The thrillseeker’s guide to New Zealand

The thrillseeker’s guide to New Zealand

It’s almost impossible to have a “normal holiday” in this beautiful country, with so many mountains, glaciers and lakes just waiting to be explored. From zorbing to skydiving, I’ve put together a list of my top tips for anybody seeking adventure in New Zealand.

Bungee Jump in Queenstown

1

For the ultimate thrill, head down to Queenstown and book a bungee at Nevis – the highest bungee in Australia and New Zealand. As you stand on the immensely tiny jumping block 134 metres in the air, you’ll question every decision that led you to that point, but the rush of adrenaline is unparalleled. Smile big for the camera and send the pictures home to the fam!

Zorbing in Rotorua

2

It’s hard to roll down a hill in a giant hamster ball with much dignity, but you’ll be having so much fun you won’t care. A gentle push sends you down one of three tracks: fast, zigzag or drop. Nothing can wipe the smile from your face and you’ll be itching to go again. New Zealand is the home of zorbing, and still one of only a handful of places to offer this unique sport. Tick that one off the bucket list!

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

3

Visit Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings (Mount Ngauruhoe) as you navigate craters and alpine lakes. This one-day 19-km hike is not for the faint hearted – the aptly named Devil’s Staircase is particularly challenging – but it’s well worth it for the views of Mount Ngauruhoe and sliding 400m down volcanic ash to the Emerald Lakes.

Skydive in Taupo, Franz Joseph or Queenstown

Fancy jumping out of a moving plane? New Zealand has plenty of opportunities, including at Taupo, Queenstown or Franz Joseph where you can jump from up to 19,000 ft over one of the country’s biggest glaciers.

SUP in Abel Tasman

4

Stand up paddle the crystal clear waters of Abel Tasman National Park are begging to be explored by standup paddleboard. Join a guided tour or rent your own for a couple of hours and head around the corner to Split Apple Rock, which legend has it was split open by two Maori gods fighting for possession.

Ice climb on Fox or Franz Joseph Glacier

5

Climbing on a glacier is like entering a whole other world. A spectacular helicopter ride will take you to the glacier, where you strap on the crampons and spend the day exploring crevasses and learning how to climb up a wall of ice. Nothing beats the view of the seemingly endless glacier above as you climb. Disclaimer: Glaciers are constantly changing structures and can be dangerous to navigate. Unless you’re an experienced climber, don’t go without a guide.

Great Walk Tramp

6

A tramp is kiwi speak for a hike, and no holiday in New Zealand is complete without completing a Great Walk. Milford Track is the most popular and books up easily six months in advance. Other lesser known but equally noteworthy are Routeburn and Kepler Tracks. All three are in Fjordland National Park, where alpine valleys and views of various sounds and the Tasman Sea await.

Blackwater rafting in Waitomo

Glow worms are a highlight of the North Island. Rather than hopping in a boat, grab a tube and a wetsuit and plop yourself in the river that winds through the Ruakuri caves. You’ll have prime views of the iridescent worms as you wade through the river and abseil into the caves.

Milford Sound paddle

7

Skip the overcrowded ferries and get in a kayak for a more intimate tour of this famous fjord. You’ll be able to get up close to fur seals and, if you’re lucky, a pod of playful dolphins. Don’t be discouraged if it rains, the waterfalls that appear as a result are a major bonus. These are just a few examples of what New Zealand has to offer. No matter how you decide to spend your holiday in Middle Earth, it is sure to be an unforgettable one.

 

About the author
Sarah is a Virginia native who decided do a very un-American thing and take a gap year before starting a career. Three years later, she’s still traveling and there’s no foreseeable end in sight. Catch up with her at All Roads Lead to Roam. All photos copyright Sarah Kilbourne.

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