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Our New Zealand adventure tours and experiences showcase New Zealand at its most exciting.
New Zealand is a mecca for adventure enthusiasts, offering everything from helicopter sightseeing to jet-boating and skydiving. Heli-adventures offer access to pristine, untouched backcountry, while exclusive tours can be arranged for any adrenaline activities on offer–rafting, surfing, snowmobiling, jet-boating, kayaking, skiing, caving, canyoning, and much more.
Our top New Zealand adventure tours include:
Whether you choose to join a group tour or book an exclusive experience, New Zealand’s adventure scene offers myriad rewards, from heart-pounding adrenaline to breathtaking scenery.
Read on to learn about our top recommended luxury adventure experiences.
New Zealand is a country of mountains and fiords and volcanoes, a very special place where vertical scenery dominates the skyline. A New Zealand helicopter tour offers unparalleled access to some of the country’s most dramatic wilderness. In addition, many experiences below combine a helicopter flight with an adventure activity for an even more rewarding experience.
These are a few of the most spectacular helicopter tours in the country.
Because Queenstown is situated close to many of New Zealand’s most dramatic wilderness regions, Queenstown helicopter tours open up the opportunity to see a vast array of scenery.
With exclusive Heliworks Queenstown helicopter tours, you can see:
Discover the captivating coastline and 144 islands of the Bay of Islands from the air with a Salt Air helicopter tour. Explore the Hole in the Rock, venture as far north as Cape Reinga, or discover the coast on an unforgettable heli adventure.
If you stay at The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs during your time in the Bay of Islands, your exclusive Bay of Islands discovery flight will be arranged through the lodge.
A heli-skiing adventure provides access to thousands of kilometres of untouched terrain, with bowls, snowy ridges, and powder basins to ski and board. Combine this with magnificent views for a thrilling day out.
With Alpine Heliski, choose from heli skiing locations spanning from Mt Cook down to Queenstown. Some locations are deep in the backcountry, while others perch just above Queenstown with staggering views over the Wakatipu Basin. This region offers myriad runs in excess of 1200 metres.
A stay at Minaret Station opens up countless heli ski opportunities in the surrounding mountains. Lift off from your remote wilderness lodge for a day of adventure, deep powder, and breathtaking views.
Take in the magnificent views over Queenstown and Arrowtown with an unforgettable hot air balloon flight with Sunrise Balloons. Rise to altitudes of up to 3000 metres and drift with the breeze as you discover some of New Zealand’s most captivating scenery.
Lifting off at dawn, when the air is calmest, marvel at the views unfolding below–mountains, lakes, rivers, golf courses, and even Lord of the Rings filming locations. No matter the season, Queenstown is stunning.
Once you land, your hot air balloon Queenstown experience culminates with a champagne celebration. Enjoy tea, coffee, cheese, and sweet treats to round off an incredible morning.
New Zealand offers an abundance of world-class hiking opportunities. With guided walks and heli hikes, venture deep into the wilderness to discover the country’s most breathtaking scenery. Exclusive New Zealand hiking experiences range from beach trails in Abel Tasman National Park to helicopter-accessed mountain terrain.
Situated within easy access of both Mt Aspiring National Park and Fiordland National Park, Queenstown is a hiking mecca. Encounter glaciers, braided rivers, high country stations, fiords, lakes, and native forest on a guided walk or heli hike.
Enjoy an easy stroll through the unique microclimate at the shores of Lake Wakatipu on this enchanting half-day experience with Guided Walks New Zealand. Encounter native birdlife and learn about an array of edible and medicinal plants used by Maori and European settlers.
This full-day adventure departs from Queenstown for an immersive Fiordland experience. Southern Lakes Helicopters will collect you for a breathtaking flight over the lakes, rivers, and mountains of Fiordland National Park as you venture to Te Anau.
Landing on the Kepler Track, an exposed ridgeline with dramatic views across Lake Te Anau, embark on a guided downhill hike towards the shores of Lake Te Anau. A boat will transfer you to the town of Te Anau, where the next segment of your adventure continues.
Return to Queenstown by stunning scenic back roads, crossing through Mavora Lakes Conservation Area and Walter Peak Station. From Walter Peak Station, board the TSS Earnslaw Steamship to complete your journey back to the Queenstown waterfront.
Abel Tasman National Park is an enchanting region of golden-sand beaches, sheltered bays, and lush native bush. Winding along the coastline is the Abel Tasman Coast Track, one of the nine New Zealand Great Walks. Experience the best of this stunning trail with a day hike along the most scenic portions.
