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Free fall

As a child, I remember competing aggressively with the kid on the swing next to mine — who could go higher?
By Shweta Mehta | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON DEC 01, 2010 12:59 AM IST

As a child, I remember competing aggressively with the kid on the swing next to mine — who could go higher? The reward may have been as measly as bragging rights for the next 10 minutes.

If I was still competing in those Juvenile contests, I may just have sealed the win on a recent trip to Queenstown. At 400m above the city, the Ledge Sky Swing is higher than any other in the world. It’s also faster, longer and far more daunting, but that’s what you expect from New Zealand. The tiny island country is the Adventure Capital of the World. A majority of the brochures you pick up when you land at the airport are filled with information on Skydiving, Bungee Jumping, White Water Rafting and Jet Boating.

A walk around Queens-town reveals that there are more shops serving as booking offices for Adventure Sports than there are for well shopping. Since the hub of the city is small and easily navigable, practically everything is just around the corner. The famed swing though, can only be reached via Gondola. Once atop, the height of the trees and azure of the sea will strike you first. What you don’t realise is that it will seem ridiculously obscure when you take the leap.

Preparing for the plunge is a task in itself. Meticulous safety measures take up a good 10 minutes. Instructions follow. The brave and the fearful can now be told apart — the former are restless to start, while the latter tightly clutch their harness, or the guy who helped them wear it.

The Ledge Sky Swing is like a modified bungee jump. You release yourself from the highest point, and trigger off 3-4 oscillations at mind-blowing speed. Tugging at the release pin provides the much-needed shock to my nerves, which have been astonishingly calm till this point.

When I manage to pull off the stubborn pin, I plummet downwards, headlong. Before I can react, I’m already sailing into the sky. As if to tease me, I'm drawn backwards just as I’m getting used to the flight. The swing can’t go higher. The adrenaline rush is unrivalled.

Anything else you attempt thereafter, will seem like a joyride. New Zealand’s homegrown Zorb, the globe riding sport, seems childish in comparison. Adventure sports seem more and more tame. From swinging at a playground to swinging from a mountain top, life has come full circle.

Ranthambore Safari
I want to visit Bharatpur, Ranthambore, Udaipur and Jaipur. I am planning to start from Mumbai in January and intend to travel mostly by train. How do I travel from Bharatpur to Ranthambore?
Chubbie
You can take the Paschim Express from Mumbai to Bharatpur. You need to reserve your tickets up to Mathura. The closest station to Ranthambore is Sawai Madhopur.

The Janashatabdi train is a good choice from Bharatpur as the distance is around 150-200 km. The two Ranthambore Jungle Safari starts at 6am and at 3pm. You can decide your accommodation as per your budget. The Safari picks up registered tourists from the hotel or from the road.

(With inputs from HolidayIQ members)

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