Adventure seekers will already know that New Zealand is the home of the bungee. The world’s first commercial bungee jump was set up in 1988 in Queenstown by AJ Hackett. There are now bungee jumps all around New Zealand. But did you know that zorbing was another Kiwi creation? It is only right that a country that is so rich in outdoor adventure should have a special history as well as a special place on the map.
In fact, New Zealand stands tall on a number of counts over and above its bungee bragging rights. The opportunities for excitement by day are as good as anything the southern hemisphere has to offer. Between June and October the South Island’s numerous ski resorts make the most of some spectacularly mountainous terrain as well as some state of the art facilities.
Of course, where there are skiers and boarders there is après ski, too. It’s fun and games where people gather to have a drink, chat or play games. And because New Zealanders are as keen on mobile pokies as any Australian you can relax in the friendly setting of a home away from home.
And when the snow melts the mountain landscape becomes a veritable mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. Climbers, walkers, cyclists, anglers and do it yourself explorers are all extravagantly catered for in a landscape that really does offer something for everyone. Outdoor adventure is a New Zealand speciality – the bungee is just one strand to their bow.
All those mountains also make New Zealand a spectacular place to take to the skies. Maybe that’s why so many paragliders, parascenders and parachutists make a bee-line for the place. The scenery is one part of the story – although the way the wind behaves in the mountains is maybe just as important.
Away from the high ground of the South Island the coastline of the North Island delivers some awesome surfing. Raglan on the west coast is recognised as one of the best and most consistently high quality stretches of surf anywhere. On the East coast Tairua offers another beautiful spot that is a continual draw for those seeking out the perfect wave.
In truth, with so much coastline crammed into what is such a relatively small area, anyone who loves the sea for whatever reason simply can’t go wrong – did you know the Kiwi coastline was longer than that of the USA?
And there is diving and sailing aplenty as well as a network of rivers and lakes that are the sort of stuff that make anglers, kayakers and rafters all go weak at the knees. Check out the Poor Knights Islands for some stunning diving which the famous Jacques Cousteau rated as one of his all-time favourites.
A mere three hours flying time away and rammed with amazing outdoor opportunities, New Zealand really is worth dropping into sometime – with or without a bungee or a parachute attached.