Top Thrill-Seeker Activities in New Zealand

New Zealand is a daredevil’s delight. A destination that comes jam-packed with thrills and spills to really get the adrenalin surging through your system. From classic stomach-churners like bungee jumping, to heart-stopping leaps off tall buildings, hang on to your safety hat folks as we charge through a crazy bundle of extreme activities and death-defying acts to work through and tick off your bucket-list.

Brave it with a Bungee

Top spot: Queenstown

To earn those level one thrill-seeker stripes, head to the spot where it all began and throw yourself into this iconic activity at the ‘Adventure Capital of New Zealand’. The world’s first-ever commercial bungee jump took place at Queenstown’s historic Kawarau Bridge – 43-metres in the air – which still remains popular today as a kind of traveller’s rite of courage. Within a landscape of immense beauty, bungee’s birthplace promises a natural high for the thousands who are drawn here to complete this adventurer’s ritual. If you feel like you’ve crossed this bridge before, amp up the experience with an epic 134-metre plunge at Nevis Bungy, the highest leap of faith you may ever take.

Bungy jumping off the Sky Tower
The Leap to Invincible

Top spot: Auckland

Some high-risk activities leave you with sweaty palms, others trigger the ultimate sensation of life flashing before your eyes. Jumping off Auckland’s famous Sky Tower definitely lands in the latter category. While many come to admire the breathtaking panoramic views, the thrill-seekers’ mission at SkyCity is to take a leap into the void – from a sky-scraping 192-metre vantage point in the heart of the city. Of course you’ll be safely strapped in and all wired up, but plummeting downwards at 85-kilometres per hour is a unique kind of exhilaration. Be warned, your stomach may drop or you can go weak at the knees just from signing up to this indescribable rush of excitement. 

Caving with a Difference

Top spots: Piha Beach & Waitomo Caves 

If you haven’t tried canyoning, the new adventuring craze that gets you closer to nature is even more thrilling with the lights off. Head to beautiful Piha Beach, a dramatic black-sand beauty surrounded by lush rainforest on the western shore of the greater Auckland region. As darkness falls, with the sun well and truly below the horizon, descend to the floor of the Waitakere Ranges – abseiling under the rushing waters of a spectacular waterfall. Slip through a narrow-slot canyon and land in a sculpted landscape of gorges, jumps, caves and rock pools. Explore the underground caves solely by the light of your headlamp. Enjoy a more pleasant form of buzz as you encounter black watery caverns and tread across rocky ledges illuminated by the starry glint of glow worms. 

Seeking more brilliant thrills? The glorious Waitomo Caves promise the best glow-worm show in the whole of New Zealand. Glide by boat through twinkling limestone labyrinths beneath Hamilton’s green rolling farmlands. If that all sounds lovely but could send you to sleep, add on a euphoric element such as blackwater rafting, tubing through tunnels, or zip lining across a glittering gallery. Tackle the subterranean dens at great speed, or step backwards into the abyss as you abseil down a sinkhole, or free-hang (suspended 100-metres in mid-air) within a darkened cavern. The physical challenges required on this wild and magical adventure may surprise, inspire and delight you. 

Snowboard a Live Volcano

Top spot: Mt Ruapehu 

Here’s a thrill that might not seem as daring as some, yet racing down an active volcanic cone could be considered more of a mind-blowing experience (especially as this one rumbles on a continual basis). Located in UNESCO World Heritage Tongariro National Park, Mt Ruapehu is topped with the alpine jackpot of three wonderful snowfields. Climb to Ruapehu’s crater and from the rim, you can whoosh down the southern hemisphere’s longest vertical descent. Somewhere along that 2,000-metres, more adrenaline should definitely kick in!

White water rafting
Falls, Spins and Thrills

Top spot: Taupo 

Why calmly cruise when you can skim across the surface of New Zealand’s mightiest waters. For an absolutely gripping, white-knuckle thrill-ride, jump on a jet boat and take on Taupo’s epic Huka Falls, New Zealand’s most-visited attraction. The peaceful Waikato River becomes a roaring legend as it thunders through the funnel of a narrow ravine, and rockets over the gorge at tremendous speeds into a wild pool of white water below. The best way to get close to all this sound and the fury is on a jet boat ride. Travel at pulse-pumping speeds of 80-kilometres an hour, taking spins and 360-turns along the stunning, bush-fringed Waikato. The scenery may be a bit of a blur, but the experience will undoubtedly stay with you forever.

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