New Zealand is heaven for thrill seekers. The list of exciting, challenging and heart-racing activities is practically endless.
When it comes to outdoor fun in New Zealand, the problem is never where to go, it’s where to go first. Everything from big waves to ski slopes are within your reach.
The scenic landscape of New Zealand provides an amazing backdrop for all your outdoor activities. Here are our 10 best places to go for great outdoor fun in New Zealand.
1. Maruia Springs
At Maruia Hot Springs, you can enjoy the ultimate outdoor experience. You and nature become one as you bathe and relax in a sauna or mineral hot spring, while soaking up the views of the surrounding mountains and river.
Hiking through the various trails around the property gives you an opportunity to explore this picturesque national reserve. There’s accommodation and guests can enjoy sauna and steam rooms, a pristine mountain cold dive pool and thermal shower experiences.
The stunning views of the towering mountains and river are visible from the cafe and restaurant. Kids are welcomed too, making Maruia Springs a perfect destination for a family holiday. Visit the official website for more information.
2. Great Barrier Island
Great Barrier Island or “The Barrier”, as locals like to call it, is where you can get a taste of paradise. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Hauraki Gulf it’s the fourth largest of New Zealand’s islands.
This rough, mountainous landmass boasts an array of exquisite beaches, from languid lagoons to wild surf. There are countless outdoor activities; birdwatching, snorkelling, diving, surfing, kayaking, fishing, swimming, gazing at the star-studded sky, and lots more.
Nature lovers will enjoy exploring the rugged, untouched wilderness through the numerous hiking trails and walking tracks. You can take a dip to rest your tired bones in the Kaitoke Hot Springs — natural hot pools.
3. Milford Sound
Rudyard Kipling described this tourist destination in New Zealand as the “eighth wonder of the world.”
Situated on New Zealand’s South Island, this fiord features the towering Mitre peak, lush rainforest, captivating waterfalls, and abundant wildlife.
The waters of Milford Sound are frequently visited by penguins, seals, dolphins and the occasional whale. You can soak in the views of the marine life and black coral in an underwater observatory.
Surfing enthusiasts should head to Raglan as its Manu Bay is said to possess the world’s longest left-hand break. Raglan town has a super surfer-friendly beach vibe, there’s local accommodation, and plenty of drinks for you to enjoy too.
5. The West Coast Beaches in Auckland
Bethell, Karekare, Piha, and Muriwai beach are treasures on the West coast. Big rocks, big surf, and big black volcanic sand beaches separate these beaches from the road. Each beach is unique; while Piha is a surfer’s paradise, diverse outdoor activities are available at Muriwai Regional Park, and Karekare often offers more isolation.
6. Tongariro National Park
Tongariro National Park has a spectacular landscape that’s not to be missed on an adventure to New Zealand. This is where you will find the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing that passes through overwhelming volcanic terrain. Steam vents, lava flows, emerald-coloured lakes, and an active crater are what you will come across on the six-to-eight hour route.
Activities include: mountain biking, buggy rides, wall climbing, river rafting, skiing, scenic chairlift rides, golf, and lots more. Check out their website.
7. The Milford Track
Experience ‘the finest walk in the world’ as you retrace the steps of early explorers on the world-renowned Milford Track. Interestingly, during the booked walking season (late October to late April) the track may only be walked in one direction, Glade Wharf to Milford Sound. You’d better not forget to take a camera along because the stunning panoramas will make great wallpaper for your display screen.
8. Franz Josef Glacier
The ever-changing, 12 km long Franz Josef Glacier in Westland Tai Poutini National Park, is the steepest glacier in New Zealand. Another unique aspect of this glacier is the way it descends into a lush natural rainforest. Its ongoing movement has made incredible features like tunnels, seracs, and ice caves appear — more amazing views for the eyes to feast on. The glacier is popularly reached by means of a helicopter.
9. Rotorua geothermal zone
Rotorua is one of the North Islands most active geothermal areas and boasts a wide variety of Maori cultural attractions, hot springs and geysers. Rotorua’s geothermal wonderland and the volcanic activity has drawn visitors since the 1800s and remains a huge draw card for visitors to the region.
From spectacular thermal parks where you can join a guided tour to the range of freely accessible geothermal features of Kuirau Park and Sulphur Point you will be impressed and amazed – just be sure to stick to the path!
Picture a go-kart without an engine, or a toboggan without snow. Put it on the side of a mountain in Rotorua and you have the Rotorua Skyline Luge. With three different track options and over 5kms of track to ride, once is certainly never enough! Riders have full control, over the 3-wheel, gravity-based luge cart.
The spectacular beauty of this alpine town, situated at the edge of Lake Wakatipu, attracts a lot of visitors who come to ski during the winter period or to just admire its wondrous beauty. It’s famously the birthplace of bungy jumping, and the list of adventures you can throw yourself into here is encyclopedic – from alpine heliskiing to zip-lining.
Queenstown is also home to many first-class restaurants such as Saffron restaurant, The Bunker, Fergburger and Wai.
One thing is certain for all visitors in New Zealand — you won’t be in any hurry to leave.