New Zealand is the undisputed world capital of adventure. With so many of the most extreme sports and extreme firsts, the country’s capital of extreme is the southern island’s Queenstown — although it’s fair to say the whole country is extreme sports crazy.
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Visitors to New Zealand get the chance to try jumping out of a plan, swinging across a canyon and wild white water rafting all in one week. As a result, every year thousands of adrenaline junkies head to New Zealand and to Queenstown for a taste of some of that extreme southern hemisphere fun.
The best extreme sports in New Zealand
Skydiving is New Zealand’s number one extreme sport. There are many locations across New Zealand that offer skydiving, such as Wanaka, Taupo, Queenstown, Auckland and Bay of Plenty.
Jump from up to 15,000 feet in a tandem dive from a custom airplane and experience the rush of freefalling through the sky at up to 200 km/h and for up to 60 seconds! Most companies across New Zealand offer 15,000 feet jumps, as well as 12,000 and 9,000 feet options. All newbies to skydiving have to jump with a professional instructor in tandem.
Nzone in Queenstown is a popular option, and was New Zealand’s first tandem skydive company and has jumped over 250,000 people since its opening in 1990.
Queenstown is home to New Zealand’s highest bungee jump, 134 metres over the Nevis River. Not only do you have to jump from a ridiculous height and over a wild raging river, but you also have to make the jump from a see-through platform high-up in the canyon, so don’t look down!
Jumpers travel at speeds of up to 128 km/h as they dive head-first into the depths of the river — but don’t worry, the experience only lasts 8 seconds.
White water rafting
New Zealand’s untouched landscapes are filled with wild waters that flow through the forests and out into the sea. Ranging from calm grade one waters to grade five rapids, the waters offer the chance to try the extreme sport of White Water Rafting with professional guides.
There are a number of places you can try the extreme water challenge. Lake Taupo, Hawke’s Bay and the Bay of Plenty in the North Island. In the South Island, you can try Shotover River in Queenstown as well as other spots on the West Coast.
Ziplining is the extreme family-friendly sport, giving you stunning views of New Zealand’s famous landscape.
Take in extraordinary sights from way up in the trees, and whiz along at speeds of up to 70 km/h. ZipTrek in the south island’s Queenstown features the steepest zipline in the country – with a descent from 30 storeys high.
The six-line-long tour also offers spectacular views of Queenstown’s mountains and lake and an up-close tour of the New Zealand’s incredible nature along the way.
New Zealand is the founder of the world’s biggest swing. But the playground for this swing isn’t suitable for children. Instead, it’s located 160 metres above the Nevis Canyon in Queenstown.
This world-famous extreme activity sees participants travel at up to 120 km/h across the valley with the miles of river and rock below, on a swing. But it gets better; real adrenaline junkies also have the option to swing backward or even with a friend.
About the author:
I AM A SERIAL BACKPACKER, WRITER AND BOOK EDITOR FROM THE UK. SO FAR I HAVE TRAVELLED ACROSS NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA, AUSTRALIA AND I AM NOW BASED IN NEW ZEALAND. IN MY SPARE TIME I WRITE AND PERFORM MUSIC AND ATTEMPT SILLY SCARY THINGS LIKE SKYDIVES.