1. Walking and Trekking
This is by far the most popular activity in New Zealand, so popular that it has a local name to it – tramping. Though at first glance it doesn’t seem to qualify as an “extreme activity” but don’t be so sure of it. New Zealand’s nature is very unpredictable and perfect weather conditions can change to extreme in very short time. There are also some very remote and wild areas in New Zealand where the access to civilization is limited. Tramping in such areas can be dangerous and is not recommended for the unexperienced tramper. All this makes Tramping a pretty extreme activity. But don’t worry – there are plenty easy tracks accessible for people with all kinds of fitness levels. You can read more about tramping in my article titled Tramping Revealed
2.Canoeing, Kayaking, and Rafting
New Zealand has many beautiful rivers with strong currents perfect for Rafting and similar water activities. There are lots of operators who will gladly take you on adrenaline pumping rafting trip through the world’s most beautiful scenery.
The world’s first commercial bungy site was created by two Kiwis, Henry Van Asch and AJ. Hackett in Queenstown, located on the South Island of New Zealand. Half hour’s drive from Queenstown you reach the Kawarau suspension bridge along the SH6 highway, from which you can bunjy-jump a 43 meters drop to the water. Another popular bunjy location is the Skippers Canyon Bridge, standing 71 meters above a narrow gorge of the Shotover River. A much more extreme bunjy jump is the heli-bunjy, in which you reach heights of about 300 meters in a helicopter and jump right out of it!
Of course you can bungy jump in places other than Queenstown. For example there is a Thrillseekers Canyon at Hanmer Springs, or a Taupo Bungy over the Waikato River. You can also bungy jump off the Skytower in Auckland.
There are lots of caving opportunities in New Zealand, which has large areas of karst limestone landscape. Waitomo caves are pretty much the most popular caves in NZ, while Waitomo caving club is the largest in the country. There are also Takaka caving systems in the Nelson area, which are among the deepest and longest in the world. In Waitomo there are many high “Rambo Rating” excursions into the caves involving tight rock squeezes, passageway crawls, difficult cavern traverses, rock chute slides, and waterfall abseils, which will give you the adrenaline rush of your life!
In sky diving you usually free fall for about 45 seconds and reach speed of about 180 kph! How is that for extreme activity? Add to this New Zealand’s scenery and you get a perfect experience. Usually you will get a choice of a solo or tandem skydive from a height of 9000, 12000 or 15000 feet, but for solo you will be required to take a training course. There are many skydiving locations both in the North and South islands, such as Auckland, Rotorua, Queenstown, and Christchurch.
The beautiful New Zealand’s scenery makes for great cycling. You can either cycle solo or you can join a guided group cycling tour. During my New Zealand’s travels I constantly meet many tourists who choose to travel through New Zealand on a road bike. But remember that you have to be in a very good physical condition since New Zealand’s landscape is far from being flat.
7. Horse Trekking/Riding
International League for the Protection of Horses releases a brochure titled “Where to Ride in New Zealand”, which you can find in any i-Site. But in general I can tell you that you can find a horse riding activity almost anywhere in NZ. Horse treks can be any duration – from about an hour to multi-day camping trips.