9 Utterly Epic Experiences in New Zealand

Adventure rating 5

Ahhhh New Zealand. One of my top 3 countries in the whole entire world. It seems like anything is possible in Kiwi-land, with some of the most jaw-dropping landscapes I’ve seen, and the coolest adventure sports taking centre stage.

In fact, it’s such a quirky country that I really did begin to think anything could be possible, and fell for all sorts of pranks. As an example, someone told me that they had successfully cross-bred a sheep and a camel to create a new species of animal; a ‘shamel’. When we arrived to see these so-called shamels, it took me a while to cotton on that they were in fact, llamas.

OK, I’m aware how stupid this makes me look, but take a look at the crazy shit you can do in New Zealand and it doesn’t seem so unbelievable. Get your chops around my 9 Utterly Epic Experiences in New Zealand  and let me know what you would add as number 10. I have a feeling I’ve only scratched the surface!

9. Swim with wild dolphins

In Kaikoura on New Zealand’s South Island, you’ll find one of the only places I know of where you can take to the seas to swim with a pod of wild dolphins. I’m really against whales and dolphins being held in captivity so when I heard about this cool way to interact with everyone’s favourite sea-dwelling mammals, I jumped at the chance!

They absolutely love to play with people and chase the boat for miles, awaiting the moment that the people enter the water, at which point they go crazy! A little hint: Dip under water and squeal through your snorkel to get them to approach. Once you’ve locked eye contact, spin around and they will circle you, following your gaze. I even had one jump right over my head which was a rush, let me tell ye!

NZ dolphin collage

8. Jump out of a plane

Speaking of a rush, there’s nothing like a bloody good skydive to get that pulse racing. In fact, you can expect to feel so pumped with adrenaline for the rest of the day that you’ll probably struggle to sleep!

Here’s me taking on a tandem skydive from 15,000 feet over Lake Taupo in the North Island. It’s impossible to describe how reaching terminal velocity actually feels, but if you imagine your stomach becoming weightless and coming up into your mouth, whilst being blasted by the world’s largest hairdrier, you’re somewhere in the neighbourhood. Check out my failed attempt at blowing a kiss (top right photo) 😀

NZ skydiving collage

7. See a rabbit being shaved

Yes, you read that right. Rabbits. Being shaved.

This is the reality in The Shearing Shed in Waitomo, North Island. Long-haired Angora rabbits are shaved right in front of your very eyes, and it’s WEIRD. You can also buy hats, scarves and other soft souvenirs made from the rabbit’s fur if you so wish. I didn’t though. As I said, it’s weird.

NZ rabbit collage

6. Eat a Fergburger

The best burger in New Zealand, nay, the world, can be found at Fergburger in Queenstown, South Island. Apart from being absolutely massive, a Ferg’s inherent juiciness will leave you feeling all kinds of happy. Plus with names like ‘Little Lamby’ and ‘Cockadoodle Oink’, you’ll keep yourself entertained for days working your way through the menu.

NZ Ferg burger collage

5. Undertake a Canyon Swing

Here’s a riddle for ya. What’s 24 years old, extremely hungover and hanging off the edge of a cliff? Yes, it’s me on that fateful ‘canyon swing’ Tuesday in 2010. I’m not sure what possessed me to agree to step backwards over a 109 metre cliff, but boy, I’m glad I did! For your viewing pleasure, I’ve managed to dig up my old facebook post including the video. Watch and laugh as the closeup shows how much I’m bricking it, and listen to me gobble like a turkey on the way back up. Flattery at its finest!

4. Walk on an active glacier

The magic just keeps coming in NZ, and a hike on Franz Josef Glacier on the South Island will be a different experience for everyone. The glacier’s shape is constantly changing so each day will bring new crevasses, holes and peaks to explore. In fact it changes so quickly that hikers have to carve their own set of steps to navigate this awesome natural phenomenon each and every day.