Walk the highlights of the Abel Tasman Coast Track with Wilsons Abel Tasman. A regular water taxi travels between different points along the coast, allowing you to hike portions of the trail, swim, and relax on the beach for a memorable day out.
The volcanic scenery of Tongariro National Park has an otherworldly appearance, with twisted lava formations, moonscape-like craters, volcanic cones, and jewel-colored lakes. Hikers will relish the chance to explore the fascinating landscape up close.
Internationally renowned as one of the best day hikes in the world, the Tongariro Crossing invites hardy adventurers to tackle its steep climbs and rugged terrain. As your private guide leads you along the stunning 21-kilometre track, learn about the geology and volcanic history of the region.
If the Tongariro Alpine Crossing does not suit your hiking level, Tongariro National Park offers countless shorter trails to explore. Choose from a range of privately guided hikes through the dramatic volcanic landscape to lakes, waterfalls, and scenic viewpoints.
Fiordland National Park is home to three New Zealand Great Walks: the Milford Track, the Routeburn Track, and the Kepler Track. In addition, Fiordland boasts countless other trails through untouched wilderness.
The Expedition Fiordland experience (described above) offers a fantastic Fiordland encounter out of Queenstown. However, you can enjoy a hike along the same stretch of trail on a much shorter experience departing from Te Anau.
On the Fiordland Heli-Hike, Southern Lakes Helicopters lifts you from Te Anau up to Luxmore Hut on the Kepler Track. From here, panoramic views open out in every direction, with Lake Te Anau below and the peaks of Fiordland National Park rising beyond.
Descend from the ridge on an easy hike towards the Te Anau lakefront, where you will be collected by water taxi for the return journey to Te Anau.
Minaret Station offers unparalleled access to hiking opportunities in the Wanaka and Mt Aspiring National Park regions. Explore ridgelines, rivers, waterfalls, and valleys on exclusive guided half-day and full-day heli hike excursions.
New Zealand is home to over 3000 glaciers, spread across both islands. For an up-close look at the grandeur and scale of these glaciers, no experience can compete with a helicopter landing on the snow. And if you seek an even more immersive experience, a glacier heli-hike allows you to spend several hours exploring the ice.
Dropping nearly to sea level, Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier are New Zealand’s most famous–and most accessible–glaciers. Lush subtropical rainforest gives way to a river of ice for a stunning contrast. These dynamic glaciers change shape constantly, built up from the immense snowfall that compacts near the top each year and melting into rough rivers flowing straight out to sea at the base. Moreover, these two glaciers sit just opposite the Main Divide from Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. In other words, a helicopter tour of either glacier offers unparalleled views of the main spine of the Southern Alps.
Experience the best of Franz Josef and Fox Glacier from the air on an immersive 40-minute flight with Heliservices. See pinnacles, crevasses, and the deep blue ice of glacier country. This unforgettable glacier helicopter flight also encompasses breathtaking views of Aoraki/Mt Cook and Mt Tasman, and culminates in a snow landing.
On your unforgettable heli hike with Franz Josef Glacier Guides, spend time exploring the ice formations with the help of crampons and an ice axe.
Begin with a breathtaking helicopter ride over the dramatic West Coast mountains, taking in views of Franz Josef Glacier below and craggy peaks all around. Once you land on the ice itself, spend two hours exploring the pristine features of this incredible frozen wonderland. Your guide cuts steps in the ever-changing ice, seeking the safest and most spectacular route across the glacier. Slide through narrow crevasses and between towering walls of ice, crawl through blue ice tunnels, explore ice caves, or even witness the glacier calving.
Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park boasts some of New Zealand’s most breathtaking alpine scenery. Home to the country’s highest mountains and largest glacier, this national park encompasses a wonderland of ice plateaus, hanging glaciers, craggy peaks, and braided rivers. As this extreme landscape is largely inaccessible except to mountaineers, a helicopter flight affords unparalleled access to the very best New Zealand glacial scenery.
Heliworks Mt Cook takes you deep into the breathtaking Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park on a 45-minute helicopter excursion. Fly the full length of Tasman Glacier, New Zealand’s largest glacier, and take in magnificent views of Aoraki/Mt Cook. This region is home to some of the most stunning mountain scenery in New Zealand, and your helicopter tour offers the chance to see hanging glaciers, blue ice, and craggy mountain peaks. Finish your experience off with a landing atop Tasman Glacier.
