New Zealand is a great place for adventure travel, you can do many activities in New Zealand such as canyoning, white water rafting, giant canyon swings, bungy jumps, jet boating, caving in glowworm caves, and endless amounts of incredible hiking opportunities.
New Zealand is purely an adventure playground to enjoy with endless nature to discover across the North and South islands.
Within this blog post, I will do my best to touch base and offer some tips and advice on how to best explore the adventure side of New Zealand over the course of a week.
I’ve been very fortunate to have visited New Zealand on three different occasions and this guide contains the highlight spots that I enjoyed the most and returned to on my repeat visits.
Now I must say at this stage, I could easily explore all of what New Zealand has to offer over two months! So this is a rather compact top suggestions post on what you simply can’t miss across New Zealand if you’re tight for time.
Here is my guide to the top adventure destinations that you need to visit for across New Zealand:
Travel tips for travelling to New Zealand
If you want to travel from the UK to New Zealand you will have to include a transit as there are no direct flights.
An option is to fly to Australia first and explore the land Down Under, but you’ll need to take care of your travel documents.
The first thing you should do is apply for a visa Australia before your trip.
This visa will allow you to enter Australia legally and explore the country and enjoy your time in Australia if you can, visiting famous places like Sydney or the Great Barrier Reef.
Now it’s time to continue your journey to New Zealand. Before leaving the UK, check the visa requirements for New Zealand.
My biggest tip for New Zealand would be to make your Plans according to the seasons.
The sunny summer months (October-April) are the most popular time for travellers visiting New Zealand and it can be busy so make sure you book your accommodation and other arrangements well in advance.
Winter offers great skiing and snowboarding opportunities and the days are often clear and bright offering great snow sports conditions.
Tips for Hikers: No matter what the season, plan for all weather conditions as New Zealand can be unpredictable when it comes to weather.
This is a great opportunity to invest in some of the local New Zealand Marino Wool products they have on offer, it’s good stuff for hiking and outdoor use.
New Zealand’s top adventure destinations
The top adventure destinations I would personally recommend are Auckland, Waitomo, Taupō, Rotorua, Fox Glacier, Queenstown and Tongariro National Park.
New Zealand is a remote country and lies more than 1,000 miles southeast of Australia, its nearest neighbour.
The country comprises of two main islands—the North and the South Island as well as a number of small islands, some of which are hundreds of miles from the main islands.
The capital city of New Zealand is Wellington, not Auckland which I first thought. Auckland holds the title of being the largest urban area in New Zealand. Both cities are located on the North Island.
New Zealand is a land of great natural diversity and contrasts, with active volcanoes, stunning caves, glacier lakes, valleys, spectacular fjords, lovely sandy beaches, and even jaw-dropping snowcapped peaks, all contributing towards New Zealand’s scenic beauty.
I couldn’t imagine a better backdrop to host your next adventure trip!
Let me walk you through some of my top adventure destinations across New Zealand:
Auckland, the largest urban space in New Zealand
Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city and is known as the “City of Sails”. It has a lot of attractions such as the Sky Tower, Auckland Harbour Bridge, and the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
I’ve added Auckland to the list as this is usually the starting hub for many adventures across New Zealand.
You can use Auckland as a base on your trip to NZ to visit the rest of the country as it does have the largest international airport in the country.
Auckland as a city is buzzing and has a lot going on which makes it a perfect starting and ending point for your trip to New Zealand.
Take your adventure to Auckland up a gear and try the AJ Hackett Auckland SkyJump & SkyWalk which takes place at the top of the iconic Auckland Sky Tower.
You can also try AJ Hackett Auckland Bridge Bungy for those brave enough to try this popular New Zealand extreme sport.
The magic glow of Waitomo caves
Close commute from Auckland, you should make a trip to Waitomo to explore the Waitomo caves.
The best way to enjoy this adventure is to go on a tubing tour of the Waitomo caves.
A local guide will navigate and float along with you on the tubes (rubber tire rings) through the Waitomo caves where you can experience the incredible site of the magical glowing glow worms that call the caves home.
A fun adventure experience to try in New Zealand.
Waitomo is also within close proximity to the Hobbiton movie set location making this a great opportunity to visit both locations.
Sail up The Bay of Islands
Just north of Auckland you will find the Bay of Islands, a selection of close-by islands along with a stunning coastline making this an ideal location for a sailing trip.
The Bay of Islands offers a subtropical coastal landscape with incredible marine life. The Bay of Islands should be on anyone’s must-visit list to New Zealand.
