Heading on an adventure trip to New Zealand? Here’s how to get your adrenaline rush!
For a small country, New Zealand—which is jam-packed with rainforests, glaciers, fjords, and geysers—offers an incredible number of outdoor jaunts that take place on land, in the sky, in the sea, and even underground. Some activities are expected, such as cycling and hiking. But others are much more innovative and unique. For instance, have you ever heard of “schweebing”? If “a sense of adventure” is on your packing list for New Zealand, then you’re sure to love it. You’ll learn all about this exciting pastime and many others right here!
Here are our top picks:
Missing the powder during these warmer months in the States? Head down to New Zealand for ski season (June to October). The country has a well-deserved reputation as an international skiing destination, because gear is easy to rent and the lines are relatively short. New Zealand ski resorts have plenty of wide-open bowls and gentle slopes for first-time skiers, plus backcountry skiing and heli-skiing for the more advanced and adventurous. The South Island has nine commercial ski resorts within easy reach of Queenstown or Christchurch, and the North Island's Mount Ruapehu is the country's only skiable volcano!
2. Caving and Black Water Rafting
Spelunkers (cavers) say that New Zealand has some of the most challenging and spectacular caves in the world, but even first-time cavers can enjoy the underground scenery. Caving experiences range from a leisurely stroll through a glow-worm grotto in Waitomo to caves that require abseiling (descending by rope), climbing, and squeezing.
This new innovation is based near the center of Rotorua in the North Island. First, picture a monorail that’s upside down. Then envision a clear, ventilated, human-sized pod hanging from the bottom. How it works: You lie on your back inside the pod and power it forward by using a bicycle pedal—and you can reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour along the track!
One of the first developments in the Rotorua region was zorbing. This is an activity in which you roll down a hill (looking much like a hamster!) in a clear globe made of flexible plastic. The large globe has a roughly 10-foot diameter, and within it is a smaller, inner globe (where you sit!) with a diameter of about 6 feet, 7 inches. Try “wet zorbing,” where the inner globe is filled with warm water in the winter or cold water in the summer and you slosh around on your way down.
New Zealand’s developing national cycle trail project, which features 23 “Great Rides” through some of the country’s most iconic landscapes, is a can’t-miss experience for passionate bikers. Cycle routes showcase the country’s lush, fern-filled bush, as well as spectacular mountain and coastal views.
New Zealand’s well-established network of nine “Great Walks”— hiking treks through a series of wild New Zealand landscapes—includes the famed, 12-mile Tongariro Alpine Crossing on North Island, which spans the length of Mount Tongariro and the Milford Track, a 33-mile route that was originally formed by the native Maori people when they walked to collect greenstone in Fiordland National Park on the South Island’s remote southwestern coast.
7. Bungy Jumping
In the 1980’s, a couple of young kiwis set up New Zealand's first commercial bungy operation—a jump from the historic Kawarau Bridge near Queenstown. Since then, New Zealand has become the undisputed home of bungy.
8. Off-Road Driving
New Zealand has a beautiful and extensive network of back-country roads and tracks made of dirt, grass or gravel, and one of the best ways to explore them is with an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). Drive over huge sand dunes on Ninety Mile Beach, explore a farm in Waikato, or cruise through the base of the Southern Alps.
To get your heart pumping, there is nothing like skydiving, and New Zealand's beauty is even more breathtaking when you’re 12,000 feet in the air. Skydive in Lake Wanaka or Queenstown to see gorgeous lakes and mountains or check out volcanoes by taking the plunge at Bay of Plenty or Rotorua
10. Jet Boating
The jet boat was developed in the 1960’s by a New Zealand farmer to help him steer his way through the shallow Canterbury rivers. Now you can ride one simply for kicks! Zip through narrow river gorges, skim across channels, and weave through braided rivers near Queenstown and Canterbury.
Since 1970, Goway has been providing unforgettable travel experiences to Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, idyllic island destinations and Latin America. Today Goway is recognized as one of North America's leading travel companies for individuals, families and groups to select exotic destinations around the globe. Goway has offices in Los Angeles, Vancouver, Toronto, and Sydney (Australia). For reservations and information, visit www.goway.com, call your Travel Professional or 1-800-387-8850.
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