For a comprehensive helicopter tour of this awe-inspiring mountain paradise, choose the Aoraki/Mt Cook Ultimate Scenic Flight with Heliworks. This 55-minute flight circles around the summit of Aoraki/Mt Cook, and on a clear day, views open up toward the West Coast, where you will see Franz Josef and Fox Glacier nestled in steep valleys. View hanging glaciers, rivers of ice, the otherworldly blue of deep crevasses, and icebergs floating on the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake. Finish your experience with a landing high on Tasman Glacier, where your helicopter will shut down so you can experience the stillness and silence of this very special place.
If you wish to spend even more time immersed in the glacial wilderness of Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park, the Tasman Glacier Heli Hike offers two hours on the ice. Travel with Mt Cook Glacier Guiding for an unforgettable heli hike experience.
Combine a breathtaking helicopter flight with an expedition across the ice–explore crevasses, blue ice caves, tunnels, and otherworldly formations as you traverse the face of this magnificent glacier. Your guide cuts steps as you go, choosing the most spectacular route across Tasman Glacier.
New Zealand is crisscrossed with bike trails, from easy family-friendly tracks to challenging mountain biking terrain. Among the most notable New Zealand mountain biking destinations are:
Surrounded by lush native and redwood forests, dotted with picturesque lakes and geothermal attractions, Rotorua is a mountain biking paradise.
The Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest is home to one of the oldest mountain bike networks in the country, with finely crafted trails, unbeatable riding surfaces, varying topography, and fantastic scenery.
In addition, Skyline Rotorua offers a network of gondola-accessed mountain biking tracks.
If you choose to stay at Solitaire Lodge or Treetops Lodge & Estate during your visit to Rotorua, these lodges open up exclusive mountain biking opportunities.
From Solitaire Lodge, embark on a biking adventure along the geothermal cycle trail, passing through lush forest. See steaming springs and multi-colored lakes at Rainbow Mountain and the Waimangu and Wai-O-Tapu thermal valleys, and take the chance to soak in a natural hot stream or at the Waikite Pools.
Treetops Lodge also offers an array of mountain bike excursions, from forest tracks to geothermal routes.
During a stay in Nelson or the nearby Abel Tasman National Park, you have the opportunity to discover a staggering diversity of wilderness on guided heli biking and mountain biking excursions.
Helibike Nelson offers a wide range of guided tours, from gentle coastal explorations in Golden Bay to technical mountain biking through untouched natural scenery. Most iconic of these excursions is a heli bike tour of the Old Ghost Road, a breathtaking trail that takes in ridgeline and forest scenery.
Home to the famous Alps2Ocean Cycle Trail, the Mackenzie Basin offers flat, easy cycle trails backed by magnificent scenery.
Lakestone Lodge sits right along the Alps2Ocean Cycle Trail, and the lodge offers complimentary bike hire if you wish to explore a section of this dramatic cycle trail.
Further south, a stay at The Lindis opens up opportunities to discover a different part of the Mackenzie Basin. Explore Ben Avon Station or the Ahuriri Valley with an e-bike tour through rugged, remote mountains.
Marlborough is home to two iconic biking activities: bike-to-wine tours and Queen Charlotte Track mountain biking.
The Sounds Retreat offers two complimentary bikes for guests who wish to explore the Queen Charlotte Track. In addition, the lodge can arrange bike-to-wine tours around Renwick, where most of the iconic Marlborough wineries are situated.
Heliworks Queenstown has partnered with All Mountain NZ to offer two exclusive heli biking excursions around Queenstown. Tackle Bowen Peak or Ben Cruachan on an unforgettable guided mountain biking tour, taking in spectacular scenery in every direction.
And if you stay at Blanket Bay Lodge, you have the opportunity to explore the stunning Glenorchy region by bike. The lodge has six Specialized bikes available for guests to use.
With thousands of kilometres of idyllic coastline, New Zealand is a paradise for sea kayaking.
The best destinations for sea kayaking in New Zealand include:
A stay in Paihia opens up an idyllic stretch of coastline to explore by sea kayak. Book a guided tour or rent kayaks to paddle the sheltered coast, or enjoy a short kayak excursion during your full-day chartered cruise aboard the luxury yacht Cool Change.
