Best Adventure Activities in New Zealand

If you're wondering what to do with your time in New Zealand, this is the perfect place to start.

New Zealand is quite the adventure playground, especially if you enjoy the great outdoors as much as we do. So we've compiled a guide to some of our favourite things to do in New Zealand, read on and enjoy.

If you'd like personal recommendations on where to enjoy your favourite activities while you're down here, please ask us! Just give us a call, hit the live chat at the bottom of your screen or click the button below to request your free New Zealand brochure... we'd love to help you with any questions you may have and we look forward to seeing you soon!

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Hiking

New Zealand is most definitely a hiker's paradise, with thousands of kilometres of trails, no harmful animals, few people and pristine countryside. It's hiking that really shaped Active Adventures in the early days and has remained our core activity for over 20 years now. On our trips we'll take you on our favourite hikes, some off the beaten track and others better known, such as the Milford Track and the world famous Tongariro Crossing. Learn More...  

Hiking in New Zealand


Biking

Biking in New Zealand is really starting to find its mojo, with major investment in a country-wide trail network in recent years. From technical single track to gondola-assisted trails, to off-road touring, there's a trail to suit everyone and a world of exploring to do! Learn More...

Biking page


Kayaking

From our oceans to our lakes and rivers, kayaking in New Zealand is a popular sport and a regular activity on our Active Adventures. There are some places best seen from the seat of a kayak, when the waters are still. Milford Sound is one of those places - a long time ago we decided it would be far better to stay overnight in Milford Sound and explore the fjord by kayak the next morning, before the bus loads of cruise tourists arrive. We've never looked back! Learn More...

Kayaking in New Zealand


Skiing and Snowboarding

From the major commercial ski fields, through to the small family-owned club fields - New Zealand has it all. Although you might not find the extensive network of back to back fields (like you'll see in Europe and some parts of North America), you will however find some of the best snow in the Southern Hemisphere... and the surrounding mountain vistas will blow you away.

Click here for everything you need to know about taking a skiing vacation in New Zealand.

Ski Cardrona, New Zealand


Snorkelling and Diving

New Zealand is famous for its epic mountains, but many people don't realise that it's also a maritime paradise. Home to a handful of the world's most spectacular marine reserves, you're in for the experience of a lifetime whenever you pull on your wetsuit, and slide down your mask.

Click here to discover the best snorkelling and diving in New Zealand.

Snorkelling in New Zealand


Jet Boating

Did you know that the jet boat was invented in New Zealand, by a Kiwi living in Christchurch? That being the case, no wonder we're the best at driving these graceful craft, and we're lucky enough to have the world's best jet boating rivers on our doorstep.

Learn more about jet boating in New Zealand now.

Shotover Jet

Photo courtesy of Shotover Jet, Queenstown


Cruise Milford Sound

If you're not feeling adventurous enough to kayak Milford Sound, then we definitely recommend climbing on board a cruise boat and take a tour of the great fjord. You'll get up and personal with the granite peaks, and taste the pure glacial water as it cascades down a waterfall in front of you.

Learn how to plan a Milford Sound cruise now...

Cruise Milford Sound


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Trip Reviews

  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16240 reviews)

    Best Trip Ever

    You go hiking, exert yourself, see spectacular views, and you think "this is the best day, it can't get better than this." Then you go kayaking, see wildlife, lush rain forest and red tinted water, all with the backdrop of snow capped mountains, and you think "no, this is the best day, it can't get better this. Then you go biking along a teal colored river and through a birch forest with snow capped mountains ringing a suddenly peaceful lake and you think, "okay, THIS is the best day." And then you drive to Milford Sound, gawk in awe at waterfalls tumbling down towering cliffs along the road and you get to the Sound and you kayak with dolphins, and you come to the realization, "this is my New Zealand trip, every day better than the last," so that on your last day when you are lying beneath the stars, staring at the Milky Way and the Southern Cross, you know you've experienced something beyond special.
    Tanya Karimi Review Image
    – Colorado, United States
    Rimu, March 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16240 reviews)

    Rimu is Wonderful - A few tips if you plan to go...

