I’ve always wondered what it would be like to soar through the skies, as a little kid I would sometimes pretend be that superhero that flies around like Superman on the look out for bad guys. Well, fast forward 20 years later and here I am, standing totally petrified at the airfield in Wanaka looking up at people free-falling from the skies while waiting for my turn. I kept asking myself what did I just do? Why did i just pay money to jump out of a plane? I mean, the queue was long, I guess that gave me some time to calm my nerves as I came to terms that I was about to go skydiving for the very first time. Oh please don’t let the parachute malfunction, was my mantra for the day. Followed by, please don’t let me pass out mid-air or throw up in the skies.

Being situated in Queenstown earlier that day, the company that I booked an afternoon slot with provided a free return shuttle transfer from Queenstown to Wanaka, so that was awesome and convenient. Check out Skydive Wanaka for their packages, I’m sure you’ll find something suitable for your budget. The drive took about a little over an hour, and before you know it you’re at the hangar getting prepped and suited up for your leap of faith.

The hangar where ‘jumpers’ and instructors prepped for the skies.
Admiring the view and listening to screams echoing through the skies.
Eagerly waiting for his turn.
Coming in for a landing.

In that 20 minutes, I spent time people watching, some entered the plane nervous as ever, and landing with the biggest smiles on their face after. I suppose this isn’t as bad as how I imagined it would be. In the next 2 minutes there was a lady who looked like the was almost 70 who started laughing hysterically as she touched down. If she can do this, So can I, I reassured myself. Soon the plane came to refuel and to pick up the next batch of jumpers, a lady with a clipboard started yelling “Is there a Jonathan Khoo here?” HERE I raised my hands. Awesome, you’re good to go!

There it was, our cute little orange propeller plane that was going to take us up to the skies.

My hands started sweating and my heart rate probably went through the roof when she told me I was next. Questions started flooding into my head and I just kept saying, it will be fine, just think of it as a very prolonged bungee jump. Little did I know, it would feel totally different, much more enjoyable in fact.

Personal belongings were all stored in the lockers first.
Watching the crew roll up parachutes.
Got myself in the jump suit and was waiting to board the plane.

Before getting on to the plane, my tandem dive instructor and the videographer came to introduce themselves and assure me it will be the best flight of my life, with nothing to worry about. Asking me to leave all nerves on the ground and just have a good time after leaping from the plane. Before we knew it, a few of us jumpers were ushered to the plane, my palms have never felt sweatier.

Last to board, first to jump.
The very talented photographer who was going to capture this momentous occasion.
Our ascend to 12 thousand feet in the air. God, this looks too high.
The instructor strapped on to my back gave me a pat on the head and said have fun. I almost died when the shutters opened. The lady on my left clearly is going “I can’t even”

Not going to lie, when the instructor pulled up the transparent shutters next to me, exposing part of the plane at 12 thousand feet up in the air, there was a part of me that died inside as the ledge was just a feet away. Deep down I almost didn’t want to do it, but heck it was all paid for, and it was a once in a lifetime thing. Just shut up Jon, and don’t resist. Next thing I knew, he huddled me to the edge right after the videographer jumped off. He tugged us both off the plane, and down we tumbled through the skies.

The face of silent cries as my soul leaves my body.
We’re going down, down in an earlier round.
Tiny parachute deployed.

After about 10 seconds free-falling, fear left my body, I honestly enjoyed the feeling of plummeting to earth. To be fair, I felt really safe because a professional was strapped on to my back and all I had to do was worry about where to look at. Before I knew it nonsense started spewing out of my mouth, telling him things like ‘I miss my mom!” where did that come from? I started yelling “THIS IS WHAT MY DRONE FEELS LIKE”. The adrenaline rush was contagious, it took over my body as I felt the winds pushing up against my body during the descent.

Trying to cram in all the sights that I could see.
The photographer was just awesome. The face of pure joy, sensory overload.
The drop felt amazing. Adrenaline rush at its peak.
I’m flying !
Before i knew it, the 45 second free fall came to an end.
Still trying to wrap my head around on what just happened in the last minute.

One word, #supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. That’s the only way to describe sky diving. I would do it again in a heartbeat. It sure beats bungee jumping, that one left me terrified from beginning till end. Perhaps it’s s the notion of floating down back to earth knowing that you’ll be safe in the arms of a beautiful stranger.

To anyone asking themselves if they should try skydiving in New Zealand? Hell yeah.