My Fun Water Vacation Activities in New Zealand

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I’ve been really into enjoying water ever since I was a child; maybe I should have been a dolphin. But seriously I always try some kind of water activity whenever I go on a vacation or indeed travel around my own country of New Zealand.

These activities can range from a leisurely afternoon in a rowing boat with my darling partner to some adrenaline rush like a white water rafting ride.
Here are some of my top things to do on the water in New Zealand which I think would be fantastic for people try when they visit our country.

White Water Rafting

White Water Rafting, New Zealand

Photo credit: MervynS

I’m diving into the deep end, literally, with my first holiday activity. As you may already know white water rafting involves you and other brave adventurers getting on a raft then traveling down a series of rivers which usually includes rapids.

Now these rapids are graded from one to six with one being the easiest, five being very difficult and even I wouldn’t try a grade six!

One of the more difficult rapids in NZ is the Rangitikei River which is a grade five, so you really have to know it’s not for the faint hearted!

It involves a lot of fast rapids which need a certain level of fitness and you need to be aware that it does indeed carry a level of risk but if you’re willing to try this then you’ll be in for the ride of your life.

The Rangitikei River is located near the town of Taihape which is in the north island of New Zealand but wherever you’re staying here, you should find a river for white water rafting within a day’s journey.

Steam Boat in Queenstown

Steamboat in Queenstown, New Zealand

Photo credit: Falconne007

Now we move onto something a lot more relaxing which also doesn’t need any level of fitness at all.

When I visited Queenstown last year, one of the things that really attracted me to the place was the quaint old steamboat on the lake.

They offer a cruise around the lake which is fine for all the family and a great way to see some lovely views of the areas around Queenstown.

But I recommend going a step further and book the cruise and farm tour where you go on a cruise then get dropped off near a farm for a tour of the place. It’s great if you have children as they can interact with some of the animals.

Make sure you book the farm tour when you buy the steamboat tickets though to get a small discount.

We found it a lot of fun, not just for the kids but for all of us.

Black Water Rafting in Waitomo

Black Water Rafting in Waitomo

Photo credit: Lanz

If you are claustrophobic or are afraid of the dark then skip over this activity!

Contrary to the name, it doesn’t really involve a raft as such but you actually get in an inflatable rubber tube and float along a series of underground rivers, together with other travelers and a guide.

You may find a sense of unease as you float along as you will probably think if something goes wrong here, I’m kind of stuck (well I did anyway) but it’s a fantastic experience which I recommend.

You’ll also get to try out abseiling which is quite tricky to learn but most people get the hang of it in the end.

Jet Boat in Queenstown

Photo credit: SirChalky

Another fun thing to do is to try the jet boat ride on the lake and various rivers nearby.

Queenstown isn’t the only place to try this in New Zealand but it’s a good place to try it first in my opinion.

What makes a jet boat different from the usual speedboat experience is that the jet boat is far more maneuverable and can zip between very small spaces, seemingly dodging obstacles at the last moment.

Kayaking in the Catlins

Kayaking in the Catlins

Photo credit: Takver

My last water experience, kayaking, is something I try as often as I can; I’m even going to buy a kayak when I have some spare cash.

One of the more enjoyable places I’ve kayaked in is in the Catlins, which is located right on the south east tip of the south island.

There are a number of good rivers to kayak on but what I recommend is the sea kayaking where you can get to travel through various cave systems, usually only accessible at low tide times of the day.

Jack is a travel writer who recommends people traveling to New Zealand try RiverRidge Retreat which is located in the Catlins, a lovely spot in the middle of nature.

1 Comment

  1. Laurie

    October 22, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    The Jet Boat in Queenstown is a great adventure. Expensive but well worth it.

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