Should I Skydive the Great Barrier Reef?

Should I skydive

This is the question I’ve been asking myself the last week.

When the email arrived in my inbox with the itinerary and the choice to skydive, I felt sick.

I didn’t want to tell Craig as I knew he’d look at me with that grin, “You’re skydiving.” He skydived last year in New Zealand and has been convincing me to since.

Photo - sky diving in New Zealand
Craig ready to jump in New Zealand

I answered with a not sure when he eventually asked, the sinking feeling diving deeper.

We’re going to far North Queensland in two weeks and we have the choice: hot air balloon ride, Skydiving, or bungy.

Bungy is out as I have done it before and have no need to do it a third time. We experienced our first hot air balloon ride over the Hunter Valley two years ago and have been keen to do it again.

Should I try something new and skydive over the Great Barrier Reef?

I sat on it, hoping someone else would decide for me, in the direction of “Hot air balloon.”

We decided to put it to our Facebook community: Skydive or Hot air balloon over the Great Barrier Reef?

Our Facebook community rock you know. Like seriously!! How could I ever ignore their wisdom?

The majority replied with, “You’ll be over the Great Barrier Reef, you’ll see more if you are in the hot air balloon. The skydive will happen too fast and you won’t take anything in.”

“You know you are absolutely right. I didn’t even think of that!”

I sat up straight and the sickening nerves disappeared. SAVED by Facebook friends.

The hot air balloon would be so much more enjoyable and I want to enjoy my very first Great Barrier Reef experience.

Is it really because I am a chicken?

This is exactly what the dare devil within me tried to say as soon as I made my decision.

Time to rationalize.

I’ve probably done way more dangerous and scarier things. Flying Olympus airlines for one. Hanging off the back of a pick-up in Africa over a deep ravine with two handcuffed prisoners digging their elbows into my back, being charged by a silverback, walking within metres of a croc in the wild, visiting a cheetah in the rehabilitation pen after being warned that she could attack so please stand still!

I woke up this morning to hear of 19 tourists killed in a hot air balloon disaster in Egypt. If I was a chicken I would have cancelled the balloon ride straight away and chose a nice cup of tea and a morning walk on the beach. (Which does sound REALLY lovely)

I don’t think it’s a problem of me being too fearful to do anything that pushes boundaries. I know I would jump out of the plane if I had to and would maybe enjoy the adrenalin rush after it.

But, would I enjoy the experience?

Would skydiving teach me to be braver and push boundaries?

I don’t know. I think I’d be so freaked out the whole time that I wouldn’t and it would be over too quickly. All the other things that I’ve done in my life that have been thrilling and risky have been adventurous and fun and giving me bigger stories than a 60 second free-fall.

My bungy jumping in Bali experience I rarely talk about. I mean it was a thrill and somewhat fun, but more of a meh.

Did it actually enhance my life any?

Not really. It didn’t make me feel any braver. Standing up to introduce myself in front of 500 high school boys who spoke only Thai, on my first day of teaching English at Wat Saket sure did though.

Now that was life-changing.


From then on, whenever it was time step outside my comfort zone, I whispered,

“You can do it, remember when you took a deep breath and sucked it up in front of all those Thai boys. You didn’t die. In fact you felt great after it.”

I really don’t think I need thrills for the sake of the thrills. I’m really after experiences that help me grow and open my eyes to beauty and depth and show me more of what I am capable of.

Throwing myself out of a plane will probably show me how capable I am of screaming and collapsing on the ground when it is all over.

I know that many people choose to skydive to prove to themselves that they can do anything and make them feel less afraid in their on the ground life. For those people, I am sure skydiving could change their life.

But, I don’t need to push my comfort boundaries, as I push them every day.


Because of that pushing I’ve travelled the world, turned up in countries without any money, worked unusual jobs I had no skills for, made friends out of strangers, started my own business, expressed all my inner thoughts in a very public space, and stood up in front of hundreds of adults to show them how they can do the same.

It’s never the thrill seeking stuff that has given me the courage to do that. Never. I know so many people who have skydived, yet are still living lives they don’t want to live because they are too afraid to just do it.

