Bungi jump in Cairns

Bungi jump in Cairns

There is only one place to Bungy jump in Australia and that is in Cairns. Located in the rainforest, 20 mins from the CBD, AJ Hackett is the bungy originals and there can jump in many styles, swing and skywalk.

It was AJ Hackett the Kiwi who invented the modern bungy in pursuit of the ultimate adrenalin buzz. In 1987, he jumped illegally from the Eiffel Tower and that is how he launched bungy jumping to the world. Almost 30 years later and millions of jumps, AJ Hackett now operates the world's most innovative gravity related products anywhere on the planet.

Back in the 1980s, AJ Hackett was a young Auckland builder with a passion for thrill-inducing sports. Then he discovered a ritual by Pentecost Islanders by which men throw themselves off 35 metre-high wooden towers, with their ankles attacked to vines. This ancient ritual is believed to ensure a good yam harvest on the island in Vanatu.

He didn't think much of this daring activity until he met Aucklander Chris Sigglekow in the early 1980s. As a video editor, Chris had seen 1970s video footage of a British group calling themselves the Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club, with young men undertaking a modern version of the Vanuatu jump. However, instead of wooden towers, the British men jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Chris had been inspired by the group's adventures and had already tried making a bungy cord with a parachute harness and jumping off the Pelorus Bridge in Marlborough, New Zealand. But the jump didn't go as planned so Chris shelved the idea till he met AJ. Together, they decided that if they could make the activity safe, then they could pursue it further.

We decided, ok, let's suss out first of all if we can make this thing predictable. If we can't make it predictable then we stop – because I like a challenge but I don't like pain. I don't want to kill myself but I like to have some fun, AJ says. Therefore, they approached the Department of Scientific and Industrial research and there they discovered a mathematical formula for the bungy cord rubber.

What we discovered was that if you took a single strand of the rubber and stretched it to 6.7-times its length, it would snap. But at four-times its length, it was only using 15 per cent of its breaking strain, AJ explains.

All we had to know was the height of the bridge that we were jumping from, divide it by four, less a couple of metres for the length of the person and the harness webbing attachment to the bungy, and that would be the length of the cord.

They proceeded to test their bungy cord at the Greenhithe Bridge in Auckland. First they tried with a bag full of lead and rocks and then they tested it out themselves. They both jumped off and it worked perfectly. That is where the story began. They tried it a few more times with more friends jumping off the Auckland Harbour Bridge, until the time came to fly out to France.

When they arrived in France, they approached some scientists to find out how the bungy cord rubber would handle in freezing cold situations. I had this dream of jumping from a cable car into the snow and skiing off. It was kind of this romantic vision, AJ says. Since it could be done, he convinced management at Tignes ski resort to let him jump head-first off a cable car. This was to be the first of many extreme jumps, but it was compared to his famous Eiffel Tower jump in Paris, June 26, 1987.

When we'd first arrived in Paris we drove past the Eiffel Tower and I thought wow, that's a really beautiful structure, I'd love to jump off this building, he recalls So I measured the tower, figured it out how to jump from it, sorted out how the security worked, where the cameras were and all that sort of thing. One evening in Paris a big team of us went up to the tower. It was just closing, the girls were carrying bungy under their dresses, and in backpacks we had ropes and gear and camera crews and sleeping bags. Security all disappeared and so we settled in for the night and early the next morning the alarm went off too late so it was a rush job trying to get it rigged up, and finally we were ready to go. Anyway I jumped, the jump went perfectly and I was really happy to pull it off. And then the gendarmerie [French police] came from everywhere. They couldn't figure out what was going on at all. And the rest is history, really.

AJ's stunt attracted media attention at a global scale. With the best publicity he could ask for, he returned to New Zealand and set up the world's first commercial bungy site in Ohajune in March 1988. And the rest is History.

Controversy - tourists to climb Uluru

Controversy - tourists to climb Uluru

Northern Territory chief minister Adam Giles is promoting the tourist climb of Uluru amongst Anangu people, who are the traditional custodians of the monolith. According to Giles, an official Uluru climb could rival the Eiffel Tower as a tourist attraction and also compared it to the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Uluru is a very spiritual and sacred place for the Anangu people. Even though tourists are not currently forbidden from climbing Uluru, Anangu people have asked them to stay off site out of respect. However, in spite of this fact, thousands of visitors, most of them Australian, make the trek each year.