If you choose to stay at The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, your luxury lodge provides exclusive access to a stretch of stunning coastline. On a guided sea kayaking excursion, discover the coastal flora and fauna that makes this one of the most scenic regions in the world. You may even encounter dolphins or spot little blue penguins during your paddle. Refuel at the unpopulated Little Waiaua Bay with a gourmet picnic lunch and wines to match. Afterwards, continue your paddle or dive under and discover marine life as you snorkel through sheltered kelp reefs.
For the ultimate Abel Tasman sea kayaking experience, Split Apple Lodge offers guests an exclusive full-day boat trip and kayaking excursion. Cruise into Abel Tasman National Park, kayak around Tonga Island’s seal colony, enjoy a leisurely walk along the coast, and indulge in a delicious picnic lunch. If you’re lucky, you may see blue penguins, dolphins, or even orcas.
Wilsons Abel Tasman offers a range of fantastic sea kayaking excursions, from short paddles suited to beginners to full-day kayaking adventures. Explore sheltered bays, encounter seals and native birds, and even combine your kayaking excursion with cruising and walking along the coastline for a comprehensive Abel Tasman experience.
During your stay at Bay of Many Coves Resort, you have the opportunity to use the kayaks available for guests to explore the nearby coastline. Guided trips are available as well.
If you choose to stay at The Sounds Retreat, the staff can help arrange guided half-day and full-day kayak tours along the idyllic coastline. Encounter a variety of birdlife, and possibly even see rays, seals, little blue penguins, dolphins, and orcas.
The scale and remoteness of Fiordland National Park is difficult to grasp. What better way to immerse yourself in this wilderness grandeur than with a sea kayaking excursion.
Embark on a small group kayaking tour with Real Journeys. Explore the spectacular Lady Bowen Falls, venture close to Sinbad Gulley–where you will find Mitre Peak, New Zealand’s most photographed mountain–and view the rainforest in beautiful detail.
Choose from a short kayak excursion combined with a Milford Sound cruise or a longer paddle with 4-5 hours on the water.
An overnight luxury Milford Sound cruise aboard the Fiordland Jewel includes the opportunity to enjoy a bit of sea kayaking. Once the Fiordland Jewel anchors in a sheltered cove, explore the nearby waters by sea kayak.
For a rewarding wilderness experience, join Real Journeys on a full-day kayaking adventure in Doubtful Sound. The excursion includes a cruise across the stunning Lake Manapouri, a coach trip over Wilmot Pass, and three hours of paddling on the still waters of the fiord. Explore Deep Cove, Rolla Island, and Olphert Cove on this unforgettable adventure deep in the vast wilderness of Fiordland National Park.
With crystal-clear turquoise water, dramatic gorges, and stunning natural settings, New Zealand’s rivers are a treat to explore by jet boat. And this is an adrenaline activity the whole family can enjoy–children as young as three years old can join jet-boat tours.
The two major destinations for jet boating are Queenstown and Taupo.
This iconic Queenstown experience is a must-do for most travellers. Speed through the narrow, dramatic canyons of the Shotover River and hold on tight as the jet boat turns dizzying 360-degree spins.
Travelling deep into the wilds of Mt Aspiring National Park, the Dart River Jet is both a breathtaking wilderness encounter and an adrenaline-pumping thrill ride. Follow the braided Dart River past staggering peaks and hanging glaciers and beech forest, with views of many Lord of the Rings filming locations along the way.
Travel to the foot of the crashing Huka Falls on a thrilling ride with Hukafalls Jet. Get up close to the thundering blue water and feel the power of the falls.
Take your luxury vacation to new heights with a thrilling skydive. Queenstown, Taupo, and Wanaka are the most notable places to skydive in New Zealand, with breathtaking mountain and lake scenery.
NZONE Skydive Queenstown will take you high above the Southern Alps and Lake Wakatipu for an exhilarating freefall. Choose from skydive heights up to 15,000 feet and relish in the unforgettable scenery.
Coast to coast views of lakes, volcanoes, and rivers, and New Zealand’s highest skydive, combine to make Taupo Tandem Skydiving an unforgettable experience. Jump from up to 18,500 feet for up to 75 seconds of freefall.
Skydive Wanaka rivals Queenstown as New Zealand’s most scenic mountain skydive. Take in breathtaking views of Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps as you face your fears and jump from a plane.
With pristine rivers and thrilling rapids, white water rafting in New Zealand makes for a fantastic wilderness adventure.
