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Overseas Adventure Travel Capital of the World – Heart-Pounding New Zealand

Posted on: June 20th, 2017 by About Australia Staff No Comments
Overseas Adventure Travel Bungy Jumping

Photo: AJ Hackett Bungy

If A. J. Hackett jumped off a bridge would anyone follow him? That’s the question the New Zealand native asked back in 1986 when he opened the world’s first commercial bungy jumping operation in Queenstown. The world answered with a resounding “Yes!” and soon people from New Zealand and all over rushed to see the extreme sport of “bungy jumping”.

The rest is history and New Zealand’s place as the overseas adventure travel capital was solidified.

We’ll show you why picturesque Kiwi country continues to be known the world over for extreme adventure sports in our guide to overseas adventure travel in New Zealand.

Skydiving New Zealand

New Zealand’s landscape is some of the most picturesque in the world. Deep fiords, tall, snow-capped mountains and green, rolling vistas give New Zealand that postcard-look at every turn. What better way to see it all than by plummeting towards it from 12,000 feet up?

Skydiving in New Zealand is the most epic way to top off your overseas adventure travel vacation in New Zealand. You’ll receive instruction, suit up and strap on to an instructor for a safe dive. However, nothing can prepare you for that initial leap through the clouds!

Overseas Adventure Travel New Zealand Sky Diving

Photo: NZOne Skydive

Not ready to take the plunge? Opt for a bungy-jump with the company that started it all. The A. J. Hackett Ledge Bungy provides you with nearly 9 seconds of free-fall before being hurtled back up by your ankles. It’s the unforgettable experience that put Queenstown on the extreme sport map.

High Speed River Boats and Kayaking New Zealand

Hop aboard a high-speed thrilling river boat for an exhilarating journey through the Shotover River Canyons. You’ll zip past past jagged cliff-faces at nearly 60 mph. Squeeze through stunning narrow canyons mere inches away from the rocky walls to your side. Hold on tight as the unique Shotover Jet performs high speed, 360-degree spins along the way. This is not your average river boat cruise.

Want to take it a little bit slower? Get your feet wet first with a bit of kayaking at Tonga Island Marine Reserve. Embark from Onetahuti Beach in a double-kayak and see some of Abel Tasman’s amazing landscape. Paddle around pristine waters and New Zealand’s renowned rugged coastline and rock formations. You’ll feel like you’re exploring uncharted land as you paddle your way through. Lay your eyes on the lush, jungle landscape that surrounds you.

Once you make landfall, you’ll have the chance to explore some of the island and continue your adventure on foot.

Kayaking Abel Tasman New Zealand

Photo: Camilla Stoddart

Tip: Paddle over to see the Seal Colony where you could see native fur seals frolicking in their natural habitat! Along the way, lookout for more of New Zealand’s great wildlife like sea birds or even a Little Blue Penguin. The pristine waters around the reserve are so clear, you can even see fish swimming by as you paddle through.

Caving and Canyoning New Zealand

Get to know New Zealand from the inside-out by trekking through some of its best caves and canyons. Strap on your helmet, turn on your headlamp and harness up. This spelunking adventure is the best way to see some amazing subterranean wonders. New Zealand’s cave system is among the most diverse and challenging in the world.

Sure, you can take the simple walk through wide caverns and see some great sights. Stalactites and black water rivers are pretty accessible to those looking for a slightly more hands-off experience.

Overseas Adventure Travel Waitomo Caves

Photo: Absolute Adventure

But what would overseas adventure travel be without the adventure? For a a more harrowing trek you’ll want to head in to New Zealand’s narrow cave system. You’ll crawl, squeeze and rappel through the complex cave network. Feel your way through certain sections with only the light of you and your cave mates headlamps. Along the way your guide will give you an informative run down of the caves history and geology.

Overseas Adventure Travel Glow Worm Caves New Zealand

Photo: Waitomo Glow Worm Caves

No trip to New Zealand is complete without heading to Waitomo for the iconic Glow Worm Caves. You’ll see beautiful rock formations and geological wonders before embarking on a silent “black-water raft” ride. The silent float on the river-cave offers a stunning look at thousands of glow worms that call the cave home. See the soft, blue light that these bio-luminescent insects give off as you drift silently through the dark expanse. Staring at the glow worms as you float through the silent, dark cave makes you feel like you’re looking at thousands of stars in the sky.

