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14 September, 2023 - Updated Last updated on
15 September, 2023

Posted by Spaceships Crew

Thrill-seekers from around the world choose New Zealand adventure activities for the best in sensational journeys. Get off the beaten track with a breath-taking road trip and get totally immersed in New Zealand, the planet's best land of adventures. Here are the top ten New Zealand adventure activities to help plan your trip.

1. ZORB inflatable ball ride

Who wouldn't just love to hop in a giant clear inflatable ball of water and roll down a grassy hill? This thrill, invented by the owners themselves, is like a water slide on steroids. Choose from four types of runs all guaranteed to be safe and a real "ball" for all ages. ZORB is located in Rotorua on the North Island.

A weird yet super fun New Zealand adventure activity: Zorb in Rotorua

A weird yet super fun New Zealand adventure activity: Zorb in Rotorua

2. Waimangu volcanic rift valley

This is not your typical walk-in-the-park experience; this is an epic adventure straight out of a Tolkien novel, except it's real, and it's in New Zealand. Get an idea of how the earth began by visiting the world's youngest geothermal valley. Mount Tarawera erupted in 1886 and created this stunning system of geothermal activity. In geological terms, what you're seeing is Earth "in its infancy." Talk about being in the right place at the right time!

It's only a little over an hour's drive south of Tauranga on the North Island. Start your journey to the Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley here or sleep under the stars at a Lake Okaro campsite - this campsite can only be used by self-contained campervans as there are no toilet facilities. Then head north on Okara Road to witness this amazing place.

While the valley is definitely Insta-worthy, put down your phone for a bit and just soak it all in. You're walking in one of the most unique landscapes on the planet. Feel the mist on your face, smell the sulfur in the air, and listen to the bubbling of the hot springs. This is Earth in one of its rawest forms, and you get to be part of it.

3. Kaituna white-water rafting adventure

Whether you're new to white water rafting or an old pro, zipping down the Kaituna River in Rotorua is for you. This is an aquatic rollercoaster that serves up a hefty dose of Maori culture, untamed wilderness, and pulse-pounding excitement. A gorgeous jungle canyon is the site of this 50-minute thrilling ride that passes over exhilarating rapids like the seven-metre Tutea Falls, the world’s highest rafted waterfall.

As you plummet down, you'll feel like a superhero defying gravity. And the best part? You get to whoop, high-five, and relive that moment in stories for the rest of your life! Newbies get full training, no worries. All you need is your sense of adventure.

This is one of those NZ activities that is easy to reach, but hard to forget. The Kaituna River is just a 20-minute drive from Rotorua, making it an accessible adventure that leaves a lasting impression. In other words, it’s a high-reward challenge with low logistical fuss.

White Water Rafting Kaituna River | photo: Ronald Woan (Flickr)

Ever wondered what it feels like to be swallowed by a waterfall and live to tell the tale? It's epic, and you can do it in New Zealand's Kaituna River

4. Tongariro River white-water rafting

Think that Tongariro can only be used in the name of an amazing hiking adventure? It sure is one of the amazing Great Walks but the Tongariro River also has lots to offer. How about an afternoon of white water rafting? This New Zealand adventure activity is rated by Lonely Planet as one of the ten unmissable NZ aquatic adventures. That was back in 2015 (as only rafting adventure in that list) but it still is one of the top-rated rafting adventures in New Zealand. No worries.

The rapids are grade three, which makes this an ideal adventure for expert and first-time rafters alike. In 2.5 hours you navigate over 60 roller coaster rapids with an expert guide at the helm. A large part of the top section of this trip can only be accessed by raft or kayak so you'll see plenty of spectacular unspoiled wilderness.

5. Shotover River - Arthurs Point

The name Shotover says it all. This New Zealand adventure in the Otago Region not far from Queenstown in the South Island is a 75-kilometre swiftly flowing river with daring rapids for quite an exhilarating whitewater raft ride. You can even get your thrills by simply standing on the shore letting the Shotover Jets splash you as they pass by.

Hop on a jet boat and shoot down Shotover River for an extreme whitewater ride you'll never forget. Leaving from Queenstown, you'll be tucked in the beauty of the surrounding Shotover canyons for the 25-minute ride of a lifetime. It's addictive. You'll want to go again and again.

6. AJ Hackett Kawarau Bridge Bungy: the classic NZ must-do activity

Been a little leary of bungy jumping in the past, mate? Put your fears to rest with safe yet exhilarating jumps at AJ Bungy in Queenstown. Kawarau Bridge Bungy is an iconic experience that puts New Zealand on the global map of extreme adventure sports! This is more than just a bungee jump; it's a rite of passage for thrill-seekers and adventure enthusiasts.

Kawarau Bridge is where commercial bungee jumping was born. This isn't just any jump; it's a pilgrimage to the Mecca of adrenaline sports. When you jump here, you're not just having fun; you're becoming a part of extreme sports history.

Kawarau Bridge Bungy

A must-do New Zealand adventure activity: bungy jump in Queenstown

7. Nevis Swing: New Zealand's biggest swing

Remember the rush you got as a toddler swinging high above the ground below? Get a grown-up adrenaline high to outmatch it on the Nevis Swing in Queenstown. New Zealand's biggest swing lets you defy gravity as you freefall toward the valley floor and then swing out in a 300-meter arc with awesome views below. Don't worry, their safety record is infallible.

8. Queenstown zipline tour

Get a birds-eye view of Lake Wakatipu and the scenic Remarkables Mountains with a Queenstown Zipline Tour that boasts the world's steepest tree-to-tree zipline. If you're new to zip lining, they'll start you out with an introductory tour. Soon you'll be taking on the Kerera zip tour featuring a 21-metre drop.

9. Hamner Springs bungy jump

Hanmer Springs isn't just a quaint resort town known for its hot springs and serene landscapes. It's also home to one of the most unique bungy jumping experiences in New Zealand. In Hamner Springs, you're leaping off a cliff in an alpine setting. Imagine plummeting toward the Waiau River with a backdrop of mountain ranges and pine forests. Yep, this is adrenaline with a view! Take the leap from the 135-year-old historic Ferry Bridge.

To reach the jump platform, you'll take an exciting jet boat ride down the Waiau River. You're already revving up your adrenaline before the main event! It's like the appetizer before the feast—utterly delicious but not yet the main course. Then safely strapped in a harness, you can afford to be brave and adventurous. It's an extreme bungy jump in a scenic alpine setting. Have your photo taken and take home a T-shirt and certificate to prove your courage back home.

10. Mountain biking experience at Cadrona

Cardrona Resort - near Wanaka and Queenstown - is primarily known as a ski resort, but it turns into a mountain biking haven during the summer. The alpine environment offers a unique and exhilarating backdrop. The resort is equipped with a lift, which means you can indulge in gravity-fed downhill rides without the exhausting climbs. The higher elevation means you get panoramic views of the surrounding Southern Alps.

Depending on the trail, you can find a variety of jumps, berms, and technical features designed to give you an adrenaline rush.


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