If one country dominates adventure tourism, it’s New Zealand, the tiny pacific wilderness at the bottom of the world. A sparsely populated destination full of volcanoes, glaciers, rainforests, alpine deserts, and rare birds that can’t fly, the country’s got it all. What do you expect from the place that invented bungee jumping and calls itself the birthplace Sir Edmund Hillary?
It didn’t take long for me to learn that the national pastime is “doing bombs”—jumping off things. Here are my picks for eight of the best adventures you can have in New Zealand.
1.      Test Your Nerves While Blackwater Rafting in a Glowworm Cave
The best glowworm adventure you can find is in Waitomo, on the North Island, on a blackwater rafting tour
2.      Get Down and Dirty on a “Right Proper Tramp”
New Zealand tramping is often more hardcore. In fact, I’m fairly sure the philosophy here to climb mountains is: Why build a trail when you can just go straight up?
3.      Hit Some Untouched Powder and Go Heli-Skiing in Wanaka
New Zealand’s winter is shorter and occurs at the opposite time of year than the Northern Hemisphere, running from mid-June to mid-September, give or take, and our ski culture is as tough and wild as you might expect from a place where rope tows reign supreme on the club fields (basically tiny ski areas). But perhaps the ultimate snow adventure is to go heli-skiing in our endless backcountry.
4.      Throw Yourself Off Something Big in Queenstown
The world’s first commercial bungee jump was invented near Queenstown, at the Kawarau River, by AJ Hackett, and the adventure capital of the world doesn’t disappoint.
5.      Take in the Epic Volcanic Landscape
Rotorua, on the North Island, is the epicenter of many geothermal wonders, and you’re acutely aware of this as soon as you arrive in the city.
6.      Go Whitewater Rafting on the Remote Landsborough River
With plenty of mountain rivers in New Zealand, there’s no shortage of places to go whitewater rafting. Hidden away in the heart of the Southern Alps between Wanaka and the west coast, it’s an area so far off the grid that the only access is on multi-day tramps through some very dense and unforgiving landscapes or via helicopter.
7.      Voyage Through the Roaring Forties to the New Zealand Subantarctic Islands
8.      Fly Up to Fox Glacier for an Icy Adventure
There are only two places in the world where glaciers drop down all the way to temperate rainforests instead of thriving only on remote mountain peaks, and New Zealand is one of them.
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