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Top 5 Adrenaline Activities in New Zealand

There is something about visiting the adventure sport hotspot of New Zealand that makes usually sedate travellers say ‘why not’ to leaping out of a plane and other such hair-raising activities. So in order to prepare the unsuspecting visitor for what they have in store, we offer our guide to the top 5 adrenaline activities in New Zealand.


In 1988 Bungy (sometimes: Bungee) pioneers AJ Hackett and Henry van Asch opened the world’s first commercial Bungy Jump at Kawarau Bridge near Queenstown. The launch of the Kawarau Bridge Bungy site has been hailed as the birth of adventure tourism in New Zealand and continues to be a popular spot to Bungy today. Boasting Queenstown’s only tandem Bungy, head here if you want to jump with a friend or have your head dunked in the river. The less adventurous can visit the A J Hackett Bungy Centre to learn about how Bungy came about (from its Vanuatu roots to how it works today) and discreetly leave with their nerves in tact.

Discover more about Bungy Jumping.


For those unacquainted with the term, Zorbing is when you enter a large inflatable globe and roll inside it, usually downhill at frightening speeds. The Kiwis, of course, take this one step further and add water to their Zorbs - just to increase the disorientation and breathlessness of participants. If this sounds like your idea of fun head to ZORB Rotorua, who have been offering wet and dry rides for over 17 years.

Keen to try Zorbing in New Zealand?

Shotover Canyon Swing

The Shotover Canyon Swing is an evolution of the bungy, which involves swinging on a piece of rope into a canyon 109m above the Shotover River. The Canyon Swing ups the adrenaline ante by combining 60 metres of freefall with a giant 200 metre swing, plus there are over 70 different ways you can choose to jump. The crazy list of options include swinging backwards, on a chair or even with a bin on your head!

See more about the Shotover Canyon Swing.


In comparison to the activities already mentioned Skydiving seems relatively tame. There are numerous gorgeous locations you can choose to throw yourself out of a plane in New Zealand (strapped to a professional, of course.) Divers are taken through instruction videos before flown up to their choice of 12,000 or 15,000 feet (the latter gives you 1 whole minute of freefall). After being launched out of the open plane door and experiencing the unbelievable rush of freefall, your parachute pops open for approximately 4 minutes of floating – over glacial lakes and snow-capped mountains if you're diving over a location such as Lake Wanaka.

Fancy skydiving? Find out more.

Black Water Rafting


Crawling, scrambling and floating through rapids in a wetsuit and rubber ring is too tame for the Kiwis, so at Waitomo they do it underground, in the dark. After abseiling into a glowworm-studded cave you’ll weave your way through caves, float along underground rivers and climb up through chilling waterfalls (as hard as it sounds.) There is only 1 way out once you have dropped in so this activity is not recommended if you have a fear of the dark and/or being trapped in confined spaces.

Discover more about Black Water Rafting here.

It got our adrenaline pumping just writing about these activities. Do you feel brave enough to try any of them?

Written by Jayne Gorman

Jayne is a latte-loving travel and lifestyle blogger who has travelled to more than 60 countries and spent the last 10 years writing about it.  She’s called London, Sydney, Melbourne and (very briefly) New York home – but don’t ask her to rank them. Often found brunching or scoping out boutique hotels – now with a mini explorer in tow.

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