Outdoors and Adventure

World's Tallest Bungee Jumps

Adrenaline junkies agree few outdoors and adventure experiences beat the rush of leaping headfirst into thin air, taking a plunging free fall and coming perilously close to crashing into land before being bounced back toward the sky -- safely attached to a bungee cord. True bungee addicts strive to jump from the wildest, record-breaking structures on Earth, and here we've gathered the world's 5 tallest, most adrenaline-filled bungee jumps.

Note: We have not included Colorado's 956-foot-high Royal Gorge Bridge, because, although it has been used for bungee jumping in the past, it is no longer open to the public for jumps.

Toby Oxborrow, flickr
Macau Tower (Macau, China)
Height: 760 feet
The AJ Hackett Macau Tower bungee jump officially ranks as the world's highest bungee jump, letting jumpers pitch off the tower from an astonishing 764 feet above ground. This adrenaline junkie's dream lets you free-fall for more than 6 seconds before your bungee cord rebounds -- but not before you've come within a mere 98 feet from the ground.

AJ Hackett is one of the world's most trusted bungee outfitters, and the Macau Tower jump features specially designed bungee cords that rebound up and down, as opposed to side to side, which would increase the jumper's risk of swinging and hitting the tower. People visiting the tower who want a bit of excitement without committing to a bungee jump, can try the Skyjump, a tethered, 17-second descent from the same height to the ground.
Audrix, Wikimedia Commons
Verzasca Dam (Ticino, Switzerland)
Height: 721 feet
Make like James Bond in GoldenEye and take the plunge off Switzerland's Verzasca Dam, a 720-foot arch dam spanning the Verzasca River, though unlike Bond (or his stunt double), you'll have the bounce of a bungee cord to protect you. The dam played a starring role in the opening sequence of the 1995 Bond film, leading to a portion of it being leased to Trekking Team adventure outfitters.

The company now offers a series of jumps off the dam, including a classic plunge and a backward jump. Of course, if you're willing to dive off the 721-foot ledge, you might not have many fears -- like a fear of the dark. In that case, put your courage to the test and try one of Trekking Team's night jumps, a heart-pounding good time.
Bloukrans Bridge (Western Cape, South Africa)
Height: 710 feet
Once you've caught the bungee-jumping bug, you'll have to start checking landmark jumps off your list, not least of which is Bloukrans Bridge, the world's highest single-span arch bridge, at 709 feet. The bridge was the first in Africa to be jumped off when Face Adrenalin introduced bungee jumping to the continent in 1990, and remains a popular destination for adventure-seeking tourists.

A walkway created by the outfitter hangs below the highway that runs across the bridge. Bungee jumpers trek across the walkway until they reach the highest part of the bridge’s arch; here, they take the plunge amid the extraordinary vistas of the Eastern and Western Cape. If you're too nervous to bungee jump, it's still possible to journey onto the walkway and admire the breathtaking views of the river below and mountains beyond.
Europabrücke Bridge (Innsbruck, Austria)
Height: 630 feet
If you've grown weary of playing culture vulture on your European vacation, switch gears to an activity that's a bit more … death-defying, like bungee jumping off Austria's Europabrücke Bridge. This massive, 630-foot-tall structure spans more than 2,500 feet across the Wipp Valley, and supports the stretch of Autobahn twisting through the Alps between western Austria and Italy. Rupert Hirner Bungy Jumping operates the jumps off the bridge, and offers a variety of wild options including Rocket Bungy and Bungy Running.
Niouc Bridge (Val d'Anniviers, Switzerland)
Height: 623 feet
Stretching across part of a 656-foot canyon in Val d'Anniviers, the Niouc Bridge offers bungee jumpers the chance to leap from the world's highest suspension bridge -- a thrilling, if shaky experience (as anyone who's ever walked a suspension bridge can imagine).

The jump leads to a 623 foot fall, and the views from the bridge are awe-inspiring: Jumpers are surrounded by typically crisp, blue skies, vast mountains and the Navizence River swirling below. If taking the bungee plunge isn't enough adrenaline for one day, join one of Bungy Niouc's other activities, like the "Giant Swing," a bungee-like jump that moves you in an enormous circular drop, rather than a vertical plunge, or you can embark on a hair-raising ride on the 720-foot handheld zip line.

About the Author

Valerie Conners is a freelance writer, editor and producer who has worked with the Travel Channel for more than 14 years, specializing in travel topics including the world's best beaches, outdoor travel and romantic getaways. Her work also appears in many online and print publications including, Aol Travel, Discovery Channel, World Hum, Frommer's Travel Guides, the Boston Globe, Baltimore Sun and Philadelphia Inquirer. She's happiest when eating spicy Thai food, snorkeling with sea turtles in Indonesia and bargaining for bangles in Indian markets. She blogs about her travels at PassengerConners.com.

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