Top 7 Outdoor Activities in New Zealand That You Just Have to Do!

written by local expert Anna Faustino

Anna is a co-founder of Adventure in You and has been traveling the world for the last 9 years. She has spent time living in Thailand, Mexico, Indonesia, and Spain and is our local expert in these areas. Her expertise on travel, gear, and building businesses have been featured on Foundr, Business Insider, Yahoo Travel, and more.

Popular in the adventure and activities world, New Zealand is a mecca for thrill seekers who are searching for adventurous things to do. Whether its leaping out of ledges to bungee jump or traversing through glaciers as you explore ice caves, New Zealand has a little bit of everything for everyone.

Being the adventure junkies that we are, naturally New Zealand makes it high up our awesome-kickass-adventures-to-go-on-list. It is high up there with its varied terrain, insane activities, and awesome thrill seeking adventures. So, maybe you’re wandering. What exactly is there to do in New Zealand? Here are our top picks for adventures in New Zealand.

Explore and Go Glacier Hiking at Franz Josef Glacier

As soon as I found out that Glacier Hiking was actually at thing, the more I got excited about it! A helicopter flies you from the town of Franz Josef and lands you right on top of a glacier (I swear, I am not making this stuff up!!) As soon as you land, you strap crampons to your boots and begin traversing with a guide through down slopes, ice crags, and incredible blue ice caves for a good 2-3 hours. For the hardcore adventurers, you can skip out on the helicopter ride and trek deep into the heart of the glacier as you slide through ice caves and make your way down near vertical ice walls. Although it sounds a little too cold for my liking, this once in a lifetime experience sounds too good to pass up! 

Read: What the Hell Does Adventure Mean?glacier caving new zealand

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Go Tandem Bungee Jumping in Queenstown

Bungee jumping is one of those things that FREAK the hell out of me! Stick me on an airplane to skydive anytime and I would be fine. I don’t know if it’s the motion of leaping off, but it is something that I am slightly terrified to do. However, similar to most things in life, my motto is to face things head on which is why I have chosen to add tandem bungee jumping to the list. Stick me on a bridge to jump on my own-no way. But if I was strapped into Tom and had him as my safety blanket to jump with, I’m sure it will be an incredible experience.

P.S. He might just have to push/pull me off that bridge

Read: What Not to Do When Bungee Jumping

Experience Black Abyss Caving in Waitomo

Being only about 2 ½ hours away from Auckland, rent a car and drive yourself to the adventure of a lifetime as you head deep down into the Ruakuri Cave which is coincidentally studded with glow worms. The descent is a 5 hour expedition that involves abseiling 35 meters in a small hole, whizzing through zip wires, as you wade your way through freezing cold waters. You will be cave tubbing, climbing, and squeezing your way through this almost enchanted like cave. The finale as they say is when you climb up two waterfalls as you emerge in the surface of the Waitomo Forest. How incredible is that? This is definitely something we HAVE to do when we head to New Zealand.

caving new zealand
Photo Source: Madeline Deiton |via Flickr Creative Commons

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Surfing the Endless Wave in Raglan

Okay fine, the wave does end-but it sure is pretty long! Known for possibly having the one of the longest left-hand breaks in the world, I knew this one had to go on the list or else I would be in trouble with Tom. Popularized by the movie Endless Summer, you can surf along Manu Bay as you catch a wave and cruise along for about 2 kilometers (given you have the skill to do so!) If surfing isn’t your thing, you can also take part in the many other water activities like SUP boarding, kayaking, and even kiteboarding depending on the weather.

Read: Beginner’s Guide to Surfing: Everything You Need to Know

Get Wet and White Water Raft down the Kaituna River

Just like everything in New Zealand, everything is taken to the extreme. Feel your heart pump as you go rafting down the Kaituna River and ready yourself for a massive 7 meter (23 feet!!!) drop down a waterfall. Class five rapids and many insane drops aside, the rainforest surrounding the river itself makes this activity worth it! You raft down a river, jump of cliffs, get soaked, and ready yourself for a day of fun and adventure.

Related: Best White Water Rafting in Asia cagayan de oro white water rafting

Soar in the Sky as you Paraglide in Queenstown

 Located in the Queenstown, the center of most of the adrenaline filled activities in New Zealand, Paragliding is high up on our list of things to do. The rush of running off a mountain as you put your faith in your glider, taking in some of the most amazing views that New Zealand has to offer. You wait for the right wind, and run as fast as you can off this cliff, both hoping and praying that everything will go smoothly. After that, you can relax a little bit and glide along the sky as you take in the beauty of everything around you. Although this is a lot mellower than skydiving, paragliding can still get anyone’s heart pumping with excitement.

Fly High with JAG Air aerobatics flight

Ever wanted to fly an airplane? How about to become a flight dare devil as you loop, twist, and turn high up in the sky? Before I go on any further, I might as well issue a warning that this is not for the faint hearted. But to those that want to give this a go, you can be a passenger on a plane as an ex-fighter pilot flies you along Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown traveling more than 300kmph as it spins loops and turns in the sky. During this 20 minute flight in a specialist aerobatic aircraft, you will see some of the most amazing views-while feeling your stomach drop and loop all at the same time!airforce new zealand

Although New Zealand is still a far away dream as after all, we still have the entire of South America to travel through, writing this has just gotten me excited about all the adventurous things that we can do around the world. How about you? Did any of these activities catch your fancy? Any other worthwhile adventures to go on while in New Zealand? We would love to hear from you!

Read: The Top 10 Adventure Playgrounds in Europe

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