Sky Walking in Auckland

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You thought you’d heard the last of my amazing trip to New Zealand, huh? Well, you thought wrong! There’s one final adventure I failed to rehash, perhaps because it took me until now to replay it in my mind, it scared the bejeezus out of me so. I only had 24 hours in Auckland, you see, which turned out to be enough actually, plus reader Katherine had sent me a list of great things to cover in her city in one short day. That said, I got up early to tackle one thing that’s practically a must for all travelers passing through New Zealand’s grand capital: the Sky Tower.

Yes, that building hovering above the rest of the skyline by a good 200 feet is the one I’m about to circumnavigate.

There are three options for visiting the tower: 1) You can take the Willy Wonka-style glass elevator to the top and simply observe the other idiots paying an arm and a leg to tempt fate (which you still have to pay for), 2) You can do the Sky Walk, in which you’re harnessed in and walk the perimeter of the tower, 3) You can actually jump off of it, freefall-style. I chose 2, as my friend Joao has been trying to coerce me on his trip to Macau for the past year and a half, and Macau boasts the tallest Sky Jump in the world. So I figured I wouldn’t press my luck twice in one year and chose to get my feet wet by merely walking it this time around. Which still proved to be jarring nonetheless.

But first thing’s first: I had to get outfitted in this snazzy little number, complete with snow-white Keds-like footwear, because my running shoes were not deemed safe enough.

Then, it was time to take the elevator to the top, at which point they didn’t waste anytime ushering our group out to the rail-less platform and harnessing us in. It took all I had to baby step my way out onto the walkway, the pounding in my chest only accentuated by the fact that the metal platform was grated, meaning you could see the concrete ground 1,076 feet below. Truth be told, I’m getting anxious just reliving the moment.

I never really thought I was scared of heights, but after this experience, I’m now 157 percent certain that I am. As our snarky Kiwi guide gave us the interactive history of Auckland on our walkabout, she’d routinely stop and decide it was time to have a little fun. This “fun” as she called it involved high-risk tricks like dangling over the edge, hoping our feet didn’t slip and that the harness was as secure as we were told it was. I nearly didn’t join in on the activities, but when the two older women who were probably twice my age did it like it was no big deal, I couldn’t be the wuss who stayed behind. I’m a lot of things, but competitive tops the list.

Besides, y’all know I’d do anything for a good photo.

If it looks like I’m totally fearless here and couldn’t care less that I’m dangling off a 1,000-foot freefall, well then, let’s just say sometimes I’m a really good actress. I was TERRIFIED. But now this official stamp of approval hangs from my wall reminding me of my Oscar-worthy performance, so you know, totally worth risking my life for, of course.

COMMENTS
  • July 13, 2009

    Wow! I’m scared just LOOKING at this photo! What an adventure!

  • July 13, 2009

    That legit makes me want to hurl.

  • July 13, 2009

    Wow. Yeah, that ledge, wow.

  • July 13, 2009

    That’s… terrifying.

  • July 13, 2009
    Kristin

    That looks really scary. I think I’m afraid of heights too because when we visited St. Louis a few years ago and went to the top of the arch, I didn’t stay very long because I could feel it swaying beneath my feet! Matt, of course, made fun of me and said it was all in my head, but I have talked to other people who told me they felt it moving too. I’m definitely not in a hurry to do it again!

  • July 13, 2009

    That is freaking me out just looking at it! I would never have been able to do that!

  • July 13, 2009

    My palms are sweating and my feet are feeling achey just looking at those pictures! I never would have tried the Skywalk and I probably would have clung desperately to my husband begging him not to try either.
    I am very impressed at your bravery!

  • July 13, 2009

    ohmygosh there is NO WAY I could ever do that, not even for the cool photo! It is pretty sweet though…nope, still wouldn’t do it! What wouldn’t you do for a photo?!

