is a very personal thing. While some people get an adrenalin rush climbing
a ladder, others can sleep on a rollercoaster.
New Zealand has something for every thrillseeker.
Your humble writer has sampled some of New Zealand's soft adventures
including abseiling, blackwater rafting, skiing, quad bikes, jetboating
and swimming with dolphins.
I'm yet to throw
myself out of a plane (although I was tempted in Taupo and Queenstown
- what a view!) and there's no way I'll ever dive off a bridge with
a rope around my ankles.
New Zealand invented
bungy jumping and jetboating and recently it came
up with two new thrills, Zorbing and River Bugging.
The Zorb is a giant plastic ball. Zorbonauts dive into the middle of
the Zorb and throw themselves into a cocoon as the Zorb hurtles down
a hill. Imagine being in a large tumble drier with scenery racing past
River Bugging is a bit gentler. The Bug is an inflatable tube which
you sit in like an armchair and then propel yourself down the river
with flippers and your hands.
Here's what New
Zealand offers for those after an adrenalin rush and post-holiday dinner
party conversation (prices are in NZ$)
Horse treks cost from $15/$20 an hour to $95 for a full day and can
be found in Waipu, Bay of Islands, Helensville near Auckland, Coromandel,
Rotorua, Waitomo Napier, Hastings, Gisborne, various spots near Taupo
and just outside Wellington. On the South Island - various spots in
the Marlborough region, just outside Christchurch, Queenstown and Dunedin.
Kayaking can be tried from Paihia in the Bay of Islands, and Nelson
(north of the South Island). The cost: from $40 for a half day, $60
for a full day. Fresh water kayaking in the Coromandel ($60 a half day
trip) and on Lake Taupo ($70 a half day). Kayak beautiful Milford Sound
or Doubtful Sound in the South from $39.
Poor Knights Islands is considered one of the world's top 5 dive spots
and the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior wreck is also in the Bay of Islands.
Dives cost around $150 for a full day trip including all gear. You can
also dive Pelorus Sound, Queen Charlotte Sound and Kenepuru Sound and
explore the Mikail Lermontov, a cruise liner that sunk off the coast
in 1986 (as close to the Titanic as any recreational diver will get!).
For a different type of dive, there's the Waikato River near Taupo where
you can hunt catfish (costs from $65 per person). In New Plymouth, dives
cost as little as $25.
gentle adventure for anyone who can swim and doesn't mind the smell
of fish. Even if you don't want to get wet, these trips will get you
up close and personal with delightful dolphins. From Paihia in the Bay
of Islands ($85 per adult) and Whakatane in the Bay of Plenty. In the
south, from Greymouth ($85 from October to April) and all year round
at Kaikoura. Whale
watching is also possible on these cruises at certain times of the year
with a very high sighting rate at Kaikoura.
tandem jump in Paihia, Bay of Islands, costs $175; Helensville near
Auckland ($170); Rotorua ($225); Taupo ($165); Masterton ($220 tandem,
$190 solo with 4 hour course). In the South Island: Nelson, Westport
and Greymouth ($140); Methven near Christchurch ($245 tandem); Queenstown
in West Auckland start at $45 for beginners; in the Wellington region
head to Taihape or Palmerston North ($15). For a guided thrill, there's
the abseil into The Lost World in Waitomo - 100m or 335ft into prehistoric
wonderland. Lost World also run Haggas Honking Holes which also includes
some caving and cave rafting (from $125).
You don't have to have ridden a bike or have great balance, just a desire
for speed and a don't care attitude to dirt - West Auckland from $85
for 1 hour, at Whitianga in the Coromandel ($150 for a 4 hour safari);
Rotorua from $35; Taupo from $50; in Napier from October to April from
$95. In the South Island - Nelson from $35 and Wanaka ($35 to $120)
Take a gentle float over Albany near Auckland or Napier for $195.
In the South, from Methven near Christchurch for $200.
There's a unique rap jump off the Auckland Novotel Hotel building ($50
for 1 jump, $75 for 3) and in Rotorua it's $50 for 3 jumps.
You'll find jetboating all around the country - basically wherever there's
a large river or lake. Prices range from $25 to $50 an hour.
Sounds extreme but its not. You'll get wet, you'll get tired but you'll
In Waitomo on the North Island from $50 and Westport in the South Island
mad. Absolutely. But hey, you already knew that
In the north you
can bungy from Taupo ($90) and Mangaweka near Wellington ($25). In the
south, there's Bungy and The Big Swing at Golden Bay ($85 or $150 for
both), Hanmer Springs near Christchurch ($89) and Queenstown ($100 to
$170). For a real thrill, take a night bungy from The Ledge at the top
of Bob's Peak, 400 metres above the lights of Queenstown. There are
Bungee Rocket operations in Tauranga on the Bay of Plenty ($30) and
in Christchurch ($35).
Rotorua down the unspoilt wilderness of the Motu River (from $49); from
Taupo from $70. In the South, wherever there's water you'll find white
bits and rafts ($50 to $75
The closest you'll get to being a bird - from Wellington ($129) and
Queenstown ($129 for a ten minute flight).
In the north, from Taupo ($45 for a guided trip, $10 an hour for hire).
In the south, Wanaka ($70 a half day trip and $95 for a full day).
A half day bugging will cost you $57 from Murchison.
Throw yourself inside a giant beachball at Rotorua - costs $30 for the
first ride and $15 for extra rides.
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