    My husband and I took the Rimu trip in early November 2016 and had a really terrific time. I encourage everyone who is seriously considering the Rimu to go ahead and sign up. That being said, with all of the fun we had, I do wish we had known a few things ahead of time. I include these tips for you, the soon-to-be Rimu traveler, to make your trip more enjoyable. However, I can promise that even if you do none of these things, you will still have a marvelous time:

    1. Guys, if you opt to snorkel with the fur seals be sure to shave your mustache before you leave home. It seems obvious now, but it never occurred to my husband that the mask wouldn’t seal properly to his face with his mustache. Do yourself a favor and shave it off or spend the afternoon dealing with a leaky mask.

    2. I also wish I had known just how intense and challenging the 3-day multi-hike through Nelson Lakes would be. If you’re an office worker and occasional hiker like me, then I encourage you to take this trip but do lots of practice/fitness training in advance. Load up your pack and get on the stair-master or start climbing really steep hills. The hike is gorgeous and worth it, but I can promise you it will be a lot more enjoyable if you’re in good shape for it. Also, there are no showers at the huts and only latrines (port-a-potties) for toilets, so bring baby wipes for exactly the same reason you would use them on a baby (wink wink). And also bring hiking poles! I know it says optional on the gear list, but I really found them to be essential. As for the water bottle – leave that at home and invest in a good water bladder system (a “Camelback” or similar). We found the water bottle to be a hassle to take in and out of the bag (forcing us to stop each time), which made us want to drink less water. The water bladders allow you to keep moving and you’ll find you’re more hydrated.

    3. The sea kayaks (and, honestly, New Zealand in general) are not made for people over 6’ 2” in height (187 cm). Watch your head everywhere you go, and as for the kayaks, it may help to have the taller person sit in the front seat of the kayak instead of the back.

    4. Also, pack enough clothes for a week and then expect to do laundry. Bring some travel-sized laundry soap packets to help save money and make sure you have enough 1$ and 2$ coins for laundry before you get to the hotel (the machines are generally pretty expensive: about $3 for the washer and between $3 - $5 for 30 minutes in the dryer).

    5. Bring good cycling shorts – yes, the ones with the weird-feeling padding on the bum. It will help prevent the dreaded ‘grumpy grundle’.

    6. And finally, a heads-up to my fellow outgoing introverts (yes, we exist): this trip contains long days of social interaction (think 7:15 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.), with few breaks for introspection/solitude. If you need some down time, skip dinner or unfurl all of the emergency blankets and build your own fort at the back of the bus and hang a sign that says, “Stay Out!” (just kidding about that last one).

    A great big thank you to our guides, Rachel and Jordan, who were informative and helpful beyond measure. How they managed to remain cheerful and engaging considering they had to do all of the exertion we clients had to do, plus all of their work on top of it, is beyond me. They are the embodiment of Kiwi hospitality! We are already thinking of coming back for a North Island tour sometime soon.
    Lauren Gerth Review Image
    – Missouri, United States
    Rimu, November 2016
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16240 reviews)

    Yes: Adventure!

    Really enjoyed the natural wonders away from civilization and tourist traps. Our guides, Koru and Jess took outstanding care of us.
    Hank Nino Review Image
    – Oregon, United States
    Kiwi, March 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16240 reviews)

    Review of the Kiwi trip

    I chose to visit NZ with Active Adventures because I wanted to experience the South Island from tip to toe in an active fashion. The trip was exactly what I wanted. I loved hiking and kayaking, enjoyed visiting the towns and was swept away by the scenery. I learned a lot about the country's history, geology and mythology from my two guides. And I had fun.
    Barbara Delaney Review Image
    – Maryland, United States
    Kiwi, March 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16240 reviews)

    Rimu - Awesome South Island trip!

    This trip is really a great way to experience the true beauty of the South Island. We hiked in beautiful areas with spectacular views, biked the Te Araroa track and sea kayaked in Milford Sound and in the Okarito Lagoon. Our guides, Ben and Emma, were absolutely great! They were cheerful, caring and attentive to our needs. They kept us well fed all along the trip even while hiking in remote areas with minimal cooking facilities. Accommodations were great and representative of the visited area. Thanks to one of our travel companions, we had magnificent weather for the trip duration… we cannot have asked for better temperatures.
    Claire Barrette-Remy Review Image
    – Ontario, Canada
    Rimu, December 2017

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Why travel with Active Adventures?

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

As soon as you get off the plane, we've got all the details of your vacation covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport & accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

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