New Zealand is the Ultimate Destination for Adventure!
Where’s the fun in going on holiday if it doesn’t feel like an adventure? Relaxing by the pool in the hotel and seeing the sights is great, but it’s the adventures that create the memories that last a lifetime, memories you can take away and tell stories to family and friends back home!
Luckily, if you’re reading this you’ve come to the right place – we’re all about helping you to craft the perfect New Zealand adventure, one that you’ll be talking about for years to come. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or a speed merchant, there’s a Kiwi adventure with your name on it. Here’s some of our favourite ideas to get you started!
Skydiving is the ultimate adrenaline rush – embrace your fears and do it anyway, you will NOT regret it! Maybe you’re thinking “that sounds fun, but… why would I ever want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane?” The answer is simple: 60 seconds of freefall. From 15,000 feet up in the air, you can see New Zealand’s most beautiful sights in a whole new way that less brave souls will never experience. Imagine seeing the crystal waters of Lake Taupo or Lake Wanaka in full panoramic view from way above!
New Zealand has an extensive network of expert sky dive operators providing thrills up and down the country. In the North Island you can skydive in the Bay of Islands; Auckland; Tauranga; Taupo or Wellington, and in the South Island, Queenstown; Wanaka Abel Tasman; Franz Josef; Fox Glacier, and Canterbury.
Still not convinced you want to take the dive? Consider the latest skydiving trend – indoors! You can experience indoor skydiving in Queenstown currently, where the giant indoor complex and massive fans provide a rush that’s every bit as exhilarating as jumping from a plane. And of course, you can try indoor skydiving rain or shine, as there’s no chance of flights being cancelled.
Caving & Black-Water Rafting in The Black Abyss, Waitomo
You’ve heard of white-water rafting, but black-water rafting? It’s much easier than it sounds – in fact it’s the same as normal river rafting, except you’re under cover of darkness inside a network of caves! Join the legends over at the Legendary Black Water rafting co. as you venture into the darkness of the Ruakiri Cave in Waitomo, NZ’s most famous glow worm region. You can float down the “black labyrinth” on your inflatable tube and marvel at the indoor lightshow above, or zipline, abseil and jump from waterfalls, all under the natural light of thousands of glow worms which stud the cave walls like tiny lamps! Your experienced guides provide abseil training and guidance, so you’ll be full of confidence and caving like a boss in no time. There’s hot showers and bagels on the house once you’ve finished your caving adventures to get you toasty and ready to go again.
This is one of NZ’s most beloved tours for its variety and sense of fun, and at around 5 hours, it won’t take you all day. Get into the abyss!
4WD & off-road adventures
Nothing screams “adventure!” like a trip off the beaten track. Naturally, in New Zealand’s rolling hills and tumbling valleys, there’s a ton of awesome opportunities to explore the more rugged parts of this beautiful country. 4WD and quad bikes have a long history in NZ thanks to the vibrant farming industry, where off-roading is a part of everyday life. There are few sights more Kiwi than seeing a flock of sheep being moved from one paddock to another while the shepherd follows along on his quad bike! But these days, you don’t have to be a farmer to off-road like one: let’s dive deeper into some of the best off-road experiences New Zealand has to offer.
Nomad Safaris, Queenstown
Nomad are experts in adventure! They’ve been serving up the best off road adventures around Queenstown since way back. They’re known and loved for their personalised service and their smart fleet of vehicles decked out in green and gold – it won’t take you long to spot one driving on the roads once you’re in Queenstown.
On yer bike! off road adventures, West Coast
There’s no place more rugged than the South Island’s West Coast – frontier country with some of NZ’s most spectacular landscapes – and no better way to get amongst it than with an off road adventure! Your hosts, On yer bike! have an impressive array of vehicles to choose from, to suit all ages and abilities, or you can ride along on a guided tour that crosses over riverbeds and through native rainforest. A brilliant day out in one of NZ’s most beloved locations.
Forgotten World Adventures, Taumarunui
Something a bit different, but no less exciting, Forgotten World tours take you through some of the North Island’s most picturesque country – by rail cart, by jet boat, or both! Explore a network of tunnels and railways that traverse farmland and rivers, do it in half a day or take your time with a full-day or two-day adventure. Whichever you choose, you’ll get to experience some unique New Zealand history and stunning landscapes as you explore the beautiful Whanganui region!
The #1 winter adventure. NZ is home to some world class ski fields and snow parks across both islands.
