New Zealand has long been the home of adventure tourism – and for good reason. Epic experiences are practically guaranteed in a land over-flowing with jaw-dropping natural scenery and awesome attractions. For thrill-seekers and nature-lovers alike, you’ll be spoiled for choice no matter which island you choose to explore. Here’s our pick of Aotearoa’s most unique adventure activities that are bound to leave you breathless…
Caving in Waitomo
Just over 2 hours’ drive south of Auckland lies Waitomo – a subterranean maze of caves, tunnels and rivers. Millions of years in the making, the regions magical underground passageways are home to a myriad of ancient limestone formations, unique stalactites, crystal tapestries and glittering glowworms. Not a fan of dark, enclosed spaces? No problem. A boat tour through the cathedral-like Glowworm Cave may be more your style. For those wanting to push the boundaries, there are plenty of adrenalin-fueled options on offer, including everything from black water rafting and kayaking to ziplining and abseiling.
Traversing the Franz Josef Glacier
Situated on the South Island’s wild West Coast, Franz Josef Glacier is one of New Zealand’s most renowned glacial wonders. Descending from the peaks of the Southern Alps into the native rainforests of Westland’s National Park, this UNESCO World Heritage area has been enticing adventurous travellers from all around the world for years. Explore its ice-carved crevasses, caves and tunnels on a guided ice walk or heli-hike and be rewarded with some of the best views that NZ has to offer.
Kayaking the Abel Tasman
Sitting at the very top of the South Island is Abel Tasman National Park – a coastal paradise of turquoise bays, secret golden sand beaches and lush forests teaming with interesting wildlife. Home to one of New Zealand’s nine Great Walks, the park has long been known for its epic hiking trails, however an equally enticing way to explore the area’s secluded coastlines and secret beaches is by sea-kayak. There are a range of options available that allow you to kayak sections of the park at your own pace.
Bungy Jumping off the Sky Tower
This list wouldn’t be complete without including bungy jumping – a bucket-list activity for locals and visitors alike. Invented by a couple of kiwis in the 1980’s, the world’s first bungy jump was off the historic Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown. Today, there’s now an abundance of bungy jumping options throughout the country, all set amongst stunning scenery. For a truly unforgettable experience, take a leap off Auckland’s iconic Sky Tower, the tallest building in New Zealand.
Jet Boating in Queenstown
Another thrilling adventure activity invented in New Zealand is jet boating. Specifically designed to travel through rivers at high speed, riding in a jet boat will get your heart racing. For the ultimate jet boating experience, head to Queenstown’s Shotover River. Here, you’ll get to take an exciting ride through narrow canyons and winding waterways at speeds of up to 80 kilometres per hour, with some 360° spins thrown in for good measure. Just sit back and buckle in!
Snorkelling in the Bay of Islands
With an amazing array of marine life, clear waters, and sunken shipwrecks, Northland’s beautiful Bay of Islands is renowned for its snorkeling and scuba diving. A stand-out is the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve, which was described by the late French explorer Jacques Cousteau as being one of the top ten diving locations in the world. If you prefer to explore above the water, you can take a cruise of the islands or even try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding.
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