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7 Thrills that aren’t bungy jumping

Here in Aotearoa, we’re the pioneers of bungy jumping (hats off, Mr Hackett!) but there are plenty of other ways to get your heart racing.

100-metre abseiling: Imagine dangling into a massive void with nothing but shadows, echoes and dripping cave walls trickling into an abyss. During the four-hour Lost World caving adventure, a 30-minute free hanging abseil is the only way to reach the floor.

Waitomo caving: Claustrophobics look away now. A spelunking tour through Waitomo Caves involves abseiling and crawling into narrow 2 cave passages, while black-water rafting requires tubing down an underground river and sliding into fast-flowing water with glowworms twinkling above.

Waitomo Caves
© Discover Waitomo

Ziplining: There are ziplining experiences the length and breadth of New Zealand, but only Nelson’s Skywire in Cable Bay Adventure Park has a flying four-seater vessel. Suspended 300 metres above ground, it’ll hurtle you and three friends through the air at 100kmph, travelling both forwards and back.

Cable Bay Adventure Park Skywire 
© George Guille

Hang gliding: No daredevils choose to fly over Queenstown by plane but thrillseekers will want to tandem 4 hang glide. Attached to an instructor, take a running jump off Coronet Peak and fall (like Tinkerbell) to the floor – gliding over Lake Wakatipu and mountain folds.

Gliding in Queenstown
© Coronet Peak Tandem Paragliding and Hang Gliding

Cross-country skiing: Every powder hound knows that slicing through the snow is exhilarating. In Wanaka, you can now utilise New Zealand’s only Cross-Country 5 Ski area: The Snow Farm. Enjoy backcountry accommodation and lessons to finesse the art, as well as snowshoeing, tubing and dog sledding.

Racing cars: Speed demons are in motorhead heaven at Hampton Downs. Based in Waikato, thrills range from taking the wheel of a V8 muscle car, experiencing 100kmph in 3.2 seconds, playing passenger in a V8 Supercar and dabbling in some hair-raising wet skids.

Car racing, Hampton Downs
© Hamilton & Waikato Tourism

Canyoning: With water crashing around you, abseiling down a 50-metre waterfall is not for the faint of heart. Set in a volcanic rock valley in the heart of Piha Canyon, AWOL Canyoning Adventures offer full and half-day gorge explorations with cave jumps and abseils.