When you think of New Zealand, a few things will likely come to mind – kiwifruit, stunning landscapes and, of course, adrenaline sports. Home of the first commercial bungee jump, Kiwis are by and large an active bunch and have plenty of outdoor activities to offer tourists and immigrants alike.
From rugged mountains to pristine coastlines, this country is a playground for thrill-seekers, offering a diverse range of outdoor activities that will have you on the edge of your seat. So, strap in and let’s take a look at some of New Zealand’s most exhilarating outdoor adventure sports.
The quintessential adrenaline activity, if you’ve ever fancied bungee jumping, Queenstown in the South Island is the place to do it! Often hailed as the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown is home to the iconic Kawarau Bridge, New Zealand’s original bungee. If you’re feeling even more daring, try the Nevis Bungy, a heart-stopping 134 meters above a rugged canyon.
If a bungee jump feels a little too tame, or you’d rather the ground be slightly further away when you’re freefalling – a skydiving experience is a great choice. While skydiving is an exhilarating experience, doing it in New Zealand gives you the additional benefit of soaking up the phenomenal scenery on your way down. Soar over the Southern Alps or the Bay of Plenty’s stunning coast – with drop zones scattered across the country, there’s sure to be one near you.
If you’re drawn to the call of rushing rivers and the thrill of navigating fierce rapids, white-water rafting in New Zealand is a must. The Kaituna River boasts the world’s highest commercially rafted waterfall, while the Tongariro River promises heart-pounding excitement and volcanic vistas. Gather your courage, grab a paddle, and prepare to create memories that will last a lifetime.
With mountainous landscapes and plentiful bushland across the country, you’re never far from a good mountain biking trail in New Zealand. With tracks that cater to all levels of thrill-seekers, mountain biking is fun for the whole family and a great introduction to adrenaline sports. For a truly epic adventure, explore the Queenstown Bike Park, where gravity-fueled trails lead you through lush forests and challenging terrain. Or, if you’re looking for great options in the North Island, Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa Forest has a labyrinth of trails amid towering redwoods.
Skiing and Snowboarding
For amateur or avid skiers and snowboarders, New Zealand is a dream come true. There are fantastic ski fields running the length of the country, from Mount Ruapehu in the North to Queenstown in the South.
Caving and Black-Water Rafting
If you thought white-water rafting was exhilarating, black-water rafting takes it to a whole new level. Explore subterranean waterways as you journey through caves illuminated by the soft light of glowworms. Located on the North Island’s West Coast, Waitomo Caves has activities suitable for all ages and deserves a place on any bucket list.
Whether you’re a seasoned adrenaline junkie or a first-timer, New Zealand offers an array of heart-racing activities that will ignite your sense of adventure. So, buckle up and prepare to embark on an unforgettable journey you won’t soon forget.
Sarah Todhunter is a writer, mother-of-two and a dual citizen of New Zealand and the UK. As the sole proprietor of Fyxen Copywriters, she has navigated the ups and downs of moving a business and family across hemispheres, sharing the lessons she’s learned along the way.