  • July 13, 2009

    Crazy and scary! But oh so exciting, really gets the blood going. I am going to New Zealand in 2010, I may have to try this out!

  • July 13, 2009

    My heart started pounding JUST LOOKING AT THOSE PHOTOS. You have serious reason to be proud!

  • July 13, 2009

    It looks like fun to me. Sorry you were scared, but you did it. I’m beginning to think you Can do anything woman.

  • July 13, 2009

    Um, if being nervous on that building-from-hell is the definition of acrophobia, then I guess I have it too. I remember a long time ago, when my dad worked at the WTC in NYC, we went to the observation deck – they had these seats that were built into the edge of the floor and hang over the building. You step down to get in them. But I didn’t see them because I was looking at the view and I fell down the 2 steps – in my mind, I thought I was falling off the building and I screamed bloody murder. We were asked to leave shortly after that. So yea, I guess I’m afraid of heights too! 🙂

  • July 13, 2009

    That looks so exciting! I hope I get to try something similar in the future… even though I’d probably be terrified once I got up there. You’re a brave woman!

  • July 13, 2009
    Corey

    I just wonder if the harness is SO SAFE, then why do you need special shoes?

    I think I would have just stuck to the elevator. Cheers to you!

  • July 13, 2009

    How fun! I thought about doing that (& the bridge climb in Sydney) but decided to pass… so I could keep traveling a bit longer 😉 Did you think it worth it?

  • July 13, 2009

    Ooh, I went there when I was in New Zealand. AND STAUNCHLY REFUSED TO DO THE WALK THING. Yeeks. My heart starts racing just thinking about it. Go you. I’m so proud.

  • July 13, 2009

    Ooh! You make those orange jumpsuits look cool!

  • July 13, 2009

    You totally deserve an Oscar for that!

  • July 13, 2009

    Holy ass-crackers! Brave, brave woman…
    (That being said, isn’t it amazing what you’ll do so’s not to be shown up by old people? Yeah, me too.)

  • July 14, 2009

    Wow. We’re going to New Zealand in October and I am afraid of heights. My husband isn’t. Maybe he’ll try this because I know that I will be on the inside shaking my head at the crazy brave people going around the outside.

  • July 14, 2009

    And the Oscar for Best Performance goes to(insert dramatic pause), Kristin Luna of C&C Inc., for her sang-froid in the face of a “my-heart-goes tick-flop-tick-flop” defying sky walk[Egad,the things people do for the camera’s!;-)].

    You really have been places, haven’t you! 🙂

  • July 14, 2009

    Fantastic Kristin!!! What an awesome and unforgettable adventure. You definitely can’t tell in the pics that you were scared. 🙂

  • July 14, 2009
    Rhi

    WOW!

    I never thought I had any problem with heights…until I threw up in front of a busload of Japanese tourists at the Space Needle.

    (Side Note: I wasn’t lying to the lady at the front of the bathroom line when I said, “I NEED TO GET IN THERE!” She should have believed me.)

  • July 15, 2009

    I just threw up. And then I passed out. And then I came to, ran to the corner of the room furthest from the window, and curled into a trembling little ball.

  • July 15, 2009

    Looks like fun!

  • July 15, 2009

    there is no way i would do any of that!!! but good for you!

  • July 15, 2009

    Wow! You are a really brave soul! I don’t think I will ever do that. And yes, you did get a great picture out of it. 🙂

  • July 15, 2009
    Rachel

    I didn’t do the Sky Tower when I was in Auckland. While I’m an adventure junkie, heights definitely do make me nervous, and that looks pretty terrifying!

  • July 16, 2009

    ah! I’m neverous jsut looking at that- you’re crazy. lol. BUT, it looks amazing, even though….it makes me nervous.

  • July 17, 2009

    This is something I would LOVE to do, seriously.

  • March 6, 2010
    Haidang N

    What made you decide to do the walk instead of the jump? Beautiful pictures for the win, once again : )

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