The most famous New Zealand adrenaline rush is bungy jumping. In 1988 the world’s first commercial bungy jump opened at the Kawarau Bridge near Queenstown, and now visitors can experience this activity all over the country. Shweebing (human-powered monorail) and globe riding (participants are strapped into an air-cushioned ball and rolled downhill) are other unmissable adventures invented in New Zealand. Visitors can also try canyon swinging, sand tobogganing (Ninety Mile Beach in Northland is a highlight!), caving (in the Waitomo Caves, for example) or skydiving. Jump sites are located all around the country. Your clients may choose a tandem jump or take lessons and jump solo. Most activities can be enjoyed by people at a range of skill levels, and operators must abide by the strictest safety standards.
A mix of currents from the Antarctic and the tropics, which results in a remarkable diversity of species, combined with clear water ensures that New Zealand is a popular diving location. The Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve, off the Tutukaka Coast in Northland, is considered to be one of the world’s top dive sites. Instruction and certification programmes are available, while experienced divers should bring their Diver’s Certification Card.
Horse trekking adventures range from half- to multi-day trips, and horse trek operators cater for all levels and abilities. Horses are matched according to temperament and size, so there are options suitable for the whole family. Some of the best treks lead through Otago’s gold mining settlements, high country tussock grasslands, the volcanic plateau’s highlands and Pakiri’s sandy beaches, north of Auckland City.
Kayaking and Canoeing
Kayak and canoe adventures are a great way to get up-close with penguins, seals, dolphins and other wildlife. Visitors can join a canoe expedition on the Whanganui River or in Buller Gorge on the West Coast, or try sea kayaking – in Abel Tasman National Park you can book an overnight trip and sleep on a beach. Visitors can also combine Maori culture with canoeing and join a guided expedition in a Maori waka.
Rafting and Sledging
Rafting, sledging, dam dropping and tubing the pristine white water of fast-running rivers in a wild landscape are popular activities with thrill-seekers. The Wairoa and Kaituna Rivers in the Bay of Plenty, Tongariro National Park in the Ruapehu region and Rangitata River in Canterbury are all popular. A unique alternative to try is black-water rafting on an underground river – an amazing experience to sample in the Waitomo Caves in the western North Island.
New Zealand has a wide variety of different surfing breaks. Piha, on Auckland’s west coast, is a Mecca for surfers, as is the village of Raglan in Waikato. Northland offers great surf, especially on the Tutukaka Coast. Whangamata in The Coromandel is a drawcard for surfers, while the Bay of Plenty is home to a long arc of beach. Gisborne has numerous surf beaches and Taranaki is renowned for great breaks no matter what the prevailing wind, due to its curving coastline.
Adventures on Offer
4WD Adventure Hire a quad bike or a 4WD vehicle and get off the beaten track.
Bungy Jumping From Auckland’s Harbour Bridge to a night bungy in Queenstown.
Caving Abseil into an immense forest-fringed cavern or slide down an underground waterfall.
Globe Riding Participants are strapped into an inflatable plastic ball and rolled downhill.
Heli Skiing Fly into the mountains to ski or board untracked powder.
Ice Climbing Experience a climb on an incredible glacier with a guided tour.
Jet Boating Head for the river rapids in the country where these boats were invented.
Mountain Biking Trails range from entry level to remote, steep and extreme.
Paragliding Leap off a cliff and admire the scenery as you glide all the way down!
Rafting Take on the white water in a wild river valley – or try the sensation of black-water rafting underground!
Skydiving This extreme airborne thrill is even better when you’re hurtling towards stunning scenery!
Sledging Grab onto a body board and plunge head-first down thrilling white-water rapids.
Surfing As an island nation, New Zealand offers an abundance of opportunities to catch a wave.