Extreme Sports and Recreational Activities

Not every New Zealander likes to participate in competitive sports, but with an abundance of amazing outdoor locations many people like to take part in other types of physical activities.

Extreme Sports

Extreme sports are seen as leisure activities with an element of risk. With New Zealand’s fast flowing rivers, glaciated landscapes, endless coastlines and steep topography it is an ideal location for these sports to take place.


Whitewater rafting on the Stopover River

Queenstown in Otago on the North Island is an ideal location for many river activities, as both the Shotover and Kawaru rivers are nearby. Whitewater rafting is available down the rapids of the Shotover River, while the calmer River Kawaru attracts the beginners, as well as white water surfers who will make their way down river on their surf boards. Whitewater rafting is also available on the Rangitata Gorge (South Island), Tongariro, Rangitikei, and Kaituna River in North Island.


Diving with the sharks is becoming more popular, and the Auckland’s Shark Dive Xtreme in the Kelly Tartans Sea Life Aquarium gives people the opportunity to scuba dive, as well as swim freely with the sharks. Surfing is popular in New Zealand, as there is a constant source of large waves in a wide number of locations. The best-known surf spot is Reglan Beach in North Island with a beach that is large and provides great waves. In South Island, there are surfing camps and lessons available in the town of Kaikoura on the East Coast, a two-hour drive north of Christchurch.


Both snowboarding and skiing are popular in New Zealand with a wide variety of ski fields with the spectacular scenery.  Perhaps the most popular area is Ohau which is located close to Queenstown. The closest mountain to Queenstown is nearby Coronet Peak and provides a wide variety of different types of lifts for boarders and skiers. Rock climbing is very popular with the best region being Wharepapa, which is found between Te Awamutu and Managkino. There are over 800 routes providing a good climate, great accommodation and extensive equipment stores. Ice climbing is popular in the Franz Josef Glacier. Guides help climbers and provide tuition, equipment and helicopter transport.

Recreational Activities

Fiordland and its wilderness

Camping is really popular in New Zealand, as there are such a wide variety of locations. Many of them are found in the National Parks and Conservation Areas. The Department of Conservation provides campsites throughout the country, and locations include the highlands, beaches, lakes and forest areas. There are six different categories of camp sites offering different standards of facilities. The Great Walk campsites offer accommodation along different routes.

Found in the South West area of South Island, Fiordland offers a wide range of camping. The area is known as the “walking capital” of the world with many short and long walks. The Milford, Kepler and Routeburn tracks are the most famous routes.

The area also offers a wide variety of other recreational activities, such as cycling, fishing, and boating, and this glaciated area is a perfect example of the wilderness that is available to the New Zealand population and its visitors.

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