Top Five Adventure Activities in New Zealand

Greg Snell May 22, 2014 0

New Zealand is known worldwide as one of the best adventure destinations on Earth. With a dynamic and diverse ecosystem spread across a relatively small country, it’s possible to see and do a lot in a short period of time. NZ is a major draw for anyone interested in skiing, whitewater rafting, diving, hiking (or “tramping,” as it’s affectionately known here), mountain biking, bungee jumping, and just genuinely exploring one of the world’s most stunning locales.

1. Mountain-biking Rotorua at Lake Taupo

With 95km (59 mi) of brand-new single track, Rotorua has become one of the best places for downhill mountain biking in the Southern Hemisphere. The scenery alone is worth the trip, but the adrenaline rush you’ll get from screaming down a trail just two tire-lengths wide with trees and ferns on either side will leave you wanting more. New Zealand has long been famous for its more adventurous activities, but the new single track around Lake Taupo takes this idea to a whole other level. If you like mountain biking, love jaw-dropping scenery, and aren’t afraid of a challenge, this is the spot for you.

Huka Falls Trails, Lake Taupo.

Huka Falls Trails, Lake Taupo. Photo by A Kokai.

2. All Blacks match

This isn’t the most active of NZ’s “adrenaline rush” pursuits, but falls under the category all the same. Taking in an All Blacks game is an absolute must if you have the chance. The energy in the stadium and the atmosphere of watching the game live is undoubtedly one of the best live rugby experiences the world offers. The famed pre-game haka dance is an incredible display of power and brute force. The All Blacks take the pitch like a storm of fury; a wave of world-class athletes performing at their best in front of thousands of adoring fans. If you like sport, this is something you will not want to miss.

The famed pre-game haka dance. Photo by G Wilson.

The famed pre-game haka dance. Photo by G Wilson.

3.Diving the Poor Knights Islands

This is a much lesser-known adventure activity which often gets overlooked by travellers exploring NZ. Diving, full stop. The water’s cold (especially in the winter months), but is it ever worth it! The Poor Knights Islands are located just off the east coast of the North Island, and have remained uninhabited since the 1800s. They’re currently enclosed within a National Marine Park which makes for some incredible diving with a healthy and vibrant cold water ecosystem. As a diver, I’m slightly biased, but this place is truly special. If you ever find yourself on the North Island looking for something to do, the Poor Knights are a great option for something different and very much off the beaten track.

The Poor Knights Islands.

The Poor Knights Islands.

Off the beaten track diving makes the cold water worth it! Photo by Taquiman.

Off the beaten track diving makes the cold water worth it! Photo by Taquiman.

4. Queenstown Adventure Package

The Queenstown Adventure Package is exactly as it sounds: You arrive in the adventure capital of the country, find a place to stay, drop off your stuff, and start planning your adrenaline-fuelled three-day journey. From skydiving and jet-boating to whitewater kayaking and rafting, from canyoning to bungee-jumping, Queenstown has it all and puts, it right at your fingertips. Most places will help you arrange all of these activities one after the other if you’re really keen. It is truly an amazing little town and a great hangout for the intrepid traveller. Ready, set, see ya! Let the fun begin.

Queenstown sunset. Photo by G Kay.

Queenstown sunset. Photo by G Kay.

5. Skiing Wanaka

New Zealand is known as a Southern Hemisphere skiing and snowboarding destination. It’s the go-to spot for a variety of international ski bums chasing the winter from North America and Europe eager to continue ripping good turns and looking for that ultimate powder adventure. Wanaka is the home of this sort of opportunity and a great spot to settle in for a few months of NZ snow. The trails are good for all skill levels, the terrain is very impressive, the scenery is amazing, and the people unbelievably friendly. Plus, my cousin spent two years guiding in the area and swears that it’s one of the nicest spots in the country. I’m inclined to agree; Wanaka is a hidden gem!

Wanaka slopes. Photo by J Tseng.

Wanaka slopes. Photo by J Tseng.

Getting There

New Zealand’s magical landscape of wild snow-capped mountains, shining lakes, and roaring rivers serves as a giant playground filled with world-class “tramping”, skiing, and rafting. G Adventures runs a number of departures to New Zealand encompassing a wide range of departure dates and activities to cater for different tastes. Check out our roster of small group trips to this mesmerizing land.

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