Ten cool things to do in New Zealand

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Canyoning
Pretty awesome. Make your way from the top to the bottom of a canyon by jumping, abseiling, sliding, zip lining, floating and wading. I’ve done it near Queenstown, Wanaka and Piha, all fab. Best done in summer as spending time in stream water can be chilly. Hard to beat sliding on your back head first for a rush.

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Diving
A deeply surreal experience, unlike anything else really. Be safe and get your PADI Open Water and Advanced certifications and then you’re good to dive pretty much anywhere. The Poor Knight’s Islands close to Whangarei are deservedly the best known dive spot in NZ, but there are many others, and the warmer waters of the Pacific islands are not far away…

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Skydiving
Scariest thing I’ve ever done. Not to be repeated but glad I did it. Taupo is the skydiving capital of the world with great views, reliable weather and lots of competition keeping prices reasonable. Just don’t have a large lunch beforehand. Lesson learnt the hard way…

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Tramping
Possibly the best place on earth for tramping (otherwise known as hiking, trekking or walking) with hugely varied scenery, well maintained tracks and huts, and no dangerous wildlife. Just be prepared for variable weather which can catch people out. The most famous tramps are the nine Great Walks and the one (tough) day Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

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Surfing
A surfing lesson at Piha proved that I lack the balance or perseverance for it but I’ve friends who are pretty much obsessed by it. There are great spots throughout New Zealand including Auckland’s West Coast, Raglan and Wellington’s Lyall Bay.

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Fishing
Probably the most popular pastime in New Zealand. Only done it the once up in Bay of Islands catching snapper and kingfish. Made for the best fish and chips I’ve ever eaten.

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Running
Perfect place for it with endless beautiful scenery and temperate weather. Outside of Auckland running my favourites include the first leg of the Kepler Track out of Te Anau, around Lake Wakatipu by Queenstown and pretty much anywhere in Wellington.

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Cycling
You won’t find me Lycra clad or doing the 160km Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge but I do enjoying cycling around Auckland, mountain biking, commuting by bike to work, and the Central Otago Rail Trail was pretty special.

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Skiing
New Zealand is home to some of the best skiing in the Southern Hemisphere, particularly around the Queenstown / Wanaka area. Probably learnt too late and have too much fear but did enjoy time at Cardrona, pretty spectacular views.

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Jet boating
The novelty quickly wears off but worth doing at least once. My pick is Skippers Canyon near Queenstown, as in addition to jet boating itself you get to experience New Zealand’s version of the ‘Road of Death’ as featured in every Top Gear special, and get to learn about the gold mining history of the area.

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