I want the long lasting thrill.

Will skydiving bring me enjoyment then?

No. I hate flying for one. (But I do it because I know I will enjoy what comes at the end of it.)

I’ll be terrified and sick when it comes time to jumping out of the plane, I’ll probably have my eyes closed and scream really loudly and when it is over I’ll collapse in a heap on the ground in sobs of tears and punch Craig for making me do it.

(Oh, which reminds me, I’ve given birth twice – I sure as hell don’t need to prove to myself I am powerful beyond measure. Two natural births with no drugs, showed me that!)

My verdict on whether I should skydive?

I don’t want to skydive. My body speaks clearly to me that it’s just not for me. I don’t need the thrill nor the fun.

My final question to verify?

Will I regret not doing it?

My answer: Hell no.

I’d much rather take in the Great Barrier Reef from the basket of a hot air balloon.

We don’t always have to be pushing our boundaries by scaring the shit out of ourselves. Why are we always striving to make life ultra-thrilling and proving things either to ourselves or others? Can’t we just be happy with the simple moments, the pleasure of float in the sky or a paddle on the ocean?

Why not work more on stretching and growing our life on the ground and make that more thrilling?

I’m sure in the future, the question Should I skydive will come up. I think if there is the choice over that or something else, my choice will be the something else.

And if not, then I will once again ask my body? Should I do this?

And I’ll trust the answer. If it is just because I am trying to prove that I am fearless, I won’t because I don’t need to prove that.

But, if it is because I genuinely want to try it and have fun, then I will.

For now, I want to continue to thrill myself with my business and travel with my two kids (ain’t nothing else races your heart more!)

And amongst all that I want adventure, fun, and long, peaceful moments.

Am I just a chicken?
What would you do? Are you more focused on making your life on the ground more thrilling or are you after quick, intense thrills every now and then to prove you are alive and living dangerously?
Caz Makepeace is the co-founder of y Travel Blog and has been traveling the world since 1997, first solo, then with her husband, and now with her two daughters. Get her free email series on the 4 best ways to reduce travel costs. Follow her on Google+

20 Comments on “Should I Skydive the Great Barrier Reef?”

  1. If you won’t regret not doing it then I say go on the hot air balloon ride. Maybe you’ll want to skydive sometime later.
    Stephen S. recently posted..A Little Bit of Liverpool
    Stephen S. recently posted..A Little Bit of Liverpool

    • I think this is the best question to ask yourself. Your answer will always let you know what to do. I will never leave this world wishing I skydived. But, as you say that could change later, so I’ll leave space for that possibility, but for now its the hot air balloon.

  2. I didn’t really enjoy my skydive in New Zealand (had a cold, so painful ears all the way down, not so much enjoying the view), so I’d definitely go for the hot air balloon!
    Nienke | The Travel Tester recently posted..Your Australia Questions Answered – Booking Domestic Flights
    Nienke | The Travel Tester recently posted..Your Australia Questions Answered – Booking Domestic Flights

    • Wonderful!! Great to hear someone didn’t like it, even though I wish you did for the effort and money you spent. But it helps me feel better!!

  3. Good on you for not canceling your hot air balloon ride after hearing about the tragedy. I wouldn’t let the news and media scare me out of my dreams either. :)
    T.J. recently posted..Nerds Shooting Guns – Phnom Penh, Cambodia
    T.J. recently posted..Nerds Shooting Guns – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

    • No you can’t. There’s danger in walking down the road, but you can’t stop doing it.

  4. Vanessa

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with choosing not to skydive.

    I had school friends pressuring me to jump with them when they turned 21 & I kept having to explain that it just didn’t interest me. Some things you want, some things you don’t.

    And as a reader I’d rather see some photos of the Great Barrier Reef from above than read that you screamed for 60 seconds.

    I live near sky diving sites – in one old house I could see and hear screams many times a week while in my backyard. It gets old!

    Of course if it was a no purely from fear & you secretly wanted to do it, then you should push through the fear.

    I’d choose the hot air balloon ride too, personally!