Go Orange offers a range of Queenstown rafting experiences, from leisurely family-friendly excursions to Grade 5 heli rafting adventures. Tackle the Shotover River or the Kawarau River and discover rugged canyon scenery and epic rapids.
The Shotover River Heli Rafting Adventure is the ultimate rafting experience, with a helicopter flight through the dramatic Skippers Canyon followed by a heart-pounding paddle through Grade 5 rapids.
The rivers around Taupo and Tongariro National Park offer countless rafting adventures. During a stay at Huka Lodge, you have the opportunity to experience a white water rafting trip on the Tongariro River. Raft over 50 rapids on pristine water as you pass volcanic landscapes and native bush. Choose from Grade 3 or Grade 5 rafting expeditions.
From Hobbiton to Isengard, a New Zealand Lord of the Rings tour reveals the stunning landscapes of Middle Earth in real life. Experience top filming destinations, from helicopter locations to the Hobbiton Movie Set, with these Lord of the Rings tours.
Explore charming hobbit holes and sample a hobbit-themed drink at the Green Dragon Inn on a Hobbiton Movie Set Tour. Private tours are available. For a more immersive experience, choose the Hobbiton Evening Banquet Tour.
Nomad Safaris offers a range of unforgettable Queenstown Lord of the Rings tours, from 4WD tours to exclusive heli-drive excursions.
In addition, Heliworks Queenstown takes guests on breathtaking helicopter tours of aerial filming locations throughout the Queenstown, Glenorchy, and Fiordland regions.
Your unforgettable Lord of the Rings experience begins with a helicopter flight to the blue ice and cascading waterfalls of Earnslaw Glacier, where scenes from The Hobbit were filmed. From there, land in the stunning Glenorchy region for a bespoke Nomad Safaris Lord of the Rings tour by luxury Tesla.
This Queenstown adventure tour with Nomad Safaris packs in countless breathtaking Lord of the Rings filming locations, along with thrilling 4WD action. On your private Lord of the Rings tour, discover the magic of Middle-earth and visit filming locations such as the Misty Mountains, the Pillars of the Kings (Argonath), and many more. Finally, follow a historic gold mining road and take the opportunity to try gold panning yourself.
The private Nomad Safaris tour to Glenorchy takes guests along one of New Zealand’s most scenic drive, following the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Visit filming locations that include Isengard, Ithilien Camp, Lothlorien, Fangorn Forest, and the Battle of Amon Hen, and enjoy breathtaking panoramas of Lake Wakatipu and the Southern Alps.
This unforgettable scenic flight with Heliworks Queenstown makes a fantastic introduction to Middle Earth. Fly towards the steep ridges of the Misty Mountains, climbing ever higher to reach the first top at Dimrill Dale. This valley marks the western door of the Gates of Khazad-dum (Moria) and Mirromere, source of the River Silverlode.
As your flight continues, you will also encounter Amon Hen, the Ithilian camp, the Ford of Bruinen, and the River Anduin.
Discover the dramatic Lord of the Rings filming locations around Queenstown, Arrowtown, Glenorchy, Skippers Canyon, and the surrounding mountains on a Heliworks Queenstown tour to the forests and peaks of LOTR.
Land at an exclusive Heliworks landing site, discover the blue ice and cascading waterfalls of a hanging glacier, and visit filming locations including Isengard, the Misty Mountains, Dimrill Dale, the Gates of Khazad-dum, Amon Hem, and Lothlorien.
This 75-minute helicopter flight includes two landings and offers staggering views of the dramatic scenery.
This ultimate Lord of the Rings tour includes three hours of breathtaking scenery and memorable filming locations spanning the Queenstown region and Fiordland National Park. Venture deep into Isengard, across the Misty Mountains, and to the Ford of Bruinen.
Your experience includes multiple landings, a visit to Milford Sound, and views of glaciers, rivers, and lakes. This is Middle Earth at its most captivating, with majestic scenery unfolding before you as your guide points out key filming locations.
Explore Weta Workshop, the Outer Shire, Rivendell, and the Gardens of Isengard on a Wellington Lord of the Rings tour with Rover Rings Tours. This comprehensive tour travels around the city centre and outskirts of Wellington, offering an enjoyable overview of the region.
Browse our range of New Zealand adventure itineraries as you begin planning your luxury holiday.
We can also add adventure activities to any of our New Zealand luxury itineraries.
Contact New Zealand Luxury Escapes today to begin planning the adventure of a lifetime.
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