Adventure

100 Of The Best (And Weirdest) Things To Do In New Zealand

Nowhere does adventure quite like New Zealand. Our neighbours across the ditch have earned their reputation of celebrated ski slopes, home of the hobbits and some of the best bungy jumping in the world.

For just two small islands, New Zealand sure does pack a punch. So we’ve compiled a massive list of all the best things you can do, eat, drink and see in New Zealand. From adventure thrill rides to food and wine festivals, New Zealand has got your holiday covered, no matter what time of year it is or what kind of adventure you’re after.

There are all kinds of adventures to be found here, from the expected — um, hello Lord of the Rings — to the totally surprising — Zorb, anyone?

Here are 100 things to do in New Zealand:

#1 New Zealand is one of the first places in the world to see the sunrise every morning, so get up early to watch it — the very first spot to see it’s in Gisborne, FYI.

#2 Dive inside a big plastic ball and roll down a hill — New Zealand is the home of Zorb!

 

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#3 Head to the Nevis Valley to experience the highest bungy in New Zealand.

#4 Or swoop through the valley on a 300m swing — solo or with a friend!

#5 Ride the intense Rotorua Skyswing.

#6 Test your nerves at the Nevis Catapault — a thrill ride that sends you out 150m at speeds of almost 100km an hour.

#7 Ride the stomach-dropping swing from the top of Queenstown’s Skyline Gondola.

#8 Or jump from the top of New Zealand’s tallest building at the Auckland SkyJump.

#9 Climb the Auckland Harbour Bridge before (bungy) jumping off.

#10 Take a SkyWalk 192m above the Auckland CBD. Dare you to look down!

#11 Tackle an aerial obstacle course.

#12 Ride the zipline through through redwood forests in Rotorua.

#13 Or go one further on the Kawarau Zipride — it’s like a zipline, but faster!

#14 Jump out of a plane 15,000 feet above Lake Taupō on a tandem skydive.

 

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#15 Skydive above glaciers.

#16 Experience the thrill of the Hukafalls Jet boat across Lake Taupo.

#17 Go white water rafting in New Zealand’s crystal-clear water. Trips range from a couple of hours to multiple days.

#18 Try sledging on the Kaituna River — it’s like white water rafting but you cling to a body-sized board instead of riding in a boat.

#19 Float through the Waitomo Caves to see glowworms glistening above you.

 

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#20 Abseil down into St Benedict’s Caverns inside New Zealand’s prettiest cave.

#21 Climb a waterfall in Wanaka.

#22 Canyoning will let you experience parts of New Zealand that others rarely ever see.

#23 Climb the Franz Josef Glacier.

#24 Soak in New Zealand’s natural and glacier hot pools.

#25 Sit in a handcrafted thermal spa on Hot Water Beach.

#26 Treat yourself to a mud spa at Hell’s Gate.

#27 Tackle New Zealand’s most famous walk, the Milford Track.

#28 Get up close (but not too close) to an active volcano on the Tongariro Northern Circuit Great Walk.

#29 Hike through rainforest, wetlands and a magical ‘goblin forest’ on the Lake Waikaremoana Track.

#30 Paddle down the Whanganui River through a wildly beautiful national park on the Whanganui Journey.

#31 Get to know the beaches and wildlife of the Abel Tasman National Park on the Abel Tasman Coast Track.

#32 Cross soaring mountain peaks, huge valleys, waterfalls and jewel-like lakes on the Routeburn Track.

#33 Take in all the best features of Fiordland on the Kepler Track.

 

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#34 Experience natural beauty and wildlife that’s barely changed in thousands of years on the Rakiura Track.

#35 Explore an ancient Maori trail on the Heaphy Track, on foot or by mountain bike.

#36 Go mountain biking through the Queen Charlotte Track that follows the bays, hills and ridges of the Marlborough Sounds.

#37 Fly along the thrilling downhill mountain bike trails of Rude Rock Track.

#38 Pick and choose from the legendary mountain bike trails of Whakarewarewa Forest.

#39 New Zealand’s skiing is some of the best in the world, so hit the slopes of Queenstown at The Remarkables, Coronet Peak, Cardrona and Treble Cone.

#40 If you’re closer to Christchurch, get your snow fix at Mt Hutt, the place that’s been voted New Zealand’s best ski resort multiple years in a row.

#41 Or if you’re on the North Island, ski down the Mt Ruapehu volcano.

 

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#42 More of a snowboarder? Head to Ohau, a ski area between Christchurch and Queenstown with spectacular views and crowd-free slopes.

#43 But there’s an even more intense snow sport: heliskiing. Jump out of a helicopter at the top of some truly impressive ski slopes, and ride them all the way down.

#44 Follow Taranaki’s Surf Highway for a four-day trek through some of the North Island’s best beaches and surfing spots.

#45 Or skip the surfboard and jump straight to kite surfing to catch some waves and fly through the air.

