New Zealand is the ultimate adventure playground for adrenaline junkies. The Land of the Long White Cloud offers many opportunities to zoom down a mountain, ride a raging river, jump out of a plane, soar through the air or just generally get your thrill on. With numerous excellent adventure tour companies offering adrenaline experiences, it’s easy to go beyond your comfort zone and do something truly exciting.
Here are eight activities in New Zealand that will really get your blood pumping, give you that exhilarating rush and make you feel alive.
If you really want to get your adrenaline pumping, why not throw yourself off a bridge? Bungy jumping was invented in Queenstown and it transformed this sleepy mountain village into a buzzing tourist destination.
The Nevis Bungy is probably the most famous of all bungy jumping spots, as it is the highest jump in the Southern Hemisphere. Don’t worry, it is perfectly safe and the staff will guide you in how to make the leap correctly.
When you were little you thought it was a thrill to swing as high as you could on your local playground equipment. Now it’s time to graduate to a grownup swing that will give you a much bigger thrill.
The famous Shotover Canyon Swing in Queenstown will send you swinging 200m, starting with a 60m vertical free fall down a steep rocky cliff face. The staff are there to help you get over your initial fear and psyche you up to take the leap. Just do it, you won’t regret it!
Abseiling (from the German word abseilen which means “to rope down”) is a way of descending a steep slope in a controlled way by using a rope. You’ll be strapped into a harness and your instructor will show you how to carefully lower yourself down into caves, crevasses and waterfall.
One of the most spectacular abseiling experiences in New Zealand is at the famous Lost World Cave, a mysterious cavern filled with stalactites, stalagmites and glow worms. You’ll descend the steep cave walls and eventually find yourself at the base of the enormous echoing cavern.
Imagine gliding high above the rolling hills and tranquil lakes of New Zealand, feeling the wind in your hair as a gust lifts your wings. Paragliding is probably the closest a human being can get to experiencing what life is like for a bird.
New Zealand offers many opportunities to try this exciting sport and there are tour companies that offer tandem paragliding trips with a professional instructor. Coronet Peak is a popular spot, located near Queenstown and surrounded by breathtaking mountains. Nelson is also one of the best paragliding spots in New Zealand, as it is home to the original paragliding school in Nelson.
Taking a jet boat ride is a thrilling way to speed across the waters of New Zealand while surrounded by the stunning landscapes. One of the best known jetboating experiences in the country is the ride along the Shotover River, which will send you flying through narrow canyons and rugged walls at impressive speeds.
Waiau Gorge is another fantastic jet boating experience that will take your breath away, thanks to the stunning and lush surroundings as well as the speed of the boat. Huka Falls on the North Island is another favourite, a chance to get close enough to the falls to feel the spray of water on your face.
Imagine looking down on the snowy peaks, blue lakes and green rolling hills of New Zealand from 12,000 feet as you plummet towards earth. Skydiving is often described as a “life changing” experience for visitors to New Zealand and it is a very popular adrenaline activity. With the gorgeous scenery, abundance of jump zones and excellent, safe operators, there is no better place on earth to throw yourself out of a plane.
Queenstown is a great place to go for a jump, as you can admire Lake Wakatipu and Aoraki Mt. Cook on your way down. Glenorchy is also a fantastic location, you’ll be jumping above the picturesque landscapes where the Lord of the Rings was filmed. It is also possible to skydive above Auckland and check out an unforgettable bird’s eye view of the city. Or, you could skydive above Fox Glacier, which is a section of the largest snow fields in the Southern Alps.
There are many thrilling fast-flowing rivers in New Zealand where you can ride a raft over the frothy white waters, dipping and swirling as you rush headlong through the wilderness. There are many tour companies that will outfit you with a raft and all of the safety gear you need, then take you down the river on a thrilling ride.
One of the best is the Rangitata, which flows through the Southern Alps near Christchurch. Rangitata Rafts has been providing rafting tours for many years. The Mohaka is another great river to go rafting on, with a wide range of rapids and gorgeous natural surroundings. It is located along the Taupo-Napier highway on the North Island.
Skiing and Snowboarding
New Zealand’s snow-capped peaks create a dream landscape for powder hounds and many people travel from all over the world to ski and snowboard here. There are many superb skiing and snowboarding areas in New Zealand to choose from.
Cardrona in Wanaka is a great all rounder with a wide selection of ski slopes for all skill levels. The Remarkables in the Queenstown area is the ideal place for beginners to learn new skills and practice their techniques. If you are a seasoned skier or snowboarder and you are seeking a challenge, Craigieburn and Treble Cone have a lot to offer expert riders.