Top 15 Thrilling New Zealand Adventure Activities

There are so many reasons to visit New Zealand, the diverse landscape, amazing wildlife, lovely cities, friendly locals and a long list of adventure activities. It’s clear why so many thrill-seekers head to New Zealand every year. This sun-soaked country is a perfect setting for exciting activities on land and sea. If you are an adventure junkie and are looking for your next kick, New Zealand is where you must go. Here are the top 15 thrilling New Zealand adventure activities that you must try.

Top 15 Most Thrilling New Zealand Adventure Activities

  1. Jump off the Sky Tower: If you are in Auckland the Sky Tower is something that you must experience. The Sky Tower has an observation deck that gives the 360 degrees of the city and is one of the best views. If you are brave enough or are looking for an adrenal rush you can choose to SkyWalk or SkyJump. If you choose the latter, you will be plummeted 192 meters from the Sky Tower. It is breathtaking and certainly an experience you must not miss in New Zealand.
  • Bungee Jumping: Again, if you are one of those people that like falling from heights, bungee jumping is for you. Go to the Kawarau Bridge and jump off with all the safety harnesses and jump 43 meters over the Kawarau River. Alternatively, you can go to different places within New Zealand including Nevis, the Auckland’s Harbour Bridge or in Taupo. All of these places are important spots for bungee jumping.
  • River Rafting: A water lover must always try riding the rapids at least once in your life. This is available in different parts of New Zealand. Black Water Rafting Company is one of the oldest ones. There are multiple places where you can go down white waters. The great thing about rafting down rivers in New Zealand is that they all ensure that while you have the time of your life, you still are taken care of all the safety precautions required.
  • Canyoning: Canyoning is a spine-chilling water adventure sport that you must try in New Zealand. Here participants climb into a wetsuit, helmet, and harness to move down the river. It is mostly known as a multi-sport because it involves techniques ranging from walking to jumping and rock climbing. The Coromandel, Nelson Tasman Region, Wanaka, Piha and Lake Wakatipu are some of the spectacular places to experience Canyoning. However, the whole process can be a little daunting if you have never done Canyoning before.
  • Skiing: If you have not experienced the Skiing in your life, it should certainly be on your bucket list. New Zealand is home to the Southern Lakes Heli Ski. You need to get there on a helicopter often, and the experience will be worth every penny. The experience of coming down the mountain is exhilarating and it provides access to many kilometres of terrains amongst different mountains. But remember to get a sense of how to ski before you explore it.  
  • Underwater Diving: Watching the underwater world is a treat if you love waters and want to explore the beauty of the deep blue sea. The Poor Knight Islands Marine Reserve is one of the best places in the world to go diving. Every year many people come here to see the marines and hardly ever leave disappointed. Hence, the Tutukaka coast in Northern New Zealand is great to explore.  
New Zealand adventure activities
  • Jet Boating: If you like living in the fast lane, only in water, Jet boating is for you. If you are anywhere near Queenstown, this is a must-do thing in New Zealand. The Shotover Jet carries people down rapids and marked for an amazing and thrilling adventure activity in New Zealand. The ‘Big Red’ Jet boats are an iconic attraction for locals and tourists alike. The best part is as you travel through the rapids, you cannot help but witness New Zealand in all its beauty.
  • Swimming with Dolphin: There are many places that offer themselves in New Zealand to Swim with dolphins. Kaikoura, Akaroa, Marlborough Sounds, Bay of Plenty, and The Bay of Islands are just some of the places. Dolphins are some of the cutest animals on earth and tend to be fairly human friendly, and can be a treat to watch. It brings you closer to nature. However, ensure that you take the permissions needed before you attempt it, so you do not disturb the world around them. 
  • Mountain Biking: If you are into mountain biking, there is nothing better than the Old Ghost Road on the South Islands. Located in the West Coast it is one of the best places to travel to get a sense of what it is to take the breathtaking mountain biking route within New Zealand. The scenic beauty of this place is unparalleled to anything you may have seen in your many travels in mountain biking. The experience and views are worth the effort.
  • Kayaking: If you want to Kayak your way through the waters in New Zealand, Whanganui River from Mount Tongariro is perfect. You can also additionally spend the night amongst nature and watch different native birds. It is one of those places that encapsulate all that is New Zealand for its beauty and nature. Take this trip to see the alpine landscape, birds, watch Kiwis, and just slow down on how you view the world. 
  • Hiking: Hiking can be an adventure to experience New Zealand. The country in itself is a beauty of nature. Over and above that, if you come to the South Islands, it is considered one of the best hiking experiences. The Pass Burn Track is particularly considered spectacular. There are many organizations that help with different options based on your ability to hike through the various landscapes of New Zealand. If you are into walking there is no dearth of breathtaking mountains, lakes and forests to be explored in New Zealand.
 New Zealand adventure activities - trekking
  • Glacier Helicopter Ride: New Zealand has over 3,000 Glaciers, and touring through some of them can be a remarkable experience. Pair a helicopter flight over Franz Josef Glacier and the Fox Glacier with a snow landing and you can have the perfect New Zealand experience. There are different Glacier helicopter tours to choose that range from 20 to 60 minutes flight. However, be rest assured, flying over the breathtaking and scenic glaciers and snow landing will get stored in your memory forever.
  • Horse riding: The biggest attraction of New Zealand is its natural beauty, and exploring this beauty via horse riding can be an ideal vacation. There are varieties of horse treks available in New Zealand. Move through white-sand beaches in Northland, ride under the dormant volcanoes in Ruapehu or just ride over open plains in Cardrona Valley, South Island, the choice is yours. However, taking a horse trek is a wonderful way to understand the country and its people.
 New Zealand adventure activities - horseback riding
  • Penguin Encounter Tour: Most people believe Penguins are spotted in Antarctica, but New Zealand has 3 Penguin Species. The Korora, also known as little blue penguins, are the cutest Penguin species that you may encounter. The penguin tours in New Zealand gives you an opportunity to get close and personal with these beautiful natures’ creations. These tours usually include on-the-ice meet with Penguins, a Q&A session, and a photoshoot.
  • Snorkelling: Snorkelling is one of the most popular adventure activities in New Zealand. That’s because this activity gives people the glimpse of an awe-inspiring underwater world. New Zealand is located between 3 oceans with a coastline of over 15,000 kilometres and hence there are abundance snorkelling sites. Take a snorkelling ride and witness the wildlife, fauna, and habitat of marine life.

