Go bungy jumping
The Kiwi thrillseeker AJ Hackett is no stranger to daredevil activities. In 1986, AJ Hackett launched himself off Auckland’s Greenhithe Bridge with an elastic rope tied to his ankles. After a series of stunts around the world—including an iconic jump from the Eiffel Tower—Hackett set up a commercial bungy site, Kawarau Bridge Bungy, in Queenstown, New Zealand. While Hackett may have made the niche activity world famous, Vanuatu locals have been jumping off tall trees and 30-metre towers with vines tied around their ankles for centuries.
Some say that bungy jumping is scarier than skydiving. We say that there’s only one way to find out for sure. Test your fear of heights at sights like Nevis Bungy and Swing, the third highest bungy jump site in the world. Jump from the Auckland Bridge, over Lake Taupo, or at The Ledge, perhaps the most scenic jump-point of them all.
Auckland’s CBD might have a reputation for being somewhat mundane as you stroll in between bank and corporate offices. If you peer up towards the sky, however, you might just see ant-like people dangling from the top of the 238-metre-high Sky Tower, New Zealand’s tallest building.
The SkyJump is similar to bungy jumping where you’ll fall at a speed of over 85-kilometres per hour for 53 floors. If that isn’t enough, there’s also a SkyWalk where you can tiptoe 192-metres above the city’s skyline.
Some advice? You’ll want to commit before you toe up to the ledge. Many bungy jump companies don’t offer refunds to those who chicken out. Those who want to go feet rather than face first can opt for a swing, where you’re place into a harness and dropped over the ledge.
If bungy jumping isn’t enough, check out New Zeland’s iconic aerial views from an airplane. The most spectacular jump site is arguably Lake Taupo, where you can catch a glimpse of Tongariro as you freefall. Skydiving over the Bay of Islands (where you have a shot at landing on a sandy shoreline) or over the mesmerising Franz Josef glacier will be something you’ll never forget. If you’re basing yourself in Queenstown, the adventure capital of the country, NZOne launches tandem skydive jumps over the Remarkables mountain range.
Hit the slopes
With no shortage of rugged mountain ranges, New Zealand offers world-class skiing and snowboarding conditions for beginners and experts alike.
Queenstown (hello, again!) hosts the ski fields of Cardrone Alpine Resort, Treble Cone, Coronet Peak, and the Remarkables for those who want a variety of bunny slopes, groomed runs, terrain parks, off piste areas to spend some time skiing through the trees.
The Christchurch and Canterbury region are also worth the extra kilos of winterwear with ski fields like Mount Hutt, Craigieburn Valley, and Porters. These incredible slopes show that you don’t need sunshine in New Zealand to have a fun time.
Roll down a hill in a big bubble
Proudly invented in New Zealand—because, where else would it be invented?—Zorbing is a sport where you climb into a giant plastic bubble and let gravity guide you down a hill like a human hamster inside its toy ball. Choose between a fast track, a track that zigs and zags down a hill, and one that involves three freefall drops—sure to put the fear in sphere. During hot summer days, the staff of the course fill the centre of the orbs with water.
Raft and zipline through a cave illuminated by glow worms
You’ve likely heard of white-water rafting. At Waitomo, you can go black-water rafting or kayaking through a series of limestone caves illuminated by glow worms. There is also an abseil and zipline course that lets you zoom through the caves on a series of cables. The experience is so surreal, you might feel as though you’ve been stuck inside of a sci-fi movie or in the belly of a cave located on another planet.
Race through the sky on a zipline
By now its clear that there are plenty of ways to get vertical in New Zealand. Fly through the sky via zipline at places like Rotorua Canopy Tours over a geothermal wonderland. Ziplining is one way to discover natural surrounds and forest with minimal impact, making it a win-win for thrill seekers and conservationists. Naturally, Queenstown has a few zipline courses. You can also test cable speeds at Waiheke Island, Wellington, Bay of Plenty, and Christchurch.
Hit the trail
In 2011, New Zealand opened the Te Araroa trail that spans 3,000 kilometres starting from Cape Reinga on the North Island and ending at Bluff on the country’s southern point. No matter if you plan to trek the entire thing or accomplish sections of it, intrepid trekkers who venture down the long pathway will be rewarded with incredible vistas, terrain that ranges from easygoing to downright challenging, and views not found by a casual visitor.