A very attractive aspect for many visitors who are going to New Zealand is the opportunity to enjoy the extreme sports and the adrenaline activities that are on offer. With an international reputation for being a great place to visit for those looking for a natural buzz, I wanted to use my visit to try as many of these sports as possible.
A wonderful part of New Zealand is that most parts of the country will be within close confines to a beautiful coastline or one of its great rivers. The tourism industry in New Zealand is well suited to giving people a great chance to enjoy the water sports on offer, and one of the first things I did was white water rafting from the River Valley lodge. At the heart of the North Island, the Rangitikei river has everything from roaring grade 5 rapids to the more relaxing stretches of the river, but the real highlight was the gorge, which is a series of major rapids that really got the heart racing.
A much more relaxing trip was going sea kayaking on the Abel Tasman, which lies on the west coast of the South Island. The afternoon on the clear blue waters was calm and idyllic, and apart from one dunk in the water and a spot of sunburn, it was truly a wonderful day.
One of the most famous exports of New Zealand is the bungee jump, and the city of Queenstown on the South Island is really the centre of the industry. There are three bungee jumps in the area, and the smallest of these is the Kawarau Bridge, which is the typical jump from a bridge that allows the jumper the option of dipping their upper body into the river. There is also a jump on the hill above Queenstown, which was fantastic as a night time jump, and the largest of all was the Nevis High Wire. At over 100 metres this jump is truly fearsome, and although I think I have a strong nerve, I required three countdowns from the jump instructor before I could throw myself from the cable car.
For those looking for a thrilling experience, the bungee jump is a sensational surge of adrenaline that left me eager for more thrills.
Another of the great sports that I tried in New Zealand was downhill mountain biking, and this was combined with a trip to the top of the hill in a helicopter. This is a really fond memory for me, as it really kindled my interest in the sport and was the first experience of what has become a passion of mine. The dry dusty trails that we used were perfect for fast downhill, with plenty of jumping opportunities. The highlight of the day was hitting a river crossing which appeared out of the brush, and really provided a good memento thanks to the photographer who was ideally positioned to capture the moment.