Adventure Travel

The New Zealand adventure travel article contains information on adventure activities, tours and tourism in NZ.

Explore New Zealand the adrenalin-pumped way with an adventure tour. We let you in on ten of the best adventure activities on offer, including diving, kayaking, caving, bungy jumping and whale watching.

New Zealand is one of the top adventure travel destinations in the world. Our country’s breathtaking scenery provides the ideal backdrop for some of the most breath-stopping adventure activities. The natural beauty of our landscape, along with a temperate climate and easy access to mountains, lakes, rivers and oceans, makes New Zealand adventure tours some of the best in the world.

Here are our top ten picks for thrilling New Zealand adventure travel.

1. Dive In The Bay Of Islands

Explore a magical underwater world in the waters of the Bay of Islands. Located at the far north of New Zealand, this area offers many adventure tour opportunities on dry land, but its dramatic underwater landscape is what makes this spot one of the world’s best diving locations. Formed by volcanic activity, the underwater setting is like no other. You can even scuba dive around the wreck of the Rainbow Warrior, a Greenpeace boat which was sunk by terrorists in 1985. Submerge yourself at the Three Kings Islands, Matauri Bay or the Poor Knights Islands (said to be New Zealand’s best, but for experienced divers only).

2. Explore The Waitomo Caves

The Waitomo Caves are made up of a huge underground limestone cave system, in which you can climb, swim, walk and wade. Exploring this subterranean wonderland is safe thanks to experienced adventure tour guides, who also provide the gear you’ll need to plunge 100 metres down into the cave. It’s not all darkness and dampness either; there are impressive rock forms, including stalactites, naturally formed sculptures, fossils and the famous glowworms. No experience is required and options include the Ruakuri Cave system, the Haggas Honking Holes and the Mangapu Cave.

3. Visit White Island

No adventure trip in New Zealand is complete without paying a visit to this country’s only marine volcano. Around the seismically active Central Plateau in New Zealand’s North Island, you can witness boiling mud pools, stunning geysers and rumblings from White Island’s crater. Adventure seekers can walk on the volcano itself, although safety is paramount so you may be restricted depending on volcanic activity happening on the day. You’ll need to catch a charter boat from Whakatane to set foot (literally – bare feet are the rule!) on White Island.

4. Bungy Jump In Queenstown

Take a bungy jump in New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown. In this bustling resort town, there are countless adventure activities on offer, but bungy jumping is what first put the town on our map. AJ Hackett offers the basic bungy at Kawerau Bridge (this was the original 43 metre jump site, which continues to draw tens of thousands of people each year), as well as other jump options. For true daredevils, there’s the Nevis Highwire Bungy, with a drop of 134 metres above a rushing river below. For the city guy or gal, the Ledge Urban Bungy is unlike any other jump, providing a runway from which you are launched out over the city of Queenstown. Whatever your style of adventure, New Zealand bungy jumping is bound to get your adrenalin pumping.

5. Kayak The Abel Tasman Track

At the north of the South Island, the splendour of the Abel Tasman National Park is hard to miss. Many walk the Abel Tasman Track (now one of New Zealand’s most popular), but for those who are seeking a more adventuresome route, why not kayak the coastline? As well as avoiding the crowds who walk this track, kayaking allows you to paddle to islands, beaches, lagoons and coves in the area. Seals, dolphins and birds will be your companions as you make your way on the water. Have a New Zealand kayaking experience to see the Abel Tasman Track in this unique way.

6. Whale Watching At Kaikoura

Whales are some of the planet’s most magnificent creatures; at Kaikoura, on the South Island’s eastern coast, you can get up close and personal with these mighty mammals. At this coastal town, wildlife tours offer the chance to watch whales from a purpose-built boat, as they dive and blow. Kaikoura also boasts orca (killer whales), seals and dolphins.

7. Check Out A Glacier

On the South Island’s wild West Coast, the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers are a popular destination for adventure seekers. The glaciers are marvels in themselves – they are still advancing and retreating day by day. You can hear their movements at the terminal face of the glaciers (although it’s advisable to heed warning signs, as ice does fall from the glacier face). Only experienced mountaineers can climb the glacier unaided; for everyone else, there are guided glacier tours which allow you to experience these rivers of ice.

8. Ski Mount Cook

Take up the challenge of climbing New Zealand’s highest peak, Mount Cook. At 3,754 metres, this is something most visitors can only dream about. For an adventure on Aoraki, why not take a ski tour on its slopes? The terrain takes you amongst sharp peaks, snow headwalls and glaciers, sometimes even offering a glimpse of the the Tasman Sea. You’ll have to ski uphill as well as downhill, making it quite a challenge. Alternatively, heli-ski tours are on offer, dropping you onto the Tasman Glacier, where you can view icefalls, caves and crevasses.

9. Paraglide From The Port Hills

From Christchurch, it’s just a short drive to the Port Hills, an adventure playground for locals and visitors alike. Here, adventurers enjoy rock climbing, mountain biking, walking and paragliding. Try to jump on a clear day – you’ll witness impressive views of the Southern Alps, the mountain range which runs along the centre of the South Island, and views of the sea and Lyttelton Harbour. Instructors offer tandem paragliding jumps and instruction if required.

10. Canoe On The Whanganui River

The Whanganui River winds through the Manawatu-Wanganui region, carrying you through the Whanganui National Park and offering views of Mt Taranaki and Mt Ruapehu in the distance. To canoe from Taumarunui to Pipiriki, you’ll have to set aside four days. Along the way, it’s worth stopping to take a detour on foot to explore caves, tracks and places of historic interest. You’ll need to take plenty of energy bars and drinks on this trip; there are 197 rapids to be negotiated on the river. Beginners should take up the offer of instruction or a guided canoe tour.

Inject some adventure into your New Zealand holiday and get your heart pumping with a leap or a dive, a kayak or canoe journey, or the experience of real-life wonders such as glaciers and volcanoes. These are just ten of the countless Kiwi adventures on offer in this beautiful land.