Best Adventure Spots in New Zealand
If there was a world cup for adventure, New Zealand would win it. It has hands-down become the adventure capital of the world, with more adrenalin-pumping sports and activities packed into one small country than are found on most continents. New Zealand’s best known for its world-famous bungee jumping, but the adventure spots don’t stop there. Choose an adventure from skydiving over a snow-capped mountain range to underground rafting in glowworm caves - New Zealand is the full of extreme fun.
Franz Josef Glacier, West Coast 7886, New Zealand
I was a glacier virgin. I had never seen one in person before, much less set foot on one. That all changed though as the helicopter lifted off and took off towards the incredible Franz Josef Glacier on New Zealand’s South Island. Almost as soon as the Glacier Helicopters flight lifted off, Mt. Cook popped into view, a looming presence throughout the area. We skirted over the lush rainforest and before I knew it, we were on top of the glacier. It’s amazing really; the glacier looks exactly like a glacier should look. It was a vast, frozen river leading from the tops of the mountains to the valley below. We landed at the top for a little exploration and impromptu snowball fights before taking off again to zoom past the massive crevices of the ice mountain. The ride back included even more impressive views of the glacier and the flat plains below leading to the Tasman Sea. It really is strange to see the glacier adjacent to the mild valley below. There’s something surreal about it all and that makes it one of the best adventure activities in New Zealand. For your own glacier adventure, visit the small mountain town of Franz Josef where you can find tour providers operating a variety of ice-based activities, including these extraordinary helicopter tours.
State Highway 6, Gibbston Valley, Queenstown 9384, New Zealand
Bungee jumping was invented in New Zealand, so if you’re going to try it anywhere in the world, shouldn’t it be at the world’s first commercial bungee site? With a 140-foot drop from an old bridge straddling a beautiful turquoise river, the location outside of Queenstown couldn’t be more perfect. In fact, its beauty might even distract from what lies ahead. Choosing between jumping tandem or solo, bobbing above the water, touching it, or even getting dunked, the Kawarau Bridge has every option available—though maybe none for the faint of heart. In the few minutes I watched dozens of people fling themselves off the platform, from kids to parents, everyone had a big smile on their face when finished.
The resort town of Queenstown tucked away in the Remarkables, a stunning mountain range in the South Island, is one of New Zealand‘s crown jewels. Not many towns around the world have better views or more adventure sports than Queenstown. One of the staple activities is to ride in the cable car up to the Skyline Gondola in Queenstown. With breathtaking views of the city, lake and surrounding mountains, there is no better way to spend time in Queenstown than from above. For the best views, try paragliding from the Gondola back down to the city below. Strap yourself to a complete stranger then run off the edge of a mountain only to soar high above the town. This is an adrenaline activity anyone can do.
While you can bungee jump or skydive pretty much all over the world, how many places will let you fly a stunt plane? In Motueka, by Abel Tasman National Park at the top of the South Island of New Zealand, you can do just that. Without any aviation experience, you can strap on a jumpsuit and climb into the front of an open two-seater plane for the thrills of a lifetime. Doing flips and figure eights and loops over one of the most stunning coastal landscapes in New Zealand, piloting a tiny stunt plane will most likely be the experience you remember the most.