Updated: May 6
New Zealanders are experts in extreme activities. Apparently, the reason is rooted in the tranquil way of life in Aotearoa. Everything is so quiet and peaceful on our islands that sometimes people just need an adrenaline injection. Queenstown is officially recognized as the world capital of adventure. Here you can find any extreme and semi-extreme activity invented by mankind, and other New Zealand cities are not far behind. In this article, we will tell you what is best to do and where to do it. So let's go!
Auckland. The main attraction for adrenaline lovers is, of course, the Sky Tower. Firstly, you can bungy jump from 192 meters up! This is the highest bungy in the country but it has a counterweight so there is no free fall. Secondly, also from 192 meters up, you can try a Sky Walk - this is a walk around the tower parapet with only a steel cable and an instinct for self-preservation to connect you to life. You will have the opportunity to bend over the abyss of the city, feel the emptiness under your legs and in your stomach, and even dance on the edge between horror and delight.
In both cases, you will be provided with all the necessary equipment, even shoes. Important: when going to one of these extreme activities, do not be tempted to calm the trembling in your knees with alcohol - you will not be allowed on the tour. By the way, this rule applies to any extreme activity in New Zealand, where concentration, attention, and composure are required.
Another adrenaline destination in Auckland is the bridge over the Waitemata Harbour, known as the Harbour Bridge. Accompanied by an experienced guide, you will climb the arch of the bridge to a height of 43 meters, from where you’ll have a bird’s eye view over the city. You may try bungy jumping here - free fall from 40 meters.
Auckland is also an excellent place for lovers of yachting, windsurfing and kiteboarding. The city of Sails offers many wonderful bays for these sports: Devonport, Takapuna, Shakespeare Park ... too many to list here. And surfers will like the western beaches of Auckland: Muriwai, Piha, Bethells. Come and enjoy!
However, the Mecca of Surfers is Raglan Beach near the city of Hamilton. Many people believe that Manu Bay on this coast has the longest, most accessible and consistent left-hand break in the world, even better than Ninety Mile Beach!
Rotorua. This region contains a lot of interesting places and activities - Maori culture, geysers and hot pools, stunning nature and, of course, the subject of today's study - extreme and semi-extreme entertainment.
The first item on our bucket list is Rotorua Canopy Tours. In a nutshell - this is a zip line under a canopy of trees, but that’s not all. Check out these two tours:
· 1.2 km long
· 600 meters of zipline
· Walk on suspended bridges and platforms through the trees
· Duration is 3 hours
· 3.6 km long
· 1,200 meters of zipline
· Walk on suspended bridges, platforms through the trees, and a spiral staircase, rock climbing and abseiling
· Duration is 3.5 hours
There are also zip lines on Waiheke Island (near Auckland) as well as Queenstown, but the longest one is in Rotorua. Let’s stop talking and get out there!
Another must-do activity in Rotorua is “zorbing”. It should be noted that New Zealand is the birthplace of zorbing, and Rotorua is the only place in our country where this adventure is available. So what is it? Zorbing is a ride downhill inside a giant transparent ball along a specially laid track. In fact, there are two connected balls one inside the other - the outer ball rolls along the track and the inner ball is relatively stable relative to the ground You are inside this inner ball washing around in water!. Needless to say, you have to bring your togs. Of course, you can take a dry ride, but it is not as exciting. Zorb Rotorua has four tracks, including the world's longest zigzag. A hot pool awaits you after a stunning ride at the end of a track.
Rotorua is also one of the two cities in Aotearoa where you can try luge rides - another adrenalin activity for a 100% pure New Zealand entertainment. It is a downhill ride in a go-cart(a toboggan with wheels) down a concrete track. Extreme fun for people of all ages! The coolest thing is to race, so bring your friends. There are three luge tracks from SkyLine Rotorua: Scenic, Intermediate and Advanced; while there are only two in Queenstown - The last one even has a small springboard on its track. The slogan of the Skyline Luge is “Once is never enough”, which is absolutely true.
Mountain bike lovers will also appreciate the mountain bike trails at SkyLine Rotorua as well as in The Redwoods Whakarewarewa Park. The latter is one of the most established mountain bike networks in New Zealand and has earned a worldwide reputation as one of the best with an extensive 130 kilometre cycle route system that caters to all levels of rider from beginner to expert.
