New Zealand, known by many as the adventure capital of the world, is certainly not short on things to do. From the highest peaks to under the water, here’s eight adventures to have in New Zealand.
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1. Glacier walking
As the morning chill begins to wear off, I find myself strapping on a pair of crampons, preparing to embark on a thrilling adventure – glacier walking. New Zealand, a land of tremendous natural beauty, is home to some of the most stunning glaciers in the world, and walking on these icy monoliths is an experience that’s hard to put into words.
The first time I treaded on the icy surface of the Fox Glacier, I felt a strange mixture of awe and insignificance. The vast, translucent blue of the ice under my feet, the enormous seracs glistening in the morning light, and the deep, threatening crevasses hidden in the glacier’s surface all highlighted the raw power and majesty of Mother Nature. The experience was humbling, reminding me of my place in this vast, beautiful world.
If you’re looking for a similar experience, I’d recommend taking a guided tour of Fox, Franz Joseph, or Tasman glaciers. Guides are well-versed in the terrain and can ensure your safety while you marvel at the incredible landscape. As the crunch of the ice under your boots echoes in the silent, open expanse, the thrill of adventure will course through your veins. It’s challenging, yes, but trust me, it’s worth every step.
2. White water rafting
The spray, the screams, the hard paddling as you manouver around outcrops. White water rafting certainly gets the blood flowing. Now, imagine this adrenaline-fuelled adventure in the heart of New Zealand – a place renowned for its pristine environments and impeccable safety record. Whether it’s your maiden voyage into the exhilarating world of rafting or you’re a seasoned veteran, New Zealand is the perfect place to embark
And New Zealand is one of the few places in the world where you can raft class five rapids on a tour. Awesome.
3. Black water rafting
From fast and furious to slow and scary: black water rafting will take you through underground rivers carving through limestone caves. Semi-submersed in a wetsuit and innertube, you’ll be able to stare up at magnificent constellations of glow worms on the rocky ceiling.
Black water rafting is suitable for people of various fitness levels and ages, as long as they are comfortable being in water and can handle the physical demands of the activity – the water is not rapid or choppy. It is a unique way to explore the hidden wonders of New Zealand’s underground world and offers a thrilling alternative to more traditional adventure activities. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or simply looking for a memorable and unique experience, black water rafting is definitely an adventure worth trying in New Zealand.
4. Bungy jumping
The world’s first commercial bungy site is at the scenic and historical Kawarau Bridge, just outside of Queenstown. Another 25 minutes down the road is the world’s second highest bungy, the Nevis. This 134 meter drop hangs from a wire between two mountains … It’s a long way down. There are half a dozen places to jump off – but if you’re looking for an Auckland adventure tour you could also jump off Auckland’s iconic landmarks: the Skytower and the harbour bridge.
Jumping from a helicopter into fresh virgin snow is some people’s idea of a good time. If it’s yours, then winter is a prime time to get down to New Zealand.
The best thing? New Zealand’s winter is from June through August so there’s no reason our northern hemisphere friends can’t jump down here and ski all year round. With many countries part of the Working Holiday program, you might be able to fund all the fun by working on the slopes.
No, not looking homeless! Tramping is New Zealand slang for hiking, and with 14 large national parks and dozens of nature reserves there are great opportunities to get out and about in the wild. Learn how to choose a New Zealand hike or pick one of these guided options.
There are thousands of tracks with facilities varying between nice huts and catered food to a flat bit of grass and a river running beside it. You can really choose your own adventure, or just drive 45 minutes from any central business district and find yourself immersed and alone with the waves, wind, and birdlife.
New Zealand is also home to 25 marine reserves, where no marine life can be taken without heavy punishments. This makes swimming with the fishes a whole new experience as they school past you in great numbers. There’s also some pretty nifty snorkling to be done when the water is at waist hight if SCUBA isn’t your cup of tea.
Discover Auckland has put together some of the best SCUBA and water-based experiences in the big city.
8. Mountain climbing
The country that Sir Edmund Hillary grew up in isn’t short of interesting climbs. While the highest mountain, Mt Cook, only sits at 3,754 metres (12,316 ft) high, it has three challenging peaks to summit with two glaciers heading down the sides. For the more casual climber, there are great spots for a jaunt within some city boundaries, and plenty of walls to explore.
There are dozens of innovative adventure sports we haven’t listed, from the Schweeb to the Zorb, but I guess you’ll have to come down for a visit.
Read more about travel in New Zealand
- New Zealand travel
- 8 Adrenaline-Pumping Adventures in New Zealand
- Top 10 things to do in New Zealand
- What to eat and drink in New Zealand
- Top 5 things to do in the New Zealand summer podcast
- Top 10 cheap things to do in Auckland, New Zealand
- Going tramping — planning your summer hikes in New Zealand