Adventure Activities in NZ for Adrenaline Junkies

Ellie Swain

Senior Contributor

When it comes to thrills and adventure, adrenaline junkies are in for a treat when they touch down in New Zealand. While the town of Queenstown in the South Island is affectionately known as the ‘adventure capital of the world’, there’s plenty of opportunities to get your heart racing wherever you are in the country. For the hedonists out there, here are a few of the nail-biting activities you can take part in.

Bungee Jumping

Bungee jumping requires you to step off a sky-high ledge voluntarily, with your only safety being that you’re attached to a long cord, arguably making it one of the most terrifying adventure activities out there.

For the pleasure-seekers wanting to get their pulse racing, you can’t visit New Zealand without braving a Bungy jump. After all, New Zealand is home to the world’s first Bungy jump and was historically a pioneer in the activity’s commercialisation.

Take your plunge at the original Kawaru Bungy Site or dare to leap from New Zealand’s highest at the top of Nevis. Both are found, as you guessed, in the picturesque Queenstown. If you can concentrate, attempt to admire the sparkling blue lakes and surrounding mountains as you zoom through the air.

However, as the home of Bungy, you’ll have plenty of options wherever you are in the country. For a completely difference Bungy experience, take a leap of faith from Auckland’s Harbour Bridge in the North Island with the city skyline as your backdrop. 


Is a Bungy not high enough for you? How about 15,000ft out of an aeroplane?

If you only decide to skydive once in your life, let it be in New Zealand. The country is full of renowned skydiving spots that are famous as some of the best locations to skydive in the world. What’s more, you have plenty of choices when it comes to views and terrains too.

For scenic mountain and lake vistas, it must be Queenstown or Wanaka. Or, admire 360-degree views of the glistening glaciers of Fox and Franz Josef as you soar through the air. The landscapes will be so beautiful, you may even be distracted from the fact that you’re free-falling through the chilly skies at 200km/h straight from a soaring aeroplane.

Alternatively, other popular choices include Lake Taupo, Auckland, and Bay of Plenty. Be sure to opt for the video and photo package, so you can prove to your disbelieving friends and family back home that you completed a skydive. Plus, you can laugh at the look of your terrified, contorted face as you plunge through the air.


If abseiling down towering, frothy waterfalls sounds like fun to you, then canyoning may be the ideal adventure activity to get your blood pumping and your heart hammering. The adrenaline-pumping activity offers you the chance to explore the natural beauty that the country offers, while also providing a hit of pure exhilaration.

As well as venturing down gushing waterfalls, many tours include opportunities to leap from mossy cliff ledges into clear pools, ziplining through verdant forests, and sliding down natural waterslides. It’s the ultimate back-to-basics day of outdoor adventure.

If you’re brave enough, take on the Sleeping God Canyon challenge in the Coromandel Peninsula in the North Island. Your day will involve abseiling down spurting waterfalls of up to 80 metres and cliff jumping from platforms of up to 14 metres.


In New Zealand you’re never far from a foamy, fast-flowing river, making white water rafting a must-do adventure activity in the country. And whether you’re an expert on the rapids or a complete novice, there are plenty of different trips that cater to various levels of extremity.

Above ground, Rotorua is the place to be for white water rafting. There you’ll be taken on a rollercoaster of a ride as you battle to stay afloat over various bubbling rapids. Finish off by tackling the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world – a full 7-metre drop. Just be prepared to get very wet!

Throw some underground exploration into the mix by choosing a unique black water rafting tour of the dark glowworm-studded underworld of the Waitomo Caves.

Elsewhere, Tongariro River in Lake Taupo, and, of course, Queenstown are popular sites for adventure out on the water.

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