Extreme Activities to Try in New Zealand

Angela Wood

Senior Contributor

New Zealand is synonymous with extreme sports and each year, adrenaline enthusiasts travel thousands of miles to experience the latest and greatest sports crazes on the planet. From Heli Biking to Caving and Canyon Swinging, here are our list of extreme activities to try in New Zealand.

Heli Biking

Although Heli Biking has been around for about 10 years in New Zealand, it’s only just catching on around the rest of the world. So, why not experience this thrilling pastime in its birthplace just outside Queenstown on New Zealand’s South Island? What exactly is Heli Biking you ask? Well, basically, you strap your mountain bikes to the side of a helicopter, are flown to remote mountains and deposited near the summit so you can cycle down at your leisure! Heli Bike NZ organise bespoke half and full-day tours. One of the most exciting involves flying to Crown Peak with 360-degree panoramas of Queenstown. You’ll be transported via helicopter with your bike off-piste for an exhilarating descent towards the old gold mining village of Arrowtown. Alternatively, choose the tour called The Remarkables Double Descent – which involves two helicopter rides and a massive trail descent of 2,900 metres!


New Zealand boasts some of the most challenging cave networks in the world. If you wish to try Caving or ‘Spelunking’ as it’s also called, you’ve come to the right place. There are many ways to experience this pastime. You can drift through a cavern filled with bioluminescent glow worms on a boat or even partake in a nerve-tingling, rope-dangling experience. On New Zealand’s North Island, Waitomo Caves allow you to opportunity to walk, black water raft, abseil or even climb into the mysterious caverns. Experienced guides are on hand to assist and train you prior to your escapade, so even if you’ve never tried it before, you’re in for an adventure of a lifetime.

Bungee Jumping

New Zealand is famous for adrenaline sports and one activity which remains at the top of every traveller’s bucket list is Bungee Jumping. Across two scenic islands you can leap from rail viaducts, platforms, bridges, buildings and sport stadium roofs. It was AJ Hackett who first brought bungee to the world in the 1980s, inspired by Vanuatu natives who would jump from platforms with vines attached to their ankles. He performed his first jump off Auckland Harbour Bridge and later began the world’s premier commercial Bungee Centre at Kawarau Bridge near Queenstown. There’s still no better place in the world to make your first jump. Imagine the anticipation, palms sweating as you climb the platform, feet teetering on the edge, looking down to the river moments before you take the plunge. Then, quickly, a descent – you’re free flying between natural gorges and forested cliffs, then bouncing back before touching turquoise waters. You won’t feel another thrill like it.

Canyon Swinging

What is Canyon Swinging? Think bungee but even more thrilling, then imagine free-falling off a 109-metre-high cliff for 60 metres before the ropes tense and your swing catapults 200 metres out over Shotover Canyon! Now you can swing to and fro over the raging river until your heart’s content. You’re advised by a friendly group of professionals who do this for fun daily, plus you get to experience an adrenaline rush like no other. You don’t have to partake in Canyon Swinging alone either, you can involve a partner, friend or family member to participate in a tandem swing. That’s not all. Afterwards, zip along the valley on ‘The Fox’ – a 182-metre-high zipline which stretches across the canyon! Interested? Word has it that Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran were, they both tried Canyon Swinging here and loved it. You should feel pretty awesome about yourself afterwards too, whether you realise it or not, you just attempted one of the highest cliff jumps on the planet!

Sky Jumping

Based at the top of Auckland’s iconic Sky Tower, the tallest building in the country, this Sky Jump is both terrifying and exhilarating. Experience the ultimate leap of faith with nothing but a wire between you and the pavement. It’s not unusual to have your heart in your mouth as you stand on the platform 192 metres above street level. But as you step off the edge, reaching speeds of 85 kph as you plummet past 53 floors in 11 seconds, you’ll feel like king of the world. This controlled descent is safe thanks to the team of professionals who organise everything and when you reach SKYCITY plaza below and look up to where you jumped from, you’ll feel a sense of utter disbelief, but also like you can conquer anything in life.


We’ll end our dramatic extreme sports frenzy with something tamer, for all the family – Zorbing. Dive into a gigantic inflatable ball in Rotorua on New Zealand’s North Island and experience rolling along the world’s longest zig-zag track. This fun adventure can be undertaken in water or a dry zorb, plus you can join friends and family in a race across four long, fast and steep tracks. It’s an enjoyable all-round experience and a superb introduction to extreme sports of New Zealand.

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