Ever since seeing Lord of the Rings, New Zealand has been on our radar, and reading about all the adventures we are going to have, we just can’t wait to get down there…
A country activity guide would normally be organised by region, or destination. But because of the draw of adventure seekers, who come by the thousands to New Zealand to feed their adrenaline habit, this activity guide is going to focus solely on what we feel are the top adventure experiences in New Zealand. Take the (literal) leap and enjoy New Zealand’s unique experiences that are available to the traveler!
If you’re coming to New Zealand for an active vacation, then Queenstown will no doubt be your base – it’s often referred to as the “Adventure Capital of the World.” Located on the South Island, Queenstown is the site of the original bungee jump – and you can still do it there, now at several heart-pounding spots.
Of course, bungee jumping is not the only thing that attracts adrenaline junkies to Queenstown. There’s also jetboating, which is not for the faint of heart. Basically, groups of adventurers are put into a jetboat in the river, which is then driven by a seeming madman to the edges of waterfalls, million-year old rock walls, and other harrowing near-miss spots. Fun? Try it out, and decide for yourself!
There’s also the “run of the mill” adventure activities, like skydiving, hot air balloons and skiing in the winter. Choose your poison, and get that adrenaline flowing!
Closest to Hamilton on the North Island, the Waitomo Caves are yet another example of something to do in New Zealand that is not for the faint of heart. However, if you’re up for it, they’re a stunning, humbling reminder of just how majestic our planet is. Rappel down to the Glowworm Grotto, which is just what it sounds like: a grotto studded with countless glowworms like so many stars in the sky.
If hanging in a massive crevice in the earth by a rope and looking at thousands of creatures you hadn’t even known existed sounds like just another day, then how about upping the ante? Once underground, you can spend several hours floating along black water rapids in an innertube. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you’re not likely to forget anytime soon.
Tongariro National Park
Skiers are probably familiar with Tongariro National Park, home to the slopes of Mount Ruapehu. And in the winter, anyone who’s looking to ski on the North Island could do worse! But in the summer, the Tongariro National Park welcomes thousands of hikers for a 13-mile trek through the Alpine Crossing in the park, which takes you past a volcano, lakes and hot springs. It’s a grueling hike that is not recommended for beginners, but for experienced hikers it’s a badge of honor.
The Buller Gorge Swingbridge Adventure and Heritage Park is well organized and has every level of adventure activity, so you can feel free to bring your less adventurous friends and they’ll find something they can handle. They have all kinds of activities, but a perfect example is their zip line ride. The Comet Line is a typical zip line harness; Tandem Comet Lines are suitable for parents and kids to ride together; and the Supaman Ride is for the more adventurous, and features seatless “flying” over the river. Yikes!
This article was written by David Wright of Travel Insurance Cover NZ (www.travelinsurancecover.co.nz), a travel insurance company providing access to policies for international visitors and Kiwis travelling within New Zealand.