#46 You could also skip the highways and go off-road driving instead.

#47 Ride a trike through Dunedin.

#48 Climb to the top of the Te Paki sand dunes before grabbing a board and surfing to the bottom.

#49 Lord of the Rings fans should visit Hobbiton.

 

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#50 Take a helicopter tour above the places where Peter Jackson filmed Isengard, the Misty Mountains and the Ford of Rivendell.

#51 Climb Mt Doom.

#52 But the best way to see Lord of the Rings filming locations is obviously by horseback, like Aragorn intended.

#53 See the real-life costumes, armour, weapons and props used to film Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit at Weta Workshop.

#54 The Hokitika Wildfoods Festival is all about trying weird (and hopefully wonderful) food like seagull eggs and crocodile meat.

#55 Or get your hands on a New Zealand delicacy: Pineapple Lumps.

 

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#56 Inhale a deep-fried Moro bar, which tastes like a Mars Bar but it’s been, yep, battered and deep-fried.

#57 Order New Zealand’s answer to loaded fries: Cheesy Wheezies.

#58 Dunk some snacks in Kiwi Onion Dip, a humble dip that’s reached cult status because it’s just so damned tasty.

#59 Crack open a bottle of L&P, a zingy soft drink with a ginger-like after taste.

#60 Or check out the Big L&P Bottle in Paeroa, one of New Zealand’s very own Big Things.

 

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#61 Check out the Big Gumboot in Taihape.

#62 While you’re there, go to the annual Gumboot Day in Taihape and enter the gumboot throwing competition.

#63 Check out the Big Doughnut in New Zealand’s very own Springfield (in Canterbury on the South Island).

 

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#64 Head to the Big Kiwifruit in Te Puke in the North Islands’s Bay of Plenty.

#65 The Big Kiwi gives the Big Merino a run for its money. See it for yourself in Otohoranga, the self-proclaimed “Kiwiana capital of the world”.

#66 Get a snap of the Lake Wanaka Tree.

 

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#67 Take a photo under the arch at Cathedral Cove — also one of New Zealand’s best beaches.

 

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#68 Visit New Zealand’s very own Stonehenge.

#69 Stop by the famous Horizon sculpture — from the right distance, this massive steel artwork looks like a cartoon drawing of a piece of paper.

#70 Take off your bra and add it to the collection on the Cardrona bra fence.

 

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#71 Give your legs a workout on Baldwin Street in Dunedin, the steepest street in the world.

#72 Learn about Māori culture in Rotorua.

#73 Explore the archaeological site where an ancient village was buried under a volcano eruption or visit a living Māori village.

#74 Connect to the land on a traditional Māori tour.

#75 Meet Kiwi chicks at Rainbow Springs Wildlife Park.

#76 Or feed them at the Kiwi Birdlife Park!

#77 For your best chance to see kiwis in the wild, head to Stewart Island.

#78 Swim with seals in Kaikoura.

 

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#79 Or swim with dolphins.

#80 Cruise Akaroa Harbour to spot the world’s smallest (and rarest) dolphin.

#81 Go whale watching — depending on the season you could see migrating humpback whales, pilot whales, southern right whales and blue whales.

#82 Visit a blue penguin colony or a reserve dedicated to saving yellow-eyed penguins from extinction.

#83 Visit Zealandia, the world’s first fully-fenced ecosanctuary.

#84 The Classic New Zealand Wine Trail takes you through three of the country’s best wine regions, including Napier, Martinborough and Blenheim.

#85 Eat traditional Māori Hāngī food in Rotorua, Northland and Christchurch.

#86 Toast Martinborough is one of New Zealand’s best wine festivals, on every November.

#87 Taste the east coast finest food and wine at Hawke’s Bay Food and Wine Classic.

#88 Seafood is a specialty in New Zealand. Try crayfish in Kaikoura, Bluff oysters in Southland, mussels in Marlborough and scallops from the Coromandel.

#89 Whether you believe the flat white was invented in Australia or New Zealand, local cafes here always make an exceptional cup.

#90 Try an out-of-this-world ice cream at Giapo.

 

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#91 Pick and eat fresh fruit at Berrylands in Nelson.

#92 Craft beer is becoming a Big Deal here. Try the salted white peach sour from Garage Project.

#93 Frenzi organises a massive bar crawl party every Thursday night.

#94 Celebrate Māori New Year at Matariki Festival every June and July.

#95 See hot air balloons take flight at the Balloons Over Waikato festival.

#96 Strike gold in Queenstown.

#97 New Zealand is one of the best places in the world to star gaze.

 

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#98 Visit the Steampunk Museum.

#99 See Lady Knox Geyser blow every morning.

#100 Visit the place with the longest name in the world: Taumatawhakatangi­hangakoauauotamatea­turipukakapikimaunga­horonukupokaiwhen­uakitanatahu.

(Lead image: Paula May / Unsplash)