6 Heart-Pounding Activities You Can't Miss in New Zealand

Unleash your inner daredevil. 

U.S. News & World Report

6 Heart-Pounding Activities You Can't Miss in New Zealand

Iconic Queenstown cityscape at dusk, New Zealand

From the pristine peaks of Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park to the glacial lakes of Milford Sound, New Zealand beckons to adventurous types.(Getty Images)

If there is an epicenter for the world's most heart-pumping adventures, it's New Zealand, where the thrill-seeking culture is as vast and exciting as the country's diverse landscapes. From bungee jumping 400 meters above the ground to heli-skiing over the snow-speckled mountain ranges in the South Island to hiking the 33.5-mile Milford Track and more, there are plenty of ways to enjoy adrenaline-pumping thrills in New Zealand. Here are six rip-roaring adventures to experience on your next trip.

Nevis Highway Bungee, Queenstown

Not for the faint of the heart, the Nevis Highway Bungee sends you screaming, kicking and soaring 400 meters above Queenstown with a bungee on your back. To up the thrill factor, opt to jump at night. You'll be welcomed with views of twinkling stars as you ride the gondola of the Skyline Complex on your way to your wild bungee adventure. For an even greater rush, opt for an ankle tie (in lieu of a full body harness) to free fall with nothing but the air around you.

Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park

Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is home to 19 rugged mountain peaks that reach a jaw-dropping height, sometimes rising above 10,000 feet. Although you can choose to take a relaxing helicopter ride over the peaks to see the beautiful landscape from above, the best way to experience the pristine peaks is with a hike along the 18-mile-long Tasman glacier. If you have only a few hours to spare, opt for a quick trek along the snow. And for those who crave nothing but adventure, embark on an epic six-day, 26-mile venture through the glaciers and fjords of the stunning Copland Pass.

Waitomo Caves

You haven't seen anything like the Waitomo Caves, though there's a chance you've at least seen a photo of it's mossy backdrop. Often called the "glow-worm caves," inside, thousands of dazzling luminescent creatures sparkle through the dark waters as you raft or hike through. Lucky for you, there are plenty of ways to get your heart racing while admiring these glowing worms, from black water rafting through the rough currents, rappelling off the craggy mountain cliffs, leaping off waterfalls and exploring the caves underwater.

Auckland Bridge Climb, Auckland

If you've ever dreamed of jumping off a bridge over a bustling metropolis, the Auckland Bridge Climb is for you. You'll hike 67 meters (more than 200 feet) above the Waitemata Harbour and be rewarded with an astonishing panorama of the beautiful city landscape. The long hour and half trek up is adventurous enough, however, for brave souls looking for a greater challenge, there are more ways to get your palms sweating, including hopping on a bungee pod and dangling 40 meters through the air along the iconic bridge.

Mildford Sound, South Island

Arguably one of New Zealand's most prized (and best-known natural attractions), the Milford Sound in the South Island is often called the "finest walk in the world." A 33.5-mile hike along the Milford Track affords jaw-dropping views, from lush rainforests and gushing river gorges to snowy, carved glacial peaks. The hike, which only allows a maximum of 90 people at a time to preserve its natural splendor, is a challenging, but worthwhile endeavor. 

Harris Mountains Heli-Skiing, South Island

For an adrenaline-pumping experience atop glistening peaks, you can't skip the Harris Mountains. The Harris Mountains are full of craggy, rugged mountains, which are best seen thousands of meters in the air. However, you don't stay in the air for long on this daring adventure. With the helicopter looming over the peaks, you'll rappel from the open doors with nothing but skis beneath your feet. Designed for intermediate to expert level skiers, you'll have the chance to weave through the magnificent peaks on three splendid terrains.

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About En Route

Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.

Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.

Edited by Liz Weiss.

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