Throughout my twenties, I heard so many positive things about New Zealand that I was excited to schedule it as the second stop on my trip around the world.
There were so many adventurous activities available along the route I took through the North and South Islands that I had to pick and choose.
Here are five of my adventures in New Zealand from a month of traveling across both islands.
New Zealand Adventures
1. Heli-Hiking Franz Josef Glacier
As if walking around on my first glacier wasn't cool enough, I threw my first helicopter ride into the mix. And I had the front seat on the way up and back down, which was awesome.
Both the helicopter and the glacier. Walking around on crampons isn't easy, and at least one person in my group took a slide down an ice cave, but it was well worth the cost.
Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier nearby account for two of the world's three sub-tropical glaciers. The low elevation explains why you see all the green foliage in the photo above.
Check out my original post about heli-hiking Franz Josef Glacier for more photos.
Canyoning is an activity I've wanted to try since I first read about it in a Lonely Planet Costa Rica guide. When I saw trips run from Auckland, where I first arrived in the country, I immediately booked a spot.
Our guide was a pretty Chilean woman, and after suiting up in thick wetsuits and helmets, we spent 5 hours sliding down rock chutes, jumping off cliffs, and abseiling over waterfalls. It was unbelievable.
For more, check out Canyoning – Abseils, Jumps and Chutes.
3. Tramping the Tongariro Crossing
Tramping in New Zealand (or hiking, as the rest of us call the activity) is hugely popular due to the varying geography and beautiful scenery.
I didn't schedule any multi-day hikes, but I did make time to tramp the Tongariro Crossing, a ridge between two volcanoes on the North Island (one of those being the infamous Mt. Doom from Lord of the Rings).
The weather was cloudy and visibility low; however, it was a fun physical challenge and my first serious hike.
Renting a car in New Zealand is the perfect way to explore the country's stunning landscapes and hiking trails.
Whether you're looking to go hiking or venture into remote wilderness, renting a car will provide you the freedom to go wherever you want, whenever you want. Look into hiring a car with Enterprise Car Rentals here.
4. Racing Go-Karts
Racing go-karts in the mountains above Queenstown may not be as death-defying an activity as you can find, but it's entertaining, and the views are breathtaking.
If the weather is decent, you can watch paragliders drifting around.
I had the pleasure of racing my bus driver, but he kicked my butt as I imagine he's been racing those go-karts for years.
I celebrated Christmas in Queenstown, and though I didn't write much about it, you can read a few of my thoughts from the city in Scenic Views of Queenstown.
5. Queenstown Canyon Swing
Sure, I'll jump off a 360-foot (109-meter) platform into the abyss of Shotover Canyon…twice!
So watch the video above, and hear me scream like a girl. If massive swings aren't your style, plenty of bungy jumping options and tandem skydives are on offer.
Read Fear Factor: Riding the World's Highest Swing to see videos of both my jumps.
As I said at the top, New Zealand is a unique, beautiful, kick-ass kind of country, and I feel lucky to have had so many adventures there.