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Skydiving

the ultimate adrenaline experience

Holidays with Kids reporter Cara Wagstaff heads to Wollongong to road-test, or should we say fly-test, a tandem skydive.

Skydive the Beach Wollongong is the only destination in Sydney where you can jump out of a plane over our world-famous coastline.

My sister and I arrive in Stuart Park ready for our tandem skydive over the beach. Once we are checked in, weíre kitted out in jumpsuits and our harnesses. After the safety demonstration our group excitedly makes its way to the bus which shuttles us to Wollongong airport.

Inside the plane there are two long cushioned benches which we slide along until we are all squeezed in together facing the back of the plane. As we get flying my tandem instructor Ben tells me about some of his favourite jumps, which helps to calm my nerves as he tightens my harness to his.

The flight up to the drop zone takes us about 25 minutes, giving us ample time to take in the surrounds and is also a great position to check Wollongong from an aerial perspective. Itís a clear day so we can see all the way up the coast line to Sydney! The flight is so enjoyable, I almost forget Iím about to jump out of the plane until Ben slides my protective goggles on and starts wiggling us forward on the bench.

Cara Wagstaff

All of a sudden, the door slides open, and I watch my sister Lisa and her instructor position themselves over the opened door edge of the plane and flip out backwards. Then Iím facing out of the plane, with my legs dangling over the side, 14,000 feet above Wollongong.

As I banana (a position where you are required to rest your head on the shoulder of your instructor, and dangle your legs underneath the plane), it is seconds before we drop out and start hurtling through the troposphere, reaching a speed of 220 kms an hour and freefall for a gut-wrenching 60 seconds.

I can feel my face warping into the strangest forms of distortion as the wind rips past us, a great look for the Go-pro Ben has strapped to his wrist, filming the whole experience.

Cara Wagstaff

Iím suddenly jolted as Ben releases the parachute, which sends us into a smooth glide. This is the moment I really appreciate where I am. I look down and can see my shoelaces are undone but beneath that, I can see the curves of the rivers and inlets of Wollongong, the green hues of grassy lands and the beach.

Ben then hands the reigns over to me, showing me when you pull on the left we will start to head in the direction, and the same when we pull right. Deciding Iím not having enough fun, Ben pulls the left parachute handle hard and we start spinning fast and it feels like my stomach has dropped out beneath me. If I pull both handles down, we come to a complete stop and float motionlessly in the sky.

As we descend into Stuart Park, Iíve decided I have a new addiction, and by the time Iím collecting my photos in the gift shop, Iím already planning to ask to backflip out of the plane next time, which Lisa thoroughly recommends.

Children 12 and up are able to tandem jump with the consent of a guardian, who is required to be there on the day.

Skydive the Beach and Beyond offer jumps all across Australia including Byron Bay, Cairns and even over the Great Ocean Road in Victoria.



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