New Zealand is known for a number of things, from lush green landscapes to incredible glaciers, from picturesque cities to rare wildlife. In all of the varied experiences that the country has to offer, the one thing that alone draws waves of people every year is the range of water sports and activities that the ‘land of the long white cloud’ offers. Whether it is at the sea and the gorgeous beaches of the country, or in one of the many amazing lakes and rivers, New Zealand offers a thrilling water activity in almost every part of the country.
A number of experiences like kayaking, snorkelling, scuba diving and a lot more are available for you to enjoy. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of 10 great water experiences that you should not miss out on during your trip to New Zealand.
One of the most popular and enthralling water activities in New Zealand is scuba diving. Explore the vivid colours, the magnificent aquatic wildlife and beautiful plants deep inside the water. Some of the most famous spots for scuba diving in the country include - Poor Knights Island, known for offering a wonderfully unique experience of swimming with the rare maomao; White Island, the site of the country’s most active volcano where you encounter gorgeous tropical species of marine life and also spot the underwater vents of the volcanic site; and Fiordland National Park, where the waters are inhabited by fiords and red and black coral, offering an opportunity to witness some exquisite aquatic species that you normally would find only deep in the sea, to name a few.
If you are looking for a truly one of a kind experience, a black water rafting trip in Waitomo Caves is it! Visitors get to choose from two kinds of experiences - Labyrinth and Black Abyss. In the Labyrinth experience, you float through the caves on a tube, and get to experience the thrill of a jump from a waterfall. This absolutely splendid tour of the gorgeous caves lets you float along on the rapid waters, in total darkness! While you may be thinking that at this point, you would need to switch your torches on, another stunning surprise awaits you. The ceilings of these caves are illuminated by thousands of glow worms, making for a heavenly experience for anyone rafting through these underground waters. In the Black Abyss experience, along with the rafting, you also get to rappel down the limestone walls of the caves, with glow worms all around you.
A visit to Stewart Island offers the chance to experience a thrilling and frankly, even scary activity – cage diving with the great white shark. About 120 of these majestic creatures can be found in the waters between the months of December and July. You get to experience the sharks up close, while being underwater in a cage suspended off a boat, with the sharks swimming all around you, and maybe even bumping into your cage.
The one activity that perfectly combines the lush green landscapes and the beauty of the waters of New Zealand is kayaking in Milford Sound. Located in the Fiordland National Park, this area is often referred to as the 8th wonder of the world because of its stunning natural beauty. You can rent a kayak and navigate through the waters, explore the grand fiords at your own pace, witness the fur seals inhabiting the area, and maybe even get to play with them.
From sitting and rowing to standing and rowing! Stand up paddle boarding is an extremely popular water sport in New Zealand, with the growing popularity even seeing an increase in competitive stand up paddle boarding races. If you are up for a relaxing experience in the form of paddling through beautiful locations, you can head to Coromandel, Raglan, Bay of Islands, Leigh or any of the other stand up paddle boarding hotspots in New Zealand.
One of nature’s most playful and gorgeous creatures, dolphins can make anyone’s day with just a few simple jumps. When in New Zealand, one of the water activities that you just can’t miss is swimming with dolphins in their natural habitat in Kaikoura or Akaroa. Both these towns are located on the south island’s east coast, with the former being home to the fast and playful dusky dolphins and the latter known for being the natural habitat of world’s rarest and smallest dolphin species, Hector’s Dolphins. If you find yourself on the North Island on your trip to New Zealand, you can still experience swimming with dolphins in Paihia, where one can witness the bottle-nose dolphins, one of the most common species of dolphins found across the world.
For rafting enthusiasts, one of the best adventures in the world is rafting in the highest rafting waterfall in the world. Standing at 7 metres high, the Tutea Falls offers an unbelievable experience not just because of the height but also the beautiful surroundings. The lead up to the waterfall takes you through native forests that are steeped in Māori history, before you come to the sharp drop through a narrow gorge. There are a number of other white-water rafting experiences in New Zealand that you can opt for if you want a less high and thrilling a ride.
From one thrilling and wonderfully draining experience to another, no trip to New Zealand is complete without trying your hand at surfing at least once. Beaches on both North and South Islands offer a number of great surfing venues, where you can catch a variety of waves, from the beginner level to downright monstrous waves that are perfect for experts. If you are a seasoned pro in surfing, North Island areas like the Waitakere Ranges of Auckland and the Taranaki Surf Highway 45 are the places to be.
Jet Boating is a water sport invented in New Zealand, which makes it an absolute must-try! High speed boats take visitors zooming down the river, going through all the steep gorges and canyons on the way for an absolutely hair-raising experience. If you are in an agile boat, you might even find yourself in some very well timed 360-degree spins. Shotover River, Waiaurahiri River, Huka Falls and Whanganui River are some of the places you can experience jet
We end the list with an absolutely leisurely experience. One of the best ways to sit back and enjoy the splendid sites of New Zealand is to a take a sailing tour in one of the national parks in the country, or just take sail boat out to the sea. Abel Tasman, Akaroa, Auckland and Bay of Islands are some of the most popular sailing destinations in the country.
Any trip to New Zealand is incomplete without experiencing some of the amazing water activities the country has to offer. Visit our website today to explore all the activities and the packages for each!