Glacier Walks and Volcano Hikes

Mountaineering has a special place in the hearts of New Zealanders. Did you know that Edmund Hilary, the first person to summit Mt. Everest, was a Kiwi? His interest in climbing mountains was spurned from a childhood trip to Mt. Ruapehu in Tongariro National Park. Celebrate Hilary’s legacy with an adventure of your own in New Zealand’s glacier and volcano regions.

Start off at Franz Josef Glacier where you’ll take a scenic helicopter ride to the top. You’ll get an incredible view of the top of the glacier area along the way before landing right on the ice. An expert guide will lead you through the glacier’s rugged terrain. Walk through narrow ice canyons. See snow-capped mountains and pristine blue-ice. The almost Antarctic feel to Franz Josef Franz Josef Glacier makes you feel a thousand miles away.

Overseas Adventure Travel Franz Josef Glacier New Zealand

Photo: Franz Josef Glacier Guides

From there head for the North Island. Make a stop in Tongariro National Park and participate in a “Great Walk of New Zealand“. You can even trek up Mt. Nguaruhoe – better known as Mt. Doom in the Lord of the Rings.

Your final stop on this circuit of New Zealand wonders is the sulfuric, geothermal region in Rotorua. Once you arrive, don’t be alarmed if things smell a bit odd. “The Sulfur City” is more than just a nickname for Rotorua. The sulfur rich minerals brewing below the earth escape in to the atmosphere leaving a strong sulfuric smell all around. But after some getting used to, it’s just a reminder of the amazing geothermal activity happening just below you.

Just outside Rotorua proper sits the Waimangu Volcanic Valley. This area was created by New Zealand’s largest volcanic eruption more than 100 years ago in 1886. In geologic terms, where things are measured in hundreds of millions of years, this valley is brand new. Valley walks take you through stunning emerald pools, hot springs and steaming crater lakes. Be sure to check out Frying Pan Lake – as the name implies, the lake cracks and sizzles from geothermal heating!

Geothermal Rotorua New Zealand Overseas Adventure Travel

Photo: Rotorua Geothermal Region

New Zealand – Overseas Adventure Travel Mecca

In New Zealand you’re never short on options to push your vacation to the next level. Sure you’ll want to see the stunning landscapes that made Middle Earth come to life in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. But in between the relaxing walks and scenic drives, make a few stops that will truly take your breath away. Let us plan a trip that will show you why New Zealand’s reputation for overseas adventure travel is well-earned.  

Add Some Adventure to My Tour

Want to start planning your trip now? Call 888 -359-2877 (M -F 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) today and talk to one of our Destination Specialists. We’ll work together to create the perfect trip for you.


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A Guide to New Zealand Volcanoes and Geothermal Sights

Posted on: June 8th, 2017 by About Australia Staff No Comments

Champagne Pool in Wai-O-Tapu near Rotorua

New Zealand is, pardon the pun, a hotbed of geothermal activity. It’s located in the “Ring of Fire”, an aptly named cluster of volcanic activity around the Pacific Ocean.

In fact, many of the islands surrounding New Zealand were formed from volcanoes.

Luckily, most of the New Zealand volcanoes and powerful cones haven’t erupted in hundreds or thousands of years. Shooting geysers, hot springs and sulfuric lakes are active reminders of the country’s volcanic history.

Check out our list of the best places to experience the sights, sounds and smells of New Zealand volcanoes and geothermal regions.

Whakaari / White Island

White Island, New Zealand Volcanoes

Photo: Chris Sisarich

White Island is New Zealand’s most active volcano. Its peak rises more than 1,000 feet in the air, but much of the mountain is hidden below sea level, making this the largest volcano in New Zealand!

For an epic tour of White Island, you’ll arrive by helicopter and land on its surface. Walk the rugged surface and feel real volcanic rock beneath your feet.  

White Island seems to live and breathe as a living being as steam rises and falls. Vents and cracks along the islands exterior hiss and release gases up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit!

You can get up close to the bubbling mud pits and steaming acid lakes that make up the island.

White Island, New Zealand Volcanoes and Geothermal

Photo: Rob Suisted

Like many New Zealand volcanoes and regions, White Island was originally named by the Maori. In Maori, the name for White Island is “Te Puia o Whakaari”, or “the dramatic volcano”.

No stranger to drama, this volcano wants to be seen and heard. Numerous small eruptions and a peak with seemingly constant cover from thick, white steam ensure that White Island stays on the minds of native Kiwi’s and tourists alike.

