Get Your Heart Racing with New Zealand's Best Extreme Activities

December 16, 2013


Zorb course in NZ

Many people enjoy spending their holidays simply relaxing in the sun, but for an adrenaline junkie, this isn't going to cut it. New Zealand is one of the best places of earth for an adrenaline junkie to holiday. Kiwis are notorious thrill seekers, so it makes sense that our country is home to many exciting and dynamic activities.

It's time to think outside the box, strap on some safety gear, and get out there! Let's see how New Zealand can get your heart racing with the best extreme activities.

Canyon Swinging and Flying Foxes

Ever wanted to pull a Spiderman and swing between buildings? Well, this is the next best thing. The crew over at Canyon Swing offer the ultimate adrenaline pumping swing experience. Daredevils only have to venture 15 minutes outside of Queenstown to the Shotover Canyon for this experience (the company provides transportation). From there it's an easy walk through the bush to a private site, which has been specifically designed for Canyon Swing. The platform sits on a cliff edge 190m above the Shotover River.

After getting attached to the twin-rope swinging structure, it's up to you to take the final plunge by jumping off the cliff. Jumpers are able to fly off the cliff in any manner they wish from the 'Superman' to the trusty feet-first option. Organisers have more than 70 jumps available to try as well as the option of a tandem jump.

Once off the cliff, the free fall is about 60m down the canyon followed by a smooth transition into a 200m swing. The rope will swing at least twice before stopping about 100m underneath the cliff face.

For a similar buzz in the North Island, visit Gravity Canyon in Taihape. Gravity Canyon is host to three of the country's best adventure activities, including a flying fox, 80m bungy jump, and a 50m free fall bridge swing. The flying fox launches from a 175m ledge which sits above a river canyon and speeds the rider down 1km of zip line at a zippy 160km an hour. The canyon swing lets you take a 50m free fall off the Mokai Bridge and then smoothly swing through the canyon over the river.

If you want a real flying fox buzz, then head to Nelson and experience the longest zip-line in the world! A Kiwi invention, the Skywire sits on rolling bush land, deep within the forests of Nelson. High above the gushing valleys and sea, this flying fox takes riders, who are seated in a caged tram, soaring for more than 3km above native forest. The ride takes you both forwards and backwards and is set off by an initial 800m cruising drop which can hit 100km an hour.



For the best challenge - and views - the Southern Alps are a mountain climber's dream come true. Stretching down the South Island, the Alps include the highest peak in in Australaisa with Aoraki/Mount Cook standing at a majestic 3,754m. These mountains are perfect for all types of climbers and those training for a variety of sports. Climbing and hiking are extremely popular in New Zealand and the most popular climbing trails are in the South in Fiordland, Arthur's Pass, and Mount Aspiring, which are all based in the Alps. These peaks come with a decent challenge for those with mountaineering experience. There are plenty of commercial mountain guides around, as well as companies who have significant expertise in the mountains and surrounding areas.

If you are going to embark on a group or solo climb, make sure others know where you are headed and when you are likely to be back. You must also ensure that you have the proper equipment and supplies and plan for the unexpected. The climbing season runs from November to March, however more experienced climbers may go for a winter alpine climb.



For the longest abseil in the country, head to Waitomo. Nestled in the central North Island, this small community is best known for its glow worm caves - but there is far more to the region than hanging out in the dark. Strap up and scale down the impressive canyons on a Haggas Honking Holes tour. You'll drop down waterfalls and water shafts, and then drift through the tunnel of caves before coming to the surface. Other noted abseiling spots include Taupo, Queenstown, and Wanaka.


Jet Boating

With hundreds of lakes and rivers and thousands of kilometres of coastline, it's natural that New Zealand would develop the wildest selection of water activities. But there is only one that can get you up close and personal with some of the best attractions the country has to offer. Jet boats travel at intense speeds and take you to place that other watercraft cannot. You'll be in the hands of an experienced driver as you experience the thrilling ride.

These boats are designed to glide through mere inches of water and can be taken all year round. With 360 degree spins and an ability to get spectacularly close to heavy rapids and waterfalls, those who are keen for a bit of water adventure and a lot of fun shouldn't miss jet boating. Some of the best rides can be found on the Shotover River near Queenstown and the Waikato River in Taupo. Trips cost anywhere from $60 to $90 and safety gear is provided.



One of the stranger looking attractions, the Zorb lets adventure-seekers strap themselves into a big, transparent ball and then roll down a hill. The Zorb consists of a hard inner sphere that protects you from objects on the path and an inflated outer ball that lets you roll and bounce at speeds of up to 50kph. The outer ball is inflated and sent rolling, reaching speeds of about 50km an hour. Since the introduction of Zorbing, the experience has been growing in popularity. Those keen on a ride can head to Rotorua to get their spin on.


Blackwater and Whitewater Rafting

For heart pounding action take a jaunt on a boat down some of New Zealand's toughest rivers. It may be the land of the long white cloud, but it's also the land of turbulent rapids and tumultuous rivers. The many mountains that make for good climbing and snowboarding also create and feed into several fast running rivers that make their way rapidly through native forests and out to the ocean.

Black water rafting incorporates caves and tunnels while white water rafting is generally down fast flowing rivers. Rivers are generally graded 1-5, 1 being pretty peaceful and easy going, while 5 is for experienced rafters and is regarded as an extreme sport. There are plenty of spots around the country with qualified guides who can provide you with a thrilling, yet safe, experience. This is not a sport for the faint hearted. If you are inexperienced, it is highly recommended that you organise a guided trip. For black water rafting, check out Waitomo. For white water rafting head to the Queenstown, the West Coast, Bay of Plenty, or Hawke's Bay regions.

Contact us today to learn more about adding one of these great activities to your next New Zealand adventure


Image: Zorb by Chris Hartman, CC-BY-2.0

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