    • Yes. I think the photos will be so much better from the hot air balloon. I don’t think there is much you can tell about a skydive!!

      That would be annoying hearing the screams all the time.

  5. First, you gave birth twice – and naturally, too! That can be your answer to anyone who wants to call you a chicken.

    Even if you didn’t bungee-jump and all the other stories – which you did.

    Second, when I first saw the headline, my answer was YES, of course skydive. Then, you reminded me why I don’t have a need to go skydiving again at the moment (maybe one day). I did it once after daydreaming about it for a year. I loved it and it did feel life changing, AND now I am more focused on pushing my boundaries on the ground, both personally and professionally. There are lots of things I don’t do that others think are essential for fun/whatever, so I love how you look inside for the answer.

    Besides, a hot air balloon ride always seemed so special to me. Haven’t tried it yet, but you already know you love it. I am all for conquering fear and pushing yourself to a greater life – like you said, you do it every day. Just do what feels best and powerful for you, that’s what matters.
    Ayelet – All Colores recently posted..Travel With No Regrets
    Ayelet – All Colores recently posted..Travel With No Regrets

    • Great advice Ayelet! I think it is so important for everyone to look for answers within and see how you feel.

      I’ll have a moment when I think Maybe I will do it and then I ask my body and it says No.

  6. Judith Twitchel

    The bottom line should be simply that if it’s something you DON’T want to do, then why do it? I’m sure there are plenty of things you would enjoy doing that Craig wouldn’t, and might even refuse to do, so why should you cave into his not-quite-demands? I personally would rather do the free-fall/parachute jump, but that is my preference, not yours. I always thought floating along in a hot air balloon would be so BORING; however, your reader pointed out that it would give you lots of time to enjoy the scenery from a different perspective, which I hadn’t considered. Probably similar to flying in a small airplane but without the motion sickness! :-)
    Having said that what you WANT should be your guide, I will confess this: When I was in my early 30s, my husband signed us up for a canoe/float trip on an Ozark river with our church. I was furious. I had no intention whatsoever of putting my life in any danger passing through rapids, not to mention, it otherwise sounded so BORING, just sitting in a canoe and floating dowstream… My usually mild husband wouldn’t relent. I WAS going. I did go, and I had the thrill of my life! Yes, those rapids were not only exciting, but the adrenalin rush was exhilarating! And I found it wasn’t just a thrill for the sake of a thrill. I found I had to step outside of my fear and take my life in my own hands if I wanted to return home to my children. I discovered strengths I didn’t know I had. Thereafter we attended every yearly float trip until we divorced some ten years later. But I continued the float trip with other groups each year – until heat exhaustion overcame me on a river one 100+ degree day in August in Oklahoma. That was another interesting experience, but one I don’t wish to repeat, so my canoeing days are over.
    Okay, I got off track. My point was that I was adamant that I WASN’T going to go on any dumb float trip, but when I did, I found I was hooked! Don’t always believe your own “logic”. Maybe it IS fear – or maybe it is ignorance (of what exactly is involved) – or maybe it’s sincere. But you will never know for sure if you don’t try it.
    In the end, only you can make that decision. We can only share with you our thoughts and experiences. :-)
    Whatever you choose, enjoy!

    • Great comment Judith!! Thank you so much for this insight and for sharing your story. I really love your perspective and it has given me a lot to think about. I’m still not sure if I would love the skydiving enough, it doesn’t seem as adventurous to me. Not like your canoe trip which I would really love. I think I prefer the thrilling things that last a lot longer and involve more of your mental strength like this one would. Maybe that is why skydiving just doesn’t interest me? Perhaps there is not enough of me and my mental stimulation involved. I’m just jumping out with someone for a ride so to speak. It doesn’t feel like there is much of a journey or end goal. I know I don’t do things well unless I have a real sense of purpose behind it. I think that’s what it could be. I much prefer the journey and what is that with skydiving? Thanks for helping me work through it and find some clarity.

