Just like people, active holidays come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re an experienced hiker, a superstar athlete, an absolute beginner, or have limited mobility, New Zealand has something for you, with experiences to suit all fitness levels. Here is just a small selection of the amazing active adventures on offer around the country.
Super fit: Hike the scenic Te Paki Coastal Track around the rugged coastline of the magical Cape Rēinga. The 3-4 day route includes Te Werahi and Twilight beaches where self-sufficient camping is available.
Beginners: Take a ferry trip from Russell or Paihia to the glorious Urupukapuka Island. Hire a kayak to access the beautiful coastline or hit the tracks for vast sea views.
Families: Cycle past beautiful waterfalls, rolling farmland and the Suspension Twin Bridges at Tuhipa on the Twin Coast Cycle Trail. The pleasant downhill ride from Kaikohe to Ōpua is perfect for families. Catch a shuttle ride back, then head to Te Waiariki Ngāwhā Springs to revive your weary limbs.
Accessible adventures: Take in the sights, and experience the buzz of central Whangārei on the 4km Hatea Loop. a fully accessible walkway around the town basin. Home to an international yachting marina, cafes and shopping, there is also a liberty swing (a wheelchair-accessible swing) at the playground, and a petanque court.
Super fit: Kayak across the Waitematā Harbour to Rangitoto, while the sun sets on the youngest and largest of Auckland’s volcanoes. Trek to the summit for 360-degree views, enjoy a barbecue dinner by the waterfront, then paddle back by the sparkling city lights. The Sunset Kayak tour is run by experienced guides at Auckland Sea Kayaks. Walk the Aotea Track, a multi-day hike through the heart of the Great Barrier wilderness for an adventurous three days in the bush with scenic backcountry huts for accommodation.
Beginners: Take a self-guided or supported walk through the Duder Regional Park, on the pōhutukawa-fringed Whakakaiwhara Peninsula. Choose from four walking trails ranging from 30 minutes to 2.5 hours. The Duder Farm Path, offers rolling farmland and some of the best coastal views in Auckland.
Families: Go horse riding at Pākiri Beach, North of Auckland. Ride the beach, cross streams and enjoy the spectacular coastal views. Choose from a relaxed one-hour outing or a full-day adventure, with Pakiri Beach Horse Rides.
Visit Shakespear Regional Park, situated at the end of a narrow peninsula, with sweeping cliff top views and a beach on either side. Choose from several tracks to tackle by foot or mountain bike, ranging from 1km-5km.
Accessible adventures: Head to the Kaitoke Hotsprings on the popular walking track, following the edge of the Kaitoke Swamp, which is suitable for wheelchairs.
Or book a 4.5-hour cruise on the luxurious Dolphin Explorer, to see whales and dolphins in their natural environment. It operates at weekends and people in light wheelchairs with some mobility can be accommodated. It’s recommended that a support person accompanies those with mobility issues.
Super fit: Challenge yourself with the Sleeping God Canyon, an adrenalin-fuelled adventure with 300 vertical metres of abseiling, jumping, zip-lining and sliding down a series of cascading waterfalls in the beautiful Kauaeranga Valley. Run by CanyoNZ.
Beginners: Soak up the Coromandel’s wild beauty on the 10km Coromandel Coastal Walkway. Book guided transport with Hike and Bike Coromandel so the afternoon is yours to enjoy the secrets of the walkway without having to circle back to your vehicle.
Families: Spend a day retracing the steps of miners in their quest for fortune at the Waihī Gold Discovery Centre. Take the tour, ride the train, then bike the Hauraki Rail Trail along the river and through tunnels in the stunning Karangahake Gorge.
Glide through the forest on a zipline canopy tour and experience Coromandel’s breath-taking native forest from all levels with Corozip at Driving Creek.
Accessible adventures: Join Coromandel Fishing Charters on an ocean expedition to catch your dinner, or head further offshore to experience a marine world teeming with sea life. Disabled guests can be accommodated, and trips can be tailored to requirements.
Super fit: Have a cracking day out with Lost World All Day Epic Adventure with Waitomo Adventures. Abseil 100m underground, then spend the rest of the day swimming, jumping, and climbing your way through the gigantic streamway passages.
Walk the track to Wairere Falls, the highest waterfall in the North Island. Or try rock climbing, caving and canyoning at Raglan Rock.
Beginners: Tick black water rafting off your bucket list – float down an underground river, slip into fast waters, jump off waterfalls and take in the magic of the glowworm studded cave, on this three-hour Black Labyrinth adventure at Waitomo Caves.
Learn to surf at Ngarunui beach with Raglan Surf School. The beautiful volcanic sand is the perfect place for beginners.
Or choose from five walks at Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, the largest ecological island on mainland New Zealand.
Families: Paddle along the southern edge of Lake Karāpiro, for a special evening glow-worm kayak with Lake District Adventures. Head slowly up the Pōkaiwhenua Stream, through the canyon, guided by twinkling glowworms.
Head below ground with a selected tour of the magical glow worms and cavernous marvels at Caveworld Waitomo or Waitomo Caves.
Accessible adventures: Visit the accessible Ruakuri Cave at Waitomo Caves for a captivating blend of compelling subterranean experiences (including glow worms). Or head to the Hobbiton movie set to experience Middle-earth movie magic.
Super fit: Visit the world’s youngest geothermal valley, learn about the famous 1886 eruption and take in the 360 panoramic views on the Mount Tarawera Crater Walk. This guided experience is ideal for all ages and includes an optional run into the heart of the volcanic crater. Run by Kaitiaki Adventures.
Beginners: Take to the trees, and journey deep into the ancient native forest on a network of zip lines, swing bridges and canopy platforms supported by trained guides at Rotorua Canopy Tours. The Original Canopy Tour is suitable for all ages.
Families: Take an introductory mountain bike tour in the beautiful Redwoods Forest. Choose from more than 140km of purpose-built tracks tailored to all skill levels, and enjoy a 3-4 hour ride through forestry back roads surrounded by native and pine. Run by Mountain Bike Rotorua.
Super fit: Climb Mt Tauhara, a favourite for fit Taupō locals. The climb can be challenging and steep in places, but the payoff is breathtaking. From the summit you will experience sweeping panoramic views over Lake Taupō and the Central North Island, made even more impressive by a spectacular sunset. This is an intermediate to advanced day hike.
Beginners: Stroll around the lake edges through native bush on the beautiful Rangatira Point Track. At Whakamoenga Point, the track opens out to expansive flat volcanic rocks on the water’s edge – the perfect location for sunbathing or diving into the freshwater. A half-hour to 1.5-hour return walk.
Families: Walk or cycle the Tongariro River Trail in Tūrangi through rolling farmland and stunning native forest. The kids will love crossing the swing bridges and watching fly fisherman casting lines into the crystal clear river.