Everything said and done, if you are looking for thrilling New Zealand adventure activities , there are plenty. However, what is great is that you will be one with nature and the universe when you go to New Zealand. It is not just about adventure, it is about finding peace while enjoying the adrenal rush. Typically, going to New Zealand, will make you come back wanting for more. Every time you visit that place, you know that you have left a part of you there, and have to go back and visit different parts of it some more.

Guest Post Author

Gulshan Bafna is a leading travel entrepreneur with a passion for exploring every corner of the globe. His unique approach of describing and covering tourist hotspots as well as unknown retreats alike has won him a solid following online. True to his blog’s name, he believes that travel is an exciting prospect for everyone!

Do check out my other post on Top 5 Asian Destinations


  1. Thank you for sharing, the vivid pictures gives you a real insight into New Zealand .Some of these adventure activities are in my wishlist especially Glacier Helicopter Ride and Underwater Diving.

  2. Bungee jumping and river rafting are two things I really love! Thank you for listing all the things we can do in New Zealand!

  3. Now thats an exhaustive list and amazing one to explore each of these for sure.. Jumping off the cliff sounds super adventurous

  4. That was a beautifully crafted and extensive list. I loved the option of Kayaking, the most. It’s like weaving a story amidst nature, in the most calm manner. I hope I get there some day!

  5. These are some amazing and an exhaustive list of adventure ideas.
    Setting aside my fear of heights, I would definitely love to try each one of these.

  6. Very informative. Although I am not an adventure enthusiast but I would definitely love to do snorkeling and swimming with dolphins in beautiful newzealand.

  7. All of these look super tempting to try out. The glacier chopper ride and bungee jumping sound especially thrilling! But I wonder what the dolphin swim is like. I hope these beautiful, intelligent creatures are not harmed or disturbed. The image seemed a bit saddening.

  8. Canyoning, river rafting, under water diving wow these all are so exciting adventures.I have fortunately tried all but in India till now.i would love to try in New Zealand now

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