  7. Hi Caz, it doesn’t matter how you see the Great Barrier Reef from above, as long as you see it, but as you are hot air ballooning, I must conclude that you will be doing it from Cairns or above, so I would like to invite you to see the Great Barrier Reef from the Whitsundays by Sea Plane. You will get to fly over the stunning 74 tropical islands which Captain James Cook named Whitsunday Passage to celebrate the day he thought he sailed through. You will get to fly over Heart Reef, the only naturally formed heart reef in the world ( VERY COOL and VERY romantic ) while flying at the best possible height above the Great Barrier Reef for photographs and then you can touch down on the Coral Sea, just off Whitehaven Beach, voted one of the top 10 beaches in the world and the NO1 eco beach in the world, a picnic lunch on Whitehaven Beach is a must and the island is a nature lovers paradise, with sands so white that you need sunglasses and and so soft, that it has been described as feeling and sounding like you are walking on talcum powder. Whitehaven Beach is situated on Whitsunday Island, the largest of the 74 islands and is a National Park, it can be camped on, but one needs a permit and there are only 8 sites, this keeps the island in its pristine state.
    The reason I have brought the Whitsundays up, is because you speak so regularly of life changing experiences and the Whitsundays are nearly the same distance from the Great Barrier Reef as Cairns, only you get to not only see it from above, you can also touch down and snorkel or scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef and become one with this natural Heritage Icon, but you can also see and be part of some of the most beautiful islands in the world.
    There are hot air balloons and sky diving all over the world, but have you been to the Whitsundays and have you been in a sea plane? EVEN SAFER than a hot air balloon ;) and the Whitsundays have the largest fleet of sea planes in Australia.
    The Whitsundays are around 2 hours flight from Cairns Airport and the Coral in The Great Barrier Reef is still very alive here.
    What I am suggesting is whole package for the family, not just an hour or so, but maybe even a weekend of fun and adventure for the whole family. ( A life changing experience that you will never regret and memories for a lifetime)
    If you only have one chance to see the Great Barrier Reef, you will want to see it and its surroundings in ALL their Grandeur and there is definitely no better way to see the Great Barrier Reef, than from the Whitsundays. I don’t just say this as a Whitsunday local, but as a person who has seen the Great barrier Reef from both locations many times, The Whitsundays , in my opinion, are the best point from which to see the GBR from and to have a complete experience.
    Cheers, Tammy

    • Hi Tammy!

      Thanks so much for your comment and sharing your information. Our trip up north this time is only a few days and organized by Tourism Queensland so we won’t make the Whitsundays unfortunately. Craig and I will be going to the Whitsundays in April for a business meeting however. I am not sure what will be happening as it is being organized by someone else. We can’t wait as it has been on our list for many years. I am really hoping we go to Whitehaven beach and fly over Heart reef.

  8. P.S. Oprah Winfrey flew from Sydney airport to Cairns airport, then got straight on a connecting flight to make the Whitsundays her first choice of destinations in Australia, plus The Best Job In the World competition for an Island Care Taker, was run right here in the Whitsundays as well, you might recall Ben Southall from the UK was the winner and is now the guest judge of the Biggest Baddest Bucket List competition being run by

  9. I should have probably said no to bungee jumping, because I lost 10 years from the fear, but I’m soooooo glad that I pushed myself to do it at the last minute. Having said that, if your heart is saying no, then don’t regret it or feel bad for saying no. We must always follow our heart!
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..Buenos Aires, Argentina: Recoleta Cemetery (Part 3)
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..Buenos Aires, Argentina: Recoleta Cemetery (Part 3)

    • Always. I know if it came to it I would be able to push myself and do it, but at the moment I’m just not feeling the love for it. It could be a sign of old age :)

  10. I didn’t think they had hot air ballooning over the barrier reef. I did a hot air balloon ride in Cairns 2 years ago. It was over farmland in Mareeba. It was a beautiful experience until we crash landed in the middle of the field (no one was hurt luckily). Then we had to help pack up the balloon and hitch a ride on the tow till we reached our van transport. Not sure I’d do it again after that experience.

    • Oh no bad landing! The balloon ride is at Port Douglas. I am not too sure of the details yet, but I am hoping it goes over the reef

  11. Though it is a beautiful experience but still it could lead us to danger.

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