Travel

Natural High | The Thrill-Seeker’s Guide To New Zealand

By Olivia Atkinson - 18 Nov 2017

The Thrill-Seeker’s Guide To New Zealand

Today we’re talkin’ adrenaline. When it comes to the wild things in life, you can choose to be a delicate flower with a habit for saying ‘no or a YOLO-er, willing to grab heart-pumping, stomach-dropping adventures by the balls. If you're planning at trip across the pond anytime soon and you're looking for more than just food and wine jaunts (honestly, we wouldn't judge—that sounds excellent), we've got just the heart-thumping, adrenaline-rushing to-do list for you.

From the classic bungy and jet boat combo to rafting, sky diving and zorbing, here are 10 of the most extreme activities you can do in New Zealand. Hold onto your hats, folks! 

Snowmobiling In The Deep South 

Love the snow but haven’t quite cracked skiing or snowboarding? Snowmobiling has your name written all over it. Whether you’re into snow sports or snow, Queenstown Snowmobiles offer a winter wonderland experience like no other. Departing from Queenstown Airport, you’ll be popped into a helicopter and taken on a breath-taking 15-minute flight across the Remarkables Mountain Ranges, over the Hector Mountains and the glistening Nevis River Valley before landing at the base of the Garvie Mountains, where the snowmobile adventures begin! Once you’re geared up, you’ll be lead into the beautiful backcountry, cruising at a casual altitude of up to 6,000 feet above sea level. 

Fly A Stunt Plane 

Budding pilot AND a sucker for thrills? Buckle up, kiddo, because you’re all set to fly a stunt plane! U-FLY in Wanaka takes you to the sky in a two-seater plane with a National Aerobatic champion, tailoring the session to your adrenaline needs. They’ll teach you how to do loops, rolls and plunges as you fly yourself through one of the world’s most exhilarating rollercoaster rides. 

Zipline Through Beautiful Native Forest 

Rotorua is an adrenaline junkie’s playground but Canopy Tours combine adventure with nature, beauty and conservation. Embark on a three-hour guided tour through the magical forest and follow the 1.2 kilometre network of ziplines, swing bridges and treetop platforms—the highest a whopping 22 metres! The two friendly guides will have you laughing the whole time and make you feel safe-as-can-be as you zip along 650 metres worth of ziplines including the 220 metres Tui Song zipline. They’ll also tell you the awesome story behind their massive conservation project to protect the native plants and birds against nasty pests. 

Go Abseiling, Tubing And Black Water Rafting In A Cave

Not for the claustrophobic, Waitomo Caves is a majestic labyrinth full of underground rivers, sinkholes and luminescent glowworms. In the ultimate caving experience with Waitomo Adventures you’ll abseil down into the dark abyss, zipline through a glowworm gallery, climb under waterfalls and so much more. Tours range from three to five hours and end with a hot shower, soup and bagels—what a treat!

Freefall And Swing Over A Canyon 

Now this bad boy will get your heart pumping. Queenstown’s Shotover Canyon Swing and Fox is said to be an “intense, undie staining” activity that requires the brave to launch themselves off a 109m cliff over the famous Shotover River. There are a range of unique jumps to try including Indian Rope Trick (holding on until your fingers/muscles give in), Pin Drop (hands behind back and simply walk off) and our personal fave, Gimp Boy Goes To Hollywood (upside down—eeeek!). If you’re really feeling game, give the Canyon Fox a crack. It’s 182 metres high and “sketchy as” but is the ticket to adrenaline town. 

Brave The Classic Bungy 

Another adrenaline-fuelled activity is the AJ Hackett Bungy. Choose between the OG Kawarau Bungy Centre in Queenstown or the iconic Auckland Harbour Bridge and prepare to feel the thrills! Each offers an addictive rush coupled with stunning, sprawling views. Once you’ve conquered the bungy, Queenstown’s swings and ziplines, and the Auckland Harbour Bridge climb will keep you buzzing.

Hurl Yourself Out Of A Plane 

...with a parachute, of course. It comes as no surprise that New Zealand is one of the best places in the world to skydive. We’ve got everything from mountains, lakes and glaciers to beaches and oceans, meaning that wherever you choose to freefall to the ground in Aotearoa, you’re in for a treat. Some of the top spots include Wanaka, Bay of Islands, Taupo, Franz Josef, Abel Tasman, Glenorchy, Fox Glacier and Tauranga. Yep, you’re spoiled for choice. 

Leap Off The Sky Tower

Ain’t no thrill-seeker’s list complete without a shout-out to our much-loved Sky Tower. Get your booty up there and either take a stroll around the 1.2-metre platform, 192 metres above the ground, or take the plunge off the SkyJump tower, freefalling to the street. 

Skim Across A Lake In A Semi-Submersible Shark

No joke. Living up to its name as the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown is home to Hydro Attack, a shark-meets-jet boat submarine that will send you 80kph across the water, diving down deep and jumping into the air, just like an actual shark. A shark pilot (because that’s a thing?!) will take the reigns as you hold onto your pants and experience the thrill of a lifetime. 

Get Amongst The Canonying Craze

Canyoning is all sorts of cool. It combines Mother Nature with adventure and keeps the adrenaline pumping for hours on end. AWOL Canyoning Adventures know what’s up when it comes to showing thrill-seekers a good time. Choose between their Piha Canyon and Blue Canyon tour featuring waterfalls, natural hydro-slides, abseils, hidden pools, caves and jumps. Can we get a ‘heck yes’?! 

Image Credit: AJ Hackett Bungy Queenstown

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