A 76-YEAR-OLD Gympie woman was given the biggest surprise of her life when her adult children planned a skydiving trip at Rainbow Beach for her birthday.

Rosemary McKean was told she was going fishing with her family, but as she headed out of the house with shorts on, her son recommended she wear longer pants as "it could be quite cold".

 

Holy dooooly, it's a long way down.
Holy dooooly, it's a long way down. Skydiving Fraser Island

That was when Mrs McKean became suspicious.

It was only after she had devoured a steak, scallops and several beers that her children, instead of taking her to IGA to get some bait, took her to the skydiving shop where she was told she was going to jump out of a plane from a height of 15,000 feet.

 

The view is incredible.
The view is incredible. Skydiving Fraser Island

"It was an awesome experience and definitely a big surprise," she said.

"I think it was such an adrenalin rush and I'm glad I brought longer pants and was rugged up because it was quite cold and windy."

 

What a great view of Rainbow Beach.
What a great view of Rainbow Beach. Skydiving Fraser Island

Her instructor Paul reassured her nothing could go wrong... apart from ending up in the middle of the ocean.

"All I could think about was the scallops I had just eaten and I didn't want to churn them up," she said.

"It was such a beautiful sight seeing the beach, the people and the cars from above ground.

"The entire jump seemed to last forever.

"Normally I am scared of heights but I managed to do it without a problem."

 

Ah we've made it to safety.
Ah we've made it to safety. Skydiving Fraser Island

This week Mrs McKean and her 76-year-old friend Margaret Hook will travel around Australia in their 4x4 Troopy.

"Last year we celebrated both our birthdays on the road when we went to Birdsville, up in the Gulf and across the Torres Strait," she said.

"We travelled more than 15,000km in our 4x4. We slept near dingos and crocodiles and that helped us get out of our comfort zone.

"This year we'll be taking the bitumen road, sleeping in our 4x4 and visiting places we've never been before."

 

It's too late to say no... yep we're falling.
It's too late to say no... yep we're falling. Skydiving Fraser Island

One place on Mrs McKean's bucket list is Horizontal Falls in Western Australia.

"We haven't worked out what we're going to do and see but in the next few days we'll have a program," she said. "If we see a sign, we'll go there. I'd like to dig for some more sapphires so maybe this trip we can do that."

Mrs McKean is now planning her sons' birthday present.

 

Rosemary McKean and her friend Margaret Hook on one of their adventures last year.
Rosemary McKean and her friend Margaret Hook on one of their adventures last year. Contributed

"I'm going to buy them a skydiving voucher next and I'll be watching them while they jump," she said.

Mrs McKean and Mrs Hook start their five-month trek across Australia on Saturday.

Gympie Times


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