Extreme Adventure on New Zealand’s South Island

From skydiving, to canyoning and swimming with wild dolphins, my travel experiences in recent years have found me doing things I couldn’t have imagined five or six years ago. I never used to be much of a risk taker, but now, put me in the right setting and I’ll try just about anything!

As many people know, New Zealand is considered the extreme adventure capital of the world. For a small country, with more sheep than people, the number of extreme activities you can take part in is impressive. If you’re looking to get out of your comfort zone, these are some of my favourite adventure activities on the beautiful South Island.

Picture perfect New Zealand

Dolphin Swim – This is hands down the most memorable experience I had in New Zealand. Based in the small town of Kaikoura, Dolphin Encounter allows visitors to get face-to-face with the dusky dolphin. We donned head-to-toe wetsuits and jumped into the frigid waters off the coast of Kaikoura. We were told to sing to the dolphins through our snorkels (perhaps this was done for the entertainment of the guides!). However, something must have worked because we were literally surrounded by them. I can honestly say it was a magical moment.

Dusky Dolphins

Skydiving – I always claimed that skydiving didn’t interest me. And frankly it didn’t (plus I was a bit of a chicken). Why would I want to throw myself out of a plane? But, when the opportunity presented itself in the town of Franz Josef, it was one I didn’t want to miss out on. A sunrise skydive over the Fox Glacier was a once in a lifetime opportunity. After a night of tossing and turning, I dragged myself out of bed before the crack of dawn. As I drifted back down to the ground I got to see the sun rising over the Tasman Sea and it was worth every ounce of anxiety!  Many people will choose to go skydiving in Queenstown, however this is a great alternative.

Skydiving – the view from above

Whitewater Rafting – We had an absolute blast during a day of whitewater rafting on the Rangitata River near the town of Geraldine. I still remember getting shot out of the raft into the ice cold waters. Our guide with Rangitata Rafts was fantastic and really helped to make the day a lot of fun!

Rafting on the Rangitata River

Strike a pose!

Glacier Climbing – For anyone visiting the South Island, climbing the Franz Josef Glacier is a must. We opted for the half day hike, which was the perfect amount of time. For this activity it’s important to be in relatively decent shape. It was surreal being able to experience this natural wonder. As you make your way over the ice, boy does it ever make you feel small!

The Franz Josef Glacier

In New Zealand, you’ll run out of money long before you run out of things to do!

Have you been to New Zealand? What were some of your favourite activities?


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About AdventuressAbroad

adventure seeker.traveling fanatic.food lover.occasional blabbermouth.travel-based PR professional.

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2 Comments on “Extreme Adventure on New Zealand’s South Island”

  1. truetravelingtales Says:

    The South Island is amazing, you should add seal swimming in Kaikoura it’s amazing and when I went the dolphins also came to say hello, the glaciers are also fantastic, I’m jealous about the skydiving, I ran out of money before I had the opportunity : (


    • AdventuressAbroad Says:

      Swimming with seals sounds amazing! There are so many fantastic things to do in NZ, it’s easy to run out of money quickly. I want to go back so I can try all the things I didn’t get to do.


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