NZ Franz Josef collageNZ Franz Josef collage 2

3. Make a stop at Puzzling World

If you’re into bizarre-o random crap, then Puzzling World near Wanaka has got your name written all over it. Hold up a ten ton building, play around with gravity-defying rooms and alter your perspective with a trip to the ‘Ames Room’, where you can go from giant to dwarf within seconds. 
NZ wonky collage

2. Swing up to 80mph in a sleeping bag

Yep, a sleeping bag. At Agroventures Adventure Park near Rotarua, this is just one of the delights on offer for thrill-seekers. Get yourself hoisted up to 40 metres high, and then dangle there like a pair of useless testicles until someone in your group has the balls (geddit?) to pull the release chord. Then you’re in for a couple of seconds of stomach-turning freefall before the swing kicks in an catapults you forward. You can also go ‘schweebing’ here, which is kind of like a laying down cycling race in a big glass ball. Hard to picture but absolutely hilarious to watch.

NZ sleeping bag swing collage

1. Take in the immense scenery

Where else on Earth can you find incredible turquoise waters running through rivers and shimmering mirror lakes reflecting craggy mountainscapes? Well, not many places, for sure! One of my favourite places is what I call the ‘lake porn’ region, a mountain range dotted with lakes running down the western spine of New Zealand’s South Island. The lakes are almost black and reflect the ranges perfectly on a clear day. Oh yeahhhh, Mother Nature! You got it goin’ on!
NZ mirror lakes collage

NZ blue lake

I spent 5 weeks travelling around New Zealand on a Kiwi Experience bus. I chose the Rangi pass to take in the highlights of the north and south islands, but there are lots more to choose from if you have more or less time. Next time I find myself in NZ I’m for sure going to stop by Milford Sound and the university town of Gisborne.

Got any other recommendations? Let me know below!


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Hayley is the author behind A Life of More, a travel and lifestyle blog with the goal of helping you to live a happier and more fulfilled life, whether you're currently travelling or happily settled.

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Comments 12

  1. Sammy Dorn

    Amazing! Have always wanted to go to NZ, have heard so many times it has the best scenery in the world. I would love to go to Hobbiton as well. Puzzling World looks like my kinda place!

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  3. Julia

    I literally got sweaty hands when watching the video. My brother spent 8 month in NZ and was totally overwhelmed. This in on top of my “places-to-go” list. 🙂 Seems like you can have the experience of your lifetime over there!

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    LovePuffin Travel Blog

    I really loved it, and hopefully planning a return visit within 2 years (watch this space!). Let me know if you ever do visit, would love to follow your NZ adventures! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  5. wanderlindsloves

    Love this, brings back so many memories! I would definitely have to have luging as my no.10 or maybe sailing around the Bay of Islands. New Zealand is just the best!

  6. Leona Fleming

    Seems like you had great fun? My last vacation was an amazing cruise adventure (Blount Small Ship Cruise Adventures- Rhode Island). I never miss my cam when I travel. It is more like a store house of memories to me.

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    LovePuffin Travel Blog

    Yes, it was fantastic – one of the best (and funniest) experiences of my life! I’ve never been to Rhode Island, but have heard wonderful things. Another one for the ever-growing bucket list!

  8. Janet Ng

    I loved New Zealand so much. I have been travelled to both North island & South Island for 3 weeks in November 2013. The scene & landscape are stunning! Among my favourite spots are Milford Sound , Lake Tekapo, Rotorua, Taupo, Queenstown & Fox Glacier.

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    LovePuffin Travel Blog

    Thanks for commenting, Janet! I’m hoping to return one day and will definitely be stopping by Milford Sound. Hadn’t heard of Lake Tekapo but a quick google search means it’s made it onto my list for sure!! 🙂

  10. Logan airport taxi

    Canyon swing and sky diving these 2 things i always like to do during vacations with friends. We also do cycling on difficult tracks of world this is my passion. You shared some beautiful pics here which attracts me towards the beauty of New Zealand.

  11. Pingback: Who's THAT Travel Blogger?! - Hayley of the LovePuffin Travel Blog - REXYEDVENTURES

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