Bungy jumping and throwing yourself out of a plane; these two extreme activities seem to be the most popular and most talked about things to do in New Zealand, especially amongst those pesky backpackers who want to scare Mum back at home!
But New Zealand isn't all about tying your feet to a piece of flimsy rubber or jumping out of a plane with a hunky Kiwi guy strapped to your back; there are loads more things to do.
New Zealand is known as the adventure capital of the world so there's loads to do in this beautiful country, some are still "extreme" whilst others are little bit more sedate, but all of these activities should at least be considered during a visit to New Zealand even if you don't actually pluck up the courage to do them.
Black-water rafting - Waitomo This is nothing like white-water rafting and if you plan on visiting Waitomo in New Zealands North Island, black-water rafting in my opinion is a must. It's called black-water rafting because the colour of the water is black. Sound horrible? Well the water is only black because you're in a cave! But don't worry it's not too scary down there and most of the time you're sat in a rubber tube chilling out and looking up at the caves ceiling. This is a must-do activity in Waitomo because of the incredible Glow-worms living in the aptly named Waitomo Caves, The sight can literally be described as awesome. (If being in a cave is too extreme for you, there are other ways of seeing the glowworms in Waitomo including a few night-time walks.)
Swimming with Dolphins This is often on peoples "100 things to do before you die" lists, I know it was on mine! Yes it might be cheesy, but unless you've swum with dolphins in the wild it's difficult to understand what all of the fuss is about. We all know that dolphins are cute and that they appear to smile at us, but few realise just how large they are or how friendly they are when you see them up close. In New Zealand you also have the opportunity to see a very rare dolphin - Hectors Dolphin.
Jet Boating - Rotorua A fun and exciting way to spend a couple of hours is in a boat travelling at high speed down rivers surrounded by rocks and cliffs! Jet boating was invented by Kiwis and is probably the safest place in the world to do it. Don't worry you are still strapped tightly into the boat so it's unlikely you'll be flung out of it and the scenery on most of these jet boat rides is incredible.
Zorbing Another activity invented by Kiwis, zorbing is a peculiar concept but oddly good fun. What is zorbing? A zorb is a large see-through globe that is rolled down a hill with one or even more people inside it! It can be done wet or dry, wet means you slosh around in the rolling ball a bit like being in a washing machine, dry means you're strapped in and go rolling down the hill head over heels over head over heels! You can also choose a straight route down the hill or a slightly longer but winding route.
Luging The luge, found in Rotorua, Queenstown and now Auckland too is a bit like doing a bobsled without the snow and the cold! This is great fun and one of those activites that you're in control. In Rotorua for example there are 3 luge courses. A beginner course which issuitable for all ages, a medium course which you can gather a bit more speed on and the other one where if you're brave enough you can race your mate without using the built in break (technically you're not allowed to race other people but...)
And finally... shark cage diving Yes this ones pretty extreme! Shark diving is not only possible in South Africa you can also do it in New Zealand. Not much more to say about this one except it's wise to go to the toilet before getting in the cage!
As the saying goes, you only live once, and for most of us a trip to New Zealand is a once in a lifetime experience. My advice is to try as many things as possible from the chilled out things to do to the scare yourself silly things, (there are ways to prepare for an extreme activity so that you don't chicken out at the last minute!)
There are lots of other activities to do in New Zealand if heights scare you, but these are some of my personal favourites!