Top Adventure-style Activities in New Zealand

New Zealand has re-invented itself as one of the prime adventure destinations in the world, and you’ve got to give it to the Kiwis – they are an inventive, if perhaps a little foolhardy, lot: after all they are guilty of giving the world not only the first bungee, but also the infamous fried Mars bar…So get ready, here are NZ’s big adventure five, in no particular order.

Map of New Zealand

Bungee Jump

There is no way around it, if you’re here, you’re bound to make your pilgrimage to the world’s first commercial bungee jumping spot near Queenstown, South Island: Kawarau Bridge with its 43 metre jump challenge. For first timers, don’t worry if you don’t build up the courage to actually jump – it happens all the time. After all, who would think jumping off a bridge attached to a string (ok, a thick one) would be a good idea? Apparently tens of thousands of jumpers – just in this location – each year. And counting.

Hike a Glacier

This is much more like it. NZ’s glaciers are accessible and spectacular, the most famous being Franz Josef, on South Island. The more experienced you are, the more you can do here, and the higher you go, the better the views. Oh, and the ice just gets bluer and bluer. To find out what water should actually taste like, put your water bottle under a glacial waterfall  (you’re bound to find one on your roamings here) and fill it up. If only they could bottle this stuff up and make it keep this alive, pristine, energising flavour of wild water instead of, well, plastic…

Jump out of a Plane

Now we’re talking: who needs a bloody string if you can fly! This activity somehow holds much more appeal, although newbies might have to suffer through a jump with a guy attached to their back as well. Oh well, certain sacrifices have to be made I suppose, for the sake of surviving and all. The most popular sky-diving spot is located in beautiful Lake Taupo, North Island. Which can be reached by flying into Wellington or Auckland.


Well, if you ever wondered what it feels like to be a hamster on acid, here’s your chance. A zorb is like a hardy, see-thru rubber bubble, into which you get inserted and then rolled down a hill. This is the process in a nutshell. More experienced zorbers can apparently manage to get up and run inside the bubble, thus controlling their experience. Haven’t met any of those people personally, sorry. Thankfully, Rotorua, North Island offers plenty of other attractions which should help you recover, such as hot springs for instance, to calm down your poor, rattled body…

Get Wet, Then Fly

No, I mean really, really wet, repeatedly. Buller River, South Island offers grade 4 rapids, if you enjoy physical exertion and endless dunking – they call it white water rafting, I suppose, because a raft has an association of being something rickety, on which one doesn’t usually manage to stay too long. Anyways, then you can dry off on a flight across the river, flying-fox style, strapped to a harness and screaming for dear life. In my view coupling these two activities constitutes a fair challenge. Feel free to get back to me with your impressions or to up the ante.

Patricia Bieszk+ is a freelance writer and a devoted traveller, who likes her adventures string-free.