Not far from Rotorua is the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world. It’s located on the Kaituna River. Please, don’t be put off by the grade 5 rating. In fact, you do not need any experience in rafting as you are guided the entire way. You’ll get an adrenaline rush, and it will be fun!
Taupo region is a great place for jet boating. These boats can reach speeds of up to 80 km/h, 10 centimetres of water is enough for them to fly through, and they were invented, of course, in New Zealand. You’ll experience 360° turns and spins in exciting proximity to the rocks. The cherry on the cake is approaching Huka falls where more than 220,000 litres of water thunders over the cliff face every second.
Divers will love the fiords of Marlborough Sounds, which are located in the north part of the South Island. In 1986 the Soviet ship Mikhail Lermontov sank in one of the fiords after it crashed on a reef. Nowadays its wreck is one of the most popular dive spots in New Zealand. We also recommend scuba divers visit the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve north of Auckland, which boasts the world’s largest sea cave. Thanks to the warm sea current, many subtropical fish and even turtles inhabit these waters!
Charleston is located on the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand, a 30-minute drive from Westport. During the 19th-century gold rush Charleston was perhaps the largest city in the country. Currently, about 100 residents remain there. However, this place is known thanks to a unique natural attraction - a system of limestone caves, which are inhabited by New Zealand glowworms Arachnocampa Luminosa. If you like adventure, be sure to check in Charleston to try the local cave rafting. This is incredible! Of course, the most famous cave offering the same activity is Ruakuri, a part of the Waitomo cave system. However, it is too crowded in our opinion. The caves of Charleston are quieter and will immerse you in 100% Pure New Zealand.
Also, the area of Charleston will appeal to climbers and abseilers - the local cliffs are a climber’s paradise. We strongly recommend taking a local guide.
Those who want to walk on glaciers and look into caves of blue ice usually visit the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers on the West coast of the South Island. These are undoubtedly worthy places, but due to constant heavy rains in this region, we recommend another destination – the Abel Tasman Glacier, which descends from the highest mountain in New Zealand at 3,724 meters above sea level - Mount Cook or Aoraki, as it is called in Maori. Mountaineering fans will also find this a paradise. Mount Cook was the training ground for Sir Edmund Hillary, the Auckland resident who was the first man to conquer Everest in 1953 with his Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay. Today his proud profile is printed on our five-dollar New Zealand banknote. Climbers will also appreciate the volcanoes of Ruapehu (2,797 m) and Taranaki (2,518 m).
If you love marine animals and swim well, you should definitely visit the town of Akaroa to swim with Hector's dolphins in their natural habitat. For some of you, it could be even more interesting to swim with fur seals in Kaikoura. These cute creatures are very friendly in the water and not as fast as dolphins. They will show you all the swimming styles they know. It is great fun!
Continuing the animal theme, take a look at Orana Wildlife Park located in Christchurch. They take care of the animals so well that they put tourists in a cage and bring them to visit the lions living in the park. Is it necessary to mention the adrenaline rush that you will experience when the king of animals jumps onto your cage? You can feed him, fortunately, not with yourself ...
For people who love altitude and flying we recommend stopping in Omarama on the east coast of the South Island where you can fly in a glider – this is a plane without a motor. A regular plane pulls the glider into the sky, and then it “glides”. It can even do aerobatics: a “barrel”, a “dead loop” and other amusing things, after which your face may take on a light green colour. People who suffer from vertigo should not attempt this activity.
Another mandatory point on the map of New Zealand for “pilots” is the town of Wanaka, because this is the only place where you can fly in a dual-controlled plane and feel like a real pilot, even without a license. Surprisingly, such an aircraft is controlled by a very sensitive joystick, so your fate is literally in your own hands. Take-off and landing is carried out by an experienced pilot who will also guide your actions in flight.
And finally, moving from north to south, we’ve reached Queenstown. Here you’ll find everything you’d ever want to do in New Zealand! Paragliding and hang gliding, the highest free-fall bungy in the country (Nevis Bungy 134 meters), ziplines, rafting, canyoning, jet boating, sky diving, mountain biking, 4WD safari, kayaking and even the only submarine in the world that can jump out of the water a meter and plunge up to four meters in depth.
Finally, a couple of words about skydiving. It is available in many regions of the country: Auckland, Taupo, Wellington, but in Queenstown due to the local landscape it is simply fabulous!
In general, all of New Zealand is a perfect base for lovers of active and extreme adventures. Just start travelling and you will be amazed at the number of available opportunities and the beauty of the nature.