New Zealand - Mecca for thrill seekers and anyone interested in wide open
spaces and physical activities. Above the ground you can go bungy jumping,
parachuting, skydiving, abseiling and flying; on the ground you can go
tramping, mountain bike riding, skiing, horse riding, rock climbing, and
'zorbing'; underground you can go surface caving, cave rafting, and hydro
sliding; and on the water you can go jet-boarding, white-water sledging,
rafting, boogey boarding, canoeing, kayaking, surfing, sur- rafting, and
scuba diving. If there is a difficult and challenging way to get from one
point to another you can do it somewhere, somehow, in New Zealand.
Despite the number of off-beat activities available, the most popular one
is still tramping (Kiwi lingo for hiking or trekking). Thousands of
kilometres of marked tracks and an efficient network of trampers' huts make
it a viable activity for everyone from experienced hikers to country
strollers. Be warned that some of the more popular tracks such as the Great
Walks will be fairly crowded, especially in summer, so if you prefer
solitude contact the nearest Department of Conservation for further
information on tramping in their area.
New Zealand is also one of the most popular destinations in the southern
hemisphere for Skiing and other winter sports because of its reliable and
abundant snowfall. This usually occurs between June and October
Tramping / Walking
The South Island offers unsurpassed tramping, ranging from challenging
alpine traverses to easy family tracks. For the most part, trampers must be
wholly self-sufficient. There are, however, scores of modest huts scattered
at strategic points throughout the ranges and the forest, which are
generally available on a first-come first-housed basis. These offer spartan
but dry surroundings in which to spread a sleeping bag near a cosy wood fire
a few tracks, among them the Milford Track, Routeburn, Hollyford and
Greenstone have guides available to escort parties between more comfortably
appointed huts. Alpine guides, too, are available in some of the national
parks for those who wish to tackle difficult stretches above the snow line
or to make a complete traverse of the alps.
New Zealand's ski industry has come a long way in the past 10 years and now
offers an extensive range of ski fields some of which offer world class
facilities to match the undeniable world class skiing.
For skiers of every ability, the South Island offers some of the finest
fields in the Southern Hemisphere. For the off-piste skier in particular,
its powder snows and vast virgin slopes are equal to none. The South Island,
while certainly offering awesome skiing opportunities, is not the only part
of New Zealand in which you can ski. The North Island offers superb skiing
possibilities and should not be overlooked in any enthusiastic haste to get
For an alpine climbing adventure head straight to the South Island's
Southern Alps. This spectacular mountain range contains the highest peaks in
Australasia with Aoraki/Mount Cook, at 3753m, being the highest of 30 peaks
Although not the highest mountains in the world, these peaks still present
a considerable challenge for keen mountaineers, who need to be reasonably
fit and competent with crampons and ice axes. New Zealand's own Sir Edmund
Hillary, conqueror of Mount Everest, honed his skills in these mountains.
Most climbing is done in Westland, Mount Cook, Mount Aspiring, Arthur's
Pass and Fiordland national parks, all based in the Southern Alps.
Commercial guides are available and specialist companies run courses
covering a range of climbing experiences. The climbing season is generally
November to March, but for experienced climbers the winter months can also
produce extended calm, fine spells.
Ride nature's giant hydro slides! Canyoning is like being at a water park
in New Zealand native bush. Take on the challenge of this unique water and
rock adventure and you will find yourself plunging down water-polished
chutes and abseiling waterfalls. Prepare to get very, very wet as you climb,
swim, slide and float through the spectacular and mysterious green worlds of
sculptured rock and sparkling, crashing cascades. Canyoning is available in
Auckland, Wanaka and Canterbury.
New Zealand is the perfect place for a cycling or mountain bike adventure.
The mild climate makes it ideal for cycling all the year round, though its
a good idea to protect yourself against the strong sun during the summer
months. Many New Zealand towns and cities are ideal for exploring by bike,
and youll find it easy and inexpensive to hire a bike and a helmet for
just a few hours, or a whole day.
For those who want a more rugged adventure, New Zealands hilly
terrain makes it a fabulous mountain bike playground! Theres a growing
number of specially designed mountain bike tracks, as well as many single
and 4WD (four-wheel drive) tracks through beautiful native bush. Make sure
that you are permitted to ride these tracks, as some, especially those in
National Parks, are for walkers only. If you want even more of a challenge,
try alpine heli-biking or cycle up one of the many firebreaks youll
see on New Zealands steep hills!
From beautiful limestone formations to deep caving systems, New Zealand has
underground adventures for all interests.
Spelunkers (or cavers) claim New Zealand has some of the most challenging
caving systems in the world, and each summer they are attracted to our best
areas from around the world. In the North Island the best known area is near
Waitomo in the central region. The famous Waitomo Caves offer an easily
accessible cave attraction for visitors who want to look at limestone
formations and glow-worms. It also has a network of more difficult caves for
more experienced and confident cavers. In the Tasman Mountains, north-west
of Nelson, are some of the world's largest and deepest caving systems, many
of which are still to be explored.
Thrill seekers can enjoy a huge range of exhilarating adventure activities
in New Zealand. If you want something truly unique, why not give the kiwi
inventions of Zorbing and Fly by Wire a go?
A Zorb is a large inflated plastic sphere, with another sphere inside. Just
strap yourself in, then roll down the hill! You can reach speeds of up to
50km per hour as you rotate inside an already rotating sphere. Zorbing is
very safe, as there is a cushion of air between you and the ground. You can
try Zorbing at The Agrodome in Rotorua, or just out of Paihia in the Bay of
Ever wanted to fly like a bird? Then try the exhilarating Fly by Wire - the
worlds fastest adventure ride. Fly by Wire lets you be the pilot of a
high-speed craft. Just put on the goggles and gloves, strap yourself in, and
fly! You can fly as high and fast as you want, and in any direction. There
are Fly by Wire sites in Wellington and Queenstown.