Dropzone review: Skydive Jurien Bay

Dropzone review of Skydive Jurien Bay from a noobish skydiver (160 jumps at point of writing).

I visited Skydive Jurien Bay as part of a group of 20+ pax from Singapore. In total I did 16 jumps over a week (click here for full trip report).

Location / Getting to Jurien Bay:
The Skydive Jurien Bay dropzone (DZ) is a whopping 240km (2.5h) drive from Perth airport (mainly highways). You can rent a car at the airport or in Perth city centre (to save on location surcharge). There is no real need to have your own wheels once you arrive at JBay as the DZ office is within walking distance of accommodation and amenities in town, but since there are no car rental outlets in Jurien Bay, there is no option to return your rental car once you get here.

The DZ does offer a free pickup from Perth city, but this is only once a week on Thursdays (and only IF there are tandem customers). Alternatively TransWA has a bus service that travels between East Perth (bus) Terminal to Jurien Bay Caltex station for c.AUD41/one way every Friday and Sunday (click here for TransWA N5 timetable). If you have a group to share car rental with, it probably works out cheaper (or at least more convenient) than these public transport options.

Process/pricing (sports jumpers)
If you are not under the APF, you have to first pay AUD30 for a temporary APF license which is valid for 1 month (the minimum validity). The DZ safety officer will then look at your logbook etc. and assess your experience for the APF equivalent license. It costs AUD50 per jump (AUD45 if you buy a ten-pack) and equipment rental is AUD30 per jump (capped at AUD100 per day) including pack job. There is no credit card surcharge but AMEX is not accepted.

Electronic manifest

You register and manifest at the DZ office, but the electronic manifest does not have any useful information such as groups, types of jumps, or even whether the load has departed. Also they do not have a PA system for gear up / 1 minute calls, the staff just walk around and ask people to start gearing up. A bit strange, but I guess they do not usually have that many sporties or maybe they expect everyone to hang around the packing room….

Facilities
There is an on-site bunkhouse, apartment, rigger, air-conditioned packing room, free wifi and clean toilets. The packing room is pretty small so if there is a full Caravan load of sporties then you may have to take turns to pack. There are 10 (? or so) student rigs for rental, with canopies ranging from 170-250. If you have your own rig and do not know how/want to pack, you may have to queue for the packer (AUD10/pack job) depending on how busy he/she is.

Smallish packing room (aircon)

Landing zone
Tandems land on the beach and sporties land in a separate landing zone further inland. It’s impossible to miss, what with the sea being such an obvious landmark. HOWEVER, the landing zone is actually some kind of horse paddock so it’s literally full of horse shit in various stages of fermentation. Also some plants with thorny things that cling on to your pilot chute (not cool). THE WORST THING IS, the landing zone is 2-3km from DZ office, which requires a shuttle van ride to and fro. This makes load turnaround extremely inefficient, not to mention that it is annoying having to squeeze your hurriedly-collapsed canopy into the minivan.

3 teaspoons of coarse sand inside my canopy post-JBay

They have two planes- Caravan and a small 206. We mainly used the Caravan, which takes 16 pax per load. Red/amber/green light system for exit, which is on the left side of the plane. Full altitude is usually 13000-14000 feet, which is nice.

Plus points for views

Accommodation
The cheapest option is to stay at the DZ bunkhouse (behind DZ office) which costs AUD20/night, but I had a look and it is real sketchy. I’m perfectly fine with old / basic, but not grimy! If you have 6 pax, the spacious and modern 3-bedroom (6 beds), 2 bathroom apartment above the DZ office is a superb choice. Otherwise there are a couple of motel and cabin options in town. The town is fairly small with an IGA supermarket and a number of cafes and restaurants, mostly within walking distance of the DZ office. You can also walk to the beach (350m) from the DZ office.

DZ bunkhouse

DZ bunkhouse (living area)

DZ bunkhouse (bedroom 1)

DZ bunkhouse (bedroom 2)

DZ bunkhouse (toilet)

DZ bunkhouse (shower)

DZ bunkhouse (kitchen)

My experience
For me it was fairly straightforward this time as I have an APF “C” license from my previous jumps at Sydney Skydivers, so it was just a matter of renewing my visiting jumper’s license. Because we came with a big group with quite a few experienced jumpers, they were pretty relaxed about the whole process, leaving us to organize ourselves. If you come on your own or as a student, you will have to follow the APF rules more strictly.

Rules for “A” license holders

Conclusion:
Very friendly and accommodating folks but due to the landing zone being 2-3km from the DZ office, it is just not possible for fast turnaround (average load turnaround was 1h). I really miss jumping at Picton, with its perfect grassy landing area and short walk to the packing shed! Views at Jurien Bay can’t be beat though.

Date of activity: 13-19 Mar 2017
Location: Jurien Bay, WA, Australia (240km north of Perth airport)
Operator: Skydive Jurien Bay
Rate: AUD30 for one month APF membership + AUD45 per jump ticket if you buy a pack of ten (otherwise AUD50 for single jump tickets). Equipment rental is AUD30 per jump, including pack job, and capped at AUD100 per day.
Booking (for fun jumpers): Just turn up
Accommodation I used: 59 Bashford Street (50 meters from manifest office)

See also my experience at another Aussie DZ:

 

 

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4 responses to “Dropzone review: Skydive Jurien Bay

  1. Pingback: Skydive Jurien Bay trip report March 2017: A humbling experience | Beyond Banality·

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