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10 epic summer adventures you can’t miss in New Zealand

Published October 17th, 2019

New Zealand isn’t for the faint-hearted. There are thrills, big nights out, cute animal encounters and mighty fine views to be wowed by, day after jam-packed day. And it’s made all the more enjoyable (and accessible) by the warm welcome of summer. Here are 10 of summer’s best adventures across the ditch.

Crunch across a world-class glacier

Strap on some crampons and crunch your way across the icy world of Fox Glacier. Yep, that’s right, in the middle of summer. Crawl inside ice tunnels, jump over deep crevices and seek out gushing ice-cold waterfalls. The helicopter ride (and those views!) to get to the glacier just tops it off.

Experience the nightlife in Wellington

Go bar-hopping and sweat it out on the dancefloor as soon as you hit Wellington. With more bars and restaurants per capita than New York, what better way is there to spend the night? Nightclubs, bars, cocktail lounges, pubs, waterfront venues and some underground grunge. It’s all here. And with Wellington being rather small and compact, most hotspots are within walking distance.

Go mountain biking in Arrowtown

The best spot for some leg-powered adventure? Arrowtown. Surrounded by some of New Zealand’s best mountain-biking trails, it’s all windy trails caressing mountains, giant Insta-worthy lakes and gushing rivers, plus open farmland and wow-inducing valleys. Our fave is the Queenstown Trail (and crossing that 80-metre-high suspension bridge!).

 

Swim with dolphins in Kaikoura

Mesmerising sea life encounters come practically guaranteed in Kaikoura - spotting whales, penguins and lazy fur seals - thanks to an enticing deep-sea canyon nearby. But by far the best local encounter is swimming with the resident dusky dolphins. It’s impossible not to fall in love with these magical creatures.

Taste-test the delicious Marlborough

This one’s an adventure for the palette. Because who could resist? This is Marlborough after all! There are world-class Sauvignon Blancs to try and so many wineries to taste at. Indulging in local wines and feasting on seafood (yep, that’s nearby too!) is exactly what summer is all about in NZ. It’s just the Kiwi way.

Paddle around sunny Nelson

Put those arms to work in Nelson. The Abel Tasman National Park is a stunner of a spot come summer. With the most hours of sunshine in New Zealand, you can bet it will be nice and hot. And the best way to play in the sun is to jump in a kayak and paddle around the gorgeous little bays and coves of this gem of a beachside spot.

 

Get the heart pump in Queenstown

All for the thrills? Queenstown has it all. Think bungy jumping, canyon swinging, skydiving, jet boating, white water rafting, river surfing, ziplining, hang-gliding…the list is long and full of screams. Extreme adventures = an extremely good time in Queenstown.

See glow worms in the Waitomo Caves

Glide in on a boat and be wowed by the starry-like wonderland that is the Waitomo Caves, 30 million years in the making. The glow worms act like tiny living lights shining in the pitch black. It has to be seen to be believed - and they can’t be found anywhere else but New Zealand!

Admire Auckland from the Sky Tower

A fan of city skylines? The Sky Tower stands 328m tall and offers 360-degree panoramas over the city and the glistening blue bay dotted with nearby islands. Home to the SkyJump and SkyWalk, that’s always an option too. But if you’d prefer to look than leap, the views alone will take your breath away. Eek!

Do one of the world’s best day hikes

Truth. Tongariro National Park is home to one of the best one-day hikes on the planet. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing - otherwise known as Mt Doom in the Lord of the Rings. It’s smothered in snow and ice in winter, but in summer it’s an absolute stunner with three volcanic peaks dominating the view and other-worldly terrain that’ll make you think you’re on Mars.

 

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Tijana Jaksic

After some hardcore scrimping and saving, Tijana’s first backpacking trip confirmed she was onto something good. She hasn’t stopped since. Fave memories to date include dancing with locals in the streets of Havana, bartering for too many scarves in the markets of India, getting lost in the bustle of Hong Kong, sipping cocktails in the Greek Islands and jumping off waterfalls in Croatia. Now she gets to write about travel for a living – the best way to satiate the wanderlust between adventures.