5 Out-of-the-ordinary experiences in New Zealand
Celebrated for its amazing scenery and array of adventure experiences, New Zealand’s diverse landscapes make a perfect holiday destination. With so much to see and do, it can be difficult to ensure you don’t miss out on the best activities, so we’ve put together a list of five of the most adventurous and out-of-the-ordinary experiences within this spectacular country.
Glacier hiking on the Franz Josef Glacier
Tucked away in Westland Tai Poutini National Park, the Franz Josef Glacier attracts over 250,000 tourists each year. Some choose to walk up the glacier, meaning strapping on some crampons and navigating the icy slopes. This incredible hike can be tough at times, with narrow bridges straddling sheer drops and steps cut into the face of the glacier, but rewards hikers with stunning views and a unique, exciting experience. If you’re pressed for time or prefer not to tackle the ice yourself, helicopter tours will drop groups of visitors between the first and second icefalls for a shorter guided walk along the top.
Head deeper underground in Waitomo
Not for the claustrophobic, Waitomo’s main attraction is its network of underground caves. Featuring rock climbing, blackwater rafting and tours of the multiple glow worm colonies, this is a once in a lifetime experience that will leave you awestruck. And if you’re travelling with less intrepid friends, you could always send them off to the nearby town of Te Kuiti, self-proclaimed sheep shearing capital of the world, which houses the local historical foundation and a shearer over seven metres high – the largest in the world.
Sky diving in Lake Taupo
Home to Huka Falls, an 11 metre drop on the country’s longest river, the area around Lake Taupo is one of the most visited natural attractions in New Zealand. The lake itself has a surface area of more than 600 square kilometres, making it the second largest freshwater lake in Oceania. This is one of the country’s most popular skydiving spots, surrounded by snow-tipped mountain peaks, green fields and the fresh blue of the lake. Book in to one of the tandem skydive centres and before you know it you’ll be leaping to the ground from over 12,000 feet high, soaking up the incredible views and having the ride of your life!
Skiing in Queenstown
This southern resort town is a famous haunt of tourists from all over the world. If you’re keen for some skiing during UK summer, then Queenstown is the place for you, with plenty to offer snowsports lovers throughout the New Zealand winter (starting from mid-June). With five ski resorts, a 150-kilometre biking route, and a whole host of panoramic vistas and nature trails, there’s something to please all tastes and the town itself is similar to a European ski resort, with wooden chalets and plenty of après ski options.
Hiking in Lake Ohau
Situated in the Mackenzie Basin of the southern island, Ohau forms the convergence of the Hopkins, Dobson and Ohau rivers. There are numerous hiking trails around the area; for the most adventurous, the Maitland Hut to Snowy Gorge Hut route is unmarked and stretches over 8km of conservation land. If you don’t feel up to a five-hour trek, a ten-minute climb up the hill next to the car park affords a view over the beach and the forest.
With so many options, it can be hard to know where to start, but luckily companies such as Contiki provide comprehensive New Zealand tours for all budgets and timescales. Enjoy your holiday, and let us know if your favourite adventure activities in New Zealand!
About The Author: Laura Wilkins is a travel expert with New Zealand tours experts Contiki Holidays.
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