Adventure holidays are all about new experiences and New Zealand has a huge number of adventure options. When you think about New Zealand – bungy jumping, white water rafting or kayaking might spring to mind – but over the last twenty years the adventure industry down under has developed and successfully marketed a lot of new challenges. Alongside the adventure industry has been the growth of indigenous cultural experiences, so as well as doing something crazy you can learn about the unique Maori culture of New Zealand.
If you start your New Zealand holiday in Auckland and head to the top of the North Island you can go full moon sand surfing on massive dunes, clocking up incredible speeds. It’s exhilarating and you can spend a lot of the time screaming your lungs out but imagine speeding down a dune underneath a star lit sky with only the moon to guide you. Daytime sand surfing is also an option, as well as guided kayaking at night or a mixture of kayak and walking, while learning local Maori stories and their connection to the area.
Surrounded by water, New Zealand offers all kinds of holiday adventures on the ocean, from big game fishing, to sailing charters to dolphin swimming. One of the latest daring adventures for those willing to take the plunge – is swimming with sharks. There are places dotted around the North Island where you can venture out in the ocean in a shark cage but if you want a guaranteed shark experience there is an Aquarium Shark adventure in Auckland where you don’t need any diving background. This is a unique way to get face to face with these predators of the deep, with nothing but a cage between yourself and them. And just when you’re feeling comfortable with the Wobbegong and Broadnose Sevengill sharks you get to spend 15 minutes actually snorkeling with them, outside of the cage!
If you’re more for the thrill of adventures in the air, then throwing yourself out of a plane is well catered for on your New Zealand holiday. With spectacular views from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island a tandem skydive from a maximum of 16,000 feet is an experience you’ll never forget. But if the thought of getting strapped onto someone else and flying up in a tiny plane makes you feel extremely nauseous then there is a new way to experience ‘freefall’ in Rotorua. You are kitted out in a specifically designed flight suit and safety equipment, and after your flight tuition you hit the air stream and freefall! You get the chance to stop halfway through to catch your breath and receive more tips from the experts, before you’re back in freefall mode.
Rotorua, known as the home of zorbing (rolling down a hill in a large inflatable globe), offers a number of adrenalin activities and is starting to rival Queenstown with innovative and exciting adventure tourism. A Triple Bypass Pack gives you a choice of three out of four adventures; freefall experience, jet boat ride, Swoop swing and Schweebing. Never heard of it? A New Zealand first, it is the world’s first human-powered monorail racetrack. Schweebing is a combination of a recumbent bike on a monorail and with the low resistance; riders can reach speeds of up to 60km per hour on a 60degree angle, making it a thrilling ride experience to fit into your holiday.
If biking sounds like your kind of thing why not add an adventure twist with Heli-biking in Queenstown, a Mecca for mountain bikers. The trip includes an amazing helicopter flight over the Remarkables mountain range, followed by 18kms of varied terrain. Starting from the 2000m summit of Ben Cruachen there’s only one way down and that’s on your bike! You traverse rolling ridge lines, old gold miner tracks, and a 4WD farm track, ending your journey in a local vineyard.
Adventures can easily take up every day of your holiday in New Zealand and they can range from crazy activities to the more laid back scenic ones. You can choose adventures in the air, the water and on land, depending on where you feel most comfortable and on the size of your budget. The classic adventures that New Zealand is known throughout the world for are still great experiences but take the time out to try some newer, cutting-edge ones. Of course, travelling in itself is one big adventure so sprinkling in some adrenalin challenges will make your New Zealand holiday that much more interesting.