Debate around closing the climb has raged since 1985, when Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park was handed back to the traditional owners by the then-prime minister Bob Hawke. Subsequently, the government secured a 99-year-lease on the land. Most of the members of the Uluru-Kaya Tjuta management board are traditional owners, yet the climb remains open.

The Anagu, who have lived by Uluru for thousands of years, are now based in the nearby Aboriginal community of Mutitjulu. They have said that people climbing the rock has caused them deep cultural offence and sadness.

Meanwhile, Giles says a sanctioned climb would be consistent with the government's Indigenous economic empowerment strategy. It would see a great opportunity for local Anangu to participate in lucrative business and create much needed local jobs, he said.

Uluru rises 348m above the plane and more than 860m above sea level. It is higher than the Eiffel Tower and a whole lot more beautiful. That is why 300,000 or more tourists travel to Uluru each year, many of them wanting to climb if they knew that it was condoned by the local Aboriginal people.

There are plenty of examples worldwide of culturally sensitive sites and tourism experiences combining successfully for example: the temple Angkor Wat in Cambodia; the Taj Mahal in India and the Macu Picchu in Peru all coming close to mind, he said.

Giles said he recently visited Uluru with legendary Australian golfer Greg Norman and both of them could see benefits in allowing people to climb.

Just prior to that visit to Uluru [with Norman] I was in Sydney, coincidentally watching people climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge, Giles told the NT parliament. More than three million people from over 100 countries have climbed the bridge since the climb was opened in 1998. The experience has been voted as one of the world's most spectacular and exhilarating. Giles said that while he is aware that the Sydney Harbour Bridge does not hold the cultural or spiritual significance of Uluru, it may be time to create an officially sanctioned climb.

Senator Peris said the plan is disrespectful to the wishes of traditional owners. Comparing the Eiffel Tower to Uluru is simply ridiculous, she said. Uluru is one of the most culturally and spiritually significant places in Australia. It's not just a place to with a nice view. It's much more than that. Uluru's value comes from its cultural significance and the spiritual connection the Anangu people have to the area. That's not something to be messed with for the sake of a political point. Keshia Randall, whose family are traditional caretakers of Uluru, said that climbing Uluru is disrespectful. I'm frustrated that the national park isn't shutting it down, they think that it's the main attraction and tourists just want to come here to climb a big rock. I think they (park management) are convincing those on the board that if the climb closes, the tourist money will stop.

Peris says any decision should be made by the Anangu people, not politicians. We want Uluru to be in pristine condition, 50 or 100 years from now, which is one reason traditional owners ask that tourists don't climb it, to preserve its beauty.

In the meantime, Facebook and Twitter users have attached Chief Minister's views; and tour guides reject claims visitor numbers would drop if climb was banned.

A Federal Government manage plan for Uluru in 2010 said the climb will be permanently closed when adequate new visitor experiences were established, the proportion of visitors falls below 20 per cent, or when the cultural and natural experiences at Uluru are the critical factors when visitors decide to go there.

Great Barrier Reef in Danger

Great Barrier Reef in Danger

A marine scientist known as the Godfather of Coral, Dr Charlie Veron, says the Great Barrier Reef - one of the seven wonders of the natural world - is in grave danger if the Australian government doesn't act on climate change. According to Dr Veron, who has worked on the reef for 45 years, without immediate action, the entire reef could be dead quite soon.

According to researchers from the National Coral Bleaching Taskforce (NCBT) - a federal government-funded initiative devoted to researching the reef - 7% of the world's largest living structure has been left unaffected by a massive coral bleaching event.

Coral bleaching happens when abnormal water conditions - for instance, rising temperatures caused by climate change - discharge tiny photosynthetic algae called zooxanthellae, turning the coral white and subsequently killing it.

Veron says that the only reason why the coral bleaching didn't spread to 100% of the reef was thanks to a sudden easing of warm conditions last December. Once the coral's bleached, it's dead. It's the end of the road, Veron says. It's a matter of time before that full whammy happens.

Veron has been particularly against the federal and Queensland state governments; decision to approve the massive Adani Carmichael coal mine in Queensland's Galilee basin, 500km from the reef.

The mine could produce up to 60 million tones of coal each year from six open-cut pits and five underground mines. The project has the support of both the federal and Queensland state governments, which affirm it will create thousands of jobs and inject $16 billion into the economy. However, over its period of activity, the mine is expected to pump billions of tones of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Both governments have approved the the Adani mine without thinking of the consequences, Veron says. It's last thing Australia, of all countries, should be doing. I can't think of anything more harmful to do to the Great Barrier Reef than that.

