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Outdoor Activities in New Zealand

Tramping

The activity known in other countries as hiking, trekking or bushwalking is known as tramping in New Zealand and is a very popular activity for visitors and locals.

New Zealand has a number of national parks and other wilderness and forested areas. A network of tramping tracks has been developed throughout the country – of varying length and difficulty. A small number of tramping tracks cross private land either in part or in full.

All of the major tramping tracks are on public land that is administered by the Department of Conservation.

Official website Department of Conservation website

Skiing

New Zealand is a major skiing destination in the Southern Hemisphere, due to its high latitude, mountainous terrain, well-developed economy and tourism industry. While there are several ski resorts on the North Island, most are found in the South Island. There are both major commercial resorts and smaller club ski-fields which provide access to affordable skiing for club members.

There are also specialist backcountry skiing areas such as Mount Potts and Invincible Snowfields, which provide heliskiing and snowcat skiing for adventure-seekers.

Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand, reaching a height of 3,754 metres (12,316 ft). It lies in the Southern Alps (the mountain range which runs the length of the South Island) and is a popular tourist destination.

The Remarkables meanwhile are a mountain range and skifield in Otago, South Island. Located on the southeastern shore of Lake Wakatipu, the range lives up to its name by rising sharply to create an impressive backdrop for the waters. Th is spectacular range is clearly visible from the nearby town of Queenstown and a must for any snow sports enthusiasts.

The Remarkables Official website

Bungy Jumping

New Zealand is the home of the bunjy jump and offers many stunning locations from which to participate in this daredevil past-time.

Queenstown, Auckland and Lake Taupo are prime locations and hugely popular with tourists. The modern bungy jump was invented in New Zealand by A.J. Hackett.

Inspired by the Vanuatu ritual called ‘land diving’ and the Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club experimental jumps in the 1970s, Hackett developed a super-stretchy elastic bungee cord in the mid 1980s and demonstrated its use by throwing himself off the Eiffel Tower in Paris in 1987.

Becoming the Father of Bungy Jumping, he launched his own company – AJ Hackett Bungy – and in 1988 created a site on the Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown to become the world’s first commercial public bungy.

Hackett is widely known for his many bungy stunts that have earned him Guinness records and personal milestones.

Official AJ Hackett website

Skydiving

Skydiving is an exhilarating, unforgettable experience and New Zealand the perfect place to enjoy it. Strapped onto the front of a qualified jumpmaster, a tandem dive gives you enough time to look around and admire the beautiful scenery on the way down. You can expect up to a minute of free fall, followed by a few more minutes of tranquil floating before touchdown.

Whether in the Bay of Islands, the adventure sports capital that is Queenstown or the scenic Lake Taupo, New Zealand is replete with numerous, stunning skydiving locations.

Indeed, Taupo’s natural scenery – with its lake, forests and volcanic backdrop – makes for an excellent skydive location. Taupo can safely be described as New Zealand’s skydive Mecca, as people flock here to jump at the cheapest prices in the country.

Official Skydive Taupo website

Black Water Rafting

Cave tubing or black water rafting offers an adventurous journey, involving the use of an inflated rubber inner tube as a flotation device to take you down river. Booking and assembly point for all Black Water Rafting expeditions are done in The Legendary Black Water Rafting Co. HQ, located a short distance outside Waitomo Caves village.

There are two black water rafting tours available: Black Labyrinth & Black Abyss. Black Labyrinth is a 3 hour cave tubing excursion through Ruakuri Caves – its roof lit by glow worms in a magical underworld universe. Black Abyss on the other hand takes a slightly more vigorous version to the same caves by mixing abseiling, climbing and cave tubing.

Discover Waitomo Official website

Whale watching

Kaikoura is a world-famous whale-watching site (for Sperm Whales in particular). People often take for granted the abundance of marine life in Kaikoura that is rarely seen in such close proximity to land in other parts of the world.

Whale watching tours are a unique experience and the sightings vary. Giant Sperm Whales are the stars of the show and year-round residents, although tours also may encounter pods of Dusky dolphins, New Zealand Fur Seals and the endangered Wandering Albatross.

Whale Watch New Zealand Official website

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