Now that New Zealand is heading into the wonderful season of summer, I have come up with the Top 5 adventure activities for backpackers to do in the North Island of New Zealand.
I've based my decision for Top 5 Activities on overall value for money, and the scale of scariness.
1) Skydive Taupo: Apart from being picked up and dropped off in a white limousine and jumping out of a pink plane, Skydive Taupo is well known for being the best place to jump in the North Island.
When jumping with Skydive Taupo, you will free-fall over some of the most amazing scenery that New Zealand has to offer, including amazing views of Lake Taupo (NZ's largest lake), Tongariro National Park, Mt Ruapehu and the Bay of Plenty. The staff also appreciate the fact that some jumpers may be nervous and are willing to go the extra mile to make you feel at ease. You can also personalize your jump DVD by choosing your own music and adding unique handy-cam and ground footage to make it a jump you will never forget and will be able to re-live daily.
Value for Money - 8/10
Scale of Scariness - 9/10
2) Auckland Harbour Bridge Bungy: The Auckland Harbour Bungy, run by AJ Hackett, is New Zealand's only ocean touch bungy and is the only place in the world you can bungy and be dunked into the Pacific Ocean. At 41m, it is almost the same height as the original bungy off the Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown, but is $50 cheaper. If you're lucky you may even be able to spot a whale or a dolphin while you're up in the specially designed jump pod. They are also set up to offer a variety of different jumps including normal ankle tie, harness jump and tandem. Not to mention every jumper leaves with a free bungy jumper t-shirt and authentic certificate and with a 100% safety record why not give it a go?
Value for Money - 7/10
Scale of Scariness – 8/10
3) Kaitiaki Rafting: Kaitiaki Adventures, located in Rotorua on the Kaituna River, takes you down a Level 5 rafting trail, the highest grade available to the public in the world. What else needs to be said? It would be hard to find a more extreme activity to do while in a small raft, or trying to stay in, than being launched over a 7m waterfall one of three on the trail. If rafting is not your thing, why not try the trail on a specially designed body board, a new sport called sledging. The rafting run down the Kaituna takes around 45mins and the sledging is a 3 hour round trip. Along the way the crew are not only making sure you feel completely safe and comfortable on the water, but also tell you the local Maori history behind the Kaituna River and the surrounding bushland area, along with how they, or their tribe, are personally connected to the river. The crew are fantastic and balance fun and safety to a tee.
Value for Money - 9/10
Scale of Scariness - 8/10
4) Waitomo Caving: Over 20 years ago now, Waitomo Adventures Ltd pioneered the fantastic underground world of the Waitomo caves and now have 5 amazing adventures available to the public. The trips range from wet to dry, glow worms or no glow worms and from 3 hours in duration to 8 hours, so there is an adventure for every type of person. The original Lost World 7hour Epic is the most full on caving experience and includes a 100m abseil, river caving, swimming, climbing and lunch and a well earned BBQ dinner once you emerge from the cave. Other trips include black water rafting, flying fox inclusion and more glow worm spotting. Everything you need is provided from wetsuits, gumboots, lights, helmets, specialist vertical gear and of course exceptional guides who have been trained for the exact conditions of the caves.
Value for Money – 7/10
Scale of Scariness - 6/10
5) Ogo: Take one 11 foot see-through ball, throw in some water (warm in winter, cool in summer), place the ball at the top of an enormous hill and what do you have? Ride with a friend or two, with water or without water all the way down the hill for one unique and awesome experience. To describe what it feels like inside the ball would be like a cross between a roller coaster and a water slide. The Zorb was invented in New Zealand and are still made and developed here so why not test it out where it was made!
Value for Money – 8/10
Scale of Scariness - 6/10
What would be your Top 5 Activities in North Island of New Zealand? Let me know below!
About the Author: Lachy is a 19 year old that jumped across the ditch from Queensland 5 years ago and is trying to make his way in Auckland, New Zealand. He has been with Nomads since the beginning of 2009 and is now on the Mad Travel Desk (found on the ground floor of Nomads Auckland) and enjoying every minute!
Thanks to flyingkiwi.com, truenz.co.nz, jmcomputers.com, bookings.grayline.co.nz and partner.viator.com for the images.