness I noticed how thin the air had become. By this point I could feel every breath in and every breath out. I could feel my heart rate increasing, I could feel the adrenaline starting to kick in. Now it had become real. In a matter of minutes I’d be jumping out of a plane.
At 14,000 feet you’ll free fall for quite some time before the parachute needs to be deployed. That means you’re literally falling, through the air, as fast as gravity will reasonably allow. This was all I could think about in those final few minutes. Despite all of that, I felt safe. I felt like the Sydney Skydivers on that plane knew what they were doing. With their many years of experience between them, I’d be fine, right?
Thoughts of quitting passed through my mind. Did I really want to do this? Then it occurred to me that I didn’t really have any say in this anymore. As the doors opened and the wind rushed in, I realized I was strapped to this guy. If he jumped, which he obviously was going to, I would have to go with him. It was as simple as that. I took a very deep breath as we shuffled towards the gaping exit. The adrenaline was racing through my veins, I felt pumped, I felt scared, I felt like I was going to be sick all over my instructor.
Obviously as you’re hanging out of a plane doorway at 14,000 feet the worst thing you can possibly do is look down. I looked down. I was almost sick there and then but I didn’t have time as we leapt out into the air. We spun around a few times, a highly disorientating sensation, and then just started falling. Falling and falling, hurtling back down towards the earth. The power of the air against your body is almost indescribable…like running into a wind tunnel but not getting thrown back. We fell face down, me strapped to the front of my guy. Once I’d calmed down form that initial shock I started to notice where we were. Right below us was a huge cloud, we were above the clouds and now we were about to pass through one. This was fairly surreal.We fell through the big fluffy cloud and all around me was white. I felt a brief moment of extreme coldness, and then we popped out the other side, still free falling towards the incredible view below. Strangely I didn’t feel scared anymore. Being this high up, it was almost like the ground was just too far away, like we’d never hit it. That was a comforting thought, but while I was no longer afraid I was still screaming, screaming as loud as I could as the adrenaline tried to escape my body. The thrill was overwhelming, like no sensation I’ve ever experienced before. We were pushing the boundaries of what human bodies are meant to go through, well the instructor was, I was just tagging along for the ride.
After a good 45 seconds or so of free fall the parachute went up and we slowly descended towards the drop zone. After such intense stimulation it was actually quite nice to float down and think about what had just happened. I was smiling, I couldn’t believe what I’d just been through. Its all over so fast, but for that brief moment you really feel alive. It’s fun, it’s scary, it’s exhilarating, it’s surreal and just an incredible feeling. As we landed safely on the soft grass, I looked back up and thought, ‘did I really just jump out of a plane?’ and yep, I did.
Skydiving in Sydney: Basic Details
- Sydney Skydivers run skydiving excursions 2 times a day every day of the week. One bus
leaves at 7am, one at 11am from their office, located near Central station in Sydney.
- You will need to book in advance at their office, over the phone or on their website.
- A jump from 14,000 feet starts at $249AU. Check out their website for deals and packages.
- Photos and videos cost extra. Your instructor will jump with a go pro attached to his hand to
capture the action. Packages starts at $99.
- You do not need any prior experience to skydive, you will be given a temporary licence upon
- Insurance is not included but can be added for an additional $30. If you already have travel
insurance check if the policy includes extreme sports such as skydiving as many do not.
Check out the Sydney Skydivers Website for an updated price list.
Insider Tip: If you’re not around Sydney but happen to be near Cairns they also have a jump site up there.
Skydiving: What do I Bring?
- You must wear closed shoes, no sandals or anything exposing your feet.
- Sunscreen, its Sydney and its always hot
- The whole trip takes around 3-4 hours, but there’s a cafe on site if you get hungry or thirsty, so
you don’t really need any snacks.
- If want to bring a friend to take photos that can be arranged, just call the office in advance.
However on the ground you won’t get that many amazing shots, the best photos are obviously
taken while free falling through the air.
Please note that despite receiving complimentary services from Sydney Skydivers, all opinions are ours and remain completely unbiased.
Looking for more Adventures around Oz and New Zealand? Check these articles out
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- The Best Ways to Travel Around New Zealand