Find Adventure With This New Zealand Map
New Zealand is known around the world for its friendly people and beautiful nature, which served as the background for "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" trilogies. But beyond hobbits and smiles, most people come to this island nation for extreme sports.
An indisputable center for adrenaline-filled experiences, Aotearoa (as the country is known in the Maori language), offers travelers skydiving, rappelling, heli-hiking and other thrilling activities.
Ready for a rush? These are the most incredible adventures you can have in New Zealand.
Most Exciting Activities in New Zealand
Guiding you from north to south, this map includes everything from sea kayaking in Auckland to bungee jumping in Queenstown.
Auckland: Sea Kayaking
Beginning with the northernmost point on the map, let's focus on Auckland. Often confused for the capital (which is, in fact, Wellington), New Zealand's largest city is an urban dream. The comforts of modernity coexist with nature, as the city has plenty of hiking and mountain biking trails.
For a unique activity, kayak to the scenic surrounding islands. You can watch the sun set over the city skyline from the water before making your way back.
Not far from Auckland, you'll find Waikato District, a land marked by intricate cave systems. There are plenty of ways of seeing the caves, but by far the most thrilling is the Lost World tour. You'll abseil 328 feet down a deep cave, whose upper walls are covered in greenery.
Wade through the unique landscape in search of flora and fauna, including the famous glow worms. These organisms live on the cave walls and glow in the dark.
As the group turns off their headlights and looks up at the ceiling, you'll have the disorienting but inspiring impression of looking up at the night sky.
Dining is not usually considered an adventurous experience, but leave it to New Zealand to make it so. In Taupo, you can participate in a Kai Waho experience.
Meaning "outdoor cuisine" in Mori, you'll be foraging for food, then preparing it in a traditional Mori feast. Besides a delicious meal, this exciting activity connects you to the island's culture.
Taupo is also close to Rotorua, a famed destination where you'll find large geothermal fields and the Whakarewarewa Thermal Village, one of the best places to see the Haka dance.
Hawke’s Bay: Wiking
No one said adventure and leisure can't go together. Join Takaro Trails Cycle for a unique bike ride around a distinguished wine region. On this wiking (wine plus biking) tour, you'll make your way through beautiful landscapes, stopping at various vineyards.
The highlight is getting to taste different wines at each stop. Just make sure you also drink a lot of water.
Only the bravest of the brave purposefully jump out of airplanes. If this is you, plan a stop in the often-overlooked city of Nelson. Located at the top of South Island, Nelson has several skydiving centers that welcome jittery daredevils.
Sure, plenty of places around the world offer this experience. But not many can compare to New Zealand in terms of natural beauty. The landscapes you'll see as you freefall from the sky are breathtaking.
Kaikoura: Swim with Dolphins
Swimming with captive dolphins is an activity we would never recommend. But being in the water with these beautiful creatures when they are free is absolutely magical.
You can interact with dusky dolphins, known for their gentleness, off the coast of Kaikoura. Curious by nature, the dolphins often come close to swimmers, wanting to inspect the strange-looking visitors.
It's a once-in-a-lifetime snorkeling experience.
West Coast: Heli-Hiking
There are a million and one places to hike in New Zealand. But for something more extreme, try heli-hiking in South Island's West Coast region.
This specialty activity involves riding a helicopter up to otherwise inaccessible spots and hiking around them. You'll be exploring pale blue glaciers, with natural caves and towers.
If you have experience hiking in ice and snow, don't miss the chance to do this.
Wanaka: Waterfall Climbing
Of course New Zealand would have the highest waterfall cable climb in the entire world. Wittily called the "Lord of the Rungs" (get it?), the tour has you climb 1,476 feet down a vertical rock wall with a tall waterfall.
A bit unnerving but safe and incredibly fun, this tour will have you feeling the adrenaline rush for days. Oh, and you'll get some pretty sweet aerial views at the start, since you'll be taken to the top by helicopter.
Milford Sound: Boat Cruise
Fiordland is one of the most popular destinations in New Zealand. And no fiord gets as much attention as the imposing Milford Sound.
Board a cruise to get close to this natural wonder. On the way, you may be greeted by wildlife such as penguins, seals and dolphins.
The landscape drastically changes depending on the season, but it is universally acknowledged that there is no bad season to visit Milford Sound.
Queenstown: Bungee Jumping
In the southernmost point on our map, you'll find Queenstown. Known as the adventure capital of the world, there are countless ways to test your limits in this city.
If you could only do one thing, however, it should be bungee jumping. After all, the commercial version of the sport was invented right here on the Kawarau Bridge.
At about 141 feet, the jump is nowhere near the highest in the world. Still, 140 feet is not something to scoff at. At your feet, you'll find an incredibly beautiful landscape, with the emerald waters of the Kawarau River.