How to have an Extreme Adventure Vacation in New Zealand

Head for New Zealand and hang on to your hat!
by Updated January 29, 2009

New Zealand is a stunning destination and has an incredibly diversity of landscapes and scenery for such a small country.  There are amazing lakes, unique wildlife, breathtaking mountains, mud pools and wonderful people.  If you have a taste for adventure, though, then it's New Zealand's growing reputation as an adventure paradise that is probably going to catch your eye. 

The best thing about New Zealand is that it doesn't just specialize in one type of adventure vacation - if you know what you want to do, chances are you can do it somewhere in New Zealand.  Even better, a lot of the best adventures can be found at the Adventure Capital of the World - Queenstown.  You can pursue your own favorite adventures surrounded by the magnificent landscape of Queenstown, and yet still enjoy the hospitality of this bustling town.

If you're serious about finding adventure in New Zealand, then it's probably easiest to find your own way about, so that you pick and choose which adventures you want to try.  It doesn't matter which way you look, the scenery is stunning, so if you don't have to stick to a tour schedule, you can stop and soak it all up whenever you want to.  Many adventurers choose to cycle around New Zealand, which can take a while, but guarantees you won't miss a thing.  New Zealand caters well for cyclists, with most caravan parks having communal cooking and lounge facilities. 

If you don't have quite so much time at your disposal, then a rental car is another option.  If you want to plan ahead and book your car from home, that's great, but if you arrive in New Zealand a couple of days before you actually need the car, you may be able to find a cheaper deal once you arrive.  Still, if your time is limited and you don't want to spend any of it hunting down good deals, booking ahead is a good idea.  That way you won't discover you've arrived in the middle of the busy season and there's not a single car available. 

It's a good idea to have a rough itinerary planned out, so you can make sure you fit in everything you'd like to do.  New Zealand comprises a group of islands, the main two being the North Island and the South Island.  Queenstown is on the South Island, so you may actually find it's easier to fly directly into Christchurch, which is on the South Island, rather than Auckland, which is the main international airport located on the North Island.  Transferring between islands takes time and money.  So get yourself a good travel guide, such as a Lonely Planet, and decide what you want to see.

Also, decide what you want to do!  Once you start investigating, it's amazing how many adventures are available in New Zealand.  You can choose from paragliding, bungee jumping, jet boating, white water rafting, helicopter flights, skiing, snowboarding and skydiving, and that's only around Queenstown!  Add in the options of camping, fishing, hiking, kayaking, mountain biking or nature trekking, and you can create your own adventures.  Just make sure you allow yourself plenty of time, because once you arrive in New Zealand, you'll find it's hard to leave.



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