When you were young, you probably jumped off stuff all the
time – the couch, monkey bars, retaining walls, etc. For some, that daredevil
desire to free fall has not only stuck, it has evolved into bigger and vaster
challenges … and that’s how extreme sports like bungee jumping and BASE jumping
were born. Imagine yourself today with a thick, elastic cord secured to your
ankles as you stand on a bridge suspended 300 feet in the air over a gushing
river. What if instead of a cord, you were wearing a backpack with a parachute
inside? Sounds pretty terrifying, right? If you prefer to live on the edge –
literally – then make your way to some of the best bridges in the world to jump
off … and survive.
Gorge Suspension Bridge, Otago, New Zealand
Fear Factor: Scary
New Zealand’s Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge is not the
tallest in the world, but it is the world’s first commercial bungee jump
location. For more than 20 years, Kiwis and international travelers have been
flocking to this 141-foot bridge strung over the turbulent Kawarau River within
the once gold-laden gorge. Visitors wanting to take a leap from the bridge –
now a pedestrian pathway on the Queenstown Trail – make arrangements with
pioneering bungee company, AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand. While the question of
jumping is already decided for most people, those who are willing to take the
plunge here must choose one more thing: do they want to get wet? Jumpers have
the option of bobbing over the water, touching the water or getting dunked.
Bridge (Potato Bridge), Idaho, U.S.
Fear Factor: Scarier
If you really need an adrenaline rush, lose the bungee cord
and head to Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls, Idaho. This expansive, truss arch
bridge reaching over the Snake River is one of the top destinations for BASE
(buildings, antennas, spans, earth) jumpers. Unlike bungee jumpers, BASE
jumpers get to enjoy the world right side up. Those brave souls who decide to
leap off the 486-foot bridge do so with specialized equipment. It allows jumpers
to free fall for a couple of seconds before a parachute
deploys to help them glide safely to the shore, all while taking in a panoramic
view of the rocky Snake River Canyon.
Most Bridge (Old Bridge), Mostar, Bosnia
Fear Factor: Scariest
Although shorter than the others on the list, Bosnia’s Stari
Most Bridge is rated one of the scariest bridge jump locations because those
who jump from this one aren’t wearing anything to break their fall. You read
correctly – no bungee cord, no parachute, just a diving cap and some swim
trunks. Jumping from Mostar’s landmark bridge to the Neretva river waters
nearly 80 feet below has been a rite of passage for Bosnians dating back to the
1600s. The Old Bridge was destroyed during the Bosnian War in the early 1990s,
but was rebuilt by 2004 and today stands as a symbol of pride in the country. A
formal diving competition has been held annually since the mid-1970s.
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