New Zealand is often referred to as the adventure capital of the globe. It’s popular with travellers and thrill-seekers alike because it offers a unique combination of incredible scenery, cosmopolitan city life, breath-taking coastline and once-in-a-lifetime adventures in equal measure.
With so much to offer packed into New Zealand’s North and South islands, it’s difficult to highlight just a handful of activities to consider undertaking during your visit – but here’s five you won’t want to miss.
1) Whale watching at Kaikoura
Whale watching is something you can enjoy at multiple locations around New Zealand, but what makes it special at Kaikoura is the number of different species you’re likely to see. Many types of whale make the waters here their home (depending on the time of year), although you can expect to see killer whales and humpback whales all year round. The chances of spotting whales in Kaikoura are so large that many excursion providers will offer you a money-back guarantee on gaining a glimpse of some of the world’s most majestic creatures!
2) Stunt plane piloting
While seeing New Zealand by air provides you with an opportunity to witness the country’s mountainous landscape from a whole new perspective, why not go one further and take control of the aircraft yourself?
There are several “fly your own stunt plane” experiences available throughout the country – and it’s not for the faint of heart. Some companies (including one in Wanaka) will even allow you to flip the plane upside down while a professional pilot talks you through the manoeuvre. Naturally, these companies are covered by a fairly robust insurance policy, but you might still want to arrange your own just in case.
3) Sky jumping in Auckland
Adrenaline junkies will be pleased to know that heart-racing pursuits aren’t confined to the countryside. Auckland’s Sky Tower provides visitors with the opportunity to walk around the top of the building – and those who are a little more daring can even consider jumping from it. The sky jump here is essentially an urban bungee jump which provides revellers with an amazing view of the city skyline prior to taking the plunge.
4) Hot Water Beach at The Coromandel
At Hot Water Beach, you can create your very own hot tub from the golden sands of The Coromandel and allow it to naturally fill with thermal water which bubbles below the surface just before or after low tide.
The beach also boasts rolling surf, a craggy-edged coastline and a beautiful horizon with shadowy glimpses of islands in the distance, and is well worth a visit regardless of whether you time things right for an all-natural hot tub or not.
5) Visit Tamaki Maori Village
History buffs can learn more about the roots of New Zealand by visiting Tamaki Maori Village in Rotorua. Visitors are offered a friendly welcome by the Powhiri a tribe, complete with performances of traditional warrior songs and dances. Maori cuisine or “kai” is on offer, which combines common herbs, root vegetables and seafood, as well as bread (hangi) made from potatoes.