It has been said that while Kiwis can’t fly, they make up for it with just about every other sort of adrenaline-fueled activity. Although not every New Zealander is an extreme sports aficionado, the daredevil heritage of this young nation is very much alive and available to tourists who want to live a little on the wild side.
Many of the traditional choices for adventure are on offer in New Zealand, from skydiving to white water rafting and rock climbing. However, there are also a few more novel things to try in the pursuit of exhilaration in this beautiful country.
Black water rafting is very similar to its better known chromatic opposite, but features one added element: it is underground. Usually clad in wetsuits, rafters negotiate subterranean rivers through caves and caverns using inner tubes or small rafts, sometimes in pitch darkness, before being ejected into daylight at the end of the journey. New Zealand’s famous Waitomo Caves in the Waikato region offer various blackwater rafting options depending on the season.
Above ground, Rotorua’s Zorb experience can be just as boisterous as any set of rapids. Zorbers clamber inside a huge inflatable ball and are sent rolling down a hillside, at the mercy of gravity and the terrain. Well padded and fully enclosed, the only real danger is extreme disorientation, although in summer months it is not unknown to have several buckets of water added to increase the washing machine experience!
For those who prefer thrills to spills, Auckland’s Sky Tower offers the 190 metre Sky Jump, a wire controlled base jump from the top of the landmark building in the city centre. Slightly more sedate again is the Sky Walk, a guided tour around the circumference of the main observation deck. While it sounds less terrifying, the tour is actually of the outside of the building, around a 1.2 metre wide walkway, with a safety harness to keep walkers well above the pavement far below.
In the South Island, Queenstown is a well known adrenaline mecca and hosts many of the iconic activities of this type. The original home of bungee jumping, it boasts the Nevis Highwire jump platform which allows tourists to experience over 8 seconds of freefall from 134 metres up. Along the many rivers around the town another New Zealand invention, the jetboat, offers thrills of a different but no less exhilarating sort. Flitting between limestone cliffs and spraying great showers of clear alpine water as they spin and dart, the jetboats offer breathtaking views for the brave souls who can keep their eyes open long enough to appreciate them.
For something just a little different again, Queenstown also hosts Fly By Wire, a variation on the extreme swing concept. Suspended by a cable, visitors pilot a dart-shaped capsule at speeds of up to 100 mph as it is powered through swooping arcs by a small aircraft engine. It is one of the fastest rides in the world, and nestled in a valley the experience of speed is heightened by the rocky hillsides only metres below.
Whatever your preference for excitement, below ground or well above, New Zealand has it covered with activities for adventure seekers of every persuasion.
This article on New Zealand activities was supplied by “Just Paul” from Constant Content.
Related article: Places of Interest in New Zealand