It's a sentiment echoed by Professor Terry Hughes convener of the NCBT, who says the approval of the mine shows the government isn't serious about stopping climate change and saving the reef. I think an appropriate reaction from Hunt would be to rescind the 60-year permit. That would be real action for the Great Barrier Reef, Hughes says.

Queensland's Environment Minister, Steven Miles, evaded any responsibility and passed it down to the federal government.What the Reef needs is a set of policies that will cap and reduce emissions in real terms year on year, Miles said. The state government will play our part within the scope of our powers, but meeting our Paris [Climate Conference] targets is primarily the responsibility of the national government. What we don't have right now, and what we are demanding the Turnbull government deliver, is a national plan to meet those targets.

Scientists from the Climate Council took a stand a placed a full page ad in Queensland's Courier Mail. The article explained that climate change is destroying the reef and immediate action is needed to prevent further damage. The open letter was signed by 56 experts with countless years of experience in studying climate change, and called for an end to investment in fossil fuels in Australia. As you read this, a catastrophe is unfolding, the letter reads, before going on to explain the extent of the coral bleaching event. (...) Why is this happening? As the Earth's temperature rises due to climate change, our oceans are experiencing record-breaking heat.

Climate Councillor Professor Lesley Hughes stated there is no doubt that the massive coral bleaching event on the reef is due to climate change. This is not a surprise because we have known for decades that the burning of fossil fuels is driving climate change, and that delicate ecosystems like the reef will be destroyed as a result, she said. We are now seeing first hand the damage that climate change causes, and we have a duty of care to speak out. There's some great research on the

ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies


Crazy Facts About Australia

Crazy Facts About Australia

Isolated from the world as an enormous island, Australia have developed their own little brand.

As we kick off 2017 here are some interesting facts that will probably shock you about Australia.

Everyone knows Australia is quite big but nobody imagines that Australia is as wide as the distance between London and Moscow; therefore, the whole of the European continent could fit in this one single country Down Under. In fact, the whole of Belgium could fit in the biggest property in Australia. Even though Australia is so big, more than 85% of Australians live within 50km of the coast. Australia is very sparsely populated: The UK has 248.25 persons per square kilometre, while Australia has only 2.66 persons per square kilometre. It is such an amazing country that each week, 70 tourists overstay their visas.

In terms of wealth, with a World History centred in Europe and the USA, nobody has stopped to think how rich Australia has been or is. For instance, in 1880, Melbourne was the richest city in the world. Guess how much Australia's richest woman -Gina Rinehart - earns every half hour. Nothing less than $1 million, this means she makes $598 every second.

Another interesting fact in Australian History is that in 1892, a group of 200 Australians unsatisfied with the government tried to start an offshoot colony in Paraguay to be called ‘New Australia.'

In terms of world History, the first photos from the 1969 moon landing were beamed to the rest of the world from Honeysuckle Tracking Station, near Camberra. Also Australia was the second country in the world to allow women to vote, after New Zealand. Ever wondered who came up with the 8-hour working days? Well, it originated in 1856 when stonemasons took action to ensure this working hours which later became recognised worldwide. Australia was also one of the founding members of the United Nations.

Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke set a world record for sculling 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds. Thereafter, he suggested his love of beer was the key to his political success.

There are also things that only happen in Australia. For instance, Australia's first police force was made up of the most well-behaved convicts. Also, Qantas once powered an interstate flight with cooking oil.

Everyone knows Australians love their sports but what they might not know is that Melbourne is considered the sporting capital of the world, as it has more top level sport available for its citizens than anywhere else.

In terms of fauna, Australia can be very surprising as well. Before the arrival of humans, Australia was home to megafauna, including three metre tall kangaroos, seven metre long goannas, horse-sized ducks, and a marsupial lion the size of a leopard. As to the animals on the Australian coat of arms, Kangaroos and emus cannot walk backward. Speaking of which, Australia is one of the only countries where they eat the animals on their coat of arms.

The Great Barrier Reef is the planet's largest living structure and it has its own postbox.

The venom of the male platypus is strong enough to kill a small dog. When the platypus was first sent to England, it was believed that Australians had played a joke by sewing the bill of a duck onto a rat.