Skiing in the South Island of New Zealand
Wanaka and Queenstown are NZ’s ski capitals, with a diverse range of mountains like The Remarkables, Cardrona, Treble Cone and Coronet Peak all bringing unique attributes. Experienced skiers love the vast slopes of Treble Cone for its steep and challenging runs, while Cardona is famous for its snowboarding park and iconic local pub – perfect for those après ski beverages and hot meals to warm you up after a hard day on the slopes! The convenient locations of Coronet Peak and The Remarkables bring the fun to your doorstep in Queenstown, with half-day trips a real option due to the short drive times. Queenstown also plays host to the annual winter festival every year in June – always a highlight, with a host of street parties and live music bringing an extra level of buzz to the town.
In Canterbury, Mount Hutt is an easy day trip from Christchurch and offers an extensive range of runs for all skill levels, plus incredible views across the Canterbury plains. Boutique backcountry ski fields like Porters, Cheeseman and Dobson round out the ski experience in the South Island. Experienced skiers may want to explore the Heli-skiing adventures that are available in many regions – for those who want to carve their own tracks.
Skiing in the North Island of New Zealand
In the North Island, it’s simple – head to Tongariro national park and Mt Ruapehu, home of the Whakapapa and Tūroa ski fields. Both options have unique features – Whakapapa with its alpine ski village, and Tūroa, home of NZ’s highest lifted area: take the High Noon Express for jaw-dropping panoramic views over the North Island.
Bungy jumping in New Zealand has a long and happy history – it’s where the world’s first commercial bungy was founded by bungy genius AJ Hackett, way back in the 1980s. Since then, bungy jumping in NZ has flourished, with Kiwis and visitors alike flocking to spots in Auckland, Queenstown, Rotorua and Taupo to experience the adrenaline rush! Queenstown alone is home to 3 incredible bungy locations, for a full rundown of each, check out our guide to bungy jumping in Queenstown.
Maybe you’ve done the bungy already, or you’re just looking to try something a bit different? Check out the Canyon Swing and Canyon Fox in Queenstown. These aren’t like the swings and flying foxes you played on as a kid, but the smiles they generate will take you back to your childhood!
Change the pace up with a sailing tour of one of New Zealand’s many beautiful harbours – you won’t find a better way to sightsee than with a sea breeze, some afternoon sun and a glass of wine or a cold beer! Why not start with the Auckland Harbour Sailing Cruise – a fantastic way to see the beautiful City of Sails from a different angle, as you cruise the Viaduct Harbour in relaxed comfort. Some other areas you can find sailing tours are Akaroa harbour, Lyttelton harbour, Wellington harbour, Lake Taupo, the Bay of Islands and the Marlborough Sounds. Each location is as beautiful as the other, and each sailing adventure unique!
White Water Rafting
White-knuckle thrills and plenty of twists and turns are the signatures of a white-water rafting trip, and maybe some soaking wet clothes, depending on where in the raft you end up sitting. This is definitely the time to break out those old t shirts and leave the fashion items in the suitcase! The beauty of rafting trips is the blend of excitement and tranquillity – it’s unique! One minute, you’re admiring the stunning views on the riverbank, the next navigating your way through a series of raging rapids, there’s really nothing else like it.
Some of the best rivers for rafting in NZ are the Tongariro and Kaituna in the North island, the Shotover river in Queenstown, the Grey river on the West Coast and the Rangitata Gorge near Christchurch. For a cool alternative to rafting, try River Boarding in Queenstown, where you wear a wetsuit and take to the waves on a specially designed body board. It’s an absolute blast, and booking in the warmer months is strongly recommended as you’re definitely going to get wet and wild!
Whether you’re into racing down the slopes of a mountain, or riding trails through forests of mighty trees, there’s a mountain bike adventure for you in New Zealand. Journey to Whakarewarewa forest near Rotorua, where towering Californian Redwood trees line the trails (there’s over 130 kilometres of bike trails to explore), it’s impossible not to be inspired when you see these mighty trees, some of which grow taller than 70 metres.
Fans of steeper gradients can take to the slopes of Coronet Peak and Cardrona near Queenstown, when it’s not ski season of course! Further up the island in Christchurch is the adventure park, with mountain bike trails galore, a char-lift for the aerial view, and a zipline for the quickest route from top to bottom. The views from the top of the Port Hills are well worth the trip, with panoramic views over Christchurch and the surrounding plains.
Beginner trails and bike hire are widely available in NZ, so don’t feel like you’re not experienced enough to explore by mountain bike!
Now is the perfect time to start planning your New Zealand adventure!
What are you most excited about doing on your NZ holiday? Let us know in the comments below 👇