South Island: Top 5 Adventure Activities

If you are headed to New Zealand’s South Island and are looking for a bit of an adventure during your stay, then make sure to read on below. We have brought together some of the best adventure activities available on the island from quad biking to skydiving. Whether you are an adrenaline junky or simply want to try out a new experience, we have you covered!

Join On Yer Bike New Zealand for Quad Biking Adventure

1. Off-road Quad Biking

Join On Yer Bike Adventures for a thrilling experience that has been drawing visitors for 23 years to a unique piece of paradise preserved to showcase some of the most incredible scenery unlike anywhere else in New Zealand.

You can challenge yourself whether a total beginner or experienced quad biker by hopping into a vehicle of your choice, whether it be a quad bike, buggy or mighty Haggland and take on some of the very best off-road tracks on the West Coast.  You do not need any experience; it is suitable for children and families and all equipment is provided.

Join On Yer Bike for an outdoor adventure

Get ready to be pushed safely beyond your limits with a friendly and experienced guide who will lead you through exclusive trails, specifically designed to keep you out of your comfort zone! The perfect balance between challenge and scenery, you will drive through a mystical, untouched, rainforest similar to scenes out of a lost world movie. Be prepared to be enchanted as you get amongst the beauty of tall native trees, ferns, moss-lined tracks, rocky creeks, mud puddles, and even a waterfall!

Make sure to head over to the On Yer Bike Adventures website for more information.


2. Winter Sports

The South Island is home to some of the country’s best winter sport areas with a variety of resorts to choose from. This includes the large resorts of Coronet Peak, Mt. Hutt and Cardrona and the high-altitude resort of Roundhill-Lake Tekapo.

In total there are over 300km of slopes to explore with the highest point at 2133 metres. This means that even if you are a complete beginner, you will easily find a great variety of different terrain to explore!

Skiing in New Zealand

If conventional skiing and snowboarding is not adventurous enough for you, you can try some off-piste activities with a trained guide. This gives you the chance to ski beyond the maintained slopes and test yourself on the unpredictable powder. Or, you can try out heli-skiing. This involves flying to the top of the mountain in a helicopter and then making your way back down on fresh virgin snow. Are you up for the challenge?

Exploring the mountains in the winter is a fantastic experience and one you will not forget in a hurry!


3. Canyoning

If you are looking for a wild adventure involving a lot of exhilarating climbs, descents and jumps, then canyoning might be the activity for you.

Join a canyoning tour with an experienced guide and you will be transported to the stunning remote mountain areas around Wanaka, Canterbury and Nelson for an unforgettable experience. During your tour you will abseil down cliffs, sliding down natural rock water chutes, dive off waterfalls and scramble and climb over a range of terrain.

Canyoning in New Zealand

It is not an experience for the faint of heart, but is open to complete beginners, as long as you have a decent level of fitness. You will need to bring sturdy, ideally waterproof, shoes but the rest of the equipment such as a wetsuit and a helmet is provided for you.

Canyoning is an exhausting but rewarding adventure activity that one you have experienced once; you will be keen to try again in a different environment.


4. Skydiving

For a truly heart in mouth adventure, why not try skydiving in one of the most breath-taking landscapes on the globe? Whether you want to go it alone or opt for a tandem skydive, you are guaranteed a remarkable experience.

Feel the rush of adrenaline as you hurtle from 12,000 feet in the air down into the spectacular landscape of snow-capped mountains, glittering lakes and deep valleys around Queenstown and Wanaka. You will be able to see for miles and miles as you freefall for less than 1 minute at around 124 miles per hour!

Skiing in Queenstown

Skydiving is open to almost everyone with a minimum weight limit of 66 lbs (30 kg), meaning that even children can take part. You don’t need any special equipment or experience, as your fully trained guides will take care of everything for you.

Are you up for taking the plunge?


5. Rafting

For an exciting river rapid adventure, head to Queenstown, Christchurch or the West Coast where inland mountain rivers flow down into the sea. Rafting on these turbulent waterways is an addictive, white-knuckle experience that will have you hooked from the first outing!

Rafting experiences are ranked from the most tranquil rivers graded 1 to the fast-flowing grade 5 river experiences that are considered an extreme sport. This means there is something suitable for everyone! You can even try black water rafting in some of the country’s underground caves.

Rafting in New Zealand

You can opt for a trip that last just a few hours to a trip that lasts a few days. Zip past gorgeous scenery as you navigate the choppy waters, steer your way through high-cliffed valleys and feel the exhilaration of making it safely through the raging waters strewn with boulders.

Rafting experiences are a fantastic way to see some of the South Island’s most striking scenery and are great fun group activity.


So, there you have it, our top 5 adventure activities on New Zealand’s South Island. Make sure to book ahead to avoid disappointment and always do these activities with a trained local professional for the best experience!

Back to overview

Hi there! 

We are Jacob and Taylor. Travel is our passion and we love sharing our experiences here at The Travelling Souk. Our hope is that you would be inspired by this little blog to try something new, embrace an adventure, and live life to the fullest. 

Latest articles How to Plan a Trip to Australia
Australia is a dream destination for many, and an eternal draw for travellers. It’s the tr[...]
Tips for Travelling with Kids in Australia
Australians have an easy-going attitude when it comes to travelling with kids, and in most place[...]
The Best Surf Spots in Australia
With nearly 60,000 kilometres of coastline, Australia is home to some of the best surfin[...]
How to Plan a New Zealand Road Trip
You are here: Home | Australasia | New Zealand | New Zealand Road Trips   If[...]
How to Travel New Zealand on a Shoestring
You are here: Home | Australasia | New Zealand | New Zealand on a Budget   N[...]
5 Ways to Experience Maori Culture in New Zealand
You are here: Home | Australasia | New Zealand | 5 Ways to Experience Maori Culture in New Zeal[...]
Experience Australia's Wildlife
There’s nothing like a vacation to Australia. You can experience coastal living and city s[...]
Unmissable Things to Do in Sydney
The gorgeous beaches, awesome excursions, and exciting cultural events have made Sydney one [...]
Top Day Trips from Sydney
Day trips from Sydney are the best because there is so much to see and do within a couple of[...]
Top 10 Destinations in Tasmania
Australia’s southern island state is a place of wonder, adventure, and beauty. Tasmani[...]
Discover the Sunshine Coast of Australia
We have put together 7 fun ideas for you to discover the Sunshine Coast of Australia! The Su[...]
Top Activities in Brisbane
Brisbane is the gateway to one of the most sought after holiday locations in Australia &ndas[...]
Top 5 Things to Do in Hobart
The capital of Tasmania, Hobart is a hub for culture, history, food, and natural beauty. Home to[...]
The Best Brisbane Day Tours
Ready to see more of what the River City has to offer? When it comes to Brisbane day tours, trav[...]
Top Sydney Startups to Watch
Australia is actually a lot closer to the heart of tech innovation than geography would otherwis[...]