Rotorua, The Sulphur City

Whakarewarewa Thermal area, Rotorua, New Zealand Volcanoes and Geysers

Photo: Chris McLennan

Just a skip away from the Bay of Plenty, Rotorua is known for its unique Maori culture and amazing hot springs and geysers.

You’ll know you’ve arrived in Rotorua when you sense that distinct smell of sulfur that permeates the air.

It might take some getting used to at first, but just think of it as the Earth’s magic at work! Besides, it’s a small price to pay for being in one of the most historically significant sites in all of New Zealand.

You’ll want to check out Te Puia,  an amazing geothermal wonderland that is home to the Maori Arts and Culture Institute. 

Start your visit off with a visit to the largest active geyser in the Southern Hemisphere. Pohutu Geyser shoots steaming water more than 100 feet in to the air once or twice every single hour.

It’s a geyser so reliable you could almost set your watch to it.

Boiling mud pools, hot springs and steaming valleys all cover the landscape of Te Puia.

Witness unique Maori cooking that utilizes Te Puia’s boiling springs. Known as hangi in Maori, meat and vegetables are placed in to baskets and lowered in to steaming water from the Earth which cooks it through. The Maori have used this method of cooking for centuries and it’s still used today.

Participate in a Te Puia Steambox Lunch to try for yourself the fantastic foods that this method produces.

Hot Water Beach

Hot Water Beach Coromandel Peninsula New Zealand Volcanoes

Photo: Adam Bryce

At first glance this may look like a regular beach. But bubbling just beneath the sand is naturally heated mineral water from springs below.

This makes Hot Water Beach a prime location to pull up, dig in and treat yourself to your own personal spay day. Dig a hole big enough for all of your friends, or keep it small for a solo soak.

You should plan on arriving to Hot Water Beach about 2 hours before or after low tide. This gives you a lot of easy digging area to hit the spa in no time.

Forgot to pack a shovel? Local cafes and shops within rent out digging implements if you didn’t pack a shovel in your carry-on

TIP: Always test the temperature of your newly-dug hot spring before getting in. As its name suggests, the water can get VERY HOT!

We gave Hot Water Beach a spot on our list of the most amazing beaches in New Zealand where you’ll find more of our favorites!

Waimangu Volcanic Valley

Waimangu Geothermal Region New Zealand Volcanoes

Photo: Waimangu Geothermal Region

New Zealand is a new island nation. Its land isn’t even 10,000 years old yet! That’s just a blink of an eye in geologic terms.

The Waimangu Volcanic Valley was created just over 100 years ago from the eruption of Mount Tarawera. This eruption is New Zealand’s deadliest on record and remnants of the site’s violent history are still evident to this day.

Take a walk through Waimangu’s Volcanic Valley and you’ll see the rising steam of hot springs and crater lakes. The Emerald Pools are a stunning bright green water feature that sit atop a crater left by Tarawera’s eruption.

Many New Zealand volcanoes feature crater lakes and miniature ecosystems in the water atop extinct cones.

Be sure to check out Frying Pan Lake, the largest hot spring in the world.  You’ll be able hear the lake crack, sizzle, sputter and hiss from the geothermal heating below!

Tongariro National Park

Tongariro Alpine Crossing New Zealand Volcanoes

Photo: Camilla Rutherford

Take a trip to Mt. Doom and see how the real-life mountain of Mt. Ngaruhoe became the fictional volcano of Mordor in the Lord of the Rings films.

Tongariro National Park also provided the backdrop for many of the films iconic scenes. The amazing local landscape, incredible mountain peaks and lush forest is unlike any other.

It’s no wonder that director and native Kiwi Peter Jackson chose to film much of the movie in his home country.

Tongariro is also the home of many of New Zealand’s greatest walks and hiking tracks. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing and Northern Circuit are among the top 9 Great Walks in the country. You’ll see the park’s amazing plant and animal life, snow-capped mountain tops and the emerald pools of the park’s crater lakes.

Microscopic minerals suspended in the water give the lakes a super-saturated, amazing turquoise and blue color.

New Zealand Volcanoes

We have no doubt that you’ll find these great regions and New Zealand volcanoes just as amazing as we do.

Maybe you’re a geology super-fan who wants to tour the “Ring of Fire”. Or you’re a Lord of the Rings super-fan who just has to see Mt. Doom. Or maybe you just want to walk on a real volcano.

Either way, we can put together the perfect itinerary to see one or all of these amazing sights.

Give us a call at (888) 359 – 2877 Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. CST or  and we’ll plan the New Zealand trip of your dreams.

Create a Custom Trip


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