There is plenty to discover on a trip to Aotearoa, but don’t miss the mighty rivers and ocean. Here is our list of New Zealand’s top 6 water adventures.New Zealand inspires many different daydreams, inviting travellers to dine, hike, ski, shop, sail, cruise and taste at will, spoiled for choice wherever their itinerary takes them. Rarely though, do intrepid wanderers and curious newcomers explore the full range of New Zealand activities available, sticking to dry-land thrills like bungy jumping, or stable alternatives like day-cruises.
Don’t be afraid to get a little wet and a tiny bit wild in the turquoise waters of this Pacific Paradise – to help get you started, we’ve nailed down six don’t-miss-it activities. Young, old or old enough to know better, everyone will enjoy what we’ve got up our sleeve.
1. Take a White-Water Tour of Watery Rotorua
Famed for its volcanic vents and thermal pools, there’s more to this Northern nook than what’s in the brochure. White-water is generally associated with the heart-stopping South Island, but Rotorua has a little not-so-well-kept secret… the Kaituna River.
Considered a rafting playground, there’s three waterfalls – including the 7m Tutea Falls – to wrap your paddle around, as you get a feel for this beautiful region. Worried about being a first-timer? Don’t. You’ll be taken care of by a wonderful Kiwi crew.
2. Get Tubular at Tumu Tumu
Get ready to lay back and float your way along an underground river. Not quite a complete black water rafting experience (totally different from the white-water variety, we promise), this tour combines rafting and tubing with walking, climbing and swimming through the bends and turns of the Tumu Tumu Cave. Get up close and a tiny bit personal with a truly spectacular glow worm display and let the water do the work. Not a great swimmer? The included wetsuits come packed with bonus buoyancy and essential warmth.
3. Explore the Depths of the Poor Knight Islands
You’ve thought about diving the Great Barrier Reef and the crystalline channels of the Pacific – tropical, gorgeous and colourful are words that spring to mind.
What if we told you all three applied to the New Zealand spot of the Poor Knight Islands? Along with the Twin Wrecks, this quietly famous snorkelling and diving destination puts other areas to shame, as travellers submerge their senses in an underwater paradise and find themselves face to face with a few pretty surprises. If you’re not keen on diving, oxygen tanks and all, snorkelling gear is available.
4. Put an Oar into Wanaka
Wanaka is commonly associated with winter wonderlands and pristine snowfields, drumming up a frosty reputation… don’t follow the crowd. Winter, summer, spring or autumn, Lake Wanaka and the connecting Clutha river are best explored by paddle board, canoe or kayak.
Whether you’re excited by a structured tour, prefer to go it alone with an equipment hire, or feel like sampling the best of both worlds, you’ll be well taken care of as you discover more about New Zealand’s fourth largest lake.
5. Make Some New Finned Friends
Have you ever wanted to swim with the dolphins in their natural, open-ocean home? Not the sanitised experience of some theme parks or a quick paddle in the shallows, but a long and lasting dip with the ocean’s happiest creatures?
Get yourself to Kaikoura now. The tour lasts for around three hours, requiring previous snorkelling experience and confidence in open water. Not quite up to their rigorous checks? A dolphin watching tour is also available; witness dusky dolphins racing alongside the boat, wowing your camera with high-speed acrobatics and cheeky splashes.
6. Te Anau Glow Worm Caves
Te Anau couples a lake cruise with a two-hour limestone cave experience, inviting travellers to gaze in wonder at a magical, rocky world. Let the echoes of a mighty underground waterfall haunt your journey into a silent chamber, housing thousands of New Zealand exclusive glow worms, oblivious to your admiration.
Are you ready to go on your own New Zealand H20 escapade? If our top 6 New Zealand water adventures have inspired you, browse our range of unique tours and start planning your own adventure now.