1) Catch a thrill at Shotover River
A 75-kilometre long stretch of water with rushing rapids is just asking to be taken on by the adventure-lover, right? At Shotover River in Queenstown, you will literally have the ride of your life as you zip down the canyons in a jet boat, making sharp turns and doing 360 spins. This, folks, is not an experience to be missed. And if that isn't enough to make your heart drop to your stomach, head upstream to the Canyon Swing, where you will jump from a cliff 109 metres high, flying over the river on a 60m freefall before completing a few massive swings. With over 70 swing styles, you can do everything from sit in a deck chair to hang upside down from your feet to shooting down a slide.
2) Take in the beauty of Milford Sound
Milford Sound is New Zealand's top tourist destination and it's not hard to see why. With incredible landscapes of waterfalls, mirrored waters, tall peaks and lush rain forests, this fjord has been named by some as the 8th Wonder of the World. Contiki offers a cruise of Milford Sound as an optional on a number of their itineraries to New Zealand, and it's definitely a trip worth taking. You'll spot incredible wildlife like penguins, whales, dolphins and the rare species of blue duck which is native to New Zealand.
3) Go deep in the Waitomo Caves
While I'm not one for creepy-crawlies, a visit to the Waitomo Caves should be high on everyone's bucket list. The site is home to thousands of glowworms, which are native to New Zealand and radiate their beautiful glow throughout the dark caves. Offered as an optional with Contiki, you can take a boat tour through Glowworm Grotto in two million year old caves and marvel at the glowing strands of worms overhead.
4) Hike the glaciers
Most of Contiki's NZ trips include a few nights at Franz Josef, an iconic glacial site. Located on the South island's West Coast, this destination for adventure seekers offers up twin glaciers for you to hike: Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier. Contiki guests can opt to do a heli-hike tour of Franz Josef glacier, where they'll take an exciting, scenic flight to the top then strap on their gear and head out on a two-hour guided hike of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Make sure you pack your camera, because this hike will take your senses into overdrive.
5) Go for a dip in the hot springs
After experiencing all of the heart-pounding adventure activities that New Zealand has to offer, take some time to relax in the warm water of the natural springs scattered throughout the country. On Contiki's trips through New Zealand, travellers go on an included excursion to Hanmer Springs, a legendary hot spring location set amidst forests and mountains. The freshwater hot pools range in temperature from 28-42 degrees Celcius, so you can relax your muscles after a few days of climbing glaciers and luging down mountains.
Written by Lauren McPhillips