It seemed that my 2015 started off on a high right from January. ‘High’ as in the height of the places I went to and the activities that I did in those places. The high escalated in Australia when I was there in March.
I suppose having a bunch of travel-bugs as friends does not help curb my own desire of traveling. I met Duncan at a press trip in Penang a month before my Australia trip. We only first met at that press trip, started a chat about our interests and I was immediately taken up by his upbeat attitude and travel stories. He’s a born Irish but have lived all over the world, including Australia for the past 12 years. When he found out I was planning to go to Australia in March, he asked me if I had any plans to Skydive.
I was intrigued. I haven’t given much thought of skydiving for my trip to Australia, although it has always been one of the top “must-do” things in my bucketlist – including bungee jumping at Kawarau Bridge in New Zealand, climbing the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, wingsuit flying (I have no idea where’s the best place to wingsuit fly but I always planned on doing it Mission Impossible style!), and many more.
So, I thought to myself, why not? Listening to Duncan describing how it feels like to see the world when you’re in the air was like giving candy to a 5 year old. I was sold the moment he said, “The experience is indescribable. Amazing. You have to do it at least once in your life.”
All I needed was to find out which company offers the best Skydiving packages. Since there are quite a number of companies offering skydiving packages in Gold Coast Australia (where I was going), I’ve got to study each one of them and look out for feedbacks or reviews on them too.
After much consideration and planning according to budget – the currency exchange from Malaysian Ringgit to Australian Dollars was not helping at all – I decided to go with the company called Skydive Australia.
I have never skydived before. So, for my first experience, I will definitely do tandem skydiving.
There are many packages offered by Skydive Australia but I end up choosing the 14,000 feet tandem skydive with 60 seconds free fall and DVD Handcam package. All of these totaled up to AUS$441.44.
The price above does not include insurance. However, if you have travel insurance for your trip, you may use that.
Skydiving with Skydive Australia (Byron Bay)
I registered for the skydive through its website. Among other required details, I also had to include my address of residence because the package includes return transportation to Byron Bay (where it’s closest to my place of residence). The skydiving location is at Tyagrah Airfield. Byron Bay is in New South Wales, an hour’s drive away from Gold Coast, Queensland. The timezone is also different, New South Wales being an hour in advance from Queensland.
Everything was quick and efficient here. When we arrived, we were asked to fill up a consent form and to register ourselves in their database so that we can get updates for future skydiving packages and offers. By registering, we also become a part of the Ultimate Adventure Sport and the Australian Parachute Federation (APF) member.
After registering, we loitered around the area to wait for our turn. This is the time for you to make new friends or purchase some official merchandises to kill time. I made friends with a girl from China, an adventurous solo traveler who have been traveling the world for the past 4 years. There were another two girls from Venezuela who were in Australia for the first time. We chatted and waited for almost 15 minutes before it was our turn.
Our group consists of 8 girls, a mixture from Asia and Europe. We were suited up with many belts and buckles across our chests, waists, backs and thighs. Then, we were taught how to seat at the edge of the plane in a position called the ‘banana’, for when it’s time to jump out of the plane. There was a simple demonstration on what to do during free fall, security details and what to do before landing.
By this time, each of us were wondering out loud why we want to do all this. Then, one by one, our tandem master came and lead us to the plane so there was no time left for regrets.
Was I afraid? No.
I did get butterflies in my stomach when the plane took off and I saw the land getting smaller and smaller. But once the door was opened, I saw the great big ocean in the distance and each pair of divers started jumping, I was exhilarated. I just thought to myself, “We only live once. It’s now or never.”
So how was it the second I am in the air? Oh my God. We somersaulted in the air 3 times – the sky and the sea all upside down. Then, we started free falling. It was so cold up there, I was so glad I chose to wear my jeans instead of shorts. 60 seconds free falling feels like such a short time!
One advice though, if you’re the type who likes to scream out your anxiety, don’t. The cold, strong wind will dry your mouth and throat in seconds.
What did I see up there? A world of greatness and beauty. It’s like the whole world is under you for as far as the eye can see. The experience is unlike any I’ve had before. The exhilaration, the butterflies in my stomach, the wind in my hair, the flying-without-wings feeling are things that you need to feel for yourself.
Just one word – amazing. Duncan was right.
Landing was smooth for me. The second my feet touched the ground, I wanted to do it again – if only it wasn’t a flipping 299 Aussie dollars! All the girls in my group were skipping and laughing when we reached land. We all wanted to do it again (yes, if only it was cheaper).
Would I skydive again? In a heartbeat. Totally.
If you’re looking for a new activity to experience, you should try skydiving at least once in your lifetime. However, you must make sure you are healthy and physically able to do this sport beforehand. If you’re a seasoned skydiver, I’m sure you would enjoy the scenery above Byron Bay.
Skydive Australia has 6 skydiving locations in Australia. You may check the places closest to you here.
Skydive Australia P.O. Box 1615 Byron Bay NSW Australia 2481 Tel: 1300 800 840 Email: email@example.com Web : skydivebyronbay.com.au