A holiday can mean many things to many people. For some, it’s all about lying somewhere sunny and moving just enough to reach the chilly bin. For others, the holidays afford the opportunity to get the heart racing, do something new and fun, or just feel more alive by being on the move. New Zealand offers the full gamut and here we highlight just some of what’s in store for adventure-seekers.
Learn to surf in Raglan
If you’ve long harboured a desire to learn to ride the waves, or want to advance to the next level, Raglan provides an idyllic location. This coastal town, west of Hamilton, has some of the most consistent waves all year long, and some say Manu Bay has the longest most accessible and consistent left-hand break in the world. Get those skills in ship-shape form and you might even manage to catch a wave and cruise for up to two kilometres. All in a beautiful locale. Surf Safe Surf Coaching offers everything from beginner lessons to advanced training.
Paddle to Donut Island
Whenuakura Island, also known as Donut Island, is located about 600 metres offshore from the Coromandel beach town of Whangamata. The donut of its name comes from its unique shape, a result of the ocean continually eroding softer sediment in the centre. A picturesque lagoon is accessible via an opening in the rock. The best way to reach it? Give your arms a good workout with a Donut Island kayak tour, which operate daily, all year round (weather permitting). Experienced stand-up paddle boarders can also glide into this little slice of offshore paradise.
Fly above the canopy in Rotorua
Feel the wind in your hair as you fly through an ancient canopy of lush native forest. Rotorua Canopy Tours are a literal rush. Head deep into the forest and on The Original Canopy Tour you’ll be ziplining for a total of 600 metres – this option is good for all the family from ages six and up. Thrill-seekers, however, will want to step things up a notch with The Ultimate Canopy Tour, described as “not for the faint of heart”.
Lace your boots for Nelson Lakes National Park
Make it short or go long – Nelson Lakes National Park is a hiking paradise. Day walkers have the choice of a range of short tracks and will encounter lake views, birdsong and native beech forest along the way. Serious hikers may choose to take on Lake Angelus on a loop that usually takes about three days. Or for something even more challenging, the Travers-Sabine circuit takes five days to complete but you’ll be rewarded with views of soaring mountains, remote lakes and an alpine pass. Then rest your weary bones at an alpine lodge in St Arnaud, the ideal base for your hiking adventures.
Pedal the Otago Central Rail Trail
What was once a railway route between Middlemarch and Clyde, has now become 152 kilometres of biking gold. The wide gravel paths and gentle 1 to 50 gradient make this innovative trail ideal for people of all abilities; do just a section, or take on the whole lot, and all at your own pace. Stop in for refreshments at the townships along the trail and marvel at the changing vistas: mountains, rocky landscapes, farmland, river gorges, old stone and mud-brick dwellings and preserved gold mining settlements will have you enthralled along the way.
Ride the high country in Glenorchy
Tap into your inner cowboy or cowgirl, and set off into some of New Zealand’s most pristine countryside on horseback. Your steed and you will get to soak up the majestic serenity of the Glenorchy basin (45 kilometres from Queenstown). You’ll saunter by glacial-fed rivers with a backdrop that may look somewhat familiar if you’re a Lord of the Rings fan. High Country Horses has a horse for every riding ability, from complete beginners to the very experienced.