The Bay of Islands is a collection of 144 islands scattered across vibrant blue waters and volcanic-coloured beaches.
Go on a boat trip and sail your way up to the historical town of Port Russell.
Go white water rafting in Taupō
Taupō is a town on the shore of Lake Taupō in the centre of the North Island of New Zealand.
It is well known for its beautiful scenery and outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and most importantly for its white water rafting experience.
The mountains of New Zealand’s interior feed a myriad of fast-flowing rivers that run through the forests to the sea making way for many great rafting spots across the country.
Grade 1 rivers offer relatively tranquil waters and go all the way up to grade 5 rafting which is regarded as an extreme sport.
All operations across New Zealand are led by qualified rafting guides who comply with established safety codes. All gear and special clothing are provided by the rafting companies.
Rafting rivers in the North Island are mostly found in the central and east coast areas of Lake Taupo.
Lake Taupo’s Tongariro River is home to three sections of white water, ranging from grade 2 to grade 4.
Be sure to head to Lake Taupo for a world-class rafting experience that offers stunning New Zealand nature as a backdrop.
Experience Fox Glacier as part of a heli-hike tour
If you visit New Zealand, be sure to visit one of its many glaciers. The two most popular are Franz Joseph and Fox Glacier.
On my visit, I went to experience the Fox Glacier as part of a heli-hike tour.
You can hike from the bottom all the way up to the top by foot if you wish.
You will be with a guide and be supplied with hiking boots, helmets, crampons and ice axes to help get you to the top.
Another option is to take a helicopter from the base, directly up on top onto the glacier giving you more time to explore and spend on the glacier itself.
Of course, this is a more costly option so you will have to choose what option best works for you and which glacier you would prefer to visit.
Fox Glacier is a natural sight to behold and to get the chance to heli-hike to the top and explore all the different crevasses is a wonderful and unique experience that can be enjoyed in New Zealand.
Explore Tongariro National Park
Tongariro National Park is on New Zealand’s North Island. The park has 3 active volcanoes: Tongariro, Ngauruhoe, which was used as Mount Doom in The Lord of the Rings films, and Ruapehu with its ski slopes.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing trail passes the Emerald Lakes and boiling mud pools, culminating at the still-active Red Crater.
Tongariro National Park is the perfect location for hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter.
Time for a relaxing adventure in Rotorua
The first thing you will notice about Rotorua is how much the town smells of rotten eggs. This is due to the sulphur that comes from the active volcanic landscape.
Rotorua is located in the inland Bay of Plenty region of the North Island of New Zealand.
It is well known for its geothermal activity and Maori culture
Relax at the Polynesian spa where you can soak in a mud bath and enjoy all the healthy minerals that can be found in the local mud.
Why not try zorbing? It’s an adventure sport created in New Zealand where you roll down a hill inside of an inflatable ball. Super fun to try and unique to NZ.
My must-visit location in Rotorua has to be the Tia Puia Geothermal Park where you can learn about both the Maori culture and geothermal activity of Rotorua.
Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand
Queenstown is considered the adventure capital of New Zealand, and possibly the world.
In terms of adventure activities, you name it, you can do it. A resort town located in the southwest of New Zealand’s South Island.
It is well known for its adventure tourism activities such as bungee jumping, skiing, and skydiving all for the brave-hearted.
The Shotover River extreme jet boat ride has to be my top pick. I have no idea how they get so close to the canyons at super-fast speeds; it’s a pure adrenaline ride from start to finish.
Other activities include ziplining, paragliding, canyoning, rafting, zorbing, buggy riding, heli-hiking, canyon swinging, you name the adventure activity, good chance Queenstown does it.
Queenstown is an excellent base for exploring the South Island’s many adventure activities, and the surrounding landscape is jaw-droppingly beautiful.
One wild card tip: Fergburger, you have to try the Blue cheese burger here. I don’t know why it tastes so good and I don’t want to know, you simply have to try it when in Queenstown.
Thank you for reading my one-week adventure guide to New Zealand
Thank you for passing by my blog and reading my guide to a one-week adventure in New Zealand.
New Zealand has to be one of my favourite countries for adventure as it’s packed to the brim with exciting extreme sports activities nestled in the stunning natural landscape of New Zealand; it truly is an incredible country.
As I’ve made clear from the start, one week is simply not enough to cover the whole country, but I hope this guide has given you enough tips to help towards crafting your own NZ adventure.
Wishing